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Here are some pics guys of the different chairs, switch and crossing chairs needed for bullhead points.

There are slide chairs that the switch rails move on,

Bridge chairs

Check chairs

Crossing chairs

Switch chairs

The point sleepers are wider than plain track sleepers and need to be cut to lenght

 

 

Rich,

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Anyone can do it Anto the time and the patience are the biggest factors involved,there are so many different products available from the trade that make it so much easier. There used to be a lot of snobbery involved in finescale track building that has thankfully been eradicated from the hobby through groups like this. you don't have to necessarily build your track to 21mm standards as it can be built to 16.5 as well. Let me know when you have time as I am sure it is a premium for you at the moment.

 

I thought a nice piece of bullhead rail might be nice for you to display your work on as it is very common on the network but not available from Peco.

If you are to busy I will build a panel for you and we'll sort something out with getting it to Casa Anto.

 

Rich,

 

I'm watching with great interest too Rich, I would probably stick to 16.5mm but it looks so good when it's done right that I don't notice the narrowness of it anymore.

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Flatbottom rail was/is more or less the standard throughout the World with the exception of the UK where Bullhead was the standard from the mid 1800s up to the 1960s. In the early days there was a lot of experimentation with rail profiles until most railways settled on Vignoles or Flatbottom and Bullhead rail in cast iron chairs on cross sleepers.

 

The original idea behind bullhead was a double headed rail that could be turned over and re-used when the running surface became worn, two years ago I was amazed to find a siding laid with such rail still in use in South island.

 

 

 

Typical Bullhead track before extension of DART to Greystones.

 

 

 

Traditional Irish FB track with the rail supported on cast iron baseplates with Fangbolt fixing through sleepers. The slide chairs support the moving part of the point blades.

 

This system was used on most main and secondary lines, on some branchs and secondary lines like the SLNCR the rails were spiked directly to the sleepers with baseplates and fang bolts sometimes used at the joints and every 4- 5th sleeper.

 

 

 

Modern FB wooden sleepers with pandrol fixings Crew Curve Shrewsbury.

 

None of the British track systems quite capture the look of Irish flatbottom track traditional or modern. I use soldered construction with pcb sleepers.

 

I never had much success with solder paint so I apply paste or liquid flux to the joint between rail & sleeper with a small brush then introduce a tiny bead of solder which flows into the joint by capillary action. It takes a bit of practice but becomes surprisingly fast.

 

 

 

John

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Edited by Mayner

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Gareth would having a crack at building some track appeal to you. I would be delighted to offer you some of the ingredients and post them to you. Or if you are ever down this neck of the woods you would be more than welcome to come to my home and have a chat and some grub and build some track.

 

Rich,

Many thanks Rich for the kind offer we will meet up at some stage and i look forward to it. i am game for this and after myself and Anto got up close and personal to Adavoyle at the SDMRC (many thanks to Paul and Joe) a while back it was amazing how realistic the track looked.

I would probably stick to 16.5mm as it could be used in the future (i dont own a lay-out Anthony is kind enough to test run my builds) and i will probably never convert to 21mm but who knows i can be a man for all seasons.The goodies you show for building track look interesting but dont post them to me i will buy my own and take it from there as stuff is expensive and you will need it in the future.As Anto has asked if you and the other gents who have built track give us guys info on the components etc it will educate us and also stir an interest in this for others to may be have a go.

Regards Gareth.

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I can't add anymore to what John has said in his post as it pretty much sums up everything. Here are a few pics of some bullhead rail in the UK. The key would be hammered in to hold the rail in place.

 

 

Rich,

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Many thanks Rich for the kind offer we will meet up at some stage and i look forward to it. i am game for this and after myself and Anto got up close and personal to Adavoyle at the SDMRC (many thanks to Paul and Joe) a while back it was amazing how realistic the track looked.

I would probably stick to 16.5mm as it could be used in the future (i dont own a lay-out Anthony is kind enough to test run my builds) and i will probably never convert to 21mm but who knows i can be a man for all seasons.The goodies you show for building track look interesting but dont post them to me i will buy my own and take it from there as stuff is expensive and you will need it in the future.As Anto has asked if you and the other gents who have built track give us guys info on the components etc it will educate us and also stir an interest in this for others to may be have a go.

Regards Gareth.

 

It's not as expensive as you might think Gareth if you are starting from scratch. If people want to stay with 16.5mm track and want bullhead rail. You can buy track panels from the P4 Track Co that have pips on the sleepers so that you only need to place the chairs over the pips (the chairs have holes in the bases for this purpose) hold it in place with a tweezer or your finger and run some Butanone around the edges of the chair. Capillary action will let the Butanone bond the sleeper to the rail for life. It's always best to thread the chairs onto the rails before bonding them to the sleepers.

 

I know I said that I would start a build today as a way of demonstrating how I do it but something came up and it will be After Monday before I can begin. I promise that I will post up some pics and tips as I go along. Like the King said a little less conversation a little more action, and believe me guys there is way more truth in that song title about me than I could ever deny. Gareth the pics of the bogie flats will be sent tonight mate.

 

Rich,

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Here are some pics guys of some 5foot 3 inch CWR on concrete sleepers. The rails are held in place by pandrol clips.

 

Rich,

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Some bullhead Points in Clonmel and the associated machinery that operates the switch rails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permission was granted for all pics that were taken on site.

 

Rich,

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Clonmel Station and Signal Cabin July 23 2009 008.jpg

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Right guys some pics of just some of the components available through the trade.

