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A Look At – Model Railway / Railroad Track Cutting Tools

A Look At – Model Railway / Railroad Track Cutting Tools

Model Railway Track Cutting Tools

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the tools available for cutting model railway track work.

A lot folk start this great in the hobby with a trainset & it’s not long before they want to expand the layouts track work. This of course can be done with either set track track work sections or flexible track work. So at some point you may have to cut track work to size to fit your space & track plan. So what kind of tools do you need to use to be able to cut the track with?




Razor Saw

Razor saws come in various sizes, grades such as superfine, fine, medium etc. Most good model shops should stock them or a search on the internet if you don’t have a local model shop. Prices vary so depends on the quality & your budget as to what to choose. Use a mitre box with the razor saw for cutting the track as this will give straight or angled cuts. Or if your track is already laid on the layout use a wooden block placed on top of the track to as straight edge guide for cutting against. The razor saw is great for doing fine precision cuts.

In the image on the right can be seen a razor saw with mitre cutting box.

Track Cutters

Track cutters such as those by Xuron are available from most good model shops & from the internet. These track cutter tools work by a shearing cutting action which give quick clean square cuts. Unlike the razor saw the rails have to be cut one at a time so it’s essential that both rails are cut in the same place. The track cutter tools either do a horizontal cut (cutting the track from the side) or a vertical cut (cutting track from above or below). The Vertical track cutter tool is ideal for cutting track already in place on the layout.

It’s recommended you wear a pair of safety glasses or googles when using the track cutters as the cut bits of rail can fly off pretty quick.

On the top two images on the right are vertical track cutters with the third image being a horizontal track cutter.

Rotary Tool

Another handy tool worth looking at is the rotary tool. The likes of the famous Dremel Tool, as well as cheaper versions such as Rotoacraft, Gaugmaster’s own brand version & many others available from model, tool & online stores. Some come with a section of attachments others don’t but plenty of places sell the attachments separately.

For cutting track use a the rotary tool with a cutting disc. Depending on the diameter of the cutting disc the rotary tool will be able to cut one or both rails at the same time.

It’s recommended you wear a pair of safety glasses or googles when using this tool. Ideal for cutting track that has already been laid. If you are cutting the track on the layout it’s worth putting something behind the area your cutting to prevent bits & dust getting over the rest of the layout. The cuts are quick using this tool but will leave some dust & metal debris around the cutting area.

On the right can be seen a rotary tool in action as well as some examples of rotary tool kits.

Bench Tool

The last one we’ll take a look at is by Proses. The PTC-200-PS bench tool. This circular saw type bench tool cuts track as well as other materials to any angle. The angle stop block can be set to any angle which allows track to be cut to any desired angle. Downside to this tool is that it can’t cut track that’s been already laid on the layout. Ideal for cutting track work up to OO scale.

Other Tools

One other tool that’s recommended is a set small modelling files. To allow the rail joiners to fit & the smooth running of trains it may be necessary to remove any cutting burs left on the rails after cutting. Use a small modelling or needle files for this. Ideal for filing sqaure any cuts that may not be square.


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  1. ourmick

    As for the Dremel, et al, I learned (or was lead to believe) a LONG time ago that the Rotary Saw Blade attachment was banned from Sale because of injuries that were either accidentally self-inflicted or inflicted (with intent) on other people… which could be fatal !! Besides that, when I actually DID own one or two, the rarely lasted for more than 3 or 4 cuts, so replacements were potentially a very expensive part of Modelling. If, or when the time comes, I think I’ll go with the Xuron Cutters.

    • Iain

      Rotary circular saw blades are still readily available. Circular slitting / cutting discs are very popular modellers using Dremell type rotary tools. Some cutting / slitting discs i find last longer than others. The cutting discs i’m using at the moment are lasting a good while compared to the cheaper ones i was using before.

  2. mountainbloke

    I’ve found the Xuron cutters to be a great time-saver but was not aware of the vertical cutters. Thank you.

    • Iain

      I’ve used both types of Xuron cutters for many years & found them to be very good. Highly recommend.

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