Outdoor railway

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 17 17:30:28 EDT 2011

Hello, Barry -

My advice for you comes from fossilized technology, but perhaps it
will still apply.

Back when I was a bachelor, I had an indoor HO layout modeled after
the Virginian Railway. I built it in the waning days of CTC-16, an
earlier and now happily defunct method of command control.

What was necessary in that case was a pair of 12-gauge copper wires
that followed the general line of track. A feeder wire is then
soldered between these "buss bars" and each section of rail. This
eliminated the need to depend on electrical conductivity via the rail
joiners. ("splice bars" on your side of the pond?) I would think that
this would definitely be helpful in an outdoor layout, where weather
and temperature changes are greater than found in an indoor layout. (I

One last tip: if possible, solder the small-gauge feeder wires to the
track _before_ you attach the track to the roadbed. I think 20 gauge
or 18 gauge stranded wire would be fine for these feeders.

The key to successful soldering is for things to be CLEAN before you
apply flux or heat. I was able to use a 20-watt iron to solder feeders
to code 83 rail. CLEAN materials, a dab o' flux, and then put the tip
of the iron onto the junction between the wire and rail, heating both
simultaneously. I sometimes did need more watts to solder the feeders
to the 12-gauge bus bars.

Hope this helps!

- Marty Swartz, Pittsburgh PA USA

On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 4:17 PM, NW Modeling List
<nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

> Hi


> This summer I hope to build a 65 foot circuit on an outdoor layout to run my

> N & W HO stock. I use DCC. I live in London UK so the climate as ok for

> this.


> My track is Peco code 83. I know that I need to solder jump leads to each

> piece of rail  and wonder if anybody has advice about the thickness of wire

> needed and how to solder the wire without melting the plastic!


> Many thanks


> Barry Reeves

> Songwriter & Musician

> www.northwestlondonacousticmusic.co.uk

> www.northwestlondonblues.co.uk

"What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius,
power and magic in it." Johann von Goethe

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