Aligning Tracks

…Kato's rerailer makes it easy!

Did you notice the notches on the edge of your Kato rerailer? They can be used to position tracks on your module to 33mm center-to-center track spacing. Position and attach the outer track first, then use the rerailer to align the second track. This will ensure proper track spacing but you still need to ensure both tracks are even.

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Another method, developed by Mike Moore of North Texas T-TRAK, is to build a pair of alignment jigs using 62mm double concrete tie straights. This not only ensures the 33mm spacing is correct but also that the track has the proper overhang off the module and that the inner and outer tracks are even with respect to each other.

Building a T-TRAK Alignment Jig

Ever have the problem of getting Kato Unitrack set up accurately so it affixes to the T-TRAK module with an equal amount of overhang and with the track ends flush and square to the module base? If so, invest a few minutes and build a pair of Unitrack alignment jigs. Start with two Kato Unitrack 62mm Double Concrete Tie straights (Kato PN 20-042), a bit of 1mm styrene, and a few TrainAidsA K screws. Within a few minutes, you will have great tool for uniformly aligning Kato Unitrack to the module base.

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Photo 1 shows a piece of the double concrete Unitrack with unijoiners removed and the bolsters being bored out. A 1mm styrene shim has been temporarily glued to the face of the Unijoiner to establish the correct offset for the styrene strips which will be attached to the underside.

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Photo 2 shows the underside of the track. I cut styrene strips to 25mmX60mm and aligned them to be flush with the temporary styrene shim. Then, I screwed the strips to the track from the top through the bolsters, nipped off the protruding ends, and filed everything smooth. The last step is to remove the temporary styrene shim and re-insert the unijoiners. They are only required on the "working end" of the alignment jig. Look closely and you can see how the styrene strips extend 1mm beyond the end of the track base.

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In Photo 3, you see one of the completed alignment jigs. I built a second one following the same steps so I could align both ends of the track at the same time. The styrene strips, which extend 1mm beyond the end of the track, are apparent underneath, as are the screws that are holding the strips in place.

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Photo 4 shows the completed jig attached at the end of a module. Our club obviously uses the 33mm track spacing so a jig like this is invaluable. If you use the 25mm track spacing, you could easily build jigs out of single track and accomplish the same results, or you could use some Unitram track (say Kato 40-031, TWS62) which uses the 25mm track spacing. If you want a gauge that works for both 33 and 25mm, you could use Kato 40-021 conversion track, which has a 33mm separation on one end, and 25mm on the other.

Special thanks go to Bob Middleton for his innovation and to David Taylor for his ideas. Both are active members of the North Texas T-Trak Modular Railroad Club and contributed significantly to the development of this tool. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Mike Moore at moc.liamtoh|karttsaxethtron#moc.liamtoh|karttsaxethtron.

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