Model Rail (UK) - - Workbench -

Wiring straight track is easy – in the­ory. Solder two wires to the un­der­side of the track, con­nect them to the power sup­ply and you will have power to your track. In re­al­ity there are a cou­ple of things to watch out for. Firstly, you are as­sum­ing that all of your con­nect­ing fish­plates will work flaw­lessly for the du­ra­tion of your lay­out’s life. This will not hap­pen. At some point the fish­plates will lose their con­nec­tiv­ity and it is much safer to in­stall jumper wires across the joins of all of your pieces of track. This will add a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time to the wiring sec­tion of your lay­out, but it will all be worth it in the long run, and a few years down the line you won’t have the headache of try­ing to take out a cou­ple of pieces of track and change the fish­plate. Sec­ondly, be­ware of gaps in the rails at the joins. If they are pushed right up against each other than you’ve got the rails them­selves work­ing to help with the con­duc­tiv­ity. If there is a slight gap (which many mod­ellers like as it gives the nice click­ety-clack of the wheels over the rails as it moves along), then it is even more im­por­tant to have a jumper wire so that the fish­plate isn’t the only con­duc­tor. Al­ways wire your track be­fore you bal­last it as once it’s down it’s much harder to cor­rect any er­rors. When you have fin­ished the wiring make sure that you test ev­ery sin­gle piece by run­ning a lo­co­mo­tive over all the track to make sure it keeps mov­ing. Ideally use a short wheel­base lo­co­mo­tive over the points as this will give you the best in­di­ca­tion as to whether your trains will stall over them.

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