I am going into town for dinner tonight at about 5pm so I am pretty much done for the day. I started at about 9am and worked pretty much constantly till about 3:30pm. In this time I put the metal rails on the curve in front of the stairs and the straight section in front of the stairs. I then checked the newly stained ties and a few were still tacky to the touch, but they were dry enough to slide on the metal of the router. So, I got out my jig and router table, and routed the slots out of all of the new ties. They were sticky enough that they picked up some sawdust, but this came off easily with the buffing pad for the between-coat roughing. The nice thing is that the sticky part of the ties came off but the color stayed. They had dried for more than 12 hours so I am pretty sure that the stain has penetrated as much as it is going to penetrate.
After routing out the slots, I took the two remaining sections (the one in front of the fireplace and the short section to the right of the fireplace) and glued the new ties to them. As of 3:30pm, they were under the weights and pressure, and so they should be ready to be coated with varnish by the time I get home tonight.
When I got home at about midnight, I went downstairs to put on a coat of polyurethane on the last two sections of track that had the ties glued earlier. I got the coat completed by 1am and headed to bed. I will put another coat on in the morning and they will be ready by the time I get to them with the metal rail.