just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Discuss park gauge trains and large scale miniature railways having track gauges from 8" to 24" gauge and designed at scales of 2" to the foot or greater - whether modeled for personal use, or purpose built for amusement park operation or private railroading.

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STRR
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by STRR » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:11 pm

Stuart,

You are correct, the bars are for connecting the rails. They are normally called splice bars. The oval holes have two purposes. First, the track bolt that is used for the connection has a round head with an oval shoulder underneath. That oval shoulder fits into the oval hole to allow tightening the nut on the other side without having to hold the head of the bolt. Commonly, the bolts are alternated; one head in, the next is out, the next is in. So the Second purpose is to allow the rails to slip through the splice bars when the rails expand and contract. That's one of the reasons the bolts are alternated; so the oval holes work on both sides of the rails. Track bolts are still available from some vendors. The biggest problem is size. In our small size rail, you need small size bolts. Not a huge demand for this size and thus, they are more expensive, and fewer vendors sell them. Often, regular nuts and bolts are used. My rail and splice plates have round holes so track bolts would not do me any good. Expansion/contraction is allowed by the holes in my rail being larger than the bolt size. Also, I don't have my train set up year round. This creates other problems such as alignment, elevation, and grade.

What are your ties made of? Many of the "carnival" rides uses stamped steel ties. More often, Grand Scale railroads use wood. Pressure treated 4x4s are good. I would not recommend creosote treated lumber for a home or amusement railroad as the public will get into it and not be happy. Think; telephone poles. Messy and stinky to most people. Many use actual railroad spikes (small size) to secure the rail to the ties. Others, like me, use lag bolts with washers. Normally, the tie length is approximately twice the gauge but distance between the ties can allow shorter lengths. I am using 32" ties, at approximately 18" centers, on an 18" gauge railroad. I did this because I can get 3 ties from an 8' piece of lumber. Being as mine is a temporary set up, I use 2x4s and have no ballast. For a permanent set up, ballast is mandatory for good track work and longevity. Keep in mind; the better you build and lay the track, the less maintenance you will have to do to the track over time. Yes, the track will have to be straightened, leveled (side to side), and graded to keep the ride smooth and the train on the track.

Hope this helps out. Please ask questions so I can direct answers and discussion. I do not want to waste your time with information you already have.

Good Luck,
Terry7

rkcarguy
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:05 pm

So you've got actual scale rail then, not just flat bar. And 400' is quite a bit. That leaves you two options, buy more matching rail to make the curves you need, or cannibalize some of those sections to make your curved pieces(not sure what kind of ties you have and therefore how easy or hard this is). Then bend the rails one at a time and attach them to the ties.
Originally I was going to pre-fab sections of straight, curved, and turnouts, and just have a large "train set" I'd erect on my site. Recently though, I've decided it will be easier to only build straight sections and turnouts, and then lay the curves in place by pressing one rail into the ties(remember I'm using the groovy track method), then bend the curve to suit, stake some of the ties with rebar so they can't move, and install the other rail. This will allow me to adjust my right of way easier to accommodate tree's and other things in the way and go around them, rather than being committed to a fixed radius. I can also lay full 20' lengths of flat bar and have less joints in the turns.
As for rail bolts, if you place them low enough so the flanges don't hit the heads which yours already likely are, you can use regular bolts with an unthreaded "shoulder" below the head at the right distance for the rail thickness plus the side plates. You want just enough threads that the bolt/nut will snug up before it bottoms out. This shoulder length can vary from one manufacturer to the next, so you may have to measure them in hand and then buy all you need in one shot when you find the right ones.

