Break Away Track - Protect Your 

Track work.

From: Allen Heimsoth

Break Away Tracks -- Have you ever had to replace the first few inches or (worse) feet of track from the edge of your module for reasons other than track relocation, or new track? What I'm trying to say is having to replace ripped up track that was caused by snagging it with your clothes or not removing the joiner tracks before unclamping the modules. Here's a simple solution to the problem. Instead of using flex track all the way to the end of the module, try using a piece of sectional track for the first inch or so, then start with your flex track.

This method has two purposes.

  1. 1) By using a piece of sectional track, like both ends of an Atlas 5" straight section, the rails are both held firmly in place and are not likely to become loose after you attach the joiner track between two modules a number of times. You can also drill a few more holes to allow the placement of a few more nails if you prefer.
  2. 2) The main purpose of these Break Away Tracks are to prevent you from replacing a long distance of mainline due to someone who gets over ambitious and tries to unclamp the modules before the joiner tracks are removed. Believe me, I'm talking from experience! This may sound like a lot of extra work in the beginning, but it's worth the time you spend if you have ever had to replace a section of track that has been completed with ballast and scenery.

After you have the piece of track cut and tacked in place, you just attach the flex track or turnout(s) to the Break Away Track with new rail joiners. This allows for a good tight fit. Now once you have all the tracks in place, your ready to solder on the feeder wires. At this point in time it's a good idea to add another pair of feeder wires to each of the Break Away Tracks and tie all the appropriate wires together and then attach them to the mainline power cables which run under the table. By doing this you are assured of getting power to the two pieces of Break Away Tracks on each end rather than relying on the rail joiners to do the job. This will prevent any DEAD spots between modules, or loss of hair!

In fact, one of the most effective ways to use break away track is to use plastic insulated rail joiners where the break away track meets the flex track. These joiners have much more give and will let the break away track slip out easier, saving the flex track from almost any disaster. If you use insulated track joiners, then you definitely have to use feeder wires to power this small electrically isolated section.





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