Mississippi Valley Associated Railroaders (Est. 1987)                                      2020 - 2021                                                         34 years

Bill Ottney - Module Upgrade December 2020

In this first photo, tracklaying has been relatively easy. The two rails in foreground are  existing on hardboard per the club design with PCB ties at the module joint. Anything  with cork roadbed is new trackwork. Virtually all tracks which cross on the perpendicular  are laid flush to the gap and the first 5 or 6 ties epoxied in place with JB Weld Original.  I pin the track in place with a  brad until the epoxy has cured. The track which  crosses at an angle was laid over the joint and saw-cut with a razor saw after the epoxy  had cured. Alignment is perfect, in fact it is superior to the alignment on the club-design  track.
I am currently adding a maintenance yard to four modules and in trying to fit in the approaches to the Walthers locomotive and car shops (there will be three structures), I have no choice but to have tracks crossing the joint between the modules at an angle.  The modules are 24 x 34 and are made to a common design supplied by our local club; Mississippi Valley Associated Railroaders (we have a downsized Mississippi River in the area, hence the name).
Laying the lead tracks to the south entrance of the locomotive maintenance shop has  represented a much greater challenge. After I had built these modules, the club came up  with a design for .5 and 1.5 modules at 17 and 51 OAL respectively. With a 1.5 module,  doing the approaches for the south entrance for the shop would have been a breeze. Not so  easy working within a 34 constraint. The shop lead in the foreground presented a challenge with a very short length of track  between the gap and the #4 Peco. Of course, unless the loose rail is epoxied in place prior to  cutting, it will just roll over when the saw cut is complete. Lesson learned, I re-laid the track  a second time. The longer S-bend lead track for the rear bay was an even bigger challenge  and I finally got it on the third try. Had to do a walk-away after the second attempt failed.  The issue here is the inherent lateral stresses present in a relatively tight radius bend (21).  When I would cut through the track, either one rail or the other would lift higher than the  other. I finally solved the issue by epoxying eight ties on each side of the joint and pinning  more ties in place. The rails did not move at all when I cut through. Per this third and final photo, patience has paid off. I can separate and rejoin the modules  and the track alignment is perfect. I have a couple 50 boxcars which are my most  derailment-prone rolling stock. If they will negotiate this trackwork, then I know everything  else will. Track tested, now I can re-truck them and bring the weight up to NMRA spec. Next Page