WIRING STANDARD TRACK
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.