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NEW TRACK

HAUTE SAONE

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2014, 11:50am
NEW TRACK

I'm new here so just feeling my way, reading about track weights and steel v aluminium I get the feeling that it might be best to go for the larger size steel rail for durability and look? though as my site is relatively small and use would be light I don't want an overkill. Can anyone also offer advice re rail curving I rather favour an on site operation to deal with more than one radius, I could probably fabricate a hydraulic bender any photo's of benders would be greatly appreciated. D Lund 5158
 

Replies To This Post

Xz

Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 17

Replies: 244

Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2014, 2:24pm

There are several ways of building track and there is also a choice in material. The weight (size) of rail is normally dictated by the type locos, rolling stock, and amount of use that is intended. For light usage steel bar of around 10 x25mm (on edge) is sufficient, for slightly heavier usage that may still be Ok with closer sleeper spacings, or you could increase to 6lb per yard full flat bottomed section in either steel or aluminium. Personally I would avoid ali if you plan any significant grades, as it can become very slippery when wet. Curves can be either rolled, or bent using a jim-crow or similar tool. Rolling is probably best for rail section.

 

HAUTE SAONE

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2014, 5:08pm

Thanks Zx. If you use flat bar what do you use for chairs? Thinking steel fabrication a short piece of heavy flat pre drilled for fitting to sleepers could be welded on or another idea that comes to my mind would be to weld the flat bar (Rail) to a 125 X 65 X 14.8k metre channel to act as a sleeper with flanges pointing down, it would be relatively easy for me to make up in say 6 m long sections in the workshops here and using flat bar would mean that forming curves wouldn't be a problem, longitudal strength could be increased by using heavier flat bar, has anyone used this method to form a track and am I on the right track?
 

Xz

Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 17

Replies: 244

Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2014, 5:30pm

Basically there are at least two methods. The first is to weld short lengths of thinner plate at the position of the sleeper, and drill through and screw down, it works well and gives very solid track, but it is a bit time consuming, even if pre-drilling the screw holes in the plates. The other is to cut slots in slightly heavier sleepers that the bar can be driven into. Getting the sizes exactly right can be a bit of a gamble as if the sleeper ends are short the timber shoulder can split off. An advantage with bar is that it is lighter, so easier to work.

Ex ED.
 

HAUTE SAONE

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2014, 8:02pm

Thanks again, I can see the advantage/disadvantage in both methods, I've got both good metal/welding facilities as well as woodworking. I can see the advantage of grooving sleepers to take the flat bar rail. I've got experience of Masaranduba timber from South America, very hard and dense (it's so heavy it doesn't float) I can see that setting up to cut off lengths as required and a jig to gauge slots accurately could be a good way to go with the right diameter router cutter or a properly set up radial arm saw and jig would ensure accuracy and speed of production, thanks for the ideas. Above the sleeper what should be the height to the top (running surface) of the rail?
 

Xz

Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 17

Replies: 244

Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2014, 10:44pm

It must depend to some extent on the density of the timber you use but as long as you have enough proud to be able to arrange check rails etc. through point-work, and the rail is secure that should suffice. Flanges are usually less than 1/4" (6mm)but there should be no need to bury the rails anywhere that deep.
 

rogerbrown

Joined: 1-01-85

Topics: 6

Replies: 35

Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2014, 11:33pm

There is also another method if you use flat bottom section rail which in my mind is better and that is to use tapered girder washers to hold the rail down and then using gash point hex head screws to hold the washer in place. One of our members who has a garden railway using the 3ib a yard rail just uses the track screws to hold the rail in place in the same way as you were to use a dog spike or elastic spike as is often used on larger narrow gauge railways. My objection to welding steel ties to the rail is that you are hindering the ability fro it to expand along its length and when it expands it has to go somewhere, either sideways or upwards. I would recommend visiting other railways and see how they do it and then have a chat with them to find out if they have had any issues.

Regards

Roger Brown
Member 1066
 

Xz

Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 17

Replies: 244

Posted: Tue 14th Jan 2014, 11:03am

Roger, there's no need to strap right across, unless you have recurring gauge issues, a short 50-75mm section under each rail/bar is quite sufficient, and uses a lot less material, even if it does require more cutting and drilling.
 

