+1 for the glasses tip. Although mine are only plus 1.5, it makes a huge difference.
gnichols wrote:Too bad they don't make a rail bender that works on manufactured track so you would not have to remove the rail from the ties!
You can bend commercial flex track and re-insert the rail into the sleeper base, so you don't have to hand-lay. I've done this with code 100 (On30) and code 80 (OO9 track used for O9) track although not for quite such tiny radii. The code 100 went down to ~6" radius, and the code 80 to just under 4".
No real technique to it - pull the rail out of the sleeper base and run it carefully between thumb and forefinger while pulling to one side, like curling a strip of paper with scissors. You may want to wrap a slip of card or something around it to stop the rail web from cutting your thumb though!
The more pressure and the more passes, the tighter it gets. I drew a circle of the desired radius on the layout and checked the rail against it every so often. Bend a bit more than you need since it's hard to get a clean curve on the last couple of inches at each end.
When you're done, thread the sleeper base back on to the rail, cutting the web underneath as necessary - usually on the outside - to allow the sleepers to sit nicely.
Vaguely relevant picture here: