Gauge 1 / 'O' Gauge test track

At long last I got around to building a test track for my Gauge 1 and 'O' gauge models. Very useful when you can't get out into the garden for a test run, due to the weather or leaves on the line.

So for anyone that may be interested, below is a description of what went into the construction of this test track.

The locos shown in to photo are a Gauge 1 Bachmann Brassworks 'Black 5' and two 'O' Gauge Dapol Class 08 diesel shunters.


Base Boards
The base boards are made from wood shelving as these are available precut and planed to size. Also these are less likely to distort or move out of shape over time. The boards are fixed together using removable pin door hinges on the top and bottom of each board, these hinges also act as the electrical connection between the rails when fitted to the boards and also hold the boards to the storage/transit plates.

Track and Sleepers
The track rails are made from aluminium angle and the sleepers are drawn up in our CAD system and output on our 3D printer. There are 9 sleepers per board and the rail and sleepers are secured to the base boards with wood screws except for the rails and sleepers at each end of the board, these are fixed using machine screws and lock nuts that also go through the hinge plate on the underside of the board and create an electrical connection at each end when the boards are connected together.

The legs that support the base boards are made from 1" diameter aluminium tubing, these have a aluminium bush in each end with a 8mm tapped hole. The tapped bushes are secured into the tube with Loctite. In one end of each tube a short length of 8mm studding is secured. This screws the leg on to the base board by means of a furniture bracket that can be purchased for this purpose. The other end has a longer length of 8mm studding fitted to the PVC feet, purchased for the job, this can then be adjusted for height and to help level the test track. the adjustable feet are locked into place by means of a laser cut locking wheel tapped 8mm.

Storage/Transit Plates
The storage/transit plates are made from wood and aluminium angle and are used to hold together the base boards for storage and transport. they are fitted to the base boards using the same hinge brackets that hold the boards together when in use.

Materials used to construct the test track:

Processes used to contruct the test track:
3D printing
Laser cutting

The test track is easily assembled from it's packed/transit state in about 5 minutes and can be done easily by one person without the need for any tools. It stands on 8 legs with ball jointed feet that can be adjusted to keep it level.


Appoximate dimensions of the test track when in use:
Length: 3450mm
Height: 720mm (feet can be adjusted to help level test track)
Width at track: 200mm
Width at feet: 410mm


The two transit/storage end plates are used to hold the three main track boards together when the test track is not inuse or during transport. These parts along with the 4 L-shaped steel pins are the only parts that are not used once the test track is fully assenbled.


There are handles on both ends of the boards once packed away along with one handle on the top board. There are also four PVC feet on the bottom board to help prevent damage to the bottom board when sitting on the ground.

When packed away for storage or transport the 8 legs are clipped to the boards and the control panel connections along with the buffer stops are all in-board to keep them protected from damage.


Appoximate dimensions of the test track when packed away:
Length: 1230mm
Height: 300mm
Width: 215mm