Track Laying

The track itself is standard Peco Streamline code 55. The points are medium radius Unifrog, I would have used Y points but they're not available in Unifrog yet.

Most of the track is temporarily fixed with small screws into the baseboard, these will be removed once the ballasting is in place. The exception is the track in the engine shed which is laid onto the card floor. With two of the tracks having tight curves onto short straights I wasn't convinced that just gluing the track in place would be sufficient to hold it in place. I sourced some very small screws which go down through the sleepers (after a suitable hole is drilled). These won't be visible once ballasting, etc. is complete.

Power is taken to the track via droppers soldered to the underside of the rails. My principle is that there should be a feed to every section of track, I never rely on fishplates. In practice with this layout being DC most sections have an isolator anyway so, for instance, I can leave a loco at the end of one track and run the other loco close to it.

I’ll concede that the track laying isn’t a perfect job. The tight radii and short lengths caused some problems and there are a few gaps between rails that could be tighter. In my defence I’ve been on some heritage railways that were just as bad!


The main track secured with screws,
 this also shows details of the wiring

The screws securing the track in the shed, they really are tiny and I had to use the macro setting on the camera for the photo

Unifrog Points

For a long time Peco have provided two type of points, Insulfrog and Electrofrog. The frog is the critical part of the point where the two sets of tracks meet. With Insulfrog this is a solid piece of plastic, whereas with Electrofrog it’s metal. That part of the point could have either side of the loco running over it depending which way the point is switched so if it’s powered you need to switch the power along with the point; often this is done with a switch but for my layouts that’s replaced by one or two relays. If you have long locos with plenty of power pickups you can get away with Insulfrog type points but with the 0-4-0 tank engine it would likely lose power and stall.

Recently Peco introduced the Unifrog point which quite simply can serve as either of the above types. Crucially it has a metal frog with attached wire for providing power but, unlike the older Electrofrog points, this is completely insulated from the point blades and rails. That latter part is why it was so much easier for me to wire these. On Electrofrog points I found I had to use two relays to switch the frog as I’d need to disconnect the power to the frog, switch the point then reconnect power; if I just switched the frog over at the same time as the point I’d risk a short as the point blades may still be in contact with the track. With Unifrog I simply had to solder two feed wires to the outer tracks, these were already tied internally to the point blades, and provide a relay switched connection to the frog via the already attached wire.

The frog of the point highlighted