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> Time for 'Scale' Trackwork?
DCCDave
post 23 Jul 2013, 13:47
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Model Railways has been my hobby for over 60 years now. Over this time I have watched and wondered at the leaps in Detailing brought about by the use of New Technologies and New Materials. I have watched my layouts come and go, first in 3-Rail and Tinplate, then onto 2-Rail and Plastic and enjoyed the change from these things simply being 'Toys' to become my hobby and my Pastime.

I have just finished a project that involved detailed drawing of a large layout using XtrackCAD where the use of Sectional Track was the norm rather than the Flexi-Track. This, combined with a requirement on one of my Club Layouts to install a 3rd rail on part of it to satisfy those members with a Southern Region bent has set me thinking about the current state of play with regards to trackwork, in general.

Since the days of the Centre Rail 3-Rail track the only real development in this area has been into 2-Rail and the use of both ElectroFrog and InsulFrog type turnouts as newer materials became available. The detailing applied to all locomotives and rolling stock is out of this world yet the trackwork seems to be set in its ways with little change.

Is it time to look at the creation of a new, 'Scale' series of trackwork, perhaps?

For example, the construction of the old style 60ft sections of track, with correct sized sleepers and spacings over this length would lend itself nicely to being Sectionalised Track Packs. Four such lengths would make up the existing FlexiTrack lengths and the various radii currently being used could continue but using the standard 60ft lengths instead. This would help to bring about the change from 'Toys' to Model Railways.

Similarly, as a possible follow-on from this development, how about using the same criteria - 60ft sections - but have a working outside 3rd Rail for the Southern Region and those other areas running 3rd Rail Sets and perhaps, go full circle back to a working Centre 3rd-Rail for all of those modelling the Ungerground?

The third rail may not need to be a permanent fixture but supplied as an Add-On fitted to the sleepers of the new 'Scale' Track to be mounted either as an 'Outside' or as an 'Inside' Rail on its insulators?

I believe that it is now high time that we should look again at the humble Trackwork. After all, where would our Model Railways be without it?

DCCDave Roberts



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Brian Considine
post 23 Jul 2013, 14:03
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This subject has been "done to death" many times on the main forum & doubtless on other forums.

It usually ends in a bunfight.
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Greyvoices
post 23 Jul 2013, 14:29
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I think this is an issue that should be revisited and revisited until there is a satisfactory outcome.

There is obviously a lot of 00 modellers who would like a better track standard but manufacturers are not convinced that there is the required critical mass to make it a viable investment. That said, C&L do make r-t-r plain track that is a distinct improvement on the more usual track options and if they took the plunge and added some r-t-r points it would make a lot of modellers very happy.

Thanks for keeping this issue to the forefront Dave.

Best regards ............... Greyvoices (alias John)


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Phil P
post 23 Jul 2013, 16:27
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The Double O Gauge Association (www.doubleogauge.com) have been campaigning for this for years. I know they are in regular talks with the manufacturers - perhaps joining them might help?
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john woodall
post 23 Jul 2013, 21:40
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I guess it come down to two real drivers

The first is price. Realistically for anyone to make a huge dent, then they have to be at a price point that at least matches the competitions price. For some reason British modellers seem to have very short arms and very long pockets.

Then there is brand loyalty to contend with. Simply put until people are able/willing to give up their pre conceived notions that the brands from the past are still the be all and end all, then anyone trying to break into the market with new initiatives are doomed to failure.

But then that is my view from the other side of the world!!!!!
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Richard Lee
post 24 Jul 2013, 14:33
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I am a rather mediocre modeller in OO, who nevertheless, has had a go at getting better OO track. Flexi-track is not a problem. As stated by Greyvoices, flexi-track in code 75 bullhead with sleepers sized and spaced for OO is available from SMP and C&L. OO flexi-track works out roughly 1 to 2 per yard more than Peco Streamline.

Points, slips and crossings are a bit more difficult. Ideally, you build them yourself; however, not everyone has the time, expertise or inclination. You can buy hand-made by other people (such as Marcway, who own SMP and sell their flexi-track), which is a relatively expensive option that I ended up choosing. Alternatively, you can compromise, and use HO points, slips or crossings, for instance Peco Streamline code 75.

If manufacturer started a range of proper OO track, their costs would mainly be in producing the points, slips and crossings. A new range that they probably couldn't sell much of to North America, Germany or France would probably be noticeably more expensive, and have less choices than, for instance, Peco Streamline code 75. Have a feeling that even in the British outline market, Peco Streamline would be a significant competitor.

It is hard for me to imagine which company would be likely to produce an improved track. It seems to me that Hornby and Bachmann are more interested in producing sectional track for beginners. Have to confess ignorance in how much track from each company is sold in Britain, but I assume that most OO modellers who want something better than sectional track go the Peco Streamline route. Don't know much about commercial realities, but it might not be in their best interests for Peco to invest a lot of money in a range that is mainly going to compete with their existing ranges.
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Brossard
post 24 Jul 2013, 15:37
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Richard makes some good "points" rolleyes.gif Marcway points are built on copper clad sleepers, AFAIK. They will look good but you won't have chair detail. I've built a bunch of code 100 points for the club layout (virtually free using recycled rail and copper clad strip). I found this very satisfying, learnt a lot and is very liberating in that you are not hostage to Peco's set track point geometry.

IMO Peco's sales are predominantly overseas (anyone have numbers?). Their code 100 UK outline points feature a lot on North American layouts. Their code 83 (which really look good) doesn't seem to have made much of a dent over here, but I could be wrong. One real issue for "scale" points is the lack of wheel standards and back to back dimensions. These are critical in getting stock through points (common crossings especially). This is why flangeways and blade clearances are yawning chasms on Peco points - they must accomodate everything. Compare a Peco point to a real point.

