Track stability

 
  rachelle_may Beginner

Hi

I don't know if I have entered this forum properly..but time will tell.  Could someone please advise me on the ply thickness for a hornby OO gauge model train starter kit.  This train is for my 7 year old grandson...he was so excited to get this train....but I thought it could be left under his bed on the plastic trackmat....big mistake....track is broken with bent points and connections now not connecting. Have spoken to a couple of model train retailers...they said 15 mil plyboard with 12 mil nails...but I feel that will be too heavy for him to pull out from under his bed...there is very limited space in their house. Maybe 9 mil could be lighter but is it strong enough to not bend and twist and nails are too long....could someone please advise me...it would be much appreciated.

Thanking you
Rachelle

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  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
G'day Rachelle,

There is no hard and fast rule....it depends more on the size of the layout and the likely way it will be used.

Given that you have said it will fit under his bed, I'm guessing it must be something around 6 foot x 3 foot?

If so, then I would say that a piece of 12mm plywood would be suitable. If you were to go any thinner than that (say 9mm), I would suggest you mount it on a timber frame for a bit of rigidity.

Don't be too concerned about using long nails.....just short tacks is all that is required. In fact, if you're sure the track "plan" isn't likely to be altered, you could glue the track down, using normal pins to hold the track while the glue dries if deemed necessary. However, in my opinion and from my own experience (even at the ripe old age of 58 ) I find I am STILL altering the track I have laid for one reason or another....so gluing it down might not be such a great idea.....just one you can consider.

Is the layout going to be left on the floor during use; or will it be lifted up onto a table or other raised position (eg: 4 milk crates)? The more it is going to be moved around, the more sturdy the whole thing needs to be.

I hope this helps a little.

Good luck

Bill Roach
  Kevin Martin Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Hi

I don't know if I have entered this forum properly..but time will tell.  Could someone please advise me on the ply thickness for a hornby OO gauge model train starter kit.  This train is for my 7 year old grandson...he was so excited to get this train....but I thought it could be left under his bed on the plastic trackmat....big mistake....track is broken with bent points and connections now not connecting. Have spoken to a couple of model train retailers...they said 15 mil plyboard with 12 mil nails...but I feel that will be too heavy for him to pull out from under his bed...there is very limited space in their house. Maybe 9 mil could be lighter but is it strong enough to not bend and twist and nails are too long....could someone please advise me...it would be much appreciated.

Thanking you
Rachelle
rachelle_may
Hi Rachelle and welcome to this hobby.

Perhaps there is a model railway club near you so may be able to get some practical experience and help.

Kevin Martin
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
Rachelle,

Seek as much advice as you can. If you don't have a GOOD hobby shop nearby, do a Google search, 'how to build a model railway'. If you live in Sydney, go to the model railway exhibition at Liverpool over the October Long weekend. Most people are happy to talk trains and help beginners.
Lessons I have learnt.
1. Gravity makes things sag, so baseboard needs some framing. If it must live under a bed with fluff, castors would help you pull it out.
2. Track must be properly laid to minimize derailments. You have a Hornby trackmat to give you basic minimum geometry. Your ruined track may be able to be fixed but if some pieces are beyond repair buy same brand replacement pieces. If most of it has been ruined, seek advice on a different brand eg Peco Set Track. As an 8 year old, I wrecked a lot of track hammering in track pins. So learn how to do this on Google or leave it loose on the mat and baseboard for now.
3. Once you have your train running, you must do regular track cleaning with a proper track rubber. DO NOT use sandpaper or steel wool.
4. Keep it simple to start with. Short locomotive and wagons handle small layouts better.

