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21mm gauge track; the pros and cons?

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10 minutes ago, GNRi1959 said:

Thought before bedtime.......

We’re fans and followers of Irish Railway and we’re laying OO track. This is wrong, a little bit of effort can change this!

Conversely, the saying "your layout, your choice" comes to mind. Above all else, it's about enjoyment - some people like the finesse of P4 standards, some are happy with OO. It's a broad church and all are welcome. :)

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Everything is on hold at the moment..........

I just can't bring myself to move any further without seriously trying 21mm Irish broad gauge.

Today I looked at the possibility of starting work on some 21mm track for an end to end shunting layout. I just don't want to buy Peco Code 75 streamline and start fixing it on my baseboards. Theres a challenge and real excitement about 21mm and I'm moving in that direction.

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In a moment of inspired madness, I decided to change my little test bench layout to 21mm, and since it's a quayside layout, I'm not going to get all up and flustered over chairs, sleeper spacing and such. It'll be a nice thing to do as I need a 21mm test track for work reasons, I can use code 100, solder the lot together and go with a remote control system instead of dcc. That suits me on every level, and I'm looking forward to the gauges arriving from Scalefour. 

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4 hours ago, GNRi1959 said:

Everything is on hold at the moment..........

I just can't bring myself to move any further without seriously trying 21mm Irish broad gauge.

Today I looked at the possibility of starting work on some 21mm track for an end to end shunting layout. I just don't want to buy Peco Code 75 streamline and start fixing it on my baseboards. Theres a challenge and real excitement about 21mm and I'm moving in that direction.

Whichever way you go will be the right way for you.  It's like swimming in cold water, sometimes cold water is less painful if you make a decision to jump in quickly rather than climbing slowly down the ladder into the cold water inch by inch, some folks even backing out.  Once your in the pool it doesn't feel as cold and you'll never look back be it 21mm or code 75.  You clearly have talent, so whichever way you go should be a success once you eventually get started and stick with it.

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Hand laid track using copper clad construction is a lot cheaper and flexible in design than Peco or other ready to use track systems. Soldered track with copper clad sleepers is very strong and easy to adjust wide or tight spots something that difficult to do with the much more expensive C&L & Exactoscale systems.

Current Marcway/SMP prices   6yds Code 100 N/S rail £9.50 6yds Code 75N/s £ 8.25  Copper clad 8'6" sleepers 100-------------- £10    1000------------£90   Sleeper strip for points 12- £10.95.

Many modelers use a combination of ply and copper clad sleepers with 1:5 sleepers in copper clad.

 

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John, when I set out my layout plan with the aid of a trammel and curving templates I couldn't get a single Peco point to work into my plan and at every stage had to compromise with their pointwork. In the end it changed the shape of the layout plan, so I gave up.

Do you use Templot to assist you with your plan or just pencil drawings?

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I may be missing something lot of discussion on the subject and not a single example of 21mm gauge track. 

I started work on a 7'6" X 5' L shaped dock layout in 2011 inspired by the North Wall Lines. The basic idea was set of canal side reception sidings serving a tramway connection to the quays. 

The layout never got past the initial stages as I did not allow sufficient space between the running line and the yard tracks. The other problem was there was simply not enough space to give a realistic transition from the straight approach roads to the curved section of the layout.

The ordinary 1:6 points were fine the double slip challenging. Rail was surplus Code 82 rail from Atlas flexible track on copper clad sleepers. The trackwork was prefabricated in sections off the baseboard, wired, tested and painted before being secured in place and ballasted.DSCF4012.JPG.754f5797c01bc8b2e9b390113270bad0.JPG

DSCF4010.JPG.8ef9f35d5c4934304cd27ecbc271f0f4.JPG

DSCF4012.JPG.754f5797c01bc8b2e9b390113270bad0.JPG

DSCF4017.JPG

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3 hours ago, GNRi1959 said:

John, when I set out my layout plan with the aid of a trammel and curving templates I couldn't get a single Peco point to work into my plan and at every stage had to compromise with their pointwork. In the end it changed the shape of the layout plan, so I gave up.

Do you use Templot to assist you with your plan or just pencil drawings?

Tony, if you found Peco code 75 needs too much space, 21mm will need a whole lot more.  Peco code 75 has been used very successfully to make the most out of confined spaces and can look fabulous when well ballasted and especially weathered in.  Since the launch of Accurascale its been interesting to watch the equivalent old debate over on some RMweb threads.  00 gauge v P4/EM.  Folks have their own passions yet a small number of the P4/EM guys seem to hold their noses at the 00 guys, but the 00 guys seem content to defend their choice on the grounds of practicality and achieving excellent results despite the compromise.  Its your railway so do whatever pleases you, but bare in mind the practicalities.  Over the years with patience I have been able to get even Peco code 100 track schemes to fit almost anywhere needed.  I suffer a degree of obsession about neat track joins and avoiding kinked trackwork but Peco has not failed me so far. Good luck.

