A full freight or passenger train is heavy, so the track it runs on has to be tough. Nowadays, rails are made from steel, which is a much stronger material than the cast iron used to the first railways. The shape of the rail also helps to make it strong. If you sliced through a rail from top to bottom, you would see it has an "I"- shaped cross section. The broad, flat bottom narrows into the "waist" of the I, and widens again into a curved head. Most countries use a rail shaped like this.
Tracks are made up of pieces of rail, which are laid on wooden or concrete crossbeams called slippers. Train wheels are a set distance apart, so rails must be a set distance apart, too. The distance between rails is called gauge. This project will show you how to make sets of railway tracks for the models on the following pages. Make at least two sets of tracks – the more tracks you make, the further your train can travel.
Two sheets of stiff card measuring 10¼ x 4¼in, pencil, ruler, scissors, white glue and glue brush, silver and brown paint, paintbrush, water pot, one sheet of foam board measuring 5 x 8in one sheet of paper measuring 8½ x 11in, masking tape, one sheet of thin card measuring 4 x 2in.