I'd looking at doing a layout which, due to the possibility of moving in the next 5 years or so, I want to construct in manageable "movable" chunks. Can someone point me to a reference on how to make rail connections between modules?
The NMRA standards for modules suggest a 9" gap, rail end to rail end. That way you can use sectional track or flextrack if you desire. That sets the rail ends back far enough from the ends of the modules so you aren't snagging the rail on your shirt or jacket while moving them. Snagging a track end would be catastrophic to what is glued or nailed down to the road bed.
My layout was built in 14 separate modules. After construction it was disassembled, shipped and reassembled in my train room. I am including a couple of pictures taken at delivery to show how this was done. I have many more pictures if interested but I feel these show the general idea.
The first picture shows three different situations. Lower right is where a turnout spans the module joint. Top right is a complex vertical and horizontal easement location so a large section of preformed track was removed. The other joints are level so the joint was at the module joint, the rail joiners were slipped on, soldered and the the ties slipped under the track joint.
The second picture is part of the yard. All the track joints are at the module boundaries. The track inside the roundhouse is part of the RH base.
Remember no wires can cross a module joint. There should be a terminal strip on each module with jumper wires under the module joint connecting the terminal strips.
Here are a few more pictures that show the module joints. I will divide them into two posts for clarity.
The first picture shows the underside of a module joint during construction. The jumper wires are visible, track power on the left and accessory power on the right.
The second picture shows one of the corner modules with some of the scenery panels removed. I include this to show how much track crosses some of these joints.
The third picture shows two of the modules in the train room ready to be bolted together. They are not quite in the final position.
Here are five more module joint pictures.
The first one shows a level and a 2% downgrade joint. The red line is the location of the joint, this is during early construction.
The second picture shows the joint in the freight yard. Note how the structure was built by following the red line. This offset allowed missing all the critical track items such as turnouts and the crossing.
The next three show module joints at about construction completion. Shortly after these were taken the layout was disassembled for shipment.
The rail joiners are standard MTH/SHS rail joiners for their code 138 track. I can take a closeup tomorrow but you can see them on the MTH S gauge site.
The maximum module dimensions were set by the room entrance. It is 30"x78"x36". Much of the scenery is removable so only the structure had to meet that restriction. If we had a straight in entrance (rather than a vestibule) to the room the layout could have been built in 8 rather than 14 modules saving a lot of time and money.
I will post a shipping picture tomorrow re the legs.
The layout was completely assembled, tested and operated with all track rigidly attached to the layout. It was then disassembled and shipped. When reassembled in my train room all the track lined up when the modules were bolted together. It was a big job to slip on and solder all the rail joiners, about 200 rail joints had to be soldered. The rail joiners were on one side of the rail joint, then slid in place after bolting the modules together. That is why 2 ties were removed from under the rails on each side of the joint.
Sunsanvil, the legs were left on the modules for shipment. The truck was large enough that the modules did not need to be stacked. Unfortunately all the legs had to be removed to get the modules into the train room and then reinstalled. Scenery elements and buildings were also removed for shipment and handling. It sure would have made things a lot easier if I owned a house with a walk out basement and not had to use a second story room.
The 'jumper' track section that has been
suggested is very common on huge club
layouts at train shows. Each module is
built by a member or group of members
to be compatible with those of others.
There are NMRA standards they follow
to make the modules work together. To connect
them there is the 'gap' as mentioned. A simple
piece of flex or sectional track is inserted to span
the abutting modules as
the two are moved together, or the
tracks on the two modules are loose to make
lifting' to make inserting the 'jumper' easier.
You can easily 'hide' the 'temporaryness' with
various rocks and shrubs.
In addition to the simple terminal boards used
for electrical connections from module to module, if
there are not too many wires involved you could
use multi contact plugs and jacks.
Make your modules of light weight 1X3" lumber
screwed together in various shapes and sizes but
don't let them get too big to handle. Bolt them
to each other. Removable legs are made of 2 1/3s
in a L shape bolted into corners.
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