If you want to find every place on your track that needs work, try running a brass steam locomotive over it. While today's diesel, and even plastic steam locomotives can run down a gravel road without a hitch, brass steamers are the most finicky of all.
I had one spot - a fairly broad curve - where the brass engines were all derailing (or stalling). Stalling is usually a power pickup issue - but derailing in this case was the fault of the track.
I wanted to add a siding from the curve, and thought I was being clever when I bent a Micro-Engineering turnout to follow the curve, but I either didn't do it correctly or the brass engines were just a little too stiff to deal with the curve-into-tangent-into-curve-into-tangent arrangement. After thinking the matter through I decided the trains negotiating the curve reliably outweighed the benefit of having one more siding to set out and pickup cars.
Frankly while I fretted over this for a few weeks, but the fix didn't take more than a couple of evenings. The photos show a little more detail:
|You can see the offending turnout at the top of the photo. Diesels, plastic steam locomotives, and cars went through it without a hitch. Brass steam locomotives not so much.|
|I prebent some Micro-Engineering flextrack to a curve so the new alignment would continue the same curve radius as the rest of the mainline. Note the difference between the old and new alignments.|
|I covered the creamery building with a paper towel and then soaked the old track and ballast with water and alcohol mixture. After waiting about 10 minutes the track and ballast came right up.|
|A quick scraping with a putty knife removed any remaining ballast and dirt and leveled the roadbed.|
|Laying the new track was a matter of pre-bending it to a constant curve radius (in this case 40", you can see the track radius gauge in place at the joint between two sections of track) and gluing the track in place with adhesive caulk.|