Monday, November 11, 2013

Fixing Talheim's Track 1

What's wrong with Talheim's Track 1, you ask?

Talheim was my first foray into laying track using flex track. Not only did I learn a few lessons with that, but it was also the very first station on the layout and was set in place when pretty much nothing else existed beyond staging.

Fast forward a couple years, while I was building the return loop around Steinle it turned out that I needed an additional inch of space for the loop, so I switched the north right-hand turnout to a left-hand turnout and arranged the curve to Hochwaldtunnel slightly differently.

Since I didn't want to re-lay the flextrack in Talheim, I ended up installing a small curved bit of track that fixed up the geometry.

That's not a kink in the track next to the orange truck, that's the curved bit I inserted. ...

I also never cut the gaps in the flex track to make Track 1 detected in two blocks as I originally had planned, because there's too much pressure on the rails that would develop into kinks. Yes, Track 2 has one of those and it isn't even bent as tightly as Track 1.

For the next couple years I cringed every time a train was passing through this section. The track doesn't flow well. What's the point of flex track if you mess up the geometry like this? However, I couldn't get myself to fix it. It just bugged me, and was one of the reasons why I didn't ballast Talheim yet.

Yesterday I decided to make this right, found a piece of the flextrack in the right length, and cut out half of the existing track on Track 1. I didn't want to mess with the soldered bits across the bridge, and the track on the south side of the station is fine.

Track 1 northern half removed
To get a nice curve with the new flex track, I needed to pad the roadbed on the outside of the curve a bit, as well as remove some roadbed on the inside of the curve. A nice side effect of that is that the platform for Track 2 will be a little bit wider.

The glue for the additional roadbed dries
Tonight I cut the flex track to length, added an extra rail joiner for the sensor pickup (you can't solder wire directly to Maerklin's track), and glued everything in place.

Much better now.

No kinks. Proper detection. Better track flow. The glue is still wet, so I can't run a train through the track and test it out yet.

Update 11/12/2013:
I ran a train over the next track tonight, ... and the southern section of Track 1 now no longer has power. Great. Apparently the flextrack section was powered from the end that I removed.

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