Passenger train help!

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UPsteamfan
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Passenger train help!

Post by UPsteamfan » Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:28 pm

Hello Friends
I am in need of some assistance.
First the problem. My family is hoping to open our Pumpkin Farm/Winter Market next year. One of the "attractions" that we will be offering is a 2 mile train ride on 7.5" gauge track. I am not a fan of the T-bench, straddle car, for looks. I understand the concept of safer ride that the cars offer. I would like something that looks more of a full size passenger car.

Can anyone answer how wide of a car that I can get using the 7.5" gauge track with out being unstable? Are there any ways that I can improve the stability of extra wide cars? We have looked at the passenger car used on the Sandy Ridge and Clear Lake Ry. Anyone know how that car rides and if it is stable enough for the public.

Well back to the funny farm

STRR
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by STRR » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:01 pm

Stability is based on the Center of Gravity. When the C of G is too high, you tip; thus, keep and or move the C of G DOWN. Shorten the height of the seats, add lots of extra weight to the underside of the riding cars.

A better suggestion is to contact Sandy Ridge and Clear Lake Ry. and ask them what they have done. Most of the riding scale railroads are happy to share how they did things.

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:09 pm

UPsteamfan wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:28 pm
...One of the "attractions" that we will be offering is a 2 mile train ride on 7.5" gauge track. I am not a fan of the T-bench, straddle car, for looks...how wide of a car that I can get using the 7.5" gauge track with out being unstable? Are there any ways that I can improve the stability of extra wide cars?

Part of the stability equation is the weight of the car relative to the rider(s). Heavy cars like to stay on the track, and help to lower the center-of-gravity (CG) when riders are aboard. As for car width, clearances around obstacles/structures will dictate how wide you can go. That said, the wider the car, the greater the moment arm the rider's mass has on the car, which is just a fancy way of saying wider cars tend to be easier to turn over.

For riding purposes, the T-bench design is probably the best, as it tends to force the rider to stay centered on the car. If the carbody is dropped between the trucks so it only clears the rail head by one to two inches, the CG will be correspondingly lower and the car less prone to tipping. I'd say that configuration will be as good as it's going to be in keeping cars and riders upright in the event of a derailment.
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:58 pm

I would be very nervous about this from a liability standpoint. Be sure you have it in writing from an underwriter (not your agent) that you are covered. As I understand it (correct me if I'm wrong) such a train ride could be classified as an amusement ride and be subject to all the requirements of that. While I understand the desire for more prototypical looks, I'd go for safety over looks.
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Bill Shields
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by Bill Shields » Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:15 pm

Do you already have the track in place?
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by Glenn Brooks » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:03 pm

As others have said, a low center of gravity car, with a heavy lower frame/deck car is best. We used 21” wide box car design, riding cars , cut down from 24” wide, successfully on a 7.5” gauge RR amusement ride some years ago. I concluded the high sided car style was safer than other types as the sides of the car protected riders in the case of a derailment and tipover. You don’t really need 21” widths. 18” widths will accommodate many sized adults. Not all, but most.

The biggest safety issues we experienced were 5 and 6 year olds standing up and jumping up and down while underway. This caused the car to derail, sometimes uncouple. Kids get excited and do weird stuff - in spite of your best efforts... Now days heavily obese adults are the rule, hence you always are fighting a bunch of top heavy people creating a high center of gravity. No way to mitigate that without significant weight in the frame and under the deck.

Two recommendations: unless you already have the track in place, consider building it out at 12” gauge or even 15”. You will have exceptional stability, much better safety, and be ale to pull longer consists with more passengers. And/Or, if you go with .7.5”, build a prototype and test it out for stability before committing to a full consist of rolling stock. It’s worth the extra effort to know you’ve got a stable car design before building a bunch of them and opening to customers...

Good luck!

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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by kcameron » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:10 pm

The way I explain stability to visiting guests is to compare their own bottom to the width of the rails.If they are wider than your rails, you rapidly increase the ability of tipping the car. I run a lot in 4.75" gauge and other than very small children, the rider is wider than the rails. We use designs to hug the ground to lower the CG as much as possible. Then we work the designs to let them sit on the ground and make it very hard to tip.
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:15 pm

Glenn Brooks wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:03 pm
...

Two recommendations, unless you already have the track in place, consider building it out at 12” gauge or even 15”. You will have exceptional stability, much better safety, and be ale to pull longer consists with more passengers.

...


There is a railroad in Reedley, CA., at the Hillcrest Christmas Tree Farm, that runs for a pumpkin patch and other holidays and they are 15-inch gauge. Here's a link to their website: https://www.hillcrestreedley.com
Greg Lewis, Prop.
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kcameron
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by kcameron » Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:38 am

If one is looking for designs that look more prototypical, the centerbeam flat car is a good one when building a tee seat car. Only difference is the top of the centerbeam is padded.
-ken cameron
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rkcarguy
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by rkcarguy » Fri Oct 15, 2021 1:50 pm

I share Greg's concern regarding liability as well as Glenn's concern with tippy-ness for a ride for the public. While you may be able to escape a carnival type designation by having the train ride be no charge(they would just be buying the pumpkins correct?), the liability of it will still likely exist and require insurance. I'm building a 12" gage RR (2" scale, or 1/6th scale, 20" wide rolling stock) for my private use and enjoyment/work of transporting firewood from my acreage to my home and running the garbage and recycling to the end of my long driveway. (Or great motivation to get the kids to do it). I had played around with the idea of having a X-mas tree farm with a train ride to take people out to get their trees. Our state has a tax break and incentives for such things, but was quoted over $3,000 for insurance for what would be a few weeks of use and that killed that. Insurance also wanted inspections, build, and maintenance logs similar to owning an aircraft. Our state is unfortunately far to litigious for such a thing unless its done on a large scale to afford the insurance (maybe a very large pumpkin patch plus X-mas tree's and weekly openings for pay rides would work). I deemed 7.5" gage too tippy for what I wanted to do as well as the fact that I wanted to be able to sit inside my rolling stock at a minimum, not on top of it. 7.5" trains are only about 15" wide. There are numerous Youtube videos of people tipping over 7.5" gage trains by merely reaching out/leaning too far with one arm trying to video as they move along. I would recommend at least 12" gage, maybe 15" if you can afford it.

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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by UPsteamfan » Sat Oct 16, 2021 9:06 am

Thank you everyone for the thoughts and advice.

Those asking about the track. It is not in place yet, but we have purchased the required amount of 1" west coast aluminum rail for our project. Hoping to start laying track next spring. I was preferring to stay in the 7.5" gauge since we have 3 locomotives and a handful of cars.

Now that said, how stable is the 2.5" scale narrow gauge trains. I have seen some nice railroads with people riding. Cars by my calculations would be in the 20-22" wide neighborhood.

The folks that brought up insurance. The cost is not much of an issue, as long as the trains are made safe to ride. We also plan on operating at least 7 days a week from mid September to the end of October, and weekends November to Christmas. If the train runs during the week is yet to be decided (Have of workforce is in school). We also we be having something during summer to bring in extra money. No small time operation.

Well back to the Funny Farm
Doc

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pat1027
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Re: Passenger train help!

Post by pat1027 » Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:17 pm

It is not the car that is unstable. The passenger creates the instability setting off center and moving around during the ride. An additional big advantage of the T type car is it controls the position of the passenger keeping them centered on the car. You don't have to move far at all off center and the T car is uncomfortable. With few exceptions the passengers won't care about the non-prototypical car.

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