45 minutes ago, Mayner said:

I may be missing something lot of discussion on the subject and not a single example of 21mm gauge track. 

I started work on a 7'6" X 5' L shaped dock layout in 2011 inspired by the North Wall Lines. The basic idea was set of canal side reception sidings serving a tramway connection to the quays. 

The layout never got past the initial stages as I did not allow sufficient space between the running line and the yard tracks. The other problem was there was simply not enough space to give a realistic transition from the straight approach roads to the curved section of the layout.

The ordinary 1:6 points were fine the double slip challenging. Rail was surplus Code 82 rail from Atlas flexible track on copper clad sleepers. The trackwork was prefabricated in sections off the baseboard, wired, tested and painted before being secured in place and ballasted.DSCF4012.JPG.754f5797c01bc8b2e9b390113270bad0.JPG

DSCF4010.JPG.8ef9f35d5c4934304cd27ecbc271f0f4.JPG

DSCF4012.JPG.754f5797c01bc8b2e9b390113270bad0.JPG

DSCF4017.JPG

Hi John.  Lovely track work.  What did you use in the end for sleeper chairs? Noel

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Here's a few pics of a layout I built using code 75 track. It looks quite well when it's ballasted and track side detail is added.

2016-05-17 15.22.26.jpg

2016-05-17 15.23.26.jpg

2016-05-23 21.13.45.jpg

2016-05-23 21.16.33-1.jpg

2016-07-03 16.22.23.jpg

2016-07-03 16.25.28.jpg

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Some old pics of Loughrea, an end to end 21mm MRSI Layout

It was in the process of being stripped before being displayed at the Dun Laoghaire show.

The baseboards to the left are for the O Connell St layout to give you some idea of size

Also there is a small fiddle yard behind the far Loughrea sign.

 

5a7461f0d89a5_2011-01-1221_06_31.thumb.jpg.47c2fc9dee66abfc6a0865b741f3326d.jpg

5a74625cd2cc0_2011-01-1221_05_00.thumb.jpg.b6205ac4292672ae81878a6fbae3ca62.jpg

5a74626f0fdb9_2011-01-1221_05_16.thumb.jpg.98ca4ba6849ac8a0c3ad65e1469a6dd0.jpg

 

 

5a74627cacf7f_2011-01-1221_05_23.thumb.jpg.408b6303dca3f3f4d38932b757bb619f.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Dave said:

Here's a few pics of a layout I built using code 75 track. It looks quite well when it's ballasted and track side detail is added.

2016-05-17 15.22.26.jpg

2016-05-17 15.23.26.jpg

2016-05-23 21.13.45.jpg

2016-05-23 21.16.33-1.jpg

2016-07-03 16.22.23.jpg

2016-07-03 16.25.28.jpg

Stunning Dave.  Your code 75 looks truly excellent. None of the grief of regauging rolling stock, nor derailments or poor running on custom built track after locos have been rebuilt, not to mention the humungous amount of time required to build custom 21mm points that actually work.  There is no doubt, in the hands of a true expert with enough space 21mm can look stunning, but personally I could not endure the grief.  It is also convenient for friends to be able to run their stock on our layout when they call over, and likewise run my stock on their layouts.

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Dave, absolutely  amazing. I think you have made your 'point' here and it truly is remarkable what you have done. I take my hat off to you.

Edited by GNRi1959

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3 hours ago, Noel said:

Tony, if you found Peco code 75 needs too much space, 21mm will need a whole lot more.  Peco code 75 has been used very successfully to make the most out of confined spaces and can look fabulous when well ballasted and especially weathered in.  Since the launch of Accurascale its been interesting to watch the equivalent old debate over on some RMweb threads.  00 gauge v P4/EM.  Folks have their own passions yet a small number of the P4/EM guys seem to hold their noses at the 00 guys, but the 00 guys seem content to defend their choice on the grounds of practicality and achieving excellent results despite the compromise.  Its your railway so do whatever pleases you, but bare in mind the practicalities.  Over the years with patience I have been able to get even Peco code 100 track schemes to fit almost anywhere needed.  I suffer a degree of obsession about neat track joins and avoiding kinked trackwork but Peco has not failed me so far. Good luck.

 

Noel, it wasn't that Peco needs more space, it is the availability of pointwork. On smooth flowing curves I found it hard to find a point to give me the sidings or crossover I required. So at every instance I had to compromise the curve slightly. I do agree totally with the argument here on 21mm vs. 00 - maybe I'm only day dreaming, again.