 

P4 Track Co 4 bolt chair

 

 

P4 Track Co 4 bolt fishplate these act as insulation also as well as being cosmetic

 

 

Some of the sleepers that I have colored and weathered slightly. Each sleeper is uniquely weathered and no two are ever the same. The sleepers around the mechanical area of the points will be weathered to give an oily greasy like finish. Sleepers that are usually under where a loco stops will be weathered with gunmetal to give an oily sheen. All keys on the chairs should face the same way, although I have seen the keys facing each other where two pieces of bullhead are locked by the fishplates.

 

 

A weathered sleeper with 4 bolt chairs. I will dry brush the sleepers with some silver paint very lightly as sometimes timber that has been weathered by the elements can take on a silvery grey hue. I paint the chairs and rails a mixture of raw umber, burnt umber, burnt sienna, and raw sienna depending on which rails see more traffic. I have seen some interesting new weathering products for painting rusty rails from Woodland Scenics and I might invest in some to try it out, as it is always nice to find a product or alternative that is designed specifically for one purpose that actually does what it states it can do.

 

 

A weathered sleeper with pandrol clips for using flat bottom track on wooden sleepers

 

 

Some P4 Track Co Concrete sleeper panels. Each pack contains enough for 2 meters of track. I will split these panels in the center of the sleeper for 5 foot 3 inch rail, cut off the webbing, and bond it to my template. When it is bonded I add some ABS to fill in the gap in the width of the sleeper. Trials and experiments have been successful with this method so I will proceed with this method myself.

 

 

I will upload more when I have more time guys.

 

Rich,

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This website is well worth a look if you are interested in hand built track http://www.handlaidtrack.com they have some excellent tutorial videos on how to use their products. They are aimed at the H0 and N market but some of their tools can be used by 00 modellers such as the filing jigs. One of the tutorial videos describes and shows exactly the method for soldering rails to copper clad sleepers that Mayner described in his last post.

 

Rich,

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Here are some jigs for filing switch blades and vees. The vees can be inserted into the jig once they are ready for soldering and clamped into the jig to make soldering a breeze. I haven't mentioned this yet but I am using steel bullhead and flatbottom rail as I find nickle silver doesn't have that steel look to it that you see on the prototype. I will be using steel wheels as well after seeing a layout with steel track and steel wheels on the rolling stock at a Scalefour Society show a few years ago and it just looked right and it doesn't get half as messy of cruddy as nickle silver does. The majority of the traders now advise people to use steel rail or Hi Ni rail which has less nickle in it.

 

The P4 Track Co only sell steel rail now. How they engineer this stuff amazes me it just looks so realistic. I will post some pics of the rail if I get a chance tomorrow.

 

 

 

Rich,

track filing jigs.jpg

track filing jigs.jpg

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Some more prototype track at Waterford West. This is a crossing using flat bottom rail on wooden sleepers.

 

 

 

The approach roads at the throat of Plunkett Waterford taken at Waterford West. You can see the heavier wooden sleepers on the points in the foreground when compared to the wooden sleepers on the plain track in the center road. The furthest road is a combination of CWR on concrete sleepers to the beginning of the switch. The switch itself is a continuation of the flat bottom rail on wooden sleepers. There is a fair bit of variety in that shot alone and it is common all over the network, except maybe on high speed main lines where crossovers and switches now tend to be a combination of flat bottom rail on concrete sleepers. These new switches tend to arrive on site fully built and are laid as is.

 

 

 

This final shot is of the same roads taken from a different angle. You can see the amount of oil and grease around the mechanical part of the switch.

 

 

 

Rich,

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I can't add anymore to what John has said in his post as it pretty much sums up everything. Here are a few pics of some bullhead rail in the UK. The key would be hammered in to hold the rail in place.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]1406[/ATTACH]

 

Rich,

 

 

 

Rich would you have a picture like the one above but with flat bottom rail

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Rich would you have a picture like the one above but with flat bottom rail

 

I'll have a butchers through the collection Anto and stick one up. Did you get that email I sent.

 

Rich,

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Yes mate got it I've been out all day so will get a look soon. Thanks for that :tumbsup:

 

Glad to hear it. Here are dimensional detailed drawings of bullhead and flat bottom rail. It probably says more in a picture than it would in words.

 

 

 

Rich,

bullhead flatbottom rail.jpg

bullhead flatbottom rail.jpg

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John, could I ask you a question about flat bottom track. As I understood it, mainly judging from photos and what I observed from the 80s onwards, the practice of laying flat bottom track on chairs began in the 60s when CIE moved from bullhead to flat bottom rail. When the Midland laid track, it was all flat bottom and it fixed it straight to the sleepers, American style, or possibly used a small clip but no chair. Is that right? Sidings everywhere seem to have been laid with lighter flat bottom rail spiked directly to the sleepers.

 

I'm also wondering about the pointwork. There's no sign of either a set or a joggle in that turnout. Have you any idea what the Irish railways' practice was on the subject? (For anyone else reading this, a “set” is a kink in the diverging rail of a turnout, at an angle of about 20 degrees. The switch rail sits against the set, so that the end of the blade does not stick out into the 5 foot where it would get hit by the wheels of stock running straight through the turnout. A joggle is a kink in the rail to achieve the same result. Some of the stuff you read on the subject can be contradictory or incomplete, but this is worth a look: http://www.templot.com/martweb/gs_realtrack.htm#joggle

 

Rich, I like the pictures of Clonmel, particularly Irish Rail's approach to bolting down chairs. (Sure what would we do that for?)

