To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 1

After writing at least 4 of the subtopics for this Post, a combination of the editor used for writing the Post for the Blog plus my new laptop computer equaled all the material being erased! Baa humbug!!!

That event along with the "town finishing work" required to finish the street track work have caused me to rethink what I do to prepare the Post for publishing. When you start to work on track to be in a street, you have to have a well thought plan as to how to finish the street(s) with curbs, buildings and the balance to the town.

When compared to open track, the street track is more complex. With open track the r-o-w can be painted "track color" with the balance of the area painted green. As you will see the street track requires you to have a plan as to what to do from the beginning.

I'm sitting here looking at the fire station which had to be built to finish the town. Earlier today 3 cans of paint - a concrete color, a mortar color for the brick finish of the fire station, and a mint, pastel green for the interior of the fire station had to be obtained just to give you an idea as to how things go.

Now to start putting all the tools away which were required to get a far as I have.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 7

Before getting into the material for this Post, I attended the 2016 National O Scale Meet held in Indianapolis this year. My primary reason for attending was to help a friend sell items. The vendor in back of us sold hand made turnouts. His beautiful products are made up of rail and the associated castings (frog, guard rails, etc.) glued to the ties. The ties are glued onto a mounting board of the buyers choice. The buyer of his ready to use products can cut a hole in the layout and drop his product in place. The vendor said the buyer could add spikes if the buyer wanted to.

The reason for bringing this up is, I serious doubt the work being done on the 2 end loops could be done with just glue and no spikes. There's too much soldering involved in the end loops. The heat from the soldering would soften the glue and cause failure of the glue to adhere properly.

Back to the end loops! This is more about recommendations and/or requirements of track design and engineering. As part of the turnout construction include all the wing rails and guard rails. For the turnouts the guard rails do not have to be very long.

The soon to be completed, as far as the rail part goes, open track end loop module.

Since the loop is built to a tight radius, the rail on the inside of the loop must have a guard rail all along the curve. In photos of the loop you'll notice the inside guard rail stops where the loop reverses direction. A guard rail then starts on the inside of the other circle.

Hope you are able to see the pencil line connecting the 2 centers of the curves. This is where the curves change direction.

A chose up of where the curves change direction. Note how the ends of the guard rails are treated, bending them into the center of the track.

When spiking down the interior rail, on the side of the rail where the guard rail is to be installed, the code 70 spikes were used. This was done because the code 70 spikes with a 0.025" diameter proved to be excellent spacers between the 2 rails. The NMRA track gauge was used to gauge the gap between the 2 rails.

Now is the time to break out as many different trail trucks you have. Pick the ones with the worse wheel sets plus the longest and shortest wheel bases. Also try to pick large and small diameter wheels. Check each wheel set for being in gauge!!!!

If there are no problems, proceed checking the track with powered models. If there are problems, with a felt tip pen mark the ties where the wheels of the truck are when the problem happens. Fix any problems.

Once any problems are fixed, if you know how the layout is to be wired and/or where the electrical gaps in the rail will be, install any wire drops now. I prefer the outside of the rail where the wire is soldered to the base of the rail using adequate size wire. Clean up the track for the painting.

The track is made up of both natural wood ties with rail install on them and premade flex track. All of the rail is a silver, metallic color. I never use weathered rail (Unless the rail is being reused and already has been painted.) or track to make a layout. Weathered rail is harder to solder plus it's more expensive. After all the track work is done, the rail, ties and roadbed are painted a dark brown.

On my prior layout and on the new layout house paint was and will be used. It's brushed on with a disposable brush.  The top of the rail is cleaned afterward before the paint completely sets. The paint and colors used were/are:

10+ years ago on my old layout - Home Depot Behr Interior Flat "Gun Flint" #3B39-8?

Now, 2016, ACE Hardware Interior Flat "Momentous Occasion" #VR096A
The paint in a dark chocolate brown is applied to the track and the balance of the top of the module using a 1" disposable brush. The water miscible house paint is brushed over the track, cork roadbed, and the top of the module for about 1" from the track. 