I wish I had a better idea of how the hobby breaks down but I rather suspect that the majority are content with Peco, Bachmann and Hornby. There are a very few , like Dave and others (I would include myself) who want better trackwork.

However, I can't see Peco (and what other manufacturer is there - really?) producing track, with all the associated costs, for a really small market.

I think it really is a matter of, "if you want it you'll have to make it yourself".

John


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Bizman
post 24 Jul 2013, 19:45
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QUOTE (Brossard @ 24 Jul 2013, 15:37) *
I think it really is a matter of, "if you want it you'll have to make it yourself".
John
Been there, done that... In a previous reincarnation of the hobby, I was working in EM and decided to build the track as close to scale as I could. Jigs were built to make crossings of 1 in 5 and 1 in 7 and also for the switches. Sleepers were from plywood sheet cut with a home made cutting table to get the correct size and sleepers were soaked in creosote to give an authentic touch. Point blades were laboriously filed to a taper using another jig and after many years I had some lovely looking trackwork. However it had taken so much time and money I had only a few wagons and no motive power. The layout 12'x 3' was eventually abandoned.


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Brossard
post 24 Jul 2013, 22:16
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Ron, I had a similar experience with my late exhibition layout (20 ft long). My first thought was to make C&L points but my knowledge, skills and experience weren't up to it so the idea was abandoned. I finished the layout with Peco code 75 points. I also converted to DCC halfway through as well. This must have been the best part of 20 years ago.

Maybe three years ago, the club I then belonged to set out to make a new exhibition layout. For that, I made a number of copper clad points which, I'm happy to say, worked well.

I'm ready for the next step now - a layout in EM.

Anyway, my point was that, given we're all getting older, do we really want (and can we afford) to wait for someone to give us what we want or do we take the initiative ourselves?

John


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conmaira
post 24 Jul 2013, 23:41
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QUOTE (Brossard @ 24 Jul 2013, 16:37) *
However, I can't see Peco (and what other manufacturer is there - really?) producing track, with all the associated costs, for a really small market.

John


I'm not so sure given that relatively recently they added another type of track to their range (ultra modern - can't recall the actual name) and I would have thought the market for that would be small indeed. It certainly would give them an edge as producers of track, to complement their position as point producers - other than the observations made earlier, I would guess that most people are relatively content with their points, crossings and slips?

Hugh
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Brossard
post 25 Jul 2013, 00:30
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I wish I had data on market size Hugh. I think you mean steel sleepered track - featured on Peco's website. It's not clear whether there are points to match, which is where most development money would be spent.

I have read other threads on other forums on this topic, I haven't seen a definitive answer.

John


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BobB
post 25 Jul 2013, 06:44
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In the old toy train days we had rolling stock that was a reasonable representation of the prototype and when we got rid of the centre third rail we were all very happy. But now we have very detailed rolling stock that looks absolutely great from the side but it's let down from end views by narrow gauge track which when we look at closely is a bit strange compared to the prototype.

Is this a case of the track needs to catch up with the rolling stock ?

I vote for reducing the rolling stock size so we keep the rail width the same (some backward compatibility) and the Peco or whoever can do their bit to sleeper size and spacing.

As for this being an old subject, I agree but it has yet to result in a viable solution. It reminds me a bit of GWR's broad gauge V Stephenson's narrow (now standard) gauge. The description of disruption at Gloucester's change over point was horrendous. At least let us avoid that debacle.
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DCCDave
post 28 Jul 2013, 10:41
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Good Morning Team,

I have left this discussion alone for a week and as I expected all of your most welcome replies have covered the various nuances of the subject to some degree. I do not expect Hornby to move from 16.5mm to 18.82mm gauge or to change its pointwork. Other manufacturers are already into that market but I do believe that we can no longer keep thinking of Hornby as being in the 'Toy' market either.

Like my own experiences over the years, you get introduced to our hobby with a 'Train Set', whether its 'Thomas' or not but having hooked an individual it strikes me that it is bordering on sheer folly to let that interest wayne and die or otherwise go to waste. That interest needs to be nurtured and developed in exactly the same way that a new product is developed.

All I am suggesting is that the development of a 'Half-Way House' would be in order. I don't know about all of you but I well remember the very soporiphic 'Clickety-Click-Clickety-Click' of wheels crossing over the track section joints as a child and even today, any visit to an exhibition and that same sound draws me to any layout that re-creates it!

Regardless of which 'Scale' track you choose to create your layout with I am willing to bet that someone, somewhere will have cut small v's into their flexi-track rail every scale 60ft, simply to re-create that sound!

I disagree with Brian's comment about the subject 'being done to death' i believe that it will only be put to bed when something is seen to be done that satisfies the need. As BobB says this is a case of the Track needing to catch up with the rolling stock.

Dave

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6991
post 28 Jul 2013, 13:01
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Lads,

It's a touchy subject, but what's the point of wanting scale track when you are not going to run scale stock ?

Both solutions are too onerous to consider - tell all the manufacturers to change there models to 18.8 gauge? or tell all the manufacturers to make 1:87 scale models?

Or make better representation of 00 'scale' track, and call yourself a modeller knowing you are running 1/76 on narrow gauge track?

I don't know, why not just leave it where it is, make do with Peco and everyone is happy and you don't have to change either your wheelsets, your track, or your rolling stock. Just go and look at the 'Dover' thread to see what can be done, marvellous work.

6991
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Phil P
post 28 Jul 2013, 15:18
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QUOTE (6991 @ 28 Jul 2013, 13:01) *
It's a touchy subject, but what's the point of wanting scale track when you are not going to run scale stock ?


Because even with OO trackwork, the correct sleeper spacing and length look a lot better than the HO one available ready to run. It's one of the reasons that some of us make our own track.

Phil
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