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After lots of dreaming, I am planning a small Irish layout. Originally I was thinking about doing something Dublin & Blessington-style, but the recent flood of Irish RTR diesel locomotives prompted a change of heart. Then there is 3ft gauge, which is also very difficult to resist. Why not throw them all together, I thought. No need for a complex layout, as the variety of stock would steal the show. Here's my idea so far, drawn in Templot, which I have still to master.

Pier-Terminus.jpg

The main line (thick blue lines) would continue on the left towards the quay for goods traffic. The tramway track would be in the road outside the station.

The idea is loosely based on Gorey Pier station on Jersey, which was just about as compact as you can get.

GLE8GEimQ9URU4MIbIP5BGCVqE1pF56XtK3GmQ36

Much still to sort out. I possibly ought to have a turntable, for example, and maybe a link between the tramway and the main line.  I also need a layout name...........

Any thoughts?

 

 

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I made a couple of 21mm gauge copperclad points last month. I used templot plans , one was for 21mm and the other for the 20.2mm. For both I used my 21mm gauge track gauges and both are consequently t

After lots of dreaming, I am planning a small Irish layout. Originally I was thinking about doing something Dublin & Blessington-style, but the recent flood of Irish RTR diesel locomotives prompte

The rail order arrived today, so I was able to make a bit more progress on the test track this evening. Hopefully one more session should see all the remaining rails installed  

Posted Images

As I ought to have realised, adding a turntable, exchange sidings etc. gave me a reality check, big-time. What seemed a small and manageable layout ended up bigger and more complex than Limerick Junction - well not quite, but I am sure you get the picture! ;)

I have decided to play around with a couple of other ideas instead. Genuine Irish locations are plentiful, of course, but usually occupy far more space than I would like and with limited traffic potential. That is why I am looking for inspiration from further afield. Using a real location as a starting point works best for me, even if the look and feel of the final thing will be different. 5ft 3in gauge and 3ft gauge trackwork with Irish stock is the aim for the model, whatever the original inspiration.

This is a view Penzance in its early days, but would be modelled as a tiny Irish seaport. Lots of atmosphere in a relatively small space - and mixed gauge too, of a kind. It would probably fit in a corner quite neatly with a huge townscape as a backscene. I could see it suitable for a variety of stock and periods. The NG track (in my case 3ft gauge) would be more restricted than in the photo and the broad gauge would, of course, be 5ft 3in. NG and main line stock would be kept strictly separate, operated by their own engines.

PZ-railway-station-768x505.jpg

I quite enjoy trackbuilding. I need to decide what gauge to use though for the main line. I am not sure whether to go for 20.2mm or 21mm gauge and then whether to use P4 or EM standards. I have been through all the topics covering the pros and cons on this forum many times and still can't make up my mind! Either way, I need to use the same wheel and track standards for narrow and 5'3" gauge, as the stock will have to share several complex bits of track.

What might decide things in the end is the availability of wheels. The smallest P4 wheels available these days are around 11mm diameter. For some vehicles, - particularly narrow gauge - I would need 8mm or even smaller. I have some Dundas Models 12mm gauge wagon wheels, some small diameter HO wheels bought on eBay and some N gauge wheels, so I can experiment and see what they are most compatible with, from a running point of view.

A couple of short track test pieces should quickly prove what works best with what. That's my next job. I have some P4 track gauges for 21mm track construction but would have to improvise a bit for 20.2mm track or EM 21mm track. Probably best then to build a short length of P4-standard track first.

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11 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Check out Larne Harbour for track ideas - the station had both gauges for the BNCR and the B & L narrow gauge....

Many thanks for the suggestion.

In fact I had already just found an old thread on here .....

about mixed gauge track with info about Larne - and also a couple of photos of Ballymena in books I have, which have been scanned and are being studied carefully. A couple of images in particular are proving particularly interesting, including this one from the Mixed Gauge thread Larne harbour 1936.jpg

The one above is a real mine of information. Having absorbed it all, I shall have to climb several mountains in Templot competence to put it all into practice. Just the kind of challenge I enjoy!

