How To Avoid The Two Ugly Sisters of Track Soldering Hell

Tried soldering wires to your model train rails? Fed up with melted sleepers and solder globules ruining the look of your track. Here’s a handy tip for quick, simple tip for neater and cleaner track soldering.

If you’ve tried soldering wires to your railway track, you’ll no doubt have come up against the two ugly sisters of railway track soldering hell — melted sleepers and unsightly solder droplets on the rails. But there’s a better way.

track wiringIt’s incredibly simple and although it involves slightly more effort the end result is well worth the extra work, giving much more authentic looking track. It’s from Model Railways On-Line, the original is here.

The procedure is to remove the sleepers from the track, solder the wire to the underside of the rail, then file down the surplus solder and replace the sleepers. The wires are threaded through holes drilled in the baseboard as the track is glued in place.

The method provides a tidy connection with no melted sleepers or unsightly solder globules.
This technique also works with ‘foam underlay’ ballast.


It results in track wiring that is all but invisible to the viewer and far more realistic track work. If you’ve got any soldering or wiring tips, share them here in a comment below. Alternatively, see my guide to soldering.

Picture: fairlightworks


Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of 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.

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