Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 36

Thread: track issue?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 844 Times in 418 Posts
    Mentioned
    33 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default track issue?

    I'm having an issue with my track work, and I'm looking for some suggestions on the source and/or solutions. For background, this is Atlas code 55 flex track, some is laid on cork (mainline), and some is laid directly on the deck (yard and sidings). The track is tacked down, the cork is glued and I put in expansion gaps. The deck is 1/4 inch plywood with most of the frame built like giant NTRAK modules (2ft X 8ft) and the benchwork has been up for over a year. The layout is in an upstairs bonus room (16 X 42 ft) and the temp is set at 68 year round. Montana is not known for huge humidity swings. So........what is happening is I'm getting big wiggles (S curves) in my track. In places where the track is on cork. the wiggles are big enough to push the track to the edge of the cork on both sides. As near as I can tell (checked with a straight edge) the cork is not having the same issue. I was expecting some wood drying issues and some shifting, but I'm puzzled by the fact that the track is shifting totally independent of the cork. Is the Atlas code 55 track subject to "warping"? As said, the temp in the room doesn't vary more than a few degrees year round so I wouldn't think it's temp related, and what else would affect track?

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to MRLdave For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Northwest Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    736
    Blog Entries
    8
    Thanks
    3,158
    Thanked 2,365 Times in 574 Posts
    Mentioned
    38 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    How did you fasten the track on the cork? Sounds like you used track nails, It's been my experience that the track nails tend to shift in the cork. I usually used el-cheapo latex caulk to hold my track in place on the cork. I do use track nails, but only to hold the track in place until the caulk sets. If you use track nails or small screws, they need to go all the way through the cork into the plywood base in order to get a firm hold.
    - Gary R.

    President & CEO
    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Gary Rowan For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 844 Times in 418 Posts
    Mentioned
    33 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    The nails are long enough to reach thru the cork and it felt like they were going in to the wood when I put them in......and the track that isn't on cork is warping about the same and those nails are reaching clear thru the wood. Didn't mention in first post, but the warping is occuring between the nails....... so over 3 nails, the track will bow one way between nails 1 and 2 and the opposite way between nails 2 and 3. The warping is bad to the point I couldn't just pull the track into alignment and add more nails. Originally the nails were just to keep the track in place while I laid everything......maybe should have glued it, but now I'm wondering if that would have been worse.

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Montgomery,MN,USA
    Posts
    388
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 351 Times in 181 Posts
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Sure sound like expansion problems....

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to nicki6 For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Northwest Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    736
    Blog Entries
    8
    Thanks
    3,158
    Thanked 2,365 Times in 574 Posts
    Mentioned
    38 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nicki6 View Post
    Sure sound like expansion problems....
    I'd have to agree with the expansion theory. What is the spacing between the nails?
    - Gary R.

    President & CEO
    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Austin, MN USA
    Posts
    717
    Thanks
    722
    Thanked 661 Times in 344 Posts
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    The track wasn't cold when you laid it, was it?

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 844 Times in 418 Posts
    Mentioned
    33 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    No cold track.......like I said the room temp varies from 67 to 71 (thermostat at 68). I never had this problem with the old layout, which was in a garage (no temp control, hot in summer, cold in winter) but it was code 80 track. I know the code 55 track is A LOT more flexible than the code 80 flex. But why the new track is flexing is a bit puzzling. Another strange thing, is I can't detect any shifting in the curved sections of the layout.....only the straight sections. I say that because the track was laid on the cork by using the centerline of the roadbed to drive my nails, and it's still centered. It's still centered where the nails are on the straight, but between the nails it's all over the place. The nail spacing varies some, but like I said, the nails were supposed to be somewhat temporary so in most places I only put in 3 or 4 per section of flex. I'd go back and put in more, but the flexing is bad enough that you can't get the track straight to add more.........I may just pull all the nails in and around the problem sections (it isn't everywhere, just random spots) and then renail and put in additional nails and see what happens.

