Saturday, August 12, 2017


I got a couple of turnouts filed and filled with epoxy which seemed to work, no shorts.  But because the Peco guard rails are a little sloppy I also decided to add some shims to them as I stated in my last post.

This helped in keeping the wheels from picking the frog point so I decided to try a few more.  On a couple that I added them to it also stopped a short that I was having on one.  So I made the decision to continue adding the shims to ALL the turnouts.  I figured this would be a good idea even if no shorts appeared as it helped to reduce the picking of the points.  If it also cured any shorting, then it would be a bonus, and if needed I'll go back and file and add the epoxy to any that need it. 

As of this post, I have added the shims to everyone of the turnouts on the south side of the layout over three nights.  That's 17 turnouts so far.  I also was able to get the shims added to the three turnouts on the south end of yard at El Dorado tonight.  While doing this today I snapped a few pics of how the process goes.

Here is the shim stock

I then cut them just a bit longer than the guard rails and set them in place and brush on a bit liquid cement, in this case I use MEK.  Using an old #17 blade I press the shim onto the guard rail until the glue evaporates.  This leaves the shim jutting past the guard rails.

Next I snap a toothpick in half and gently wedge the pointed end between the outer rail and the shim so it's pressed tight against the bent end of the guard rail. With the picks in place I brush a small amount of MEK on the ends of the shims and let them dry for a bit.

Once they're dry, at least 15 minutes, I'll take a sharp blade and gently trim the shims to the same height as the guard rails, being careful not to take too much off. I also carve the ends of the shims to match the profile of the guard rails. Afterwhich I've tested each of them with a car to make sure there's enough clearance and nothing is rubbing.

Once they're painted they'll blend in and they shouldn't even be seen.  Now I need to run a few trains to see if this has cured any shorts.


  1. Great presentation Allen. In the Ntrak group I belong to we have been doing this for a long time but many don't know about it.

    1. Thanks Brad.
      Yeah I've heard about it on some forums, but never seen any tricks about it or how it was done. I never thought I'd need to do it though, but here I am. I hope it's worth the effort.

  2. Can I talk you into using black styrene for shims? Once that track is painted, it will look great . . . until you clean the track. Then, you're going to have bright white strips visible at each guardrail.

    1. Now you come along Dave! After I get 17 or so done. LOL
      I guess I didn't even realize they made black styrene in that size?
      I will gladly switch if I can find some, makes total sense, thanks!