 

Would both of you mind if I downloaded your track photos? I've very little on the subject myself. Also, would you have any pictures of the through timbering on a crossover between two running lines?

 

John, I note your practice of just letting the solder flow into a well fluxed joint using capillary action. I may give that a try. I was just following old metalwork rules which say, flux, tin and sweat together. (Tinning, for anyone reading this and scratching their heads, is putting a small bit of solder onto the 2 surfaces to be joined, and sweating is heating the metal until the solder that's already been applied melts.)

 

3 things to note about bullhead rail, for anyone interested. 1, the chunkier part goes at the top, because this is the part that gets worn down by the wheels - so the rail always looks like it's upside down. 2, the metal clips in Rich's picture are probably post 1960, before that wooden 'keys' were used to hold the rail in place. C&L and P4 Track Co chairs have wooden keys. 3, the GNR used 3 bolt chairs, while the GSWR / GSR / CIE used a 4 bolt pattern (though I suspect used panels from both could be relaid anywhere on the system after 1958 – I think I've seen photos of the sidings at Limerick Junction laid with GNR bullhead panels, and possibly of Drogheda-Navan with GSR panels.)

 

Alan

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Some curveball questions Alan

 

John, could I ask you a question about flat bottom track. As I understood it, mainly judging from photos and what I observed from the 80s onwards, the practice of laying flat bottom track on chairs began in the 60s when CIE moved from bullhead to flat bottom rail. When the Midland laid track, it was all flat bottom and it fixed it straight to the sleepers, American style, or possibly used a small clip but no chair. Is that right? Sidings everywhere seem to have been laid with lighter flat bottom rail spiked directly to the sleepers.

 

 

The cast iron baseplate used by both CIE and the GNR with flatbottom rail may date back to the amalgamation or earlier. The railways tended to gradually upgrade its pw and spiked track was gradually updated with baseplates and fangbolts. There are photos of this type of track on lines that closed before the 1960s like the Irish North Western, Cavan & Leitrim and West Cork. Track may be bolted down or spiked directly to the sleepers and the fixings are practically invisible in 4mm scale and difficult to distinguish in photographs.

 

I'm also wondering about the pointwork. There's no sign of either a set or a joggle in that turnout. Have you any idea what the Irish railways' practice was on the subject? (For anyone else reading this, a “set” is a kink in the diverging rail of a turnout, at an angle of about 20 degrees. The switch rail sits against the set, so that the end of the blade does not stick out into the 5 foot where it would get hit by the wheels of stock running straight through the turnout. A joggle is a kink in the rail to achieve the same result. Some of the stuff you read on the subject can be contradictory or incomplete, but this is worth a look: http://www.templot.com/martweb/gs_realtrack.htm#joggle

 

Its basically impossible to form a joggle in Flatbottom rail its difficult enough to curve FB to a small radius, basically a section of the foot and web of the stock rail is ground back to allow the switch to seat properly, I have a feeling that the stock rail is no longer joggled in BH P&C work

 

Rich, I like the pictures of Clonmel, particularly Irish Rail's approach to bolting down chairs. (Sure what would we do that for?)

 

Generally a single pair of chair screws or fangbolts are all thats needed to keep everything in line on low traffic low speed lines like most in lines in Ireland.

 

Would both of you mind if I downloaded your track photos? I've very little on the subject myself. Also, would you have any pictures of the through timbering on a crossover between two running lines?

 

John, I note your practice of just letting the solder flow into a well fluxed joint using capillary action. I may give that a try. I was just following old metalwork rules which say, flux, tin and sweat together. (Tinning, for anyone reading this and scratching their heads, is putting a small bit of solder onto the 2 surfaces to be joined, and sweating is heating the metal until the solder that's already been applied melts.)

 

 

Its probably easier not to tin, there is a real risk of de-laminating pcb sleepers due to excessive heat, If you really want a challenge try the Brassmasters 75lb FB baseplates http://www.brassmasters.co.uk/track_details.htm

 

3 things to note about bullhead rail, for anyone interested. 1, the chunkier part goes at the top, because this is the part that gets worn down by the wheels - so the rail always looks like it's upside down. 2, the metal clips in Rich's picture are probably post 1960, before that wooden 'keys' were used to hold the rail in place. C&L and P4 Track Co chairs have wooden keys. 3, the GNR used 3 bolt chairs, while the GSWR / GSR / CIE used a 4 bolt pattern (though I suspect used panels from both could be relaid anywhere on the system after 1958 – I think I've seen photos of the sidings at Limerick Junction laid with GNR bullhead panels, and possibly of Drogheda-Navan with GSR panels.)

 

Alan

 

The PW engineers tnd to be great horders and used to save good quality material for possible re-use around the network, cahair and baaseplates ted to outlive rail by a considerable margin. IE did a very nice job in relaying a section of the DSER main line in the 1990s using heavy FB rail laid on GNR baseplates with Elastic Spikes on wooden sleepers classical 1950s state of the art technology .

 

Have fun

 

John

Edited by Mayner

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Some more pics of flat bottom and bullhead rail.

 

This is some flat bottom on wooden sleepers attached to base plates by a single bolt at Waterford West.

 

 

 

This is a stranges mix of flat bottom and bullhead rail on wooden sleepers on a point at Waterford West.

 

 

 

This is some bullhead rail fixed to concrete sleepers at Waterford Plunkett.

 

 

 

Rich,

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Alan please feel free to download any of my pics as it's only right that we share what we have with each other. The amount of information that is available to the group from those members who give it freely is why this group is special. It is also a place of learning, and I have learned so much myself from information posted here by all our members. There is no showboating or boasting on here only sharing and giving, I love it.