Lloyd
  viaprojects Chief Train Controller

Hi

but I feel that will be too heavy for him to pull out from under his bed...there is very limited space in their house.
rachelle_may

as with the above comments . soild base with wheels to pull out from under the bed. any type of sheet of wood will change shape/flex. it needs a frame and install the wheels to the frame not the sheet.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Also don't forget something to cover the layout when not in use, under bed areas generate a lot of fluff etc that will end up in the locomotives and carriage wheels etc if you are not careful an old sheet or something similar and light weight is ideal. It needs to be covered at all times when stored under the bed. Plastic sheet works fine except it may make the layout sweat if it gets hot, a sheet will allow air to move through the material ,but keep out the fluff and some dust as well.
  glagsniffer Junior Train Controller

Location: near liverpool, sydney
My easy solution would be an old interior door, it's light and it comes framed and can be slid around by a kid and lifted by two kids easy!
  rachelle_may Beginner

hi

thanks everyone for the advise...did ring up hardware & general store and the guy there said to buy MDF (think that is what he said)....is suppose to be made out of hardened cardboard.....maybe that would be light and strong....what do you guys think?  Took my grandson to the Liverpool train exhibition...was great...but everyone seemed too busy on the stands so I didn't want to bother them with my silly questions....wish I had now.

Thanks everyone...sorry I took so long to get back in here.

Rachelle
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Rachelle,  always ask any question, and if you can AMRA  NSW have a open day at their clubrooms oct 26  10am-4pm

48 barry av.  Mortdale.

if you can, go and reask the same questions. If a AMRA mmeber here can, PM Rachelle and agrree to a meeting time there to further assist.

- I'm not a AMRA member but it is a good established club.

Regards,
David Head
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
hi

thanks everyone for the advise...did ring up hardware & general store and the guy there said to buy MDF (think that is what he said)....is suppose to be made out of hardened cardboard.....maybe that would be light and strong....what do you guys think?  Took my grandson to the Liverpool train exhibition...was great...but everyone seemed too busy on the stands so I didn't want to bother them with my silly questions....wish I had now.

Thanks everyone...sorry I took so long to get back in here.

Rachelle
rachelle_may
Rachelle,

MDF could prove to be too heavy, unless you have it attached to a timber frame (recommended regardless of what baseboard you end-up deciding to use).

David's idea of attending the open day later this month has a lot of merit......there is no such thing as a silly question in my opinion.

If the person whom you ask a question of, says "that's a stupid question"....that just means you've asked somebody who either doesn't know the answer or feels they are too important to bother answering it. I call those types of people "legends...in their own lunchtimes".

Please don't be disheartened if you do get any negative responses.

Good luck with it.....

Cheers

Bill Roach
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
I agree with Roachie. I would avoid MDF, Pineboard and Canite . Most people I know use Construction plywood. It has one finished surface and with some bracing will give you a good start. Some modellers are using extruded foam sheets for weight saving but these still need bracing and edge protection. Just Google 'model rail baseboard' and you will get lots of opinions if you cannot find a local modeler to talk to. Frontline Hobbies in Newcastle offer 6' x 4' or larger layouts using Hornby track packs, for a very reasonable cost and I am sure other good hobby shops could arrange similar assistance if you don't feel confident.

Lloyd
  LaidlayM Chief Commissioner

Location: Research
The best idea I have read here is the use of an old (or new) interior door.  Covering when not in use is good also, beds and bedrooms are dusty places.  My understanding is that this is just a "train board" that will live on the floor.  If so, it does not need any framing or bracing, the floor will stop anything from sagging.

A further option is to use a sheet of extruded foam, it comes in numerous thicknesses, I have seen 20mm up to 100mm but the range may well be greater.  It's likely that the sheet you buy would be to big so just use some of the left over to build up thickness at one end to represent a hill.  Keep the track flat though.  Test any glue on the foam before you use it and make sure you get "extruded foam".  It's very light and rigid, easy to cut and shape.

Mark
  rachelle_may Beginner

Have taken note of all your replies and thank you all again...seem to be getting a good picture of what is needed now....obviously the plywood is the most popular...is what all the train shops recommend too. The door does sound good but may be too large to go under his bed....the measurement I need is 1.12 m X 1.58 m.  