The dark chocolate brown color was picked when color chips from Home Depot were placed on the Burlington Northern tracks in Berwyn, IL near East Ave. Granted not every tie is the same color and the side of the rail may be a lighter color. The lighter rust/brown color was air brushed afterwards on the side of the rails. The over spray gave the tie next to the rail the correct effect. Remember there is a art component to this hobby. 

Start painting the turnouts, then do the balance of the track. Work slowly looking from one direction down the track and then the other direction. Get both sides of the ties. Try to not get the paint on any part of the track where there is to be electrical contact.

Paint can get on the top of the rail but wipe it off. The wiping off does not have to be too well done as the top of the rail will be cleaned later for best electrical contact.

I don't want to get into paint chemistry other than to say as the paint is brushed it should become thinner or more watery. This is a unique property of the paint. If you find the paint is too thick to start out with, you should be able to add up to 5% by volume of distilled water to the can of paint. Over the past 50+ years water miscible paints have become better paints.

Within a short time the paint will feel dry to the touch. The exterior of the paint has formed a skin over itself. However, the paint inside the shell is still wet and requires more time to fully dry. Allow the paint to dry for up to 5-7 days. When the paint is completely dry, any flex track or loose ties will be held in place. The paint acts as a "glue".

After the 5-7 days the balance of the top of the module can be painted a grass green if you plan on planting grass on the module. It does not matter too much about this painting. Different materials to make grass, a gravel walkway, weeds, flowers, fences, etc. will be added later.

After the paint has thoroughly dried install the turnout points and the ground throws. Once the ground throws are installed recheck the track gauge of the turnouts. Correct any problems now. If necessary don't be afraid to rip up any track work and relay the rail. It's far easier to correct track work problems now than later.

Next is the street end loop module. Cheers,

Monday, October 10, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 6

First on the agenda is the "brown" paint you may have noticed in the 2nd to the last photo in the prior Post.  

After the ties for the turnout are in place but before any rail work is done, the 2 longer ties where the mechanism to operate the turnout is connected, are painted with the same paint as the balance of the track will be painted. It's hard to paint in this area after the rails and mechanism is installed. More about the paint and painting when the balance of the rail and roadbed is painted.

Next - Yes, a turnout and a crossing with curved frogs are to be built. Extremely important items to point out are the Golden Rules of turnout and crossing/track scratch building -

Whenever building a turnout or a crossing with a curve through the turnout frog or the rail crossing, always used a continuous curved piece of curved rail in building them. For the straight track, individual pieces of straight rail are cut to fit in where needed.

Also, do not have any rail joints with connectors in either the curved or straight track. If the piece of rail being used is too short, replace it with a longer piece of rail!

With this thought in mind, the next piece of rail to put into place is the other curved piece of rail. This piece of rail ends with a tapered piece of rail called a point. My piece of rail will end with a rail connector. The curved point will be fitted into the rail connector later.

A reason for not using the Old Pullman prebuilt #3 frog turnout is, it is to be used to measure parts of the prebuilt turnout. The length of the points can be measured and copied which is what I did.

As work was being done installing the rail to make the curved track, run a non-powered car or at least a single truck over the track and around the curve(s). Correct any problems before proceeding further. The most common problem is the gauge of the track and any guard rails is too wide or too narrow.

Do not use or operate any models under power until all the soldering flux as well as the rail is cleaned. Soldering flux will cause the rusting of ferrous and chemical oxidation of non-ferrous metals. The chemicals in the flux will expedite problems with your models.

After the curved track is done now install the straight track up to both sides of the crossing. Install straight up to the far side of the turnout.

Install the 2 pieces of straight rail between the curved rails of the crossing. The curved rails can be cut just a little bit (head only) to make the frogs. I used a small diameter cut off wheel for this operating at a low rpm.

The guard rails are installed one at a time. Pre-curved rail with the same radius must be used for the curved guard rail.