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My brain is working overtime tonight! This project is a retirement objective, a completely new idea with everything started from scratch. As I have to build up some stock as well as making a layout, the layout needs to be pretty small. If I do things Iain Rice-style as a kind of cameo layout, I could probably get away with quite a small scenic area, without missing much out. Here is a rough stab at what might be possible. The goods shed acts as a scenic break on the left. A footbridge, or overhead signal cabin could do the same on the right hand side.

scan0001a.jpg.501a3a7ebccf14eac982aa1ed3d75937.jpg

For mixed and narrow gauge track, I would simplify things quite a bit, as shown in red below....

scan0001.jpg.747c152eff088bd956ab7c0da66e4d83.jpg

-mixed gauge curving to the left through the goods shed, giving access to the quay. Also a narrow gauge (only) platform to the right. The rest would be 5ft 3in gauge only, not mixed - unless I can squeeze a small turntable in to turn NG railcars. There is a turntable in the photo in the middle of the red V, not shown on the map, but an exact copy of the original would be operationally very awkward - as it must have been in real life.

 

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Although a number of 21mm gauge layouts have been built to EM gauge standards, I don't know if anyone has actually built a layout to 20.2mm gauge.

20.2 appears to have been developed by Martyn Wynne as an EM gauge +2mm in a similar manner to his advocacy of 16.2 mm as EM-2mm for OO.

In practice it is perfectly feasible to build a 21mm layout to EM gauge running clearances with a back to back gauge of 19.3mm & a wheel check gauge of 19.95 using EM profile wheels.

The use of EM standard wheel sets should not have a significant distorting effect on the width of a model as the difference in wheel set width between the two standards is marginal, as the effects of the difference in back to back gauge and tyre width largely cancel each other out

    21mm      
  B-B TW   WOWS  
EM 19.3 2.28   23.86  
P4 19.92 2   23.92 Max
P4 19.84 1.85   23.54 Min
        23.73 Avg.
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1 hour ago, Mayner said:

Although a number of 21mm gauge layouts have been built to EM gauge standards, I don't know if anyone has actually built a layout to 20.2mm gauge.

20.2 appears to have been developed by Martyn Wynne as an EM gauge +2mm in a similar manner to his advocacy of 16.2 mm as EM-2mm for OO.

In practice it is perfectly feasible to build a 21mm layout to EM gauge running clearances with a back to back gauge of 19.3mm & a wheel check gauge of 19.95 using EM profile wheels.

The use of EM standard wheel sets should not have a significant distorting effect on the width of a model as the difference in wheel set width between the two standards is marginal, as the effects of the difference in back to back gauge and tyre width largely cancel each other out

    21mm      
  B-B TW   WOWS  
EM 19.3 2.28   23.86  
P4 19.92 2   23.92 Max
P4 19.84 1.85   23.54 Min
        23.73 Avg.

Thanks for that information. As you suggest, the differences are minimal. I know from doing a bit of finescale modelling in the past that clearances for connecting rods and valve gear may be more of an issue than for wheels. Having said that, there were few Irish locos with outside valve gear and possibly none that would be suitable for a small terminus like mine.

As for EM vs P4, a small concern I had was smooth running. The smaller the flangeway gaps, the less wheelsets should bump when going through pointwork. With dual gauge trackwork, I will have more gaps than normal for stock to traverse. The perceptible differences will probably be very small though. In the end, I may as well just toss a coin! The wheel availability is probably the nearest to a critical issue. I will definitely need some smaller diameter wheels than are available to P4 standards. That is why, as I mentioned in a previous post, I need to do a bit of product research and evaluation.

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These are the most useful photos I can find of Irish mixed gauge track - both on the NCC

1. Larne Harbour

Untitled-2.jpg.468b4ecaa8ddfef5f863b4003ec8c879.jpg

2. Ballymena

Untitled-1.jpg.61b5834109bf3f8c93dca4bafb6d145f.jpg

They show some really interesting features, like the single bladed NG turnout in the bottom picture. There is a combined NG/BG turnout and also a combined NG turnout and catch point arrangement in the Larne photo. Also, the dual gauge track is all of chaired construction, whereas some of the plain NG track is not. One or two features I have found on dual gauge turnouts in other parts of the world are absent though.

 

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12 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

Another few worth looking at, where the narrow and 5'3 were adjacent but separate would be Ballymoney and Skibbereen, and the dual gauge transshipment sheds at Dromod, Ennis and perhaps Ballymena.