Where can I buy this foam mark?...no hammering with this option...not good at hammering...lol...and also will the tacks stay secure enough to keep tracks in place...or are you suggesting tracks be glued down.

May go to Mortdale opening day.

Thanking you
Rachelle
  LaidlayM Chief Commissioner

Location: Research
.............

Where can I buy this foam mark?...no hammering with this option...not good at hammering...lol...and also will the tacks stay secure enough to keep tracks in place...or are you suggesting tracks be glued down.

May go to Mortdale opening day.

Thanking you
Rachelle
rachelle_may
I'm going with the assumption that Mortdale is in Sydney, I'm not, so someone in Sydney should be able to answer this question better than I.

Mark
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
Have taken note of all your replies and thank you all again...seem to be getting a good picture of what is needed now....obviously the plywood is the most popular...is what all the train shops recommend too. The door does sound good but may be too large to go under his bed....the measurement I need is 1.12 m X 1.58 m.  

Where can I buy this foam mark?...no hammering with this option...not good at hammering...lol...and also will the tacks stay secure enough to keep tracks in place...or are you suggesting tracks be glued down.

May go to Mortdale opening day.

Thanking you
Rachelle
rachelle_may

Rachelle,
The foam requires the track to be glued as it is too soft to hold track pins. This raises other issues, as some glues will attack the foam. IMHO, (no offence intended) I think you need assistance as you don't sound confident with basic construction or track laying. It would be a simple job for most modellers and I am sure someone at Mortdale would help you if you can get there. I mentioned a Newcastle shop in a previous reply but if you are in Sydney, I would be shocked if Casula Hobbies at Liverpool, Bob's at West Ryde or Hobbyland at Hornsby, to name a few, would not have a staff member or customer who would help you out for a very small fee. Most modellers are generous and like to share.

If the foam appeals to you because of its light weight, you could check out this link but this layout is N Scale, which is smaller than your Hornby and the builders are skilled in track laying etc.
http://xdford.digitalzones.com/quicklayoutconstruction01.html

It's a shame you didn't ask someone at the kids' scenery clinic at Liverpool. You probably have a modeler just a few blocks away.

Lloyd
  xdford Chief Train Controller

Rachelle,
The foam requires the track to be glued as it is too soft to hold track pins. This raises other issues, as some glues will attack the foam. IMHO, (no offence intended) I think you need assistance as you don't sound confident with basic construction or track laying. It would be a simple job for most modellers and I am sure someone at Mortdale would help you if you can get there. I mentioned a Newcastle shop in a previous reply but if you are in Sydney, I would be shocked if Casula Hobbies at Liverpool, Bob's at West Ryde or Hobbyland at Hornsby, to name a few, would not have a staff member or customer who would help you out for a very small fee. Most modellers are generous and like to share.

If the foam appeals to you because of its light weight, you could check out this link but this layout is N Scale, which is smaller than your Hornby and the builders are skilled in track laying etc.
http://xdford.digitalzones.com/quicklayoutconstruction01.html

It's a shame you didn't ask someone at the kids' scenery clinic at Liverpool. You probably have a modeler just a few blocks away.

Lloyd
Lloyd1952
Actually Lloyd, the layout designated is in HO. It was done with two 4 x 3 foot foam blocks and the long term plan is to have in HO format a 6 x 4 (1800 x 1200) or an 8 x 3 by turning the boards the other way in N scale but we have not built an N scale version yet... yet. Being the author of the page,  I think I should know. That layout is now serving our new junior members as a test track as well as a base for teaching them new skills and we (Melton MRC) will hopefully build an expandable On30 layout with 3 or even 4 foam blocks that can be changed length wise to suit the varying space availability of exhibitions

I have also helped a friend glue a Hornby track mat to other foam boards then split the mat which worked fairly well as well! There are a few different issues when using foam  such as using a hot melt glue gun or aquadhere or both and using track weights (cans of coke in out case) but there are a lot of positives for people being time poor etc which was the intention