One last thing I'll toss out there as a former fabricator, we often used heat to straighten or bend metal. So say you have a joint in a curve and you want to minimize the "flat" at the joiner that your rail bender won't do. Heat the side of the rail you want to get *shorter*. This seems backwards, but it's not. Metal expands when it gets hot, but shrinks down further past it's original size when it cools after that. You can do several cycles of heat and ice, to shrink the side of the rail you want to bend.

stuartpoage
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by stuartpoage » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:42 pm

I dont have any ties probable ill use 4by4 pres treated an 8 foot peice should yeild 3 peices I had thought about using 2 by 6 however i dont see that being used on many sets . Any thoughts on what is better 2 by would be less expensive than 4 by 4 . As i side not I found another tom thumb on the discover steam site same set only 2 cars but a narower guage truck i think it was 7 I sent a mesage to see if the owner had any history on this make will be very interested to see if i get any feedback.. As i said befor my son is a machinest and he feels sure he can get the rail bent either by making a gig or making a oversized rail bender I mentioned heat and he laughed and said that that wont work great to here that it can ill throw that back at him. since all the rail have 3 holes on both ends of the track i assume that tghey are low enough to clear wheels I do have some concerne about the rust that is on the trucks and the track guess ill just have to see how well it holds up.When you say turnouts do you mean where you can pull the off the main line in a parking like area? aka a siding? there are about 4 or 5 sections of track that have a small bend about 2 thirds along the rail coul it be these were for turnouts? thank you all again for educating me im sure alot of this seems elementery to all of you

rkcarguy
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:00 pm

Heat would not be used to bend the rails in their entirety, that would take forever. It can be used on the ends where the rail bender won't bend it though. Pictures would help a lot on the rest.

As for tie size, it can be whatever you want. You've got about 3.5" scale there with the gage of the track, which a 2x3 wood tie 32" long, spaced 5" on center, would be pretty close to "scale". I went with 2x4's on my 12" gage for some extra weight carrying capacity(2-1/2" gap between them), and Glenn is using far bigger lumber like 4x4's and 4x6's spaced further apart but also far larger rail than I am using.

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:51 pm

STRR wrote:That's one of the reasons the bolts are alternated; so the oval holes work on both sides of the rails.
The other, and more important, reason for alternating the bolts has to do with derailments. It isn't uncommon during a derailment in full-sized equipment for wheel and their flanges to shear bolts by hitting the protruding nuts. If all nuts are on the same side of the rail then all the bolts might be sheared, causing the rail joint to go out of alignment or completely come apart. With that, instead of one or two wheelsets being off the rails, a bunch of cars go off.
Science makes it known. Engineering makes it work.

Glenn Brooks
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by Glenn Brooks » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:44 am

Hi Stuart,

Good discussion regarding tie spacing and rail bending. As you are working with 12# rail, I agree with Terry regarding using pressure treated 4x4’s or larger for your ties. Anything smaller wont properly support the foot of 12# rail, or adequately hold rail spikes. Actually 4x6 ties work out to almost the same unit cost, as they can extend tie spacing an additional 2” for each tie you lay in place. Hence you need about 12 less 4x6x8’ than equivalent 4x4’s for the 400’ of track you are working with. You can get 3” Railroad spikes new, which work very well holding the foot of the rail in place. Spikes are roughly the same price as equivalent galvanized screws and washers, but are substantially more resistant to shear loads and galvanic corrosion caused by contact with the pressure tested wood and our wet soils.

With 12# rail your tie spacing can easily be 27.5” on centers if you wish - (24” between the edges of ties). tie spacing provides the necessary point loading support to prevent excess rail deflection as the train passes along the span between each tie. In praxtice a 12# length of rail is essentially a 2” x 2” I beam. This tie spacing has proven satisfactory in use since the Cagney Brothers first advertised their park gauge steam train specifications in the late 1890’s. Really close tie spacing e.g., 4” between ties, is meant to support actual 80,000# loaded freight car weights running over true 154# rail - a loaded weight you will never come close to approximating with a park gauge train.

If you do want a more “scale” look, choose any shorter length tie spacing that looks good. Personally, I use the length of my 5# maul- around 18”- to set each tie. I half that distance (9” between ties) on bridges and turntables decks. The shorter distance makes it safer and easier to walk on.