Thanks, that is very useful. What is evident though from looking at various NG/BG interfaces is that they all take up a lot of space. I think I am going to have to discipline myself and assume that most of the facilities are offstage ;)

What I so like about the Penzance concept is that it allows the 'busy bits' to be on show, but with most of the facilities hidden from view and left to the imagination.

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My Fintonagh layout, though 7mm scale, is 3' gauge on 21mm track to EM standards with 1mm flangeways. Has done over a dozen shows with no major running problems. I downloaded point templates from Templot. These were labeled as Irish EM and 20.2mm gauge, so simply enlarged them on the copier to 21mm.

 As for layout names, with tongue firmly in cheek have previously considered things like Killyconcarney, Ballerina and, my favourite, Ballyshawbeaghan - think zebra crossings!

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1 hour ago, David Holman said:

 As for layout names, with tongue firmly in cheek have previously considered things like Killyconcarney, Ballerina and, my favourite, Ballyshawbeaghan - think zebra crossings!

Clearly your talents extend way beyond layout building ;)

The best made-up one I could come up with was the Abberra- Caddabragh line or variation thereon - just like any made up name, it probably sound awful to anyone speaking the local language!

 

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Mine is "Dugort Harbour".... Dugort is a real village on the north shore of Achill Island, where there was a one-time and short lived proposal to extend the mgwrs Achill branch to. Such a line would have been commercially about the biggest flop possible in railway history; highly scenic, though! The village has a population of about 30 people......

I chose this because my initial idea was to build something like a scaled-down Achill terminus, or scaled-up Westport Quay.

However, the absence of kits, let alone RTRs, of MGWR coaches of any type, and the absence of anything which could be kitbashed, put me off. Thus, I kept the name, but now it's a somewhat run-down looking remote terminus extension somewhere in West Cork or Kerry, as there have been RTR J15s, courtesy of Roderick Bruce, and kits of GSWR six-wheelers, courtesy of Des Sullivan.

Thanks to Mayner, a G2 has joined the gathering, in case Midland 6-wheel kits ever appear. I picked up two Woolwiches a couple of years ago which will join once chipped, and accurately filthied. 

So what I have under way now will be based operationally on somewhere like Baltimore, Kenmare or Valencia Harbour.

The name will stick, though; many childhood memories playing on the Golden Strand beach at Dugort.....

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I've managed to find my small collection of different wheelsets. Below 10.5mm diameter, I am going to have to rely on a variety of wheel sources for my needs, mainly for 3ft gauge stock. Because of the mixed gauge track, all the wheels I use will have to be broadly compatible. I have done a quick visual comparison, firstly against a P4 wheel and then an OO/EM Gibson wheel.

Dundas Models latest 12mm gauge wheels are visually close to P4 wheel standards - a slightly different curve between the flange and the tyre, plus slightly deeper flanges (possibly no big deal).

Greenwich OO9 wheelsets. These are very fine, with narrow tyres and fine flanges - if anything too fine and narrow.  The narrowness might cause problems, but it's only a guess.

I looked at some recent Farish wheels too. These seem reasonably comparable to P4,  but with a slightly deeper flange - very much like the Dundas ones.

In comparison, Gibson OO/EM wheels have visually wider flanges and tyres than all the above.

The guess from my very limited visual evaluation is that P4 standards might work best with all but the OO/EM wheels. Not very scientific, but good enough for now.

From here, I think I can try planning part of the layout using Irish P4 settings. I have track and BTB gauges for 21mm gauge already, but will have to knock something up for P4 12mm gauge. In theory, 12mm gauge settings should simply be P4 21mm standards less 9mm - except for things like flange gaps which stay the same. I will need to alter the gauge on wheelsets before I can test them properly - with the exception of the Dundas wheels which may just need a bit of adjustment on the axles. I can then make a short section of track to see how these wheels perform on the rails. All probably far easier said than done!

 

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16 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Mine is "Dugort Harbour".... Dugort is a real village on the north shore of Achill Island, where there was a one-time and short lived proposal to extend the mgwrs Achill branch to. Such a line would have been commercially about the biggest flop possible in railway history; highly scenic, though! The village has a population of about 30 people......

I chose this because my initial idea was to build something like a scaled-down Achill terminus, or scaled-up Westport Quay.

