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Track spacing questions

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 10, 2017 5:39 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

For curved turnouts Walthers has some, and so does PECO code 83, but I generally scratch build curved turnouts if I need them.

Sheldon

 

Sheldon, I didn't know that you handlay track. What are you using? Fastracks?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Thursday, August 10, 2017 6:56 AM

What is the issue with this thread? Is it actual physical clearance of the models? Prototypical track spacing? Or room for fat fingers to get in there?

If the first, the NMRA clearance guides cover that pretty well for many different scenarios.

If the second, prototype railroads have specific info for that. 

If the third, take the centerline spacing and subtract the NMRA guide width. That leaves the finger room. Then measure the fattest finger in the club, and make adjustments. Simple.

Robert

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:23 AM

doctorwayne

The only yards on my layout are staging yards, where the track centres vary from 2" to 3".  Almost all cars are handled at these locations, either being placed on the layout or removed from it and returned to their respective boxes...

There's no double track on the layout, either, although all towns have passing sidings on the mainline.  Track centres there vary from 3 3/4" down to 1 3/4". 
This is the area of 1 3/4" centres, dictated by limited layout depth and the need to include other items...

...including a turntable...

Space is so tight that the 90' turntable is only 89' long! Smile, Wink & Grin

While I generally wouldn't be picking a car off the tracks there, it's certainly possible to do, even with a train on each track - simply touch the roof or top of the car, tilt it away from the other track, and then pick it up.

Wayne

 

 But I do note how you swing out there to the left of the roundhouse to gain clearance for the curve!

                           --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:26 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
hon30critter

 

 
cuyama
Note that the frog in a PECO Code 100 Large is a bit tighter than you might expect (about a #4½). So be sure to check your longest and stiffest equipment through a straight Code 100 crossover before committing.

 

Is there a better turnout (i.e. larger frog) that you would recommend? We want to have live frogs (so I can run my critters - selfish eh?!). One club member has used Fast Tracks jigs extensively. We have considered going that route.

Thanks

Dave

 

 

 

For straight turnouts I actually prefer ATLAS code 83 Custom Line. They have metal frogs that can be powered but require a relay or contacts to change polarity. I power all of mine and use mostly #6 and #8.

They make into crossovers with 2" centers with no cutting, and make 2" center yards with no cutting.

For curved turnouts Walthers has some, and so does PECO code 83, but I generally scratch build curved turnouts if I need them.

Sheldon

 

 Peco Electrofrogs are also all metal frogs which can be powered the same way. They have a greater variety of turnout options than Atlas, the main reason I am using the Peco 83 on my next layout. I tried handlaying - not for me, I guess. I have a Fast Tracks #6 set of tools cut for Atlas Code 83 rail gathering dust.

                                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, August 10, 2017 10:10 AM

Randy, Peco 83 line is nice, but I don't care for their throw bar.

Is the electro frog an isolated frog or always live based on the points like Wathers/hand layed?

I prefer the power feed thru of the Atlas, it has advantages with my Advanced Cab Control.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, August 10, 2017 10:49 AM

rrinker
But I do note how you swing out there to the left of the roundhouse to gain clearance for the curve!

Yeah, that was necessary for passenger equipment, and I originally had a crossover in the curve, too (about where the combine is in the photo below).  After some operating sessions, I found that it wasn't really needed, so took it out and used the turnouts elsewhere.

I now sorta regret not leaving evidence of its former site in the ballast, but the removal involved quite a bit of wet water, so I simply re-did the scene as if the crossover had never been there.

Wayne

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Thursday, August 10, 2017 8:16 PM

My railroad is a shortline based on actual CNW and SOO track, so I used their standards.  My main yard is on 1 3/4 inch spacing.

I also deliberately set it up so the yard switcher crew sat on the yard lead and could not physically access the center of the yard.  It gave them a strong incentive to keep the cards sorted in each slot -- just like the prototype.

 

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:35 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Randy, Peco 83 line is nice, but I don't care for their throw bar.

Is the electro frog an isolated frog or always live based on the points like Wathers/hand layed?

I prefer the power feed thru of the Atlas, it has advantages with my Advanced Cab Control.