Hope it has been helping a few members of the site to make a start. Rachelle or anyone else, check out the site and if you have questions, feel free to PM me if you have any queries about techniques

Regards

Trevor
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
Actually Lloyd, the layout designated is in HO. It was done with two 4 x 3 foot foam blocks and the long term plan is to have in HO format a 6 x 4 (1800 x 1200) or an 8 x 3 by turning the boards the other way in N scale but we have not built an N scale version yet... yet. Being the author of the page,  I think I should know. That layout is now serving our new junior members as a test track as well as a base for teaching them new skills and we (Melton MRC) will hopefully build an expandable On30 layout with 3 or even 4 foam blocks that can be changed length wise to suit the varying space availability of exhibitions

I have also helped a friend glue a Hornby track mat to other foam boards then split the mat which worked fairly well as well! There are a few different issues when using foam  such as using a hot melt glue gun or aquadhere or both and using track weights (cans of coke in out case) but there are a lot of positives for people being time poor etc which was the intention

Hope it has been helping a few members of the site to make a start. Rachelle or anyone else, check out the site and if you have questions, feel free to PM me if you have any queries about techniques

Regards

Trevor
xdford
Trevor,
Thanks for the correction to my error. It's a good alternative concept and it's nice to see encouragement for beginners.  That's the nice part of our hobby, lots of enthusiastic and generous people.
Lloyd
  xdford Chief Train Controller

Trevor,
Thanks for the correction to my error. It's a good alternative concept and it's nice to see encouragement for beginners.  That's the nice part of our hobby, lots of enthusiastic and generous people.
Lloyd
Lloyd1952
Not a problem Lloyd but looking back to the pages, I can see how the scale mis-interpretation could have happened. And you are right about the hobby but just imagine how much further and socially accepted we could be if everyone in it shared?

Cheers

Trevor
  rachelle_may Beginner

hi everyone

Well.....have gone and bought 12mm plywood..am going to glue on furniture sliders...paint board brown on top....this for starters

Split cork was suggested to lay tracks onto...this has to be glued down first...but is it really needed...or can I do without it?

Have got a great idea for a business...someone could make a fortune making simple layouts for children...and then selling them to "unhandy" grandmothers...Wink

Thanks

rachelle
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
Rachelle,

Good start. For what you want, I do not think cork is necessary. Save that for a later layout. To keep it simple, I would just place the track on the board, using the Hornby track mat as your template. Get your train running first to be sure it is laid correctly. Once you are happy it is all correctly joined (run your finger over each rail join to make sure the rail is correctly in the rail joiner and not sitting on top), your easiest course would be to spot glue under the track using a hot glue gun or some contact glue. Only use a little so it doesn't ooze up over the sleepers and only do as much as is needed to keep the track in place.

After running for a while, crud will build up and the rails will need cleaning. I usually clean mine every few weeks or after a break or when trains start to run poorly or stall. I use a Peco track rubber and a cloth and a bit of metho. The cloth is enough but whatever you do, DO NOT use steel wool or sandpaper etc. Dust and fluff are the other enemies and they tend to live under beds so a cover of some kind might help. If your grandchild gets the railway bug, finding an alternative location for the layout might be another step.

If you intend to buy more track, carriages, locomotives or buildings, buy the same type, eg couplers. You have started with Hornby. Their couplers look bad but are fairly robust for a young child. Seek advice from a shop that knows trains and you may avoid junk purchases that may seem cheap but will not run reliably.

Have fun,
Lloyd
  rachelle_may Beginner

Lloyd

Thanks for your constructive advise...hope my grandson grows up with the same passion for train models as everyone in this forum.

Am sure i will be back in here with some more questions.