Mick

Joined: 1-01-89

Topics: 7

Replies: 114

Posted: Sat 18th Jan 2014, 11:44am

Re: slotted sleepers. I do not recommend this method. At the Abbeydale Miniature Railway (Sheffield SMEE)we initially constructed track like this using a horizontal milling machine with cutters set permanently at the correct gauge. There are two main disadvantages, firstly the sleeper ends are weakened by the slotting and any derailment ( or someone daft enough to drive a car over the track!)snaps off the end, allowing the bar rail to move outwards. Secondly, replacing a sleeper if damaged means having to dig it out of the ballast to remove it,rather than just slipping it out, so the ballast under that sleeper is disturbed and needs very careful packing for it to do its job. A further consideration is that using flat bar on edge is not good for wheel profiles if you are using cast iron wheels which will soon start to show wear if you run intensively. We now use 27mm flat bottom rail of correct profile on recycled plastic sleepers held down with screws and washers from Cromar White - there are other suppliers too. I've found a photo which shows both styles of track at Abbeydale before final replacement of the slotted sleepers and steel bar.Good luck!
Re: slotted sleepers. I do not recommend this method. At the Abbeydale Miniature Railway (Sheffield SMEE)we initially constructed track like this using a horizontal milling machine with cutters set permanently at the correct gauge. There are two main disadvantages, firstly the sleeper ends are weakened by the slotting and any derailment ( or someone daft enough to drive a car over the track!)snaps off the end, allowing the bar rail to move outwards. Secondly, replacing a sleeper if damaged means having to dig it out of the ballast to remove it,rather than just slipping it out, so the ballast under that sleeper is disturbed and needs very careful packing for it to do its job. A further consideration is that using flat bar on edge is not good for wheel profiles if you are using cast iron wheels which will soon start to show wear if you run intensively. We now use 27mm flat bottom rail of correct profile on recycled plastic sleepers held down with screws and washers from Cromar White - there are other suppliers too. I've found a photo which shows both styles of track at Abbeydale before final replacement of the slotted sleepers and steel bar.Good luck!
 

HAUTE SAONE

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Sat 18th Jan 2014, 1:28pm

Thanks Xz, Roger & Mick for the replies and combined wisdom. Of course starting out must always be difficult though I do have an engineering bent and quite a lot of experience in ground works. In my case I'm restricted by the size of the property and ultimately only a few hundred metres of track can be laid so cost won't be too great and it might be best to go for flat bottom rail on the basis that it's best to do it once and do it right? Although this is a personal project and my place is deep into rural France it would be nice to be able to offer fellow enthusiasts to drop by and use the track and I have noticed that so many tracks seem to have a third rail to cater for the 5 inch gauge. Although I'm planning to start with an electric locomotive it would be nice to add a live steam one at a later date
 

Mick

Joined: 1-01-89

Topics: 7

Replies: 114

Posted: Sat 18th Jan 2014, 1:36pm

I'm glad we have been able to help. As far as dual gauge is concerned, the inclusion of 5" gauge is an historical fact in many clubs such as ours. Quite frankly, I would avoid it! The extra cost of a third rail and the difficulty of making dual gauge pointwork just in case someone might want to use it sometime in the future is simply not worth it.
 

HAUTE SAONE

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Sat 18th Jan 2014, 2:51pm

Thanks Mick, I didn't really think about the added complications especially regarding points etc, as a novice it will be best for me to keep to simplicity re the track and put my efforts into establishing something interesting within my rather challenging (differing levels) site
 

johnnicholson

Joined: 1-01-77

Topics: 12

Replies: 69

Posted: Sat 18th Jan 2014, 9:03pm

Three points from the above posts. Running on a proper rail certainly does give a different ride but cost may determine what you use. Secondly at Millerbeck light railway we have used the wood slotted sleeper method for over 20 years but the point about the sleeper ends being weakened is correct. Thirdly a lot of miniature railways have moved over to using sleepers made from recycled plastic and I do hear good reports. In fact the website today of the FFestiniog Railway (2 foot gauge) has taken delivery of a load of plastic sleepers for the use under points in the new track layout at Harbour station.

