Colors used: Dark Bluish Gray, Green, Light Bluish Gray, Tan
To transition between ballasted and unballasted track:
9V vs Power Functions
Currently, most of the locomotives used on our layouts are of the 9V type. Therefore, all track is 9V metal rail, which was discontinued in 2007. There are, however, a growing number of Power Functions enabled locomotives so at some point the use of modern plastic track may be permitted. In the meantime, the club is fortunate to have an adequate supply of 9V track.
Since track geometry varies from one show to another, detailed plans are distributed early in the planning process to ensure compatibility between modules. In general though, straight track is placed so that there are 4 exposed studs between the track and baseplate edge. No other elements should be placed on the track baseplates that would otherwise interfere with the operation of trains. Finally, consideration should be given for 6 and 8 stud wide trains, especially on curved track. Also, any elements flown over the track should be of sufficient height to not interfere with trains passing underneath. Our Track Clearance Guidelines address all of these concerns and likewise, all locomotives and rolling stock should be designed to operate within these constraints.
While track ballast is visually appealing, only a few members have invested in the bulk parts necessary. Therefore, ballast is optional. Members should coordinate ballast use prior to shows and in the event of a transition, the member who is using ballast should provide the necessary gradient change to match up with the adjacent unballasted track. To avoid traction issues, gradient changes should occur at a slope no steeper than one plate per two sections of track. Furthermore, if at all possible, gradient changes should be performed on straight sections of track to prevent derailments. Our 4 Track Gradient Change addresses both of these concerns.