Avoiding the "Floating Track" Look
Updated: Jan 7
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??