One tip when laying track is to get hold of an old mirror about 350 mm square and mount on a base such that the mirror is at 45 degrees to the track. When this is placed on the track and you down into the mirror it will show you every hump and hollow on the track. Make a simple poker (podger) for compressing the ballast under the track. Last point select your ballast stone with care - it is better with sharp edges so that each stone locks against another to make a solid roadbed. Round stones continue moving under the sleepers.

John Nicholson
 

MartynRedfearn

Joined: 1-01-94

Topics: 16

Replies: 107

Posted: Sun 19th Jan 2014, 10:02pm

At Brighouse and Halifax ME we have moved on to plastic sleepers, staring with recycled but now also PNP.  It looked like recycled would be cheaper than PNP's purpose made sleepers, but when we did the maths they are very similarly priced.  Colin Edmondson does a very good book on point making, available on Ebay.  No connection with either PNP or Colin other than satisfied customer of both.
At Brighouse and Halifax ME we have moved on to plastic sleepers, staring with recycled but now also PNP. It looked like recycled would be cheaper than PNP's purpose made sleepers, but when we did the maths they are very similarly priced. Colin Edmondson does a very good book on point making, available on Ebay. No connection with either PNP or Colin other than satisfied customer of both.
 

MartynRedfearn

Joined: 1-01-94

Topics: 16

Replies: 107

Posted: Sun 19th Jan 2014, 10:06pm

The photo on my first reply shows recycled sleepers and this one the PNP sleepers are under Spuggy
The photo on my first reply shows recycled sleepers and this one the PNP sleepers are under Spuggy
 

HauteSaoneFrance

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Wed 22nd Jan 2014, 4:53pm

A scheme for track construction, opinion and advice sought, Thanks in advance. Reason for choosing this method, workshop available here UK with plenty of room for constructing 6 m lengths including curves, mig welding, rolling, metal cutting and drilling all on hand, an existing supply of timber for sleepers being 'Masaranduba' a very hard dense timber with a reputed 25 year life so it won't rot and needs no protection. Transport to location (France) and handling is no problem, finally cost. The scheme is to use 30 X 12 black flat bar for rail welded to a single cross member being 30 X 5 flat of 258 mm length which will give a projection to both outer ends of 25mm the height from sleeper to rail running surface will be 35 mm as is 3 kg steel flat bottom rail, the idea of one flat bar as a transverse member is that it's less work than fabricating 2 plates and solves the keeping in gauge problem, the transverse bar sits on a conventional wooden sleeper and fixed to it by a coachbolt and a washer to allow for it to slide on the sleeper surface. Fishplates can be fabricated from 16 X 5 flat or 20 X 5 but would the latter be too high for the inside edge of the locomotive wheels? 2 more questions, I'm assuming gauge is measured to the inner running surface of the rails? What is recommended sleeper spacing and length of each sleeper?
 

Xz

Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 17

Replies: 244

Posted: Wed 22nd Jan 2014, 7:54pm

Quite often when using flat bar fishplates are only fitted to the outside so as not to obstruct the flange. If fitting to both sides then allow 6 -5 mm for flange depth.
 

HauteSaoneFrance

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Sat 17th May 2014, 4:32pm

The Haut Saone garden railway, I'm still planning the reality will be later this year but even then a very modest start on the lower and less challenging level of my site, but thanks to all on here who have already replied to previous questions things are beginning to fall into place, here are some of the salient points:-

It's a garden railway for private amusement certainly no commerciality is proposed nor hauling of other than very small numbers of passengers.

Although I'm of the age that when I was young steam was king I think I will probably stick with diesel/electric replicas though never say never? My first loco now on order with CMD is a petrol hydraulic 0-4-0 Knight class shunter

GRADIENTS - Done a preliminary site survey with key spot levels, to eventually join lower and higher levels together I can't see that a 1 in 25 gradient can be bettered and on other parts of the higher level of the site 1 in 50 and even that is going to require quite a bit of excavation to achieve, fortunately I've got some good earth moving equipment and enough space to deal with displaced ground.