However, the absence of kits, let alone RTRs, of MGWR coaches of any type, and the absence of anything which could be kitbashed, put me off. Thus, I kept the name, but now it's a somewhat run-down looking remote terminus extension somewhere in West Cork or Kerry, as there have been RTR J15s, courtesy of Roderick Bruce, and kits of GSWR six-wheelers, courtesy of Des Sullivan.

Thanks to Mayner, a G2 has joined the gathering, in case Midland 6-wheel kits ever appear. I picked up two Woolwiches a couple of years ago which will join once chipped, and accurately filthied. 

So what I have under way now will be based operationally on somewhere like Baltimore, Kenmare or Valencia Harbour.

The name will stick, though; many childhood memories playing on the Golden Strand beach at Dugort.....

It is great that you want to base your layout on such happy memories. No such recollections to inspire me, unfortunately. Something eccentric suits me best, though it would be impossible to upstage the Listowel & Ballybunnion or the Waterford & Tramore, to mention just two.

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Following on from David Holman's silly names ideas, I thought up the name 'Riss Quay' late last night.

According to Dinneen's Irish-English dictionary, RIS in Irish can mean 'exposed' or alternatively 'a tale'. I am of course open to correction should I in any way be mistaken.

Sounds good to me, but open to suggestions!

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One minor correction already! It has been suggested to me that the S in ris should be pronounced like sh in English so Rish Quay might be a more likely Anglicisation. It still conveys the tongue-in-cheek meaning, so I would be happy with that.

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I made a couple of 21mm gauge copperclad points last month. I used templot plans , one was for 21mm and the other for the 20.2mm. For both I used my 21mm gauge track gauges and both are consequently that gauge, with 1mm flangeways. The picture show the plans and the points. I always adjust the point a bit to get the stock to ride smoothly through the point, probably due to poor construction technique on my part.  I use a "perspex wagon" with a pair of bogies as a test vehicle, one set has Maygibs, the other Romfords.

   All my wheels seem to go through with no problem, including a few wagons with P4 wheelsets. the others are as varied as Bachmann, Maygib, Athearn, Romford, Gibson, IRM and others I don't recognise the maker. Go for 21mm track gauge/EM standard wheelsets with the 1mm flangeways and you should have few problems. I  am sure you will enjoy the look of Irish trains running on the correct gauge track. 

IMG_3266.JPG

IMG_3267.JPG

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Those look great, Brendan. You must be really pleased that they came out so well! Out of curiosity, what track gauges are you using?

I still feel that I should try a small test track using P4 standards first - largely because of the characteristics of the small diameter wheels I described in a previous post. That is not to criticise your decision - I may even end up following your example if my experiment with P4 standards doesn't go well!

It has been a miserable day here, so I have been busy drawing up some track in Templot for my test track. I thought a diamond crossing with mixed gauge track would be the best thing for me to try, as testing smooth running through checkrails and frogs is my main concern at the moment. Getting my head around drawing dual gauge track is a steep learning curve!

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@Brendan8056That looks fantastic and I applaud you for having a go at 21mm. Your construction looks spot on.

It is a shame that in the presence of such magnificent rolling stock that has emerged in the last 5 or more years from manufacturers such as MM and IRM that there is not supplier for 21mm track that does not require assembly.

I do not see MM doing it and last time I enquired from IRM whether it would be up for consideration at any point I received a pretty firm no. I believe that IRM have the technical know how, connections and now experience to achieve this but if they do not produce it I don't think anyone else would. I would suspect they would be concerned about the number of pieces needed, the relative paucity of modelers using 21mm right now (due to non-availability of track) and the fact that the track produced would remain on hand for people to order rather than selling out quickly in line with their business model. I do think that more modelers would build or possibly rebuilt in 21mm if it were available like the increased interest in Irish models once they came to market.

Relaying tracking would probably still be an option for some particularly on larger layouts. The track centers and clearance wouldn't change through stations and sidings as the stock dimensions wouldn't change, only the width of the wheels and the track beneath them. However the curves would have to be larger possibly the equivalent of 2nd or third radius so wouldn't work for relaying smaller layouts.