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to MRLdave For This Useful Post:


  12. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,920
    Thanks
    5,140
    Thanked 4,219 Times in 1,251 Posts
    Mentioned
    130 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    You don't need much expansion for track to form S-curve-wiggles in a straight. You need a lot more expansion to have a visual impact on curves. Of course it's also possible you have the grain of the plywood in another direction in curves.

    I'd expect cork to behave similar to wood on both temperature and humidity expansion, plus it's a lot more flexible lengthwise. Track just isn't.

    Although, if I read you right, you had the benchwork up for a year before laying track and with little to no temperature nor humidity swings? That certainly is weird, a year should be plenty enough for 1/4" plywood to accumulate to its surroundings.

    Heiko

  13. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,920
    Thanks
    5,140
    Thanked 4,219 Times in 1,251 Posts
    Mentioned
    130 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Although, come to think of it: Do you have a hygrometer, can you track the relative humidity inside? I do believe Montana has large temperature swings outside, so it's very easy to get very dry air inside in winter and rather humid air inside in summer, especially with AC.

    That's because if you heat up 32F air with 50% relative humidity to 68F, you'll end up with 14% relative humidity if you don't add water. On the other hand, if you cool down 86F air with 50% relative humidity to 68F, you'll end up with 88% relative humidity unless you remove some water (which is why AC units always have condensation dropping out).

    Heiko

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Heiko For This Useful Post:


  15. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    southeast michigan
    Posts
    2,004
    Thanks
    1,634
    Thanked 3,877 Times in 1,175 Posts
    Mentioned
    100 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    More likely that the benchwork is shrinking rather than the track expanding; it moves more than the rail by an order of magnitude. Sounds like the wood dried out. By any chance was your plywood stored outside at the time you bought it?

    You don't see problems on curves; the track only has to move a smitch to the outside of a curve to accommodate expansion, and to the inside to accommodate contraction. On straights there is no direction to move so it makes a direction on it's own.

    I'd suggest using a cutoff wheel to add expansion joints to the wiggles.
    Moving coal the old way: https://youtu.be/RWJVt4r_pgc
    Moving coal the new way: https://youtu.be/QzmBQ4As_mc

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to NtheBasement For This Useful Post:


  17. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO, US of A
    Posts
    4,534
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    15,446
    Thanked 10,767 Times in 3,128 Posts
    Mentioned
    191 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Having ridden the Southwest Chief from Colorado to Chicago and back, I have to congratulate you on your truly prototypical track-laying, @MRLdave !

  18. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to el Gato Gordo For This Useful Post:


  19. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 844 Times in 418 Posts
    Mentioned
    33 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Thanks....it IS probably pretty prototypical for Milwaukee track in the latter years........but in this case I can do without being prototypical.

  20. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to MRLdave For This Useful Post:


  21. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    108
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 87 Times in 50 Posts
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Wood expansion/contraction is across the grain not along the grain. So the wood would expand vertically but not horizontally. I suspect it is rail expansion. Even though you have a temperature controlled home environment that does not mean the temperature is uniform in every room. Your thermostat tells you about the temp at that location so unless the thermostat is in the train room the temperature there could vary quite a bit.

    You say you included expansion gaps in the rail. How large were the gaps and how far apart were they? Expansion/contraction is a co-efficient meaning it depends on two variables. They are temp change and length of track. A 30 inch section of track will expand 30 times the length that a one inch section would for every degree change in temp.

  22. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    423
    Thanks
    5,489
    Thanked 1,155 Times in 303 Posts
    Mentioned
    25 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    It sounds like you may have rail expansion. My layout is also in a temperature controlled room in my finished basement. The registers from the furnace are in the ceiling. One of the registers was directly over a section of track. This section of track expanded and contracted like crazy depending on if the furnace was on or the air conditioner was on. I have since closed that register and put green painters tape over it. I no longer have an issue with track expansion/contraction.
    Regards,
    Warren

  23. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to African Pirate For This Useful Post:


  24. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    108
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 87 Times in 50 Posts
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by African Pirate View Post
    It sounds like you may have rail expansion. My layout is also in a temperature controlled room in my finished basement. The registers from the furnace are in the ceiling. One of the registers was directly over a section of track. This section of track expanded and contracted like crazy depending on if the furnace was on or the air conditioner was on. I have since closed that register and put green painters tape over it. I no longer have an issue with track expansion/contraction.
    Had a friend who had a problem with a section of track that experienced expansion issues. The track was in front of a window that caught the afternoon sun. A sunshade solved the problem.