Glenn
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

Harold_V
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by Harold_V » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:01 am

rkcarguy wrote: you can use regular bolts with an unthreaded "shoulder" below the head at the right distance for the rail thickness plus the side plates.
Depends. That part of a bolt is called the "grip". In the old days, when threads were cut, not rolled, it was the size of the major diameter, but rolled threads often are made on material that is the proper size for the thread to be rolled. If that's the case, the grip is undersized and won't serve as well as a pin. For better quality bolts, the threaded portion is undersized, but the grip is the size of the intended major diameter. When the thread is rolled, it then ends up the required major diameter. It's pretty easy to tell the difference.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

rkcarguy
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by rkcarguy » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:18 pm

From what I can tell, the grip on most fasteners is machined a few thousandths under the actual bolt size, then the threads are either cut or the threaded area is cut undersize and then rolled. I've only seen undersize grip area's common on cylinder head bolts.

stuartpoage
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by stuartpoage » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:22 pm

well im not quite at the bolt down stage of the track but all this info is very interesting. Also a little confusing. Is12 lb track something different than normal small guage track. I know the stuff i have is real stiff at least the hard way? it can be flexed with some efort the easy way. for ease of instalation I had thought i would use screws not spikes but if this is a bad idea i wont do it the thought of pounding hundreds of spikes makes my arthritic shoulder hurt. please klet me know if galv screws are ok. thank you all very much for babysitting me threw this proscess

Harold_V
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by Harold_V » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:11 am

rkcarguy wrote:From what I can tell, the grip on most fasteners is machined a few thousandths under the actual bolt size
That's typical (required) for unified and American Standard for the major diameter of class 1 and class 2 fasteners. Class 3 allows for a nominal major diameter, but still permits a small amount under. In these instances, the amount is determined by the size and pitch of the thread of the fastener.

That said, it's not the same thing I was talking about. It's not uncommon to find class 2 (and class 1) fasteners that are rolled from stock that yields the proper sized major. In that case, the grip is always undersized (roughly the same size as the designated pitch diameter).

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

STRR
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by STRR » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:52 pm

Stuart,

Time for an education on rail. Steel rail is rolled to make it the shape it is. This is done hot and with the rail passing through many many rollers, each set pressing the steel more and more into the desired shape and size.

The sizes start quite small with the first/smallest size being 8 lb. This weight is what this size rail weighs for every yard (3 feet). Many use 8 lb rail for amusement railroads. The next size is 10 lb. This size is pretty rare. I have some and it's hard to tell it from the 8 lb without a tape measure. The next is 12 lb. Widely used on small railroads, still being made today, and fairly easy to find used good rail. Next is 16 and so on and so on.

The rail comes from the factory in straight sections, usually 30 feet long. Today, it's pretty easy to find 20' sections. In the old days, all the holes had to be drilled by the installing company/crew. Today, the rail will come with or without holes but more often it is already drilled and ready to lay with the exception of bending for curves. The rail sales company usually sells track bolts, nuts, lock washers, and splice plates to match the rail. Almost all of the rail suppliers sell many different rail sizes and profiles.

A rail bender is actually a rail straightener (from the old days). Rail being laid in the old days, was straight and just flexed into shape when a curve was needed. The radii of these curves was often so shallow (really large radius) that the rail didn't even need to be staked to keep it in place, just the rail weight on the ties, tie plates, and spikes were enough. For us Grand Scale railroaders, we usually are trying to "just make" the minimum recommended radii in our curves. Most of us do not have the acreage to use the larger radii curves as we would like to. So, to use a rail bender, you mark where you want to start the curve/bend. Then mark again every few ( 4, 5, 6) inches. Tighten the bender on the first mark and bend the rail just a tiny bit. Move to the next mark and make the same amount of bend, then to the next mark and so on, until you get to the mark where the curve will end. Now, you do it all again, and again, and again, usually skipping the first mark on the second time, the second mark on the third round, the third mark on the fourth time. This will give you more bend in the middle and more gradual entry into and out of the curve.

