Aluminum vs Steel Rail

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Kimball McGinley
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Re: Aluminum vs Steel Rail

Post by Kimball McGinley » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:16 pm

I know that the Iron Pony / Riding Railkits guys used zinc die-cast wheels for the 1" cars, but they are much lighter and were not riding cars, IIRC. BTW, Zamac is trade name for a zinc die cast alloy.

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Re: Aluminum vs Steel Rail

Post by mattmason » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:31 pm

All Nelson Grey trucks use the die cast trucks, not just Iron Pony/Riding Railkits. Many, many cars that are riding cars use these wheels. I have been using mine for over 20 years on steel and aluminum rail with no problem and a lot of running.

I also have a 7.5" gauge car that has aluminum wheels. For lite running, aluminum wheels will do just fine. If you are a heavy runner, then more durable wheels would be needed.
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Re: Aluminum vs Steel Rail

Post by ScaleModeler1974 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:32 pm

Hi All.

This past weekend I visited a few friends in Long Island.

They took me to see the Long Island Live Steamers.

Nice track on a nice piece of wooded ground.

I did notice that they use Steel rail on the outside of their curves and Aluminum on the inside.

Just my 2 cents.
Dennis Blank Jr.

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Re: Aluminum vs Steel Rail

Post by 10 Wheeler Rob » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:04 pm

The answer is all in who dose the track work! If all you do is show up to tracks and run then of course your vote for aluminum rails. If you are involved in maintaining any amout of track, then your your going to put a lot more thought into the longevity of the out side rail in curves.

I will agree that many have had wear issues on bar type steel rails, and not very much on profilled steel rails.

Then there is the cost issue, profiled steel rail is more expesive, if it is still avilable, so to use aluminum for straights, and inside curves seems to be kind of happy compromise. Aluminum rail just dose not stand up on outside of curves of tracks that get a lot use.

If you got the track hands to keep rebuilding track often then stick with aluminum, but if are like most clubs with more guys leaning on canes then shovels, or only a few showing up on work days, then you might want think about what will give maximum life.

Any one building cars with aluminum or die cast wheels should keep them on model train rail gages, not people riding gages.


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Re: Aluminum vs Steel Rail

Post by steamin10 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:39 pm

hey HEY!! Not so fast on the aluminum wheels. I have several axle sets, cut from round. They are good for testing new designs, (and clearances) and even hold up a caboose. They are fast to machine and gets me going quicker than cutting steel for a blank or worrying away some iron from a casting.

Going to put a museum piece over the fireplace. We dont need no stinking.. Uh expensive wheels.

Iron is good, but cnc is cheep, and require no hours to machine, only an axle. it could be wood for the mantle.

Aluminum can get you going for that one or two meets a year you make. But no, I would not use them for a permanent answer on a rider car, any more than a bearing stuffed in a wood block is the best for an archbar truck. BUT, it has been done that way.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
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