CVT Q & A's.
Do you soldier the rail joiners and feeder wires to the track before
or after gluing the track to the ties?
No, I do not solder the rail joiners, and I solder the feeder wires
to the rails after they are in place and secured to the CVT tie
How long a section of rail do you normally glue down at a time?
More often I do 20ft. sections of track per session. When the room
ventilation is adequate, at times I have put down over 100ft. in
a single afternoon.
Do you normally put any weight on the track to hold it down while
the glue is drying?
When I am laying long lengths (6-20 ft.) I use weights to hold the
rails down while the drying takes place.
Can you tell me the best method for gluing rail to ties?
I form the rail in my fingers to the approximate radii and fit into
the tie plates. While holding the rail in place I apply a small
amount of MEK to the rail base and tie. It takes a few seconds for
it to set and if I am laying long lengths (6-20 ft.) I use weights
to hold the rails down while the drying takes place.
Is it best to apply the Barge to the track or the ties?
Using a "Q-tip", I spread thinned ( 2-1 or 3-1 ) Barge®
cement to the rail base and let dry.
When curving a CVT switch, what is the minimum radius you would
I do not know what the limit for any switch is. I recommend modlers
use the least amount of curvature. In other words, the largest radius
possible is always the best.
Do the switch kit ties come in main and branch thickness?
The Switch ties are split in thickness between the Branch and Mainline
tie thickness (Switch tie: 0.07", Mainline tie: 0.075",
Branch Line tie: 0.065")
Why do you NOT use a brown color for the ties/do you have any plans
Most people end up painting their ties anyway's and we have too
many different opinions as what color they should be. Personally
I like the black for a base so when I lightly spray them from an
angle, the black in the wood grain comes out like creosote in the
splits of prototype trackage.
I assume your code 81 rail fits the code 83 switch kits?
Yes the code 81 rail fits very well and is preferred with the CVT
track system for mainline use in the late steam to diesel era. Although
the modeler will need to file the top surface a bit more to bring
the 0.083” (code 83) down to 0.081” (code 81). The kits
points, and frogs are actually 0.084 / 0.087 to allow for variations
in multiple rail manufactures. With the code 81 rail and RP25 wheel
sets the flange-way in the frog may need to be cut deeper with a
file or sand paper (240/320) wrapped around a thin metal blade.
Considering the rail is glued to the strips, what about expansion
and contraction concerns?
The CVT system should be gapped, for expansion / contraction like
normal. We recommend using Barge cement (a shoe and leather industry
product) because of its ability to stretch and shrink with out loosing
strength over many cycles. Personally we did use spikes at every
rail joint (atlas N joiners for code 81 rail) and also along the
rail about every 10” (ten inches) or so. We also prefer spiking
the closure rails at the frog and point area, we spike next to the
throw-bar (to re-enforce machine pressure) and spike the frog point
rails that exit the switch.
How well does your track and switches work on AMI roadbed?
Because of the need for the modeler to press downward on the CVT
while installing ties, gluing rail, spiking rail, blending rail
(with file), and drilling (for wiring) the AMI road bed has proven
to be completely unsuitable for both trouble-free installation and
operation with CVT or any hand-laid model track project. The AMI
roadbed will not maintain a consistence vertical plane for the ties
which in result will effectively cause a roller-coaster effect with
Is the 1604 switch stand kit operational?
No, the kit is designed to only replicate an early 60’s style.
When used with the CVT Switch ties the target can be made to rotate
Do you have in the works any crossovers, double slips / or wyes?
No not at this time, although you can bend the CVT switch into a
In the instructions for the Turnout, it gives the average diverging
radius, - Does this mean that this radius is the tightest radius
that you can use for this switch?
The turnout can be curved to much tighter radii than your equipment
will operate on. This could result in shorting, derailment and damage
to your equipment. Other effects include un-desirable distortion
of the arc along the stock rails right-of way.
When using a 1/2" foam sub base, what rail joiners and spikes should
Micro Engineering rail joiners work fine but the foam sub base--I
just don't know. I we use a much stouter material. Barge and like
products sharing similar solvents will dissolve Styrofoam materials.
Styrofoam board (foam-core) with paper on both sides will reduce
the reaction when glues are applied in modest amounts.
When using Micro-Engineering Code 70 and Code 55 rail. Will these
properly gauge on your tie strips?
Micro Engineering Code 70 rail works flawlessly. The 55 may seem
loose, but don't get uptight,. because laws of averages and combined
tolerances provide excellent operation with only an occasional adjustment
Your crossover diagram for #5 CVT turnouts shows 2.125" as
the minimum track centerline spacing. Is this a minimum without
cutting or an absolute minimum?
The #5 Turnouts can be cut (shortened) to allow for a 2” “center-to-center”
Do not forget to subtract the over-all amount in length that you
removed from the #5 turnouts, so you can adjust the length given
as the “A” dimension on your cross-over instruction
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