Edited by GNRi1959
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Hi Tony

This is a very old photo, but it shows one example of what can be made to fit with Peco flexitrack and points, especially when combined with curved points. Possible with code 75 or code 100. (sorry about blurred focus).  On Dave's post above his code 75 sublimely ballasted when viewed side on or at a shallow angle looks the real deal.

Noel

DSC_6537.jpg.a4f8caa7991f547a32098723b95699d6.jpg

Edited by Noel
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Tony, with the limited space you have available, if you are going to go for 00, it might be better to go with Peco Code 100 rather than Code 75. There is a greater selection of pointwork available in Code 100, plus their Setrack range is fully compatible, and matches perfectly. This gives the option of very tight curves where necessary.

If Peco Code 75 is a must, then when necessary, points can be built to match using the Peco Individulay components range which will match exactly. Below is a picture of a scissors crossover built to suit a specific location using a mixture of Peco Code 75 points, and Individulay components.

IMG_2257r.jpg.91d0a5620b2fae42ced003fd54b7bc5c.jpg

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Noel,

Looks pretty close to what I'm trying to achieve. Whats the overall width of that section of track?

 

David,

If I went for Code 75 it means an £8 courier charge for boxes for flexi. I can get Code 100 locally. I used it in the past and never had any issues with it.

Edited by GNRi1959

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Both of these are code 100, but the ballast goes a long way to improving the look.  If I was starting out again though I would definitely use code 75 instead.

TrackBedBallast00.jpg

TrackBedBallast02.jpg

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9 hours ago, WRENNEIRE said:

Some old pics of Loughrea, an end to end 21mm MRSI Layout

It was in the process of being stripped before being displayed at the Dun Laoghaire show.

The baseboards to the left are for the O Connell St layout to give you some idea of size

Also there is a small fiddle yard behind the far Loughrea sign.

 

5a7461f0d89a5_2011-01-1221_06_31.thumb.jpg.47c2fc9dee66abfc6a0865b741f3326d.jpg

5a74625cd2cc0_2011-01-1221_05_00.thumb.jpg.b6205ac4292672ae81878a6fbae3ca62.jpg

5a74626f0fdb9_2011-01-1221_05_16.thumb.jpg.98ca4ba6849ac8a0c3ad65e1469a6dd0.jpg

 

 

5a74627cacf7f_2011-01-1221_05_23.thumb.jpg.408b6303dca3f3f4d38932b757bb619f.jpg

 

The trackwork on the Loughrea layout was mainly installed in the early-mid 1990s by the late Frank Davis who was a very talented EM gauge modeller, his Wentworth Layout was exhibited at several Irish exhibitions North and South and Warley 2005? I used to be one of Frank's roadies taking both Loughrea and Wentworth to exhibitions in Ireland

The trackwork on Loughrea used flatbottom rail laid on plywood sleepers with a brass rivet fixing the so called Brook Smith system pioneered in the 1950s and commonly used in EM & S4 up to the widespread introduction of abs plastic chairs for bullhead track in the late 1980s

The two main drawbacks with Loughrea as a layout which probably lead to few people within the club taking up 21mm gauge was that the station yard took up a lot of space being built to scale length and was not very interesting from a viewers or operators perspective. A German lady who had not visited the area remarked that the station and landscape looked rather bleak!

Another probably bigger issue was that our collection of 21mm gauge locos and stock had far outgrown a sleepy country branch line, including MIR diesels hauling block trains of bulk cement and Esso tank wagons, an IE MK3 push pull set, SSM GNR locos and passenger stock, SSM J15s & GSWR 6 wheel stock but very little in the way of MGWR stock apart from a couple of TMD/SSM J26 and some scratchbuilt goods brakes 

Visually a short cut of wagons or a 2-3 coach train tended to be lost within the expanse of the yard.

Operationally the main drawback was that it was difficult to have two locomotives operating simultaneously. The long headshunt at the Attymon end of the station was shortened effectively blocking shunting of the cattle bank and run round loop while the main line was occupied by an arriving or departing train.

We looked at a number of options to make operation more flexible/interesting including trackwork alterations including converting the carriage siding to a loop and extending the head shunt to allow the loco of a passenger or mixed train to run round, turn or shunt the Goods Shed Road, while another loco was simultaneously shunting the Cattle Bank road.

The alterations probably took the layout too far from the original concept and the track layout appears to have reverted to its original state

Edited by Mayner

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11 hours ago, Noel said:

T

Hi John.  Lovely track work.  What did you use in the end for sleeper chairs? Noel

Nothing :D, its not really practicable to model the soleplate and fangbolt fixing used with flatbottom rail on wooden sleepers

  I just solder the rail directly to the sleepers, the secret is liquid flux between the foot of the rail and sleeper and very little flux on the tip of the soldering iron

DSCF4015.JPG.4e804030e083cb9830d8f9b49bdf8862.JPG

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Arigna Town likewise has no chairs or fixings, just code 100 rail on copperclad sleepers and 36.75ish gauge for 7mm scale.