RADIUSES - thinking about going for a 'standard' 8 metre as going to use bar stock to produce the track and after reading Colin Edmondson's excellent book on building points (thank you Colin) it seems to make sense to keep to a standard with a good bench jig set up for straight, curves and points? I can do this in 'workshop' rather than on site.

Any comments especially welcome from members now that I have been able to establish some parameters.
 

MartynRedfearn

Joined: 1-01-94

Topics: 16

Replies: 107

Posted: Sat 17th May 2014, 5:51pm

1:25 should make a challenging gradient but as you are running for yourself you can limit the load accordingly. Keeping a big radius will also help. Remember in terms of earth moving you can use what you take out to lift the bed as well.

It will be a challenge track, hopefully you will have visitors.
 

HauteSaoneFrance

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Sun 1st Jun 2014, 3:59pm

I'm about to start making up some track using 30 X 12 flat bar welded to 250mm 50 X 5 the latter being an overkill I know but I've go 180 metres of it. First job is to make up about 120 metres of straight track in 6 m lengths I'm taking the advice of Colin Edmondson (thanks Colin) and going to get some 4 pin gauge plates profiled to keep everything accurate. Next job is to make up some curves to an 8 metre radius and it looks like the gauge should be widened by 1mm, It seem very little is this correct for that radius? I want to make sure before getting extra gauge plates profiled
 

Xz

Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 17

Replies: 244

Posted: Sun 1st Jun 2014, 8:06pm

There is far to much worry about things like gauge, and gauge widening, an that is not to say that it should get no consideration at all. If you are using Narrow Gauge profiles then you have considerably more leeway than if you are thinking of Std. gauge. Think about the width of the wheel tread; will that cope with the extra width that you are contemplating? With Narrow gauge, almost certainly. The danger with gauge widening is that the wheels MAY try to drop between the rails if you apply too much, or the flanges bind if too little. Just use common(?) sense, and think about your end-purpose.
 

HauteSaoneFrance

Joined: 2-01-14

Topics: 27

Replies: 91

Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 1:01pm

Thanks all for the replies, being very new to the terminology and practicality I'm still unsure about a few things:

The difference between Narrow Gauge and Standard gauge, is it just in respect of the wheel profile?

Also a bit baffling is the description of 'Minimal' gauge I'm assuming this is to do with the width of a loco or rolling stock, is there a recommendation for 'standard' width? Does 'minimal' mean exceeding this? I see from photo's that there can be enormous difference in the physical size of loco's whilst all running on 7.1/4 track.

Sorry to ask so many questions
 

MartynRedfearn

Joined: 1-01-94

Topics: 16

Replies: 107

Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 3:28pm

Standard means you have modeled a prototype that started life as 4' 8 1/2" gauge which is 1.5/2 to foot

Narrow gauge your prototype ran on track less than 4' 8.5" scales vary but can be 1/3 full size, example of narrow gauge track Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland running 1' 11 1/2" gauge.

Minimal is really 12" to the foot, ie you have built it to run a real railway in 7 1/4" without the restrictions of scaling a model, although so are. This is based on Sir Arthur Heywood's 15” 'minimum' gauge but taken a stage further in 7 1/4
 

MartynRedfearn

Joined: 1-01-94

Topics: 16

Replies: 107

Posted: Mon 2nd Jun 2014, 3:39pm

These 3 give you a rough idea, Victoria, although based on a narrowgauge prototype could be described minimal, Sir Galahad is a narrow gauge mallet, and the black engine is a B1 standard gauge loco, the photos had been roughly scaled to show relative sizes.

Wheel and track standard for narrow and standard gauges are available here on this web site.
These 3 give you a rough idea, Victoria, although based on a narrowgauge prototype could be described minimal, Sir Galahad is a narrow gauge mallet, and the black engine is a B1 standard gauge loco, the photos had been roughly scaled to show relative sizes.

Wheel and track standard for narrow and standard gauges are available here on this web site.
 
 
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