If you’ve ever laid track and found you have an unsightly gap between two sections here’s an easy little trick to conceal it and help your trains run easier.
Yes, I know it’s good to have a little gap between rails to allow for expansion in the heat but when laying some flexitrack recently I misjudged and end up with a gap far too wide.
It looked ugly and at this track scale (1:160) was almost 2ft gap for the tiny wheels of my rolling stock to cross. They weren’t happy about crossing it and couldn’t be left.
I could, and probably should, have just cut up some more Flexitrack and relaid this section but it’s not cheap and wasting a long length for a couple of milli-meters seemed silly.
Instead, I cast my eye at my ever-present Dremel and a bit of rail off-cut. Hmmm.
I held the rail with some pliers and when at it with a cutting disc.
Seconds later I had a .5mm section of rail.
With the help of a head magnifier so I could see the tiny slip of rail, I eased it into place and pushed the Flexitrack in a fraction.
As you can see from the picture to the right, I still left a slight gap to allow for expansion but the trains now roll over this section of track without complaint and there’s no ugly gap to distract.
Footnote: I did consider other remedies. Bluetack and clay were both thought about. While they would have worked it would have required careful shaping to ensure the wheel flanges could pass over them and the colour would have made the bodge standout when the whole point of the exercise was to improve the look and running. The rail method used here seems the best all-round solution.
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.