Re 21mm gauge and Templot, the website include templates for 'IrishEM' points at 20.2mm gauge and 1mm (finescale, not P4) flangeways. On my new Fintonagh project (3'gauge,7mm scale), I printed a left and right point, then made the gauge up to 21mm on the photocopier.

 Using Peco Code83fb rail and Marcway copper clad sleepers, a point took just over an hour to make, including filing up the blades and vee. Note, this was the first point I had made in at least ten years and trackwork is something I normally avoid where possible.

 Really proved not at all difficult or unpleasant. Given the low cost, would suggest anyone thinking about it should at least have a go. Not much to lose in time or money if it doesn't work and could be the start of something special.

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15 hours ago, GNRi1959 said:

If I went for Code 75 it means an £8 courier charge for boxes for flexi. I can get Code 100 locally. I used it in the past and never had any issues with it.

If you are determined to use Code 75, in order to avoid the delivery charges, you could always find someone who is going to Modelrail Glasgow at the end of this month, and ask them to pick up a pack of track.

I know there are a lot of guys from NI who travel over for the show, either as individuals or as part of an organised trip by coach.

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David, I have just ordered 12 lengths of Code 75 00 from TrackShack and their on line system allowed me to place my order with a postage charge of £4. If they can do it at this sort of price, I'm pleased with this. I bought this to get started and when I've taken a measurement of how much more I need, I'll be in Glasgow around 15th March so can find a shop there myself. Thanks.

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Hi ,

A bit late to the party but in other scales gluing chairs to timber sleepers works well and with C&L offering lengths of laser cut ply timber in longer than BR sleeper lengths like 9 foot would that help in creating  21mm gauge track with the right look - point kits available and long uncut lengths. 

 

Robert   

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On 12/14/2017 at 8:54 PM, GNRi1959 said:

JBH, this thread on 5'3" has got me interested too. In the absence of a do-able representation of Omagh I just could use my 2.9m shed length for a 21mm test track and sidings. Building wagons and locos has much more appeal to me that running 00 gauge locos round in circles. 

I have to really 'eat my hat' here guys.

I am currently having the time of my life watching a 00 'GNRi U Class' and 'GNRi UG Class' locos with GNRi and Irish Rail wagons run around my shed. Its amazing!

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Well to report last week built a 60` length of 21mm track - bullhead using  wood sleeper strip, solvent and plastic chairs, track gauges made by washering out  P4 gauges. Once dry rail still slides in chairs so able to move sleepers about , track robust and flexible.  I have been given some EM pointwork on copper clad sleepers might make a basis for 21mm pointwork?

Robert    

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As sleeper lengths are the same either side of the sea, then C&L plastic sleepers, as above, would be fine, while Marcway of Sheffield do copper clad sleeper strip in most scales, the latter ideal for flat-bottomed, lightweight track as per Arigna Town.

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I did a lot of measuring of track and structures over the last 15 years on the Waterford Limerick line and all the bullhead plain track sleepers were 8ft 6, 9ft, and many were 8ft 9.

Rich,

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Scalefour stores do both sizes in ply also. P4 Track Co do packs of ply sleepers also. All the track I surveyed had 4 bolt chairs and P4 Track Co produce these also..

If you want to make a start on a little plank or diorama with a lenght of plain track download Templot and print a plain track template to get you started. It would be a nice project to start the new year with. With the encyclopedic knowledge JHB possess I am sure he will have lot's of ideas to mull over the festive period.

Rich,

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Many thanks gents. 

What I had in mind (though it'll have to take back seat to "Dugort Harbour" is a "small steps first" thing - probably consisting of a G class or a C, plus a few trucks, shunting inside something like Polloxfens Mills at Ballysodare, or something like the T & C roadside tramway. Maybe a fictitious halt along it with one siding.

The festive season, meantime, will be spent on the chocolate and Guinness diet.

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On 12/11/2017 at 10:47 AM, jhb171achill said:

Remind me again, the difference between codes 75 & 100....

The code number is the height of the rail measured in thousanths of an  inch.

 

Therefore code 100 = 100/1000 inch high (one tenth of an inch). This scales out as 7.62" in 4mm scale.

 

Code 75 = 75/1000 inch high (Slightly more than one thirteenth of an inch high) This scales out at 5.7" in 4mm scale.

 

Perhaps someone can advise the actual height of prototype rail for comparison.

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On 2/2/2018 at 8:32 PM, Noel said:

Both of these are code 100, but the ballast goes a long way to improving the look.  If I was starting out again though I would definitely use code 75 instead.

TrackBedBallast00.jpg

TrackBedBallast02.jpg

 

Noel, which of the ballast materials are you using here, looks great!

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