Remember, you're suppose to be making the turnout from the instructions found on YouTube. If the web instructions don't cover a curved frog, make the frog just like the track work for the curved crossing.

When the guard rails are in place cut the rails deeper as required per NMRA Standards. Besides the small cut off wheel in a Dremel Tool a broken hacksaw blade can be used. The knerf of the blade works out well to make a wide cut. The blade can be slow but will not cut into the rail a fast as to damage your work. I have permanently curved pieces of hacksaw blades for this use.

Place the turnout points in place but do not finish installing them. Check the rails of the turnouts to see if any further adjustments are required, Make corrections now. Remove the points and store them.

You'll have to wait for the next Post to find out the color of paint used.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 5

"Why O' Why?" am I going through this writing of turnout making? There are the older Atlas turnouts made 20+ years ago. These turnouts are easy to install. They have a 24" radius curve. BTW-It's easier to spiral inward than outward on curves especially involving turnouts.

My goal is to encourage those of you who don't desire to use Atlas turnouts or can't get them. One con about using the Atlas turnouts is the mechanism sticks out the side of them. The "real" prototype mechanisms like Caboose Industries ground turnouts look better and work just as well as the Atlas with the exception of the frog wiring for 2-rail. However, with trolleys and all wheels grounded there are no problems.

The annual Hoosier Traction Meet was held on the 1st weekend of this month, September. The annual Indianapolis O Scale Meet is usually on the 3rd weekend of September. This year, 2016, the Indie Meet is also the National O Scale Meet. If you have problems obtaining tools and parts these are the Meets to attend. There is also the annual March O Scale Meet held usually the weekend of St Patrick's Day, March 17, at a hotel about 2-3 miles from where I live.

These are some items required if you intend to lay your own track and turnouts.

Rail Bender
Before laying any rail, a rail curve maker commonly called a rail bender is needed. Unfortunately I'm unaware of any source of an O scale rail bender. If you do not have one you'll have to look for one to purchase or borrow from a friend.

Placing a curve in rail to be used in curves is helpful. The bender has 2 holes to mount it with screws on something solid. I used the side of a module on which to mount my bender. Allow sufficient room to move the rail back and forth!
The bolt sticking out of the side is to be able to move the center wheel in and out to vary the amount of bend in the rail. The back of the plate has nuts or something to  hold the wheels in place. The bender has to be installed with washers between the bottom of the plate and the top of the material on which the plate is mounted.

The 3 wheels on the bender have groves milled into them to hold the base of the rail, the center web of the rail, and the rail head. The bender seem to hold almost any size rail from code 100 to 148 without any problem. Although it looks like the wheels can be changed. All of my work has been with code 100 to 148.

Try to get the bend as close to the actual radius required. It's easy to change the radius as the rail is spiked into place. But, once a piece of rail which is not the correct radius has been spiked in place; it might move out of location just a little bit.

In the photos notice the short length of rail (about 1" or so) from the center wheel to the outside wheel. This 1" of rail does not get bent as needed. There's a slight kink in the bent rail where the center wheel was located. The kink is hard to see. I started marking the amount of rail to be cut off while the rail was in the bender.

The red arrow is the mark mentioned above. The rail in the blue ellipse is the amount to cut off after the bending is completed.

This is a photo showing the kink in the rail from the rail bender. The last portion of the rail has not been cut off. My finger is only holding the rail down, next to the spiked down rail of the curve. My finger is not making the kink. The red arrow points to where the kink is and the rail to be cut off.

Spikes are required to attach the rail to the ties. I use a flat blade pliers to install the spikes. Special pliers are available but I don't like them. I have found the rail can be spiked on every other rail. Sometimes additional spikes are required at special places.

Over the years my collection of track spikes has increase. This is what was found in my stock -
  • Micro Spikes by Micro Engineering size 0.015" diameter x 5/32" length Too small for O scale. Small head makes then applicable where 4 spikes are definitely required for cosmetic reasons. They would have to be glued in place.
  • "HO" Gauge Spikes by All-Nation Hobby Shop size 0.028" diameter x 1/4" length Unfortunately All-Nation is no longer in business. While the diameter of these spikes are great, the length is a little too short for O scale. Nice to fill-in on stable track where more spikes are required to hold the rail.
  • "O" Gauge Spikes by All-Nation Hobby Shop size 0.028" diameter x 7/16 length 7/16" is just short of 1/2". Same info about All-Nation. The diameter of these spikes is great. The length if the spike may be too long for most applications. The length of the head of the spike may be longer than the base of the rail. When used the spike may force the rail out of alignment! They've been used when rail has to be forced into position and held in place. It's best to drill a pilot hole for these.
  • Old Pullman Spikes by Old Pullman size 0.035" diameter x 5/16" length Unfortunately Old Pullman is no longer in business. These spikes do show up for sale at O scale meets. These are perfect spikes to use. Most of the time they can be just pushed into the tie to hold the rail. The spike must be pushed in correctly of else the tie may split. Sometimes a pilot hole has to be drilled.
  • Code 70 Spikes by Unknown Manufacturer size 0.025" diameter x 11/32" length I have absolutely no idea where these spikes were obtained. They are great but easy to bend when being pushed into the tie and roadbed. They have a great application in making open roadbed track. This will be explained when this comes up. 
Whenever spikes are being used a battery operated Demel Tool is kept handy with a # 74 drill (0.0225" diameter) in the chuck to make a pilot hole if required.

Perhaps now is the time to mention the new cordless drill available from Dremel. It's their model 8050 Micro/Model:8050  This is a light weight drill for as you may guess, light weight applications like drilling small holes. What's great about this drill is the lack of a cord. At the end of your work session place the drill back into it's holder/battery recharger.

Rail Laying
To start laying rail, for the traffic facing turnout a small section of flextrack was installed where the cork roadbed was started. This straight flextrack acted as a "gauge" of where the rail was to be laid for the start of the turnout.

NOTE - Each end module has 2 turnouts. If you'll recall it's been more than 10 years since I've scratch built a turnout. The building of the 1st turnout on the module was not as satisfactory as I had wanted. The 2nd turnout on this module turned out better. Therefore only the building of the 2nd turnout on the module will be shown.

In building a turnout install each piece of rail as recommended in the many YouTube videos on turnout building. After the straight stock rail was installed, the curved stock rail was installed. The curved stock rail was longer than required. This will be explained later. Work was stopped on this turnout.

Attention is now given to the trailing turnout and the crossing next to it. Install pieces of flextrack on both sides of this turnout to act as "gauges" for the location of the turnout rails. 
The flextrack is on the right of the turnout. Rail joiners are installed at the end of the rail to hold the stock rails of the turnout in place. You may notice the small brads (nails with small heads) holding the flextrack. Holes have to be drilled in the plastic ties for the brads.

Install the straight stock rail. Then install the curved stock rail using a 36" long piece of rail (with the ends cut off from the bending process). This rail when installed will be part of the curved crossing rail. Continue to spike this piece of rail in place using your trammel as a guide. Add another piece of curved rail to this one and spike it in place. This interior curved rail is spiked to the location where the curve reverses.
Green Arrow = Hole for the 14" curve through which the rail is viewed.
Blue Ellipse = Spike pliers I don't like; they lock the spike in to hold it.
Red Ellipse = the pliers I like to drive spikes.
Dark Blue Ellipse = Code 70 and Old Pullman spikes.
Pink Ellipse = NMRA track gauges always ready to be used.
Dark Lime Ellipse = Center of trammel held at correct height as rail head.
Important Note: The curved rail goes all the way through the curved crossing as 1 piece of rail!

The point of where the curve reverses is determined by drawing a line between the 2 centers of the curves. The line drawn between the 2 center points may be on an angle but don't worry.
The pencil line can be seen on both sides of the cork roadbed. Also note the slight "S" shape of the roadbed.

The next piece of rail to install is the curved piece which will be part of the frog. The next Post will start off with installation.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 4

Once all the cork work is completed for a module, photocopies of the turnouts to be installed or scratch-built were glued over the cork.
An actual premade turnout was placed on my printer/photocopier. An original photocopy was made. On the original photocopy the location of ties was marked and darkened. Other notable landmarks were added. Notice the arrows where the center point of the track is located. Then copies of the original photocopy were made to glue to the roadbed.

The photocopy is glued onto the cork using the center point locations on the center line of the cork. A piece of plain white paper was glued where the crossing will be installed. This was done to mark the center locations of the crossing plus the location of any rail. The green ellipse is the location of the ground throw for the turnout. Read the engineering and operation material at the bottom of this Post.

The premade #3 frog turnout was not used on the layout. Instead it is used as a sample of the parts to be made. Masurements can be obtained from the premade turnout.

Now actual wooden ties can be glued in place. To match the plastic ties found on Micro Engineering's code 125 flextrack,  7" x 9" x 9'0"  prototype O scale wooden ties available from Right-O-Way (R-O-W) were used. The center point of a bunch of wooden ties was marked in pencil. Then using wood glue the ties are attached to the cork road bed. A heavy weight was placed on the ties until they dried.

The weight weighs about 1 lb. It's a cut-off from a piece of round steel. My son had painted it black. The steel rule helps to spread out the weight. Almost anything cam be used for a weight. As you may have guessed, not too many ties were glued down at a time.

An irregular pattern to how the ties were laid can be seen. Ties may have been laid by different crews at different times. Who knows?

Once all the required ties are glued in place, the location of the rails are penciled in. The location of the rail is just to get an idea as to where the rail will be when finished. BTW - When the ties are glued in no specified pattern is followed. Although some attention is paid to the center line on the ties and the cork roadbed, some ties may be crooked or toward one side or the other. Remember, the C&U is a late 1940's to early 1950's heavily used streetcar line. They didn't have the track building, replacement, or reconditioning equipment available today.

The ties glued in place include those for the 2 #3 turnouts. R-O-W 7" x 9" x 16'6" switch ties were used. Shorter ties were cut from 16'6" ties. For a #3 turnout this bill of ties was used:
# of Ties      Length in Feet Prototype Measurement
     3                         9'0" (normal length ties)
     2                         9'6"
     2                       10'0"
     1                       10'6"
     1                       11'0"
     1                       11'6"
     1                       12'0"
     1                       13'0"
     1                       13'6"
     1                       14'0"
     1                       15'0"
     1                       15'6"  
     3                       16'6"

The 2 long ties which will hold the ground throw were glued in place 1st. The 2 pieces of wood at the top and bottom are to space the ties. It's important for the rodding from the switch points to the ground throw mechanism be able to move and not rub on the switch ties. The top and bottom pieces of wood will be removed once the glue on the long switch ties dries.

There were some ties which were longer than the ties available from R-O-W. For these basswood 5/32" x 3/16" was used. This happen mainly in the area of the crossing of the west bound mainline.

There's one extremely important item regarding turnouts and track crossings and their frogs. The standard rule of thumb is to have a tie or ties immediately under the point of the frog. This part of the frog takes a terrible beating by the wheels passing over them. The wheels fall into the gap of the frog. Some railways have placed material into the space between the rail and the wings (flange way) to support the flange of the wheel. This aleviates some of the problem. 

This photo has several items to point out.
Red Circle = a short section of premade flextrack to be used to gauge the rails.
Gold Circle = a 3 point track gauge for code 125 rail made by Precision Scale.
Green Circle = NMRA O scale track gauge.
Blue Circle = an old 3 point track gauge made by Walthers about 50+ years ago.
Yellow Boxes = potential locations of turnout points and crossing points.
Dark Lime Box = extremely long ties for ground throw explained below.
Pink Box = a plier used to install spikes. I didn't like it.

