Monday, August 26, 2013

Free-Mo Compatibility for Edge-of-Layout Transition Tracks

Something that's been bugging me for a while has been how the track ends at the edge of the Dunes Junction layout. I had left 1 1/2" of space at the end of the roadbed, into which I had fitted removable lengths of Atlas code 83 section track with a styrene sheet underlay and ballast, with the idea that this gap at each end could easily accommodate transition tracks for staging cassettes or more layout.

Coincidentally, I had been reading up on Free-Mo HO module standards, and a more elegant-looking and mechanically sound transition track idea presented itself: BNM Hobbies printed circuit board tie plates. These tie plates have ties milled into half or so of the ties, with copper soldering pads in place of tie plates.  The other half or so have a channel milled out to accommodate a transition rail fitted with a joiner. The idea here is to use a length of rail to join modules or sections together.
The BNM PC Board tie plate: solder pads for rail on the left in this photo, and a milled-out trench for transition rails on the right.
The completed Tie Plates, ballasted and weathered in. The 1/2" lengths of rail can be easily removed if and when I expand the layout or add staging tracks.