Kind regards
Rachelle
  rachelle_may Beginner

Hi guys

Me again...well...the saga continues....painted board...left in garage overnight to dry..it rained...board got warped slightly so son-in-law made a frame for it. I tacked on track...train running great..grandson and his mates had lots of fun all day....I haven't phoned him yet to see if it still going...lol

The layout takes up all his bedroom when out from under the bed (my daughter is very unhappy with this situation)..the solution would to put this layout in garage on table with train and accessories kept inside...the problem is that the garage is open and not totally dry..have looked up garden model trains but there is nothing about tracks rusting and how to avoid this...I thought there may be something to spray lightly on track. Have you guys got some suggestions? Your input is much appreciated? Am posting a separate thread on this problem too.

Thanks
Rachelle
  Lloyd1952 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Australia
Rachelle,

Most track sold these days is nickel silver so it will not rust but beware older steel track. The garage location can work but dirt becomes a bigger enemy. You say it is damp and open so it will need a cover, eg a cheap plastic drop sheet from hardware. It is good practice to clean the rail before each use, eg Peco track rubber or cloth damped with metho. I also use a FEW drops of Wahl clipper oil. If you have a friendly hairdresser, they may give you a few mls, or apply a TINY spray of CRC electrical spray to the rails and wipe with an old handkerchief. Some modellers will say this will build up crud on your wheels. If your locos have traction tyres on the driving wheels, it will loosen them.

If the layout is not easy to use, it will become a hassle. Perhaps you need to buy your son in law a locomotive for Christmas and get him hooked.

Lloyd
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Regarding the shed/garage location......If the baseboard is made from MDF and it gets wet/damp it will quickly be destroyed. Far better to use exterior grade plywood in that situation.

If the space in the garage is also required for other uses (eg: storing a car from time to time), then one solution could be to attach the board to a wall with hinges so that the layout can be swung up (or down depending on what height is deemed best). That way it will out of the way when not required with the added bonus that dust will not be quite as big an issue (the dust will still accumulate on the sides of the rails, and you will probably still need to clean the track before each use).

My layout is fairly large (about 7.5m x 12m) around the outer walls of my Colorbond shed and I live in a dusty country town, so I am forever trying to find new ways to combat dust!!! GGGRRRRR!!!!

Good luck with it and tell your daughter to embrace the moment.....this could be the start of something BIG and your grandson might end up with a huge layout!!! hahaha

Cheers

Bill
  xdford Chief Train Controller

Hi guys

Me again...well...the saga continues....painted board...left in garage overnight to dry..it rained...board got warped slightly so son-in-law made a frame for it. I tacked on track...train running great..grandson and his mates had lots of fun all day....I haven't phoned him yet to see if it still going...lol

The layout takes up all his bedroom when out from under the bed (my daughter is very unhappy with this situation)..the solution would to put this layout in garage on table with train and accessories kept inside...the problem is that the garage is open and not totally dry..have looked up garden model trains but there is nothing about tracks rusting and how to avoid this...I thought there may be something to spray lightly on track. Have you guys got some suggestions? Your input is much appreciated? Am posting a separate thread on this problem too.

Thanks
Rachelle
rachelle_may
Hi Rachelle,

The board may have warped because the paint when drying "pulled up" on one side. Not a major problem and it looks as though you have largely cured this with the frame.

Might I suggest that you revisit my article on building the layout and check out the buildings on the layout.  The layout shows plastic kits but we also have a number made from prints and foam core board.

Every time the layout is set up by the kids it appears differently so therefore has different play value for them. I have a number of PDF's which I have printed to 1 A4 sticker size sheet (that is the whole of the A4 sheet is one peel of sticker and these are about $1 each sheet but hopefully less) and stuck onto boxes etc that are made from foam core which I get from my local picture framers for nothing for taking the off cuts. You could have an entire hobby which you can enjoy with your grandson making simple buildings and updating as you go. We also personalised some of them and that would be easy to do on Paint and a Word processor but if you would like a detailed explanation let me know. I can also put such an article in our club magazine.

On our display layout, we would have about 15 printed buildings on foamcore and I doubt that there was $20 cost for all of them so it is not expensive bu any means. If you would like some drawings, PM me and I can send them direct or there are other free sources,

Have Fun

Cheers

Trevor

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