The Peco Code 73 bullhead track looks nice but is the wrong gauge and I don't see really see Peco risking making even a limited number of similar items available in 21mm for what is perceived as a small market and relative to their other markets really is. I would like to model a 21mm gauge layout but I prefer to run the railway rather than model incessantly. Hence, while I would open a lot of time reguaging all my stock I don't really want to build all the track (and am concerned about my ability to do it perfectly).

If lengths of 21mm BH flexitrack and a RH and LH semi-protypical point (express type) were available, personally I would buy dozens of points and hundreds of feet of track saving months of work in building any sizable 21mm layout. If it were a limited run and I got too much I'm pretty sure it would sell on. This is really all that is needed for the vast majority of trackwork. If you need a diamond, three way point or double slip (which were pretty limited on the Irish network) well, I guess you're on your own with Brendan and a few others.

I realized that the transparent wagon is a clever way to troubleshoot the trackwork as soon as I saw the photo.

 

@RichLThis is going to be an intriguing build.I was really impressed by the photo at Larne where it seems that there is a limited sharing of track at a terminus.

However in Penzance the different gauges seem to be more 'connected' with sharing over a greater area and even switching of the common rail from one side to the other. Was this to allow the NG to come into better proximity with platforms, good sheds etc.?

How do you envisage a turntable working (I have not had any experience of this with mixed gauges)? Would the three rail arrangement become 4 rail on the approach to the turntable or would you have a V shaped arrangement with one track for entry and a second adjacent track for exit after turning?

 

Edited by DiveController
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10 minutes ago, DiveController said:

This is going to be an intriguing build.I was really impressed by the photo at Larne where it seems that there is a limited sharing of track at a terminus.

However in Penzance the different gauges seem to be more 'connected' with sharing over a greater area and even switching of the common rail from one side to the other. Was this to allow the NG to come into better proximity with platforms, good sheds etc.?

How do you envisage a turntable working (I have not experience of this with mixed gauges)? Would the three rail arrangement become 4 rai on the approach to the turntable or would you have a V shaped arrangement with on track for entry and a second adjacent track for exit after turning?

 

The track sharing at Larne was purely for non-passenger stock, I think. It was not on the passenger lines, except where lines crossed each other on a diamond.

Penzance is very different. The narrow gauge came first, as the West Cornwall Railway was not linked to the rest of the UK network at first. They were supposed to lay some broad gauge track to give the broad gauge Cornwall Railway (absorbed by the GWR) access to Penzance when it arrived at Truro, but the West Cornwall Railway never got around to it. Eventually the GWR took over the West Cornwall Railway and dual-gauged the track. It had to do this as sidings etc. off the main line were built for standard gauge stock and standard gauge wagons continued to be used in West Cornwall alongside broad gauge stock. Almost all the track in Penzance station became mixed gauge, apart from one or two standard gauge sidings, I think.

My 'Penzance' will be more like the Larne situation - mainly broad gauge, but with narrow gauge access where required. For turntables, the narrow gauge track was diverted into the centre of the broad gauge track. You can just about make this out in the middle distance in the Penzance photo. In one or two Irish examples, the narrow gauge and broad gauge approached from opposite sides of the turntable, so only the turntable itself had BG and NG rails.

THe GWR invented one or two ingenious track designs to get standard gauge from one side of the broad gauge rails or into the middle, including arrangements with no moving parts. Standard gauge trains often had to be switched to the platform side in stations, for example. These were very crude by modern standards and could only be traversed at very low speeds. By comparison, the NCC at Larne and Ballymena appears to have done a 'professional' job.

Some GWR mixed gauge formations were amazing. There are photos of the GWR station throat at Swindon, for example, which was mind-bogglingly complex. These give some idea

gwr11-cornishman.jpg

6816512500_9c17b4f380_b.jpg

and one of Victoria

MixedGaugeVictoria.jpg

 

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Another line that shares gauges is the Vivarias line in France. Here is a NG train near Tournon, gently chugging down a main line where express trains reach far higher speeds. On the return journey the NG train faces oncoming expresses head-on on the same track, though hopefully only one train gets on that particular piece of track at a time!

Le_Mastrou_quittant_Tournon.jpg

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1 hour ago, DiveController said:

That looks fantastic and I applaud you for having a go at 21mm. Your construction looks spot on.