The 3-point track gauge for code 125 rail made by Precision Scale Company is hard to find. You would do best by looking this gauge up on the PSC web site for the stock number. Then order 2-3 of them. PSC turn around time is about 2 weeks. My recommendation to order 2 or 3 of them is to cover any which may be lost or misplaced. You'll find you need 2 any way to keep the rail in place and gauge as the rail is spiked down.

The older 3-point track gauge distributed by Walthers was for code 172 rail which had a wider rail head. The code 125 rail slides from side to side in the gauge.

The NMRA gauges are the final inspection tool required to check your work. 

The yellow boxes are the extra ties which were placed where the points of the turnout frog and crossing points may be located.

Before going further some engineering and operation of the return loop is required. The C&U is a heavily used streetcar line. The passenger traffic from the east terminal to the Zoo and back is heavy during the later spring, summer, and early fall. During this time of the year many runs are turned back after the Zoo passengers depart the car and enter the Zoo. Other times of the year cars run from the west border of Chicago, the eastern terminal, to Utopia, the western terminal. During the warmer months of the year only 1 in 3 or 4 cars operate from Chicago to Utopia. The balance of the cars run only to the Zoo and back.

This means during the summer months, the Zoo loop has to be operated by a switchman located at the loop. The 2 turnouts are hand thrown. Caboose Industries ground throws were used. The switchman has to not only control the 2 turnouts, he must keep track of cars coming east from Utopia, and perhaps have "orders" telephoned to him.

For convience both trunout ground throws are located on the same side of the 2-track ROW. One of the turnouts will have longer than normal ties for the ground throw to be installed on. The C&U will construct a wooden walkway for the switchman to walk between the 2 ground throws. To keep the switchman out of the weather (sun shade on a hot day) a wooden shack to include a stool, small stove, and telephone will be constructed when the module is finished.

One other item about the end loop modules - the modules could have been constructed with passing sidings. Passing sidings were not included for 2 reasons. The inclusion of a passing siding would have increased the size of the module. Since I've not constructed any modules before, I think it would have increased the size. The other reason is, it's been about 43-44 years since I've constructed any street track and 12-13 years since constructing any open track. I did not want to make the scratch built track any more conplex than necessary.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Soldering and Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 3

Eventually soldering will be required for the trackwork and electrical parts of the new layout. This Post is about the main tool used in soldering plus some general thoughts about "how" soldering or for that matter how many glues work.

When work was started on the 2 end loops I had 2 60-watt soldering irons. One of the 60-watt irons was purchased from Radio Shack eons ago. The solid copper tip had been lost. The 2 screws could no longer be tightened enough to hold the tip in place.

A second 60-watt iron was purchased. But it was nothing like the older 60-watt iron. It was too light. It was easy to "burn" the solder on the tip if left plugged in to long. I wasn't pleased.

Soldering works when there is enough "heat" to melt the solder to the parts being joined together. There's enough written material plus, I'm sure, YouTube videos explaining how to solder.

One comment about soldering guns. The tip is heated with electric current passing through the metal tip. If all the connections are not 100% correct, less than full current will pass through the tip causing it to heat up less.

Forty-eight years ago I purchased a 240-watt American Beauty soldering iron. Several brass models were assembled by me using this iron. I still have this soldering iron. The company American Beauty makes soldering irons plus other soldering products which are correctly named. They are "beauties"! My 240-watt iron is used from time to time. However, it's for heavy duty soldering.

For the soldering needed for making the track work for my modules, a 60-watt iron is sufficient. An American Beauty 60-Watt, 1/4" Heavy-Duty Soldering Iron Model 3125-60 was purchased for under $100.00 including shipping. It works great on all types of track I've worked on thus far.

Just in case you may be wondering, over the past 50+ years of model making I have used the following to solder -
10-watt irons,
15-watt irons,
60-watt irons,
100-watt soldering guns,
240-watt irons,
propane torchs,
jewel's oxy/acetylene torch,
resistance soldering, and
there's probably some I've missed.

