After finding out my position had been abolished I was faced with a move to Perth and the loss of a dedicated train room. Understandably disappointed, it seemed my Pemberton layout would be facing storage for some time. However having no where for my rolling stock to sit I decided i could find room for the centre section of the Pemberton yard.
After retrieving it from storage today i set up on a temporary table as the middle section had no legs being supported by the two sections eitherside and set about laying the first rails.
I have delayed laying rails for some time as i was unsure as to whether i would glue or spike or a combination. I had been leaning towards spiking, but my initial trials with hand spiking had been less than satisfactory. I debated obtaining a kadee spiker, but the price of obtaining a new one, the rare appearance of second hand ones online and the lack of information on whether it would be worth it caused further delay. (If you do have one or experience with one please get in contact.). Anyhow decided it had waited long enough and with only spikes and a pair of pliers available i decided to give hand spiking another try and with some patience i managed a safisfactory result and the first rails where finally laid.
How i went about it
I had previously laid the sleepers based on measurements I took on variety of sleeper spacings in the Manjimup yard. And have made a variety of spacers to help guide me while laying sleepers. Whilst I originally planned to lay down cork first, for ease as i wanted the top of the sleepers be flush with the surface i had created a trench and glued them directly onto mdf.
I used several brass rail gauges i brought from DCC Concepts to set the gauge during the operation. They fit snuggly on the rail and their weight helped hold it in place.
With the sleepers laid directly onto mdf, it made it difficult to push the spikes in and i ended up with my share of bent ones, so i did just enough to pin the track. I then went back and predrilled the rest which whilst tedious, made spiking easier.
I should mention i had brought some spiking pliers from an australian hobby firm but i dont recommend them and wish i had got the micro mark ones. Im sure they would be fine with a large spike but were too sloppy for the small ones.
The spikes i used were the small ones from micromark but they had a very large head. I found that if I cut the head off (yes thats right i cut the head off each individual spike) leaving just a small lip, they looked more realistic.
For the time being I have settled for spiking every 4th sleeper.