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Author Previous Topic: Which MT coupler for my caboose? Topic Next Topic: Idea for Atlas GP38-2
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Posted - 2009 September 06 :  11:06:06 PM  Show Profile
Does anyone know of a good place to get some info on making street track inserts? Working on a industrial shelf layout that will have a lot of street track and I could use some pointers.

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Posted - 2009 September 07 :  08:26:21 AM  Show Profile
Well it's not an article about street trackage exactly, but the set of articles Dave Propp did a year ago on adding an extension to his layout talked about embedding track in a parking lot environment.

The one thing that caught my attention was that he made the pavement/concrete a little lower than the rail-head in order to be able to clean the trackage without causing mayhem to the coloring of the street/parking lot.

Country: USA | Posts: 1773 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2009 September 07 :  09:14:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Spookshow's Homepage
That's the main problem I've run into going the Smooth-It (plaster) route. The road surface is right up to the tops of the rails, and cleaning the track inevitably requires touching up the paint on the plaster. Not the end of the world, but it does get to be annoying after a while.


Dear Atlas - Please Make More DME/ICE Models!

Country: USA | Posts: 5560 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2009 September 07 :  10:22:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit Catt's Homepage
The way to do it with plaster is to use a hard sanding block and sand the plaster right along the edge of the track to get it just a little below the top surface of the rail and use a brite boy or some other hard type track cleaner with no give to it and be sure to hold it flat on the rail tops.

Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
CEO,COO &CBP of the
Grande Valley Railway
Enjoy life now - It has an expiration date!

Country: USA | Posts: 835 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2009 September 07 :  7:03:26 PM  Show Profile
Check down on this page:
(it is HO)

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Posted - 2009 September 08 :  03:53:17 AM  Show Profile
There is an easy solution to the track cleaning issue. Tint the Smooth-it, Plaster, Spackle, or whatever you use, to the color of the road before you apply it. No matter how much you end up sanding down your road, it will always be the same color.

Sanding afterwards also gives a more worn texture to the road anyhow...

This is HO but uses the same technique..

Tinting light weight spackle then sanding it has given me the best color and worn look of anything I have tried so far. Here is an N scale street running shot from a friends layout done the same way.

Tony H

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Posted - 2009 September 08 :  06:08:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Zug's Homepage
I use a popsicle stick to level plaster that goes up to the rails. I bring the wet paster up to the rails and smooth with normal putty knives, then i take the side of the popsicle stick and run it along the rail pressing down.. the wood compresses a bit against the rails, so the rest of it is pushed lower level the paster slightly lower then the heads..


author of ZugDCC - Simply the best software for Lenz ExpressNet *

Country: Canada | Posts: 1033 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2009 September 08 :  07:09:11 AM  Show Profile
-in Japan, Tomix, and recently, Kato have produced plastic street inserts designed to match up with their respective brands of track, matching radii etc. These are designed for modelling urban streets with streetcars, but would work as well for industrial traffic.
-the East Penn model transit club has posted information about the Tomix system
-the stuff works very well, providing you can get the Tomix track, which is not sold in the USA and has to be ordered from Japan directly. This can be done from export dealers such as "Hobby Search" and "Plaza-Japan" try Google. Plaza has an ebay shop.
-however these are somewhat inflexible, based on a fixed radius track system, and only occasionally available.
-for most American N scalers, plastering up regular N track will still be the mode of choice.
-it would be interesting if Atlas or a specialty producer would make straight and curved plastic street segments to marry with Atlas track. A lot of old street trackage was on brick or stone streets, even when paved with concrete or blacktop, the section around and between the tracks was brick or stone, to provide for removal and repair.

Roger Wines

Country: USA | Posts: 804 Go to Top of Page

Charlie Vlk

Posted - 2009 September 08 :  10:36:40 AM  Show Profile
To add to Roger's comments...
Tomix makes small-radii curves and turnouts aimed at the Japanese "shorty" and growing traction market. They also make roadway inserts to fit around these track sections. These are not widely available outside of Japan.
Kato Japan just announced UniTram track, a line of street trackage designed to go with their urban structures line, of which very little has been imported into North America. So far only straight and curved double track pieces have been shown; it is not known if turnouts and crossings will be added to the line in the furure. The track is set up for Streetcar use with what looks like (original Japanese) TTRAK specifications, including a increase in track spacing in the middle of curves to allow for car overhang in the "devil strip". The Kato system employs Unijoiners and looks like it would be a real boon to traction modeling, if the system is marketed through Kato USA.
Charlie Vlk

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Posted - 2009 September 08 :  12:38:49 PM  Show Profile
is this what you are taking about?


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Charlie Vlk

Posted - 2009 September 08 :  3:43:36 PM  Show Profile
Yes, but you have to click on Tomix Layout Detailing and FineTrack links to get to the Street Panels.

Country: USA | Posts: 1704 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2009 September 08 :  4:40:52 PM  Show Profile
Also have a look at the HO Scale girder rail offered by Proto 87 Stores.

I have experimented with this on a portion of my layout which will be street trackage. Mine includes several turnouts and a cross over so the Proto 87 stuff was perfect. It's much harder to work with than flex track but it looks AWESOME. If you read the instructions on the site it explains how to lay it and clean it.


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Posted - 2009 September 08 :  6:49:15 PM  Show Profile

Got to love that telephoto lens coupled with a small aperture.

I have a little over four feet of street track including a switch.
This was all done with wallboard mud which is a lot easier to work with than plaster of hydrocal.

Skipgear; how did you draw those lines on your street?

Everything I have tried looks terrible.

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Posted - 2009 September 08 :  8:23:41 PM  Show Profile
The lines are in a friends layout. More can be seen here:

Most of them are Woodland Scenics dry transfer striping. The dry transfers are nice because they conform a bit to the surface and don't just cover it up like tape or paint. They also can be scuffed to give the appearance of worn paint. They are a bit fidgity to install though.

Tony H

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Posted - 2009 September 09 :  01:14:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit BigAl's Homepage
a good book to this is

BigAl from Bavaria

BigAl from Bavaria

Country: Germany | Posts: 11 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 2009 September 09 :  12:20:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit diezmon's Homepage
I'm also a fan of the drywall mud streets. I tint it first, then screed it with a tongue depressor..

some light sanding, pencil marks, and WS dry transfers.

Country: USA | Posts: 58 Go to Top of Page
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