 

Rich,

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Then the switch rails / point blades. The template shows where the blade begins to taper. Use a permanent marker to mark this on the rail itself. Clamp one end of a piece of rail onto a piece of chipboard. File the other end of the rail to remove the web gradually and get a flat edge at the end. Turn it over. Bend it flat. You now have a straight rail with the web removed. This is the inside face of the switch rail. The wheel flanges will run against it. Clamp again and file the other side. File right down to an acute wedge shape. This is the outer side of the blade. Lift it up. Check against the template. Clamp again. Keep going until it's right. File off the top point of the wedge – don't want the wheels hitting the toe of the turnout.When it's finished, cut the far end to the correct length. (Or use a cutting disk, cut it a bit long, and file it down to the correct length.)

 

For the curved switch rail, repeat the process. Then bend the rail to shape. Then cut.

 

 

 

Attaching the track.

 

Solder the common crossing (vee) in place, relying on the template. That is, clean, flux and solder it. Next solder the straight stock rail. (That's the outer rail on the straight road.) Use the track gauge to get it the right distance from the point rail.

 

I put a joggle in the straight rail where the blades are housed. (As John points out above, you don't do this for flat bottom track. Use a rebate instead – ie, file a bit of the rail away to provide a housing for the blades to lie in out of the way where they won't get hit by passing wheels.) Some companies joggled their turnouts and some didn't. I haven't found out yet what the GSWR did.

 

I didn't think to put a set in the curved stock rail until too late. One for next time.

 

Now the straight wing rail. Gauge it off the straight stock rail. Use a flangeway gauge to ensure adequate flangeway. Use a steel rule to ensure it follows through in line from the point rail, otherwise wheels running through will hit the nose of the common crossing and derail.

 

img 210

 

 

 

img 211

 

 

 

Notice that I did the diverging wing rail first. Bad idea. There's nothing to gauge it against until the diverging stock rail goes in.

 

Solder the diverging stock rail in place. Just do it lightly for now. 4 or 5 joins will be enough. Check the gauge at each end. The gauge in the middle will be gauged along with the switch rail, so the middle is not fixed at this stage.

 

There's a bit of a gap in the photo record at this stage. I'll get some better pics on the next one. It was about this time that I realised I'd left out some of the holes for the check rails. The options were to go back and restart, or push on as far as I could and see how things work. I decided to push on. This is only a test run, after all.

 

I decided to make the closure rails and switch rails in one piece, so the next thing to do was to lay the straight one, gauged off the straight stock rail.

 

Repeat for the curved line. Put roughly in place first. Then finish soldering the diverging stock rail. Then finish soldering the diverging closure / switch rail.

 

Next the check rail. Out with the P4 Roger Saunders gauge to make sure there's wheel clearance through the crossing and check rails. Adjust the wing rails to make sure everything lines up. The great thing with solder is, if the joint has worked, you can melt it and realign it a little to get it right.

 

The end result is something like this. It's missing one wing rail, missing any point actuation device, and missing any wiring or electrical switches, but it's basically a set of points (almost).

 

img237

 

 

 

Comments?

 

1, Try not to burn the sleepers when soldering: it's not railwaylike.

2, Make sure you've got all the rails you need, all the holes you need, all the sleepers you need, and everything else: make a checklist.

3, Don't attach the switch rails so close to the end: they need more room to flex. Bear that in mind when soldering everything, and make sure to gauge the stock rail off the switch rail for the flexi bit.

4, Why is the wing rail sitting lower than the running rail. Ah, it's because of the tinning. Take John's advice and don't tin. Just make sure to flux well.

 

img350 - img353

 

 

 

Verdict

 

I ran a vernier calipers over the whole thing and it's in gauge. At least, as much of it as I've completed is within P4 tolerances. Calls for a minor celebration. Grab a Lima box van with P4 wheels and run it through. Over. Back. Over. Back. OK, now you're just playing trains.

 

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Stage 2 will be 1.2m, double track, bullhead, with B6 crossover, ballasted, laid on cork. It's under way at the moment and I'll post it in due course.

 

Alan

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John,

 

Thanks for the reply. Sorry about the curveballs. That's what comes from having guru status (or was that someone else?).

 

I'm afraid I asked the wrong question. I was forgetting that flat bottom rail gets a rebate, rather than a joggle, if it gets anything at all.

 

I had seen the Brassmasters fb baseplates and was glad I wasn't trying to model the 70s or 80s. After seeing Rich's trouble with concrete sleepers, I think I'm glad I'm not trying anything more up to date either.

 

I had thought the Irish North West had been relaid with bullhead at some time before closure. I must go back and look at some more pics to see what Great Northern flatbottom was like.

 

Two bolts being sufficient makes sense, and explains why the GWR used 2 bolt chairs. It makes the 3 and 4 bolt patterns look like over-engineering. I do think I remember most of the holes being bolted on running lines.

 

The most remarkable track I've seen is modern flat bottom on wooden sleepers held with pandrol clips. It seems like far too complex an arrangement.

 

I'll take your advice about tinning and see how I get on.

 

 

Rich,

 

Those are great trackwork photos and thanks for the permission. The bullhead on concrete sleepers seems like a classic. How did they attach the chairs to the sleepers?

 

 

Alan

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Alan the credit and all the plaudits you have received and will receive in the future for your work is fully deserved. I can't praise it enough myself. Yourself and John have produced the goods on every occasion and both of your tutorials are concise and easy to follow. There is no easy way to build track unless you purchases all the switch rails and common crossings machined and fully assembled, whether it is in a kit or from the trade. I made a few horrendous looking common crossing in the beginning and they are in a landfill site now.