  25. The Following User Says Thank You to inkaneer For This Useful Post:


  26. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 844 Times in 418 Posts
    Mentioned
    33 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Thanks for all the feedback...............I have a clock in the train room that has a thermometer in it, which is what I'm using (hence the "set at 68, temp at 67 to 71"). The registers are in the wall under the benchwork and vent downward ( so they don't blow on the trackwork) but they could possibly affect the decking. I put UV screens over the windows, but not sure that blocks the heat effects, but one of the worst areas is on the south wall of the room which NEVER gets direct sun.

  27. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Northwest Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    736
    Blog Entries
    8
    Thanks
    3,158
    Thanked 2,365 Times in 574 Posts
    Mentioned
    38 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by inkaneer View Post
    Wood expansion/contraction is across the grain not along the grain.
    True for solid wood. Plywood is made of multiple laminated layers with the grain in each layer rotated 90 degrees from the preceding layer. This minimizes expansion and contraction. I would put his plywood top way down on the list of possible causes.
    - Gary R.

    President & CEO
    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

  28. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Gary Rowan For This Useful Post:


  29. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    6,332
    Thanks
    10,525
    Thanked 13,861 Times in 3,909 Posts
    Mentioned
    304 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Rowan View Post
    True for solid wood. Plywood is made of multiple laminated layers with the grain in each layer rotated 90 degrees from the preceding layer. This minimizes expansion and contraction. I would put his plywood top way down on the list of possible causes.
    My thoughts as well.
    But since his plywood is only 1/4" (and I doubt it's Baltic Birch plywood) I doubt it has more than 3 ply's?
    Which means it could move easier.
    The thicker the plywood and the more ply's = less movement.
    But still less than solid lumber.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

    Support the natural selection process, remove the warning labels....

  30. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Allen H. For This Useful Post:


  31. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    108
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 87 Times in 50 Posts
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    My thoughts as well.
    But since his plywood is only 1/4" (and I doubt it's Baltic Birch plywood) I doubt it has more than 3 ply's?
    Which means it could move easier.
    The thicker the plywood and the more ply's = less movement.
    But still less than solid lumber.
    Think about it. Even with just three layers any expansion would require breaking two separate glue bonds in the plywood. I doubt that would happen. Warping may occur but the OP did not mention any warping. I still would want to know how far apart the rail gaps are and how wide are the gaps.

  32. The Following User Says Thank You to inkaneer For This Useful Post:


  33. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman,MT
    Posts
    1,184
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 844 Times in 418 Posts
    Mentioned
    33 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    On the gaps......I'm not exactly sure about a measurement, but it is a noticeable.....more than I would have liked from a visual standpoint. I put in a gap every 2 pieces of flex, so each piece could expand in one direction. After you brought it up, I checked, and on the majority of pieces where the track wiggled, the gaps are still there.....so it SHOULDN'T have flexed since it still had room to expand. ??????????????

Similar Threads

  1. Program Track issue
    By MRLdave in forum DCC
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 20th Dec 2015, 07:08 PM
  2. Very odd track electrical issue
    By You Know Who in forum Trackage
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 17th Jul 2015, 06:46 AM
  3. Track cleaning issue may help some
    By cpspok in forum Trackage
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 30th Mar 2015, 08:50 AM
  4. NEW TRACK PLANNING VIDEO: Double track vs. single track
    By DJSTRAINS in forum Layouts, Design, & Planning.
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 19th Dec 2014, 07:11 PM
  5. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 3rd Nov 2011, 04:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •