Aligners for Connecting Rail
Rick Fletcher - NSW Australia

Updated 30 July 2016

Flextrack needs to be connected by "rail joiners". I prefer to call them "aligners" as they really can't be relied on to JOIN or at least electrically connect two pieces of track. They do a good job of keeping the ends of the track in-line.

But don't rely on them for electrical connections!

The photo below shows from the top:

  • a standard Peco "joiner" for Code 75 flex track (which is what I use on my layout).
  • a shortened joiner which aligns the track, but is SHORT enough to be moved along the rail if track adjustment or point removal is needed (trust me , it will be!) I have had cause to remove points which were glued to the road bed with latex carpet cement. Brushing some water around the sleepers freed the point after 10 or 15 minutes and then slide the joiners sideways to lift the point out.
  • a small tool consisting of 2 offcuts of rail soldered together so that the smaller joiners can be held on the LH end to trim the ends neatly.
    The tool is also useful to ensure that the ends of the shortened joiner will easily slide on the rails.
Cut the rail to length if necessary. Use something like "Xuron®" cutters as shown further down. File the ends of the rail to remove any burrs so that the joiner will slide on easily.
Remove the rail chairs form the last sleeper (tie) with a sharp blade. In this case I am using a surgical scalpel.

A good way to ensure you don't rip off a sleeper or cut yourself is to use a piece of scrap wood to cut against.
The chair needs to be completely removed so the joiner can clear the sleeper.

The short joiner will slide up the rail and be flush with the end. If you use a full size joiner, it will not slide up far enough to clear the join.
When the track is fixed down, this method allows the rail or point either side of the join to be disconnected by sliding the joiner to the left or right.

Showing how to cut the rail with a "Xuron®" cutter. The flat side of the cutter should face the rail to be used.
Don't use these cutters on hard materials like steel wire.
To cut hard wire such as "piano" wire use this tool. A beautiful German tool designed for the job. I couldn't find anything locally and was able to buy it on eBay.
The next step is to connect the rail to your DC or DCC bus. See the section on FEEDERS