 

Please keep the tutorials coming and thank you for everything you have already contributed thus far. The same sentiments apply equally for John, well done guys =D.

 

Rich,

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John,

 

Thanks for the reply. Sorry about the curveballs. That's what comes from having guru status (or was that someone else?).

 

I'm afraid I asked the wrong question. I was forgetting that flat bottom rail gets a rebate, rather than a joggle, if it gets anything at all.

 

I had seen the Brassmasters fb baseplates and was glad I wasn't trying to model the 70s or 80s. After seeing Rich's trouble with concrete sleepers, I think I'm glad I'm not trying anything more up to date either.

 

I had thought the Irish North West had been relaid with bullhead at some time before closure. I must go back and look at some more pics to see what Great Northern flatbottom was like.

 

Two bolts being sufficient makes sense, and explains why the GWR used 2 bolt chairs. It makes the 3 and 4 bolt patterns look like over-engineering. I do think I remember most of the holes being bolted on running lines.

 

The most remarkable track I've seen is modern flat bottom on wooden sleepers held with pandrol clips. It seems like far too complex an arrangement.

 

I'll take your advice about tinning and see how I get on.

 

 

Rich,

 

Those are great trackwork photos and thanks for the permission. The bullhead on concrete sleepers seems like a classic. How did they attach the chairs to the sleepers?

 

 

Alan

 

Great looking point I am thinking of having a go at ply & rivet construction at some stage.

 

I have worked on full size narrow gauge track & we basically follow much the same sequence of assembly working from one side to the other gauging the opposite check rail off the crossing, finally fitting in the gut or closure rails in the gap between the switches and crossing assembly. We even use similar gauges, there is a great sence of releif and achievement when the first loco safely crosses through the turnout.

 

If you are trying to achieve such a high level of accuracy have a look at http://archive.org/stream/railwayconstruc01millgoog#page/n339/mode/2up William Mills the GNR(I) Engineers 1898 text book on Railway Construction.

 

Mills was lucky to have started with a clean slate with the formation of the GNR in the 1870s was able to develop his own standards rather than the GSWR where the Engineers were dealing with an engineering legacy dating from the 1840s.

 

While both the GNR & GSWR used BH on the main lines in tthe early 1900 they were very different the GNR used inside chaired rail like the English Midland, the GSWR seems to have gone straight to outside chaired rail, but while the GNR & Midland introduced large 4-4-0 & 0-6-0 locomotives in the early 1900s without too much drama, the GSWR operating department had to jump through all sorts of hoops to keep it heavy passenger and freight locomotives within acceptable weight limits, including tapered boilers and additional carrying wheels. The GSR spent a lot of time and money in the 1920s rebuilding relatively modern GSWR 4-4-0s with heavier frames and large parrallel boilers.

 

I think the main thing that should not be forgotten is that PW practice does not exist in a vacuum, in the early 1900s the GSWR would still have the odd section of 1840s Bridge Rail in the odd siding or yard, by the 1950s the GNR had largely eliminated inside chaired bullhead from its main lines, though it was still used in stations and on secondary lines, 95lb jointed flatbottom with elastic spike fixings was going in on main lines and 85-90lb flatbottom similar to that used by CIE was going in on secondary lines.

 

Its really worth while seeking out historic photographs, up to the introduction of mechanised track maintenance centre cess drainage was often used in cuttings and away from main lines the sleeper ends were not always "boxed in" with ballat.

 

I recently found a photo of Shankill Station in DWWR days the up road from Bray laid in outside chaired BH, the down road in FB both with centre cess drainage.

 

The main advanatge of the Pandrol Clip and Elastic Spike over traditional spiked or bolted fixings is that it allows the rail to flex under load with less maintenance hammering back loosened spikes and tightening fixings. CIE originally cast concrete sleepers with a wooden insert to accept an elastic spike. Maany of thee leeper ended up in the outh Eatern Coatal defence between Kilcoole and Newcatle

 

I am not sure about Ireland but in the UK GWR chairs with cast in through-bolts were used with Domac sleepered track, which is very popular with preservationists.

Edited by Mayner

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"1, Try not to burn the sleepers when soldering: it's not railwaylike." - I laughed at that and realised I did not understand most of the previous text. I read it twice, and my mind is blown with the additional technical stuff I've yet to grasp. I've printed this thread for the day I have a crac at 21mm. Lads, ye are gold mines, ye should write a book.

 

Richie

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Richie, I think part of the confusion may be because I'm talking about this rail and that rail without providing a clear indication of what bit is what. Here's one now, and I hope it helps (but be careful, because I've mixed up the names of the point rail and the splice rail on the common crossing and can't alter the jpeg without starting again - should be the other way around - duh):

 

b6a

 

 

Mind you, it may not. I find exactly the same problem when I read stuff someone else has written: they're talking about this bit or that bit and the names go straight over my head and just keep going.

 

That's partly why I started building stuff. I had read all I could get my hands on, and I often found my eyes just glazing over and I'd come to the end of the passage and wonder what it all meant. It makes more sense when you've tried it yourself. There's no substitute for actually doing the stuff. I find now that, when I go back and read things I've read before, I'm left thinking, “oh, so that's what he meant.”

 

And, by way of confession, I only figured out properly which rail is which when I wrote the passage above. Now I just hope I can remember them.

