2.04.2013

check, please!

If you decide to use commercial track products for your layout or modules, BEFORE you start laying these on the baseboard and pinning or gluing them down, CHECK the gauge of each and every piece with a proper NMRA (or other regulatory body's) measuring tool.

Seriously.

I have experienced at least a half dozen separate instances where the commercial product's rail are not in gauge, and can't be corrected. The latest instance involved removing a turnout from a ballasted right of way while making a minimum of mess. Not fun.

Every turnout, every crossing, every piece of sectional or flex track needs to be checked before it is installed. Items that are not in gauge need to be returned to their place of purchase as defective. These items are produced in batches and can vary as enviromental changes and mechanical wear occur.

While you're at it, verify the electrical arrangements of each turnout's point & stock rails with a continuity tester. This is especially important in DCC applications where the optimal situation is to have each point rail the same polarity as its adjacent stock rail to prevent shorting when wheelset's back-to-back distance might be a tad tight. I have had two turnouts where the short rail section after the frog had become isolated from the rest of the route (the wire bond underneath was broken) creating a dead spot.

Save yourself some pain and check first.

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