Tie length Question

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.

Moderators: Glenn Brooks, Harold_V

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Glenn Brooks
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:39 pm
Location: Woodinville, Washington

Tie length Question

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:13 am

Hello All,

Iam thinking of converting to a 15” gauge Railway. Wondering if there is some rule of thumb, standard, or magic formula, for how long a 15” ga wood tie could or should be, given 12# rail?

Iam mostly concerned with determining if I can reuse my 12” gauge ties (24” long) for 15” gauge track 12# and possibly 20# rail).

Thanks
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....

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FLSTEAM
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Re: Tie length Question

Post by FLSTEAM » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:18 am

All the RR's I ran on used 12# rail.

JB
http://www.ngshay.com/
Shay drawings and castings

K. Brouwers
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Location: Philippines

Re: Tie length Question

Post by K. Brouwers » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:47 am

Hello Glenn,
I think you could probably do that and over time as the ties need replacing install longer ones. Looking at the photos of your track it looks like you also have a good solid base to lay the track on this will also support the shorter than ideal ties. The ideal length of a tie should be twice the gauge with the tamping under and near the rails to support them, the exact center of the tie does not need tamping as it will place your ties under a bending stress if the center is elevated in the ballast more than the ends due to tamping. Even the prototype uses 8' 6" ties and that is shorter than twice the gauge.
Cheers
Karel

rkcarguy
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Re: Tie length Question

Post by rkcarguy » Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:26 pm

I think you'd be fine on the same ties Glenn, unless you just want to maintain a certain look with the wider ties.
Because you don't have 1000's of feet of trackage, consider dual gage 12"/15"?

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Tie length Question

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sun Sep 22, 2019 5:04 pm

Ryan, iam really of two minds about this, as Iam looking at some big 16” locos that could be regauged to 15”, and with my existing ties, I would only have an outside allowance of 2-3” on both sides. That seems really marginal support for a wide, heavy load.

(The driver for all this is the possibility of creating a 15” ga live park gauge steam society with maybe 3 miles of track. Iam trying to decide if I should regauge my larger 4-4-0 to 15” ga, and use my backyard railway as a test bed for equipment and building cars etc. a dual gauge might be feasible also, replacing one and three or one in four ties with a longer 4x6, for stability and safety.) its all in the thinking stage right now...
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....

STRR
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Location: Westminster, CO

Re: Tie length Question

Post by STRR » Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:49 pm

Glenn,

To answer your question, it depends on what you're planning to do when laying the rails. I recommend 12 lb. rail. I have an 18" gauge train and can use 8, 10, and/or 12 lb. rail and have it look in proportion. 20 lb, is going to look BIG. If you're planning on re-gauging your 12", then use the ties as they are. When they need replacement, use longer ones. If you're going to relay the track, you can use both longer and shorter ties together. Say, two longer and one shorter, two longer and one shorter. You can use shorter ties on sidings where speeds are low and the loads won't be as heavy. Another great use for the shorter ties is in storage area sidings. If you use your imagination, you can think of all sorts of places you can use the shorter ties.

For my 18" gauge, I planned on 32" ties since you can get three out one 8' timber with no waste. I spent a lot of time compiling/correcting a tie spacing chart. It's on the Grand Scale web site. If you can't find it, let me know, I'll send a copy. Working on it, sure opened my eyes to point loads, rail size, tie size, and tie spacing. A very educational experience for me. Full-size track is way over-engineered and geared towards really heavy/fast loads, and for longevity. Guys like us, do not have the money to build as the real railroads do. Nor do we need to build to their standards.

Good Luck,
Terry

LIALLEGHENY
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Location: Bohemia, NY

Re: Tie length Question

Post by LIALLEGHENY » Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:58 pm

Glenn,

"some big 16" locos" You buying out the Whiskey River Railroad and moving it? I would say dual gauge your railroad ....but would these big locos even be able to negotiate your tight curves?

Nyle

Glenn Brooks
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:39 pm
Location: Woodinville, Washington

Re: Tie length Question

Post by Glenn Brooks » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:29 am

Nyle, alas, no- nothing that grand. But there are a couple of 16” ga engines available for sale. - of course needing restoration, or completion, depending on whom you talk to.

I may have confused folks the possibility of converting my backyard pike with the idea of moving to 15” ga - at a different, news location. A small group of us here in Seattle are looking at the idea of forming a live steam club for 15” ga railroading - with a 1-3 mile ROW out in one of our local state forest preserves. I have a couple of locomotives I could regauge to 15” scale and and operate on the line... so working through the thought process of “converting” from 12” gauge to 15”...

Also - good point about my tight curves. Anything 3” scale with four drivers probably would run on my RR, but 6 drivers, well that’s probably iffy. - even with blind middle driver. Ahaha, Man this gets complicated... Now i need to do some chord/ radius calcs to see what’s even possible for a test track at my shop...

Railroading is such fun. Go karting was so much easier.

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....

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