It is a shame that in the presence of such magnificent rolling stock that has emerged in the last 5 or more years from manufacturers such as MM and IRM that there is not supplier for 21mm track that does not require assembly.

I do not see MM does it and last time I enquired from IRM whether its would be up for consideration I received a pretty firm no. I believe that IRM have the technical know how, connections and now experience to achieve this but if they do not produce it I don't think anyone else would. I would suspect they would be concerned about the number of pieces needed, the relative paucity of modelers using 21mm right now (due to non-availability of track) and the fact that the track produced would remain on hand for people to order rather than selling out quickly in line with their business model. I do think that more modelers would build or possibly rebuilt in 21mm if it were available like the increased interest in Irish models once they came to market.

Relaying tracking would probably still be an option for some particularly on larger layouts. The track centers and clearance wouldn't change through stations and sidings as the stock dimensions wouldn't change on the width of the wheels and the track beneath them. However the curves would have to be larger possibly the equivalent of 2nd or third radius so wouldn't work for smaller layouts.

The Peco Code 73 bullhead track looks nice but is the wrong gauge and I don't see really see Peco risking making even a limited number of similar items available in 21mm for what is perceived as a small market and relative to their other markets really is. I would like to model a 21mm gauge layout but I prefer to run the railway rather than model incessantly. Hence, while I would open a lot of time regaling all my stock I don't really want to build all the track. If lengths of 21mm BH flexitrack and a RH and LH semi-protypical point (express type) personally I would buy dozens of points and hundreds of feet of track saving months of work in building any sizable 21mm layout. If it were a limited run and I got too much I'm pretty sure it would sell on. This is really all that is need for the vast majority of trackwork. If you need a diamond, three way point or double slip (which were pretty limited on the Irish network) well, I guess you're on your own with Brendan and a few other.

I realized that the transparent wagon is a clever way to troubleshoot the trackwork as soon as I saw the photo.

I'm in complete agreement but I don't think the aversion to producing track is fully justified.

Yes anyone producing track must be prepared to stock it constantly because there will always be an ongoing trickle in demand. While this requires tying up some working capital in slow moving inventory there will nonetheless be that ongoing constant demand and it is a necessity to complement a range of fine scale models.  It also has the advantage of having a one time development cost (PECO Streamline is 60 years old).  As a business proposition it is completely different to rolling stock which needs to be produced to cater to different eras and liveries the purchase of which is optional. Track on the other hand is almost generic and standard but not an optional purchase, all modelers need it  and I and many others would convert and purchase 21mm track even if  the available range was limited to flexi straights, and left & right hand points.  This is the holy grail.

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RichL,

             I have taken a pic of the gauges I used for constructing the points. Some are out of production so the moral of the story is buy when you see them. The unknown make ones were purchased from Stephen Rabone, who now models S scale, so don't neglect secondhand sources, even for 21mm gauge. They are:

1. 3 point gauge by Jeremy Suter

2. Roller gauges, left , Jeremy Suter, right, AM Technical services. 

3.  Wheel back to back gauges, top unknown, bottom, AM Technical

4. Roller gauges with flangeway clearance, Unknown.

  On the track here is a pic of widened SMP track with gaps filled with car filler. This piece is over 30 years old. If done carefully it looks reasonable, but does not work with the Irish style cess in the middle of the track. 

    Peco Streamline has been improved continuously over the years, the points are now very different. There is a story that Peco planned EM gauge track in the 1950s but the standards then changed to 18.2mm for the gauge and Peco gave up on the idea. Only last year did Peco finally do such track, funded by the EM Gauge Society. 

   I would love to see ready to lay 21mm gauge track but the development costs would be great. Rapido Trains tried to do a  new 16.5mm  track a few years back but it just did not turn out well and they now say buy Peco. 

  For the plain track I like the Peco Individulay wooden sleepers with Either Peco Pandrol fittings for flatbottom or C&L for  bullhead fittings. I have also used real wooden sleepers and the C&L  concrete ones, both with good results.  Plain track is the same whether it is to P4 or just 00/EM fine standards. Both will look exactly the same and be the same 21mm gauge. A friend has some P87 Danish steam locos and they happily go along Peco code 75 track but the wheels will not go through the pointwork. 

