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Avoiding the "Floating Track" Look

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Everyone loves Lionel trestles and elevated loops/track. The only issue* is that the track stretches between these trestles is not prototypical with no visible support.

There are easy, inexpensive ways to address this issue. Here are some of them.

*While I like the Lionel trestles, I try to double up on them for a more gradual grade - instead of, for example, using a D section at a track joint, then a C section on the next and then a B section, I try to use a D section on two adjoining track joints than two C sections, and so on.

Your local home improvement stores sell plastic laminate flooring edging in several styles. I’ve placed ¼ inch thick luan boards (cut to 2 3/4 to 3 inches in width and to what ever length I needed) under track and across the trestles, and use the sides of this laminate floor edging for side rails.

Here is a pic of the product I'm referring to:

With a sharp scissor I cut the sides of the edging off to a height of 5/8 inches. The balsa strips shown are then glued to the open side of the edging to give it some dimension:

A side tip: as you can see, I frequently use tiny clip type "clothes pins" from the Dollar store for clamps. These are typically used to hold greeting cards to a stretched out ribbon for display. and only cost a dollar for a package of 25.

The next step is to paint the new railing, I use a brownish-red spray primer.

Lastly, glue the new railing to the edge of the luan base board. Here are a couple examples of the finished product:

Alternatively, you can start with sheetrock corner beading for a different look - be creative - the point is to support the track and avoid the floating track look.

I’ve also made Styrofoam retaining walls and viaducts to support ”floating" tracks. Scrap Styrofoam, a Tippi wire foam cutting tool, and leftover paint made these fun projects.

Here is one example:

Ready made bridges can also be used to span the spaces between trestles, avoiding the “floating" track look in those areas:

In the following example I've combined a corner beading railing with a ready made bridge over styrofoam retaining walls carved with my Tippi tool:

A corner plateau can also support elevated tracks:

Have fun! HOW do YOU avoid the "Floating Track" look??

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Aug 18, 2021

John, the corner beading is a good idea I never thought of. Your new Website looks great!

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