Now, the professionals will talk about spirals. This means you will bend in a spiral path at the inlet to the curve and again at the end of the curve. This practice makes the train turn into the curve more gradually and more smoothly. Think of how jerky a toy train is when it hits a curve. This jerky movement will cause extra wear on all the components (wheel flanges, bearings, rail, etc.). It will also cause or can cause rail climb meaning the flanges dig into the side of the rail head and want to run up onto the top and derail. Using spirals into and out of the curve eliminate these problems. Remember I recommended to skip a mark on each successive bend cycle? This does a fairly good job of making the spiral in the beginning and end of the curve.

The recommendation to use spikes is a good one. I use galvanized lag bolts and washers. I angle the bolts into the ties at approximately the angle of the rail foot. This places the washer more flush to the rail. I keep the lag bolt threads very near the rail so as to lock in the rail position and maintain gauge and placement. While I recommend pressure treated lumber, I use a lot of whatever I could find. Please remember, my railroad is a temporary set up for Christmas. It just sets ON the ground and has no means of being fixed in place. Which brings us to ties and ballast.

You need a tie that has height. When you are finished laying track, the ballast will(should) be even with the top of the tie on the front, back and bottom of the tie. The top and ends should not be covered. The ballast holds the track in place, keeping it from moving side to side, with some resistance to up and down movement. Lengthwise movement is mostly due to expansion/contraction of the rails. If you leave clearance between each rail end, the rail should slide over the ties, under the spikes/lag bolts and return to the original position when the temperature is the same as when the rail was laid. Some people like to anchor the rails to the tie at the center of each length of rail. The thinking here is to allow the rail to expand/contract from the center outward and thus the rail will not be able to "crawl" down the ties.

If you use 2 x materials, you will have exactly 1 1/2" of tie height. Not enough to keep the track from moving. Using a 4 x 4 will give you 3 1/2" of height and the ballast will have plenty of surface area to hold against. The suggestion to use 4 x 6s is a good one with the exception of "looks". This one is all about what you're willing to spend and what "look" you want to see your track present. I have a spreadsheet with different wheel loading vs. tie spacing. This chart is divided into categories based on rail size. Remember, if you take the measurements of full size railroad equipment (all items) and reduce it to the scale you are building in, you will almost always have a safety factor much greater than the full size railroads do. I tried to do that with my tie spacing. Looked like crap. I spaced the ties to where I thought they looked good and it turns out, ties spaced just about equal to the track gauge, look very good, and perform extremely well.

Ballast. Ballast is rock and ONLY rock. One reason: WATER. Ballast is designed to hold the ties in place while allowing the water to flow AWAY from the ties/track and to allow the water to evaporate away from the ties. Dry wood will deteriorate much slower than wet wood. Now you see why you want the ends of the ties above the ballast; no water to soak into the end grain of the wood and make it rot faster.

You want angular rock faces as opposed to smooth round rock surfaces. Thus, crushed rock is better than river rock. The angular faces settle and lock with each other thus minimizing any movement. Smooth round surfaces will slip past each other and allow movement. Sizing for small railroads should be about 1/2" crushed and washed. If you don't want to spend the extra for washed, at least use the screened crushed. Avoid ANYTHING that sounds like "X inches, minus". This means that anything passing through the X sized screen will be in the pile. Remember we want clean rock not a bunch of sandy junk along with it. The rock will hold less moisture next to the tie.

This is way too long, enough for tonight. One last thought: The purchase price of the train is/should be less than 1/4 of the price of the finished track in amusement size trains. Many people have spent a fair amount on the train, only to find out the track materials are the most expensive part of the railroad. Then, they "cheap out" on the track materials and wonder why their train doesn't ride will or keeps derailing. You can have a lot of fun on good track with ANY shape train (perfect, good, not so good). BUT you can NOT have fun with Any shape train (even the best high dollar brand new) on poor track.

stuartpoage
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Re: just purchased i believe a 15 guage rehabed mtc

Post by stuartpoage » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:47 pm

great info good i saw this befor i ordered the rock was ready to order 5-8 ths minusas i have used this for driveway. hope my local supplier has the washedand crushed. will order this comming week is there a rule of thumb on how many yards to run of track? also my track is all 10 foot sections both ends are drilled with three holes. thgankyou again for taking the time to pass on your knoledge

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