 

Talking about trying it yourself, I'm really just posting progress on this workbench so people can see a bit of what it's like to figure it out as you go along. John has maybe 20 years' experience and it really shows in his construction. It's neat and tidy and it looks well. I have burnt sleepers and rivets that are up to 1mm out of line. I have solder joints that fail because I didn't clean them properly or flux them enough. I leave bits out and find I can't put them in later. But I've only 6 months' experience. I'm hoping some people will look at what I'm writing and say to themselves, “I could try that.”

 

And you should.

 

Alan

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John,

 

Thanks for all that. It's fascinating, particularly the thought that you do it the same way for real narrow gauge rail. I missed that on first reading.

 

I have Mills' book open and it's great information. He has a table on the advantages of bullhead over flat bottom rail – better load distribution through the chairs, less wear on sleepers, rail can be changed without disturbing the chairs, easier to bend – yet by the 1950s flat bottom had won out, even without the flexibility of the Pandrol clip.

 

I had thought that the GNR used inside keyed bullhead, but when I looked at my photos it was all outside keyed, so thanks for clearing that up.

 

I really must make it down to the IRRS to see what information they have. Hopefully in September. I also must see if I can look at the Lawrence collection photos – I have a book of them collected as “Transport in Ireland, 1880-1910” published by Transport Research Associates in 1967, and they really do contain a wealth of detail.

 

I'm interested that the GSWR could still have been using bridge rail in sidings in the early 20th century. Most of the sidings I've seen pictures of have light flat bottom rail, and I'm planning to use Code 55 flat bottom rail

 

It's curious that the Midland and GNR could build large 4-4-0s and 0-6-0s while the GSWR couldn't. I must see what I can find out about that.

I had a look at New Ross on Ciaran Cooney's eiretrains.com to see if I could find some DSER bullhead (because the track is still in place northwards to the Barrow Bridge) and sure enough he has a picture of a 1923 DSER bullhead chair and rail. I can't remember when the DWWR got through to Waterford, and changed its name, but I know it was before 1906 when the GSWR made it to Rosslare, so either the New Ross line was relaid about 1923 or it got cascaded DSER rail later. It's interesting though that it was laying bullhead before 1906 near Shankill but by the late 30s parts of the main line in Wexford were still laid with flatbottom rail. (Or else I'm just misremembering photos again.)

 

Thanks again for all the info.

 

 

Alan

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Alan

 

The GSWR built large 4-4-0s the 321 later D2 Class in the early 1900s but had to use very light framing and tapered boilers to keep the axle load down to 16 3/4tons, these engines were later re-built with heavier framing in later GSWR/GSR days and eventually all received large parrallel boilers.

 

The problem was more acute with goods locos the 355 Class 0-6-0s of 1903 were quickly converted into 2-6-0s and the GSWR introduced its first 4-6-0 in 1905 in an attempt to produce a more powerfull locomotive within the 16 ton limit.

 

The problem seems to have been resolved by the time Mansell introduced 341 Sir Basil Goulding in 1913 arguably the best Southern 4-4-0 with an axle load of over 19 tons.

 

The GSWR locos of the early 1900s had a very distinctive modern but elegant styling, distinctive from the archaic styling of the earlier McDonald/Aspinal/Ivatt era and the later re-builds with large parrallel boilers and more modern cabs which largely spoiled their appearance.

 

By contrast by 1903 the MGWR had strengthened the Shannon Bidge at Athlone and upgraded the Dublin-Galway main line to accept an 18 ton axle loading. The time the A "Celtic" Class 4-4-0s & B Class 0-6-0s were the heaviest and most powerfull locos in Ireland. After 1900 the MGWR basically adapated a large engine policy and introduced mixed traffic 4-4-0 & 0-6-0 Classes which could basically go anywhere except the lighter branches and light railway sections.

 

Going back to track although I have a stock of ply sleepers and rivets, I have used PCB for flatbottom and C&L plastic chairs with plastic or ply sleepers for trackk construction.

 

Some local users use a 1:5 ratio of PCB to ply sleepers or varients of the American spiked construction. I do not have a sleeper punch but my local track supplier who models the Lynton & Barnstaple in 7mm has suggetted using the Micromark or NSWL Sensipress.

 

He has also suggested using exhausted ink-jet catridges as a source of sleeper stain using Isopropyl Alchol to extract the remaining ink from the catridge.

 

 

 

Pen-Y-Mount Junction July 2002

 

Work in progress photo of building a turnout in situ to form the crossover between the existing WHHR and the future Welsh Highland Railway main line. The turnout in the distance was supplied assembled in 50lb/Y material the WHHR turnout is in 75lb/Y material once commonly used in British Military sites and Industrial railways.

 

1. Put kettle & frying pan on gas rings.

2. Position the sleepers using a long tape.

3. Position and then screw down the right hand stock, diverging switch and check rails.

4. Cook Fies up large quantity of eggs, bacon, blackpudding, sausages and fried bread

6. Adjust as necessary using crow bars.

7. Position, gauge and temporary screw down diverging stock rail and straight switch assembly.

8. Breckfast/lunch break

9. Measure up, cut, drill, position, gauge and screw down straight closure rail.

10. Check alignment, adjust, pack with ballast and test with loco.

11. Position, gauge and temporary screw down diverging check rail.

12. Measure up, cut, drill, position, curve, and screw down curved closure rail.

13. The interesting bit curve diverging stock and check rails using Jim Crow until the desired radius is achieved.

14. Gauge and screw down diverging stock and check rails.

15. Rough pack crossing timbers.

16. Test with suitable loco or piece of rolling stock.

17. Tea Break and muffins. (If successful otherwise its going to be a very long day/evening/night)

18. Line and lift with rail jacks.

19. Ballast and pack with kango hammers or point and crossing tamper.

20. Clamp and lock switches.

21. Inform Traffic Department work complete and lift posession.

22. Off to Pub :banana:.

Pen-y-Mount Junction.jpg

Pen-y-Mount Junction.jpg

Edited by Mayner

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Nice track work, John. Personally, I think I'd skip straight to the sausages.

 

*

 

At the moment, I'm working on a 1.2 metre test track with a B6 crossing.

 

I'm laying it on cork underlay, loosely attached to a baseboard. The idea is to create a floating track to allow some flexibility, so that it shouldn't be too noisy. I'll experiment with how firmly it needs to be attached.

 

I decided I didn't want a layer of paper between the track and the cork, as this would lose some of the qualities I have the cork for in the first place. Apart from that deviation, the principles are pretty much as set out in Iain Rice's Approach to Building Finescale Track (published by Wild Swan and available here: http://britishrailwaybooks.co.uk/books/wildswanmodelling.php) which is pretty much invaluable and worth every penny.

 

I had to figure out how to get the sleeper spacings from the template to the cork, and this is version 1: cut out around the outside of the sleepers, leave the area between the tracks intact, pin the template down, and mark the edges using an old indelible marker. It works quite well. (If you don't transfer the template to the cork, either the sleeper spacings go wrong, or the alignment.)

 

The board iteslf is perspex and will be braced with aluminium angle, but that's another story.

 

 

Alan

 

 

 

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19 July

 

A few more pictures of work on the test track.

 

Marking out for the turnout.

 

I cut out the sleepers, placed the template in position, then marked where each sleeper was to go. (Don't try to stick the sleepers down with the template in place and then lift the template – the glue under the sleepers will leak out and stick the two together.)

 

img296

 

 

 

Sticking the sleepers to the cork.

 

(Why do I always want to put a capital C on Cork?) I'd got to this stage and a little bit beyond when I realised I had a problem.

 

img 314

 

 

 

You can just see the problem in the right of the picture: in order to get the correct 6 foot way, you can't simply lay 2 turnouts end to end. You have to cut a bit off the diverging stock rail of each, and try to match up where the sleepers lie. You also have to lay a thing I had never heard of: through timbers. These are long timbers spanning both running lines, and the common crossings are laid on them. But how many through timbers should you have, and when should they start.

 

I checked through all my books for a good picture. None. I checked rm-web and the Scalefour website. Nothing. I thought about posting a question, but one of the questions I had read through said, go out and see for yourself, so I thought I'd better try that first. There followed several weeks of peering over bridges and out of moving DARTs, trying to see the through timbers, but they're all hidden in the narrow angles between the diverging and straight rails. Finally, a trip from Grand Canal Dock left a few minutes before a train was due, and I could see a crossover at the north end. A quick jaunt down the southbound platform brought me close, but not quite close enough. I could see, though, that the northbound platform ended on the crossing. Still 6 minutes until the train was due, I hoofed it back down the platform to the footbridge, over and up the northbound, looked at the arrangement, and hared back to catch my train. Long things, platforms.

 

The answer to my question is that the through timbers begin at the point where the timbers of the diverging line meet the timbers of the straight line, and continue to the same point on the other side of the crossover. (Worth highlighting, in case anyone else is wondering.) At Grand Canal Dock the situation is complicated by the fact that there are two crossovers in line. Rather than find timbers to span all 3 lines, Irish Rail just have some of the timbers bolted together, though they're laid out as through timbers.

 

img 315 shows the gap left for sleeper number 4, which will be used as the turnout operating lever. I'll fit cosmetic bars later. Note the numbering of the sleepers, to prevent getting confused as to which is which. I hope that will come off with the rubber. Later, I just relied on positioning and length to avoid having to do this.

 

Next up, the laying of the through timbers. They're a bit shorter than sleepers 1 to 24, because I realised that, when I widened the template for the Irish gauge, I didn't shorten the 'outboard' end of the sleepers. I ended up laying this section twice because I made a mess of the rivet location first time out. (Yet another reason to use P4 Track Co parts.)

 

img340 - img342

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally for now, a picture taken from line level showing the timbering for the full crossover – and cruelly showing up the drunken location of the rivets. This is mainly down to the drill bit sliding on the grain of the plywood as I drill the hole. (It's either that or whiskey, and I LIKE whiskey.) A check with a piece of thread revealed that each rivet should be capable of connecting to the track, so I decided against replacing any of the timbers. Now I just pray I'm right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan

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A bit stuck here for the past few weeks.

 

I'm ready to start laying track on my test track but I need to brace the board I'm building it on, and I can't get time during the day to drill a series of holes. Modelling time is late at night, and I can't use the electric drill for fear of waking up the family and the neighbours. (In fact, a lot of the time, modelling time is becoming work time. I never used to be a workoholic. Oh well - best not to complain - finally off on my Summer hols on Saturday - no more work or modelling for 2 weeks.)

 

So I've been working on converting some wagons to 21mm gauge. Here's the line up:

 

 

 

Working from the right:

 

#1 is an old Lima box van with 21mm W-irons fitted and 12mm 8 spoke wheels painted in Humbrol red oxide. Useful as a first attempt but the irons were either too high or too low. Now they're set too deep so the buffers are too low. I'll redo the underframe in due course the same way as #3, and fit buffers and couplings.