Plus, I've used solders with different % compositions of metal.

The 60-watt soldering iron I've recommend; should be left plugged in only as long as you are actually soldering. If this turns out to be a long time keep checking the tip to see if the solder is starting to oxidize due to the heat. Oxidized solder will have a white chalky look. At this time the tip is too hot and the iron must be unplugged.

If plugging and unplugging the soldering iron is a problem for you, get an on-off electric foot pedel to place in the electric line. All the ones I've owned require the operator to keep their foot on the pedel to keep the electricity on. American Beauty sells one plus they are available through

OR, as long as you're looking at the American Beauty web site, look at their Model V36GL3 60-watt Industrial Grade Soldering Station. If you're planning on using soldering for work requiring a long time period to finish, a soldering station is what you need.

The other part of the Post is in regards to cleaning up the soldering once completed. Use files, wet/dry abrasive  papers, wire wheels, etc. In cleaning up the joint, DO NOT REMOVE ALL OF THE SOLDER!. Some solder must remain on or in the joint.

It's the solder keeping the 2 or more pieces of metal together. If you solder a piece with a post which goes into the metal, drill the hole for the post slightly larger than the diameter of the post. The same holds true for almost all glues no matter what they are. The plastic solvents used to build models are not the same as a glue.

If possible "tin" the pieces of metal to be soldered prior to soldering them together. Again, there's enough written material plus, I'm sure, YouTube videos explaining how to solder. Either read or view the material.



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 2

The 2 end modules were assembled together for the installation of track, overhead wire, and electrical gear. There are at least 2 different sets of instructional videos on the building of O scale track including turnouts on YouTube. For this reason I will not be spending much time on this. Instead unusual items will be mentioned.

The open track module will be worked on 1st. This is the farthest west module of the layout called the  "Zoo Return Loop". It's been about 15 years since I last built track and turnouts. I wanted to built the trailing turnout before tackling the traffic facing turnout.

As much as possible straight track was to be flex-track. From experience I knew bending flex track around a 14" radius loop would be hard to do. This loop would require handlaid track.

I knew when the cork roadbed would be laid, the centerline and rail lines would be obscured. But, I have an answer for this which will be covered as the track is laid..

The other item before I forget, I've always built turnouts in place. I don't like to prebuild the turnout and then transfer it to the location where it is to be used.

Also, you'll notice although cork roadbed is used, the cork for turnouts is not used. The regular cork roadbed is used through out the layout. This is because the retention of the  pencil (ballpoint) drawn midline of the track is important to retain.

Lastly, always install the curve(s) 1st and keep them intact as other parts (cork roadbed, rail, etc.) are installed. You'll see this with the cork roadbed and then any ties and rail later.

Those who saw my layout on the 2nd floor of the garage will remember the cork roadbed was doubled-up - one layer upon the other. The prototype for that layout was a mainline railroad where the actual track was often 12 inches or more above grade. The prototype for this layout is a trolley - streetcar line.

Starting at the connection of the 2 modules, glue and tack in place 1 of the 2 cork strips necessary for the west bound track . Keep the center flat faced part of the cork strip on the centerline.

Follow the centerline through the facing turnout and around the the loop. At the ends of the cork strip use 2  tacks or small nails.  Continue gluing and tacking the 1 piece of cork roadbed  around the loop through where the crossing and trailing turnouts are to be located. Continue on the east bound portion of the track back to where the 2 modules connect.
The pliers with the green handles are special. Notice the cutout portion of the tips. These pliers are to be used to hold small nails, brads, etc. during nailing.

When this is done install the pieces of cork making up the 2nd half of the roadbed. Now the balance of the roadbed can be installed. A sharp razor blade will help to cut the cork as needed. The centerline of all the curves and loops can be seen as well as all of the straight track!

Glue in any required filler material. Allow the glue to dry prior to starting the next part.