Sheldon

 

 Either way, actually. Out of the package they have a jumper which feeds the frog based on the points touching the stock rail. The jumpers on the underside are easily clipped and there is a frog power wire that comes already attached. Witht he jumpers cut, you have a turnout that is wired almost identically to what you get building a Fast Tracks turnout if you cut the gaps as recommended. There are two other spots cut out ont he bottom to install jumpers connecting the cloosure rail to the adjacent stock rail but adding 2 small jumpers - or they can be actual power feeders. Adding those means the power to the closure rails does not depend on good point contact.         

                              --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, August 11, 2017 12:53 AM

Bayfield Transfer Railway
I also deliberately set it up so the yard switcher crew sat on the yard lead and could not physically access the center of the yard.  It gave them a strong incentive to keep the cards sorted in each slot -- just like the prototype.

Michael:

I like your thinking!

Dave

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Friday, August 11, 2017 9:14 PM
Thanks! Worked like a charm, too. It was inspired by watching a CP crew switch Humboldt yard in Minneapolis; there were two men throwing switches and the engine crew... nobody was down on the body tracks.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:37 AM

cuyama
Many clients and friends are happy with PECO Code 83. Available Electrofrog or Insulfrog. Not as inexpensive as Atlas, but offers a nice relatively compact curved turnout.

Hi Ed:

Based on your advice I have had a closer look at the Peco Code 83 turnouts and I now have a much better understanding of your comment. I'm going to spend some time re-drawing my layout plan using Code 83 and 3rd PlanIt. It will take a while because I basically have to start the track plan from scratch. I wish I had asked the question sooner.

Thanks for sharing your expertize,

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Sunday, August 13, 2017 9:37 PM

The Peco Code 83 #5 turnout is the same size as 3rd PlanIt's "NMRA #5," which is nice.

Also, you might want to look at the new Micro Engineering #5 series, they have one that is extremely small (short track after the frog).

 

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by cuyama on Sunday, August 13, 2017 10:26 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway
The Peco Code 83 #5 turnout is the same size as 3rd PlanIt's "NMRA #5," which is nice.

Those two templates are not the same in my version of 3rd PlanIt, which is release 10.10.010.3678 (I'm usually one or two releases behind the current release.) Lengths are different, diverging angle different, etc. The differences are small, but could be significant, especially in a yard ladder or something similar.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 13, 2017 10:32 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway
The Peco Code 83 #5 turnout is the same size as 3rd PlanIt's "NMRA #5," which is nice.

Hi Michael:

Space for turnouts doesn't seem to be an issue, at least so far. That may change as I convert the plan to Peco Code 83 turnouts, but I don't think there will be any problems substituting a Peco Code 83 #6 turnout for a Peco Code 100 large turnout if I have to, although I would rather use the Code 83 #8s. The frog angle for the Code 83 #6 is still smaller than the Code 100 large turnout.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 13, 2017 10:36 PM

Ed:

Are the Peco Code 83 turnout full size diagrams reliable? I know they have to be printed 1:1 as opposed to fitting them to the page. I tested the Code 100 turnout diagrams some time ago and IIRC they were accurate.

Thanks

Dave

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Posted by cuyama on Sunday, August 13, 2017 11:02 PM

hon30critter
Are the Peco Code 83 turnout full size diagrams reliable?

I'm Byron, not Ed, but in answer to your question, yes. You can check your printout with the handy scale that's printed right on the template page. Note that the #8s are too long to fit on a single letter-sized sheet, so be sure that your printer is not shrinking them to fit.

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Monday, August 14, 2017 12:28 AM

Huh, live and learn.  I last used 3rdPlanIt in... oh... 2005?  Though I just upgraded.

 

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, August 14, 2017 5:17 AM

richhotrain

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

For curved turnouts Walthers has some, and so does PECO code 83, but I generally scratch build curved turnouts if I need them.

Sheldon

 

 

 

Sheldon, I didn't know that you handlay track. What are you using? Fastracks?

 

Rich

 

No Fastracks here, I was taught how to fab a turnout by the old timers at the Severna Park Club in 1973..........

Their entire layout is hand layed.

Before that my first layout was all TruScale wood roadbed track, much of which my father helped me hand lay from their kits.

Today I sometimes take a #8 Atlas apart and use the frog and points to build curved turnouts, or just make them up from rail, depending on the frog angle needed.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, August 14, 2017 5:27 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

No Fastracks here, I was taught how to fab a turnout by the old timers at the Severna Park Club in 1973..........

Their entire layout is hand layed.

Before that my first layout was all TruScale wood roadbed track, much of which my father helped me hand lay from their kits.