On a sad note I think the dual gauge bit of the Vivarais did not re-open after the closure of the whole railway a few years back. It was a great ride, especially when an SNCF freight train overtook my train. 

IMG_3272.jpg

IMG_3269.JPG

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Great idea RichL! Then you have a means of running some examples of the wonderful Irish 3ft gauge stock beside 5’3”. Just turn up the imagination knob. But a comment about hand-made track. It flows! Such track systems curve gently to follow the imaginary landscape, increasing the realism significantly. It also gives the possibility of making a huge variety of turnouts, crossings, mixed track or whatever. As we all know commercial unit track systems tend to lock modellers into the “straight track and angular turnoff” regime. But that is what is available and most folk do not have the time to learn the skills of track-making, me included. So that is what we have.

Wonderful photographs of mixed track! Which country does the alamy photo depict and how many different gauges are there?

 

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2 hours ago, Brendan8056 said:

RichL,

             I have taken a pic of the gauges I used for constructing the points. .........................

Thanks, Brendan. That's a very comprehensive answer. I particularly like your ingenious idea for widening OO track ;)

I managed to acquire a set of Scalefour Association gauges. In the long term I shall have to make or adapt some for 12mm gauge - particularly an accurate back-to-back gauge.

Even in OO, I could quickly find formations that are difficult or impossible to reproduce realistically with ready-made track, so Peco would probably be relegated to the fiddle yard. A fair number of well-known OO layouts have at least some hand-built track, as do some continental and American HO layouts. Hand building track opens up a whole world of possibilities that RTR cannot cater for.

Having said that, modern track looks very much like RTR to my eye - greater standardisation and simplification of real life track layouts makes modern track look more like a model.

In my case, I think that hand-built track is the only way to achieve what I want. Without Templot though, it would be much more difficult.

 

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Just to add to my comment about reproducing old railways, some do look like they were made from Peco, particularly where space was plentiful. Achill is just one choice

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The turntable area at Waterford here would be impossible

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Progress on the test track - just a crude board made out of old scrap plywood with a Templot plan attached. I made it long as it may be used as a test track for running locos etc for some time to come. I decided on a diamond to start with as my initial objective is just to test various wheel sets through crossings and check rails. I have left room to add a separate track with pointwork on it later, if needed.

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RichL, That looks a really good idea.

The bit of track I pictured was part of a test track with a crossover, like you say, a way to test stock and techniques. I take no credit for the track cut and widen technique, that was used by Stephen Rabone , featured in a Railway Modeller article on his then Irish layout.  

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Things have been a bit quiet on here for a day or two because I have been busy building stuff rather than simply procrastinating

I have made a start on laying the track on the test track. First, I cut to size and stuck down the copper clad sleepers. I decided to use some Peco code 60 FB rail which a friend gave me a while back. I don't have enough to complete the test track, but have some more on order. It is maybe a bit small for main line use, but would be fine for a minor branch line in the C19, I suspect. It is a bit yellow in colour compared to most nickel silver rail I have seen, but this is only a test track, so the colour is not really important. I have 21mm gauge track gauges that work fine with this rail.

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For the 12mm gauge,  I bought a roller gauge from 3SMR. Unfortunately, one of the grooves is a bit tight for the rail, so I had to ease it with a file. This has made it very slightly under gauge. To get an accurate gauge, I drilled out the centre of an OO roller gauge, cut it in half and mounted the 2 halves on a short section of brass rod, adjusting the grooves to 12mm gauge before the glue set. This seems fine. My plan is to produce other 12mm track gauges in the same way, but using the first section of 12mm track to set the gauge. That way they should all be consistent.

I have also adapted a 3SMR back to back gauge by soldering a piece of brass sheet to it. This comes out around the middle of the min/max dimensions required for 12mm gauge P4 standard wheels. Even when widened out to the P4 back-to-back setting, the wheels that come with the Parkside kits still seem fine on 12mm gauge track.

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Finally, as the initial purpose of the test track is to test various 12mm gauge wheelsets, I have started building some 12mm gauge stock. These are Dundas Models (formerly Parkside Dundas) kits - 6 wagon kits and 2 chassis kits for scratchbuilt bodies.

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No idea yet what railway my models will represent, or even where in the country they would be located. Most gaps in the network I have found so far would have required rockets and parachutes as standard equipment on all trains ;)

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