 

#2 is a new Bachmann 5 plank BR open, of similar design to any open. It is mounted on a Palatine Models nickel silver base plate. I had to do a fierce amount of scraping with a craft knife to open the solebar out enough to fit the W irons inside. The Palatine base plate is from P4 stores and very nice: a completely flat base to build an underframe on. I need to fit couplings and build brake gear to finish.

 

#3 is another old Lima box van which I was practising painting and lining on years ago - hence the odd livery. It is sitting on an underframe built on a thick brass plate. Took quite a bit of work to get the plate flat after cutting it with the tin snips and filing to shape, but the end result is quite good. I need to glue the 2 parts together, build couplers and brake gear, add buffers, and repaint to a more prototypical livery.

 

#4 is a modern Bachmann GWR cattle wagon. This was easy to convert, as the bits came apart fairly easily. Then I cut the solebars off the frames, cut the w irons off the solebars, fitted the 21mm w irons and stuck the plastic ones on outside. I'll need to repaint it before use. It's obviously not a GSWR prototype, but it will do to be practising on. Buffers required and perhaps some painting.

 

#5 is the real McCoy, one of Weshty's GSWR convertibles (Mustang and T-bird drivers eat your hearts out!) I'm stuck on this because I realised that white metal is 60% lead (or is it only 40%?) Anyway, it's not to be used around the house because I don't want a 2 year old ingesting the stuff, so completion will have to wait until I have time to work outside and cut off the flash, file off the excess, and use the fibreglass brush to remove the oxidation layer. I soldered it together and it's very nearly square. The soldering was a bit difficult, since I've no temperature control on the iron, so actually it's more like I welded it together. Welding a white metal kit is dodgy, but very strong. I fitted a brass floor plate instead of the plastic one supplied, so the idea is to solder the sides to the floor plate. Disaster struck when the wagon swung around while being melted together: I kept control of the tip of the iron fine, but didn't realise that the end of the wagon was resting against the element of the iron. A bit of a repair job to do there.

 

The best part of this wagon is the underframe, which is sprung. Not too hard to build, but it took a long time to figure out because there were no instructions: apparently most people just build the wagon by attaching the supplied white metal w-irons to the floor plate for a OO model, but I wouldn't fancy my chances of getting those square, and there are some very nice locating holes built into the etch (0.35mm drill bit required). I've told Des I'll do a step by step on the next one, but it'll be a month or more before I get to it, otherwise I'd say 'watch this space.'

 

I'm held up finishing too because this wagon needs 14.2 mm spoked wheels on 28 mm axles and P4 stores are out and Gibsons won't be providing a new set for a few months. However, northyard in New Zealand say they can supply them so I've an order to put in there. (Thanks to John Mayne for that tip.) I'll put Gibson wheels on them. Then I can build up the brake gear: there's all sorts of brake gear bits supplied and I can't figure out which ones to use until I get the correct wheels in. Everything is too interrelated, but I think it'll be a good model when it's finished (apart from the patch on the end.)

 

Then there's proper buffers to be bought and I have to figure out if I can make Alex Jackson couplings. I have some of the jigs for this but the things just look too fine to be practical. Time will tell.

 

Some extra pics of the convertible:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A closer shot of the unfinished convertible and the GWR cattle truck:

 

 

 

Bachmann open and Lima box van:

 

 

 

 

Bachmann open and bauxite Lima box van - the latter down at one end because I couldn't figure out how to get the fixed and floating w irons at the same height:

 

 

 

 

The bauxite box van upside down showing the underframe cut away to accommodate the w irons, which are screwed to the floor of the upper part of the van:

 

 

 

 

Lima box van with brass plate chassis, underframe to be rebuilt to complete (hopefully Weshty's bits will suit), and chassis to be attached:

 

 

 

 

A Bill Bedford jig for making square wagon underframes. Make up 2 w irons, place 28mm axles in them. Clean and flux the w iron and base plate. Put the w irons down on the base plate. Put the jig on top to make sure the wheels are square to one another. I got this from P4 stores. He trades out of mousa.biz as well - some classic arguments in the blog on the website.

 

 

 

 

And finally, the Bachmann open, with underframe on a Palatine Models base plate. Great, easy to solder, possibly a bit expensive when you can just use a piece of brass instead:

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, that's the current state of progress, such as it is. I wrote this seeing as I was making no progress on the actual models last night.

 

I recall a great Iain Rice article that started, "Prawgress. Uz don' get much prawgress roun' 'ere, most wise."

 

Alan

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....P4 stores are out....

 

They seem to be out of quite a few 5'3"-related items. I'm just after having a message from Jeremy saying he thinks he's out of the back-to-back gauges as well (even though the online shop says they're available). Not good if you're wanting to make a start in 21mm.

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They seem to be out of quite a few 5'3"-related items. I'm just after having a message from Jeremy saying he thinks he's out of the back-to-back gauges as well (even though the online shop says they're available). Not good if you're wanting to make a start in 21mm.

 

Jeremy Suter produced some whitemetal wagon kits about 10 years ago including a standard 10T van, GN & NCC container wagons with bread containers, MGWR loco coal and a UTA parcel van all designed for 21mm, it might be worth enquiring if he would be prepared to do a re-run?

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Jeremy Suter produced some whitemetal wagon kits about 10 years ago including a standard 10T van, GN & NCC container wagons with bread containers, MGWR loco coal and a UTA parcel van all designed for 21mm, it might be worth enquiring if he would be prepared to do a re-run?

 

It's not so much the stock, but the basic tools to gauge wheels and rails.... If you can't get those, you can't really get started.

Edited by Horsetan

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