Today I sometimes take a #8 Atlas apart and use the frog and points to build curved turnouts, or just make them up from rail, depending on the frog angle needed.

Sheldon  

Sheldon, you need to start a How To thread.  Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, August 14, 2017 3:46 PM

cuyama
I'm Byron, not Ed,

So so sorry Byron!! My bad.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 3:12 AM

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with track spacing. I have pretty much worked things out based on the NMRA RPs and your advice. I have decided on 2" centers for straight mainline double track, 2 9/16" for the double line curves (based on minimum 32" radii), and 2 1/2" for the yard tracks. I decided to allow for lots of room so that pretty much anything will be able to run on the curves without problems.

I raised the issue of using Peco Code 83 track instead of Code 100. The committee was receptive to considering the idea. There are positives and negatives associated with both. On one hand, we have a number of Code 100 turnouts from various mfrs. that many of the club members would like to see re-used. On the other hand, personally I am not in favour of using a mix of turnouts. I would rather bite the proverbial bullet and go all new from the start. We can sell the existing turnouts at our next show. The biggest advantage, as I see it, is the more desirable frog sizes with Code 83. Thanks again Byron for educating me about that!

The issue of wheel flange compatibility with Code 83 came up. The club has a lot of older rolling stock and even some ancient locomotives which some enthusiastic soul converted to DCC, bless their hearts! We will have to do a detailed inventory of our rolling stock to determine what is worth upgrading if we go with Code 83.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 7:25 AM

 Staging can use on-hand Code 100 components. And while that 2 9/16" spacing MIGHT be fine at 32" radius - I would definitely suggest mocking it up and testing it with various rolling stock to be sure before actually laying any track. It's a good starting point for a plan and you should have enough wiggle room to open that up if necessary during construction. And when testing - it's not always the absolute biggest cars that are the problem!

                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 9:24 PM

rrinker
that 2 9/16" spacing MIGHT be fine at 32" radius

That number came from NMRA RP-7.2. It is the recommended spacing for a 31 27/32" radius curve (inside track raduis I'm assuming) for Early Modern/Modern equipment. Going wider won't be an issue if necessary. I will take your advice and test things before cutting the roadbed.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:25 AM

Just priced Peco Code 83 turnouts. They are more than twice the price of the Code 100s. I think we will pass, although we might consider using them for the crossovers only.

Dave

 

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:48 AM

hon30critter
Just priced Peco Code 83 turnouts. They are more than twice the price of the Code 100s.

Modeltrainstuff:

PECO Code 83 #6 $25.99
PECO Code 100 Large $19.99

Of course, use whatever you and the club like. But "twice the price" doesn't seem accurate.

Good luck with the rebuild.

Byron

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 3:48 AM

cuyama
Of course, use whatever you and the club like. But "twice the price" doesn't seem accurate.

I was using retail prices from the Credit Valley Railway for the Code 83 turnouts. They have a reputation for being high priced, but they were the only Canadian supplier that I could find that listed the Code 83 stuff. Your prices are more attractive but there are a few things that have to be added in for us north of the border.

Getting the stuff into Canada is a bit tricky If the package is labelled "Toy Trains" as opposed to "Model Trains" we end up paying duty, but that is simply a matter of educating the supplier. However, we are still supposed to pay sales tax, and there is a fee added on for processing the tax. For purchases of less that $100 they don't bother to collect the tax, but when we are talking 60 turnouts the tax will definately kick in. Then there are the exchange rate and shipping costs. The Code 83 #6 works out to about $50.00 Cdn. once you factor in the exchange rate and shipping. Still better than Credit Valley's price. That doesn't take into account any discounts that may be had by purchasing in bulk.

I obviously have to do more homework.

Thanks again, especially for your patience!

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 7:38 AM

 I said pretty much the same thing in the other thread. Granted the value in CDN will be higher than USD, but the retailers in the US don't charge more than double for the Code 83. Even Peco's MSRP isn't double.

 Seems to be little demand in Canada for the Code 83, if it's hard to find anyone that carries it - or else the demand is that high and the only reason that place has any is because their price is so high. Or maybe everyone in Canada that uses Peco track models British outline and prefers that style of track and has no use for the Code 83 North American style track. The mind boggles. The couple turnouts I got plus some sections of Peco Code 83 flex actually came from a supplier I found that was priced under Modeltrainstuff - which is rare. Dunno if he still is less, this was like 4 years ago I bought this. Which sadly makes me realize how slow I work at this. 

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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