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There have been several calls for a poll to try to bring some sort of conclusion to the track quality discussion.

We have put together a multi-choice questionnaire. We realise that the choice of questions will be the start of yet another round of debate but we have to start somewhere. We have identified nine principal stages in the development of turnouts and ten types of plain track during the period from 1923 to the present day. We know that some pre-grouping track has lasted well into the preservation era even into the 1980's. However, we have to set the boundary somewhere. We have ignored many sub-options such as straight cut switches, undercut switches, chamfered switches, shallow depth switches, cast manganese crossings, welded crossings, swing nose crossings, soleplates and the huge variety of rail fastenings, which have been used over the years. One obvious omission from the questions is that of rail code. Our thinking is that since code 75 rail is smaller than scale and that both Hornby and Bachmann's latest wheels will run on SMP track then there is no reason why the rail size adopted should not be the correct scale for the type of track selected.

We are asking everyone to assume that an unspecified manufacturer is proposing to manufacture a new range of ready to run 4mm scale track comprising yard lengths of flexitrack and just one turnout in left and right hand versions. Our questionnaire allows readers to indicate their preferred specifications for these products.

The advantage to having an on-line multichoice questionnaire is that there is no collation of the results to be undertaken. The software will do the collating for us and work out the percentages allowing us to let anyone have a look into our site to see the results as the poll progresses.

What we are doing might not be the perfect answer to the problem but we appeal to everyone to let us know your preferences. The bigger the poll the more indicative the result will be.

We must make it clear that both Paul and I are completely neutral regarding the outcome of this poll. Paul is working in P4 and is more than happy to make his own track using kits from the P4track Co. I am nearing the completion of my OO layout and I am unlikely to have a requirement for more track in the foreseeable future.

Please give this initiative your support.

The poll can be found at http://mrol.gppsoftware.com/trackpoll.aspx

Graham and Paul Plowman
 

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"We have identified nine principal stages in the development of turnouts and ten types of plain track during the period from 1923 to the present day. We have ignored many sub-options such as straight cut switches, undercut switches, chamfered switches, shallow depth switches, cast manganese crossings, welded crossings, swing nose crossings, soleplates and the huge variety of rail fastenings, which have been used over the years. One obvious omission from the questions is that of rail code. Our thinking is that since code 75 rail is smaller than scale and that both Hornby and Bachmann's latest wheels will run on SMP track then there is no reason why the rail size adopted should not be the correct scale for the type of track selected."

I apreciate the sentiment of the questionair but i think that summs up the problem perfectly. the sheer variety of track in the UK make it a complete no brainer for mass production.

"We are asking everyone to assume that an unspecified manufacturer is proposing to manufacture a new range of ready to run 4mm scale track comprising yard lengths of flexitrack and just one turnout in left and right hand versions. Our questionnaire allows readers to indicate their preferred specifications for these products."

That really wouldnt be of any use to anyone.

I would like to see some competition for C&L. the parts do seem rather expensive when building anything other than a very small layout. i really like the product but they just dont seem like value for money to mee.

A sprue of chairs could be turned out very easily and really shouldnt cost more than about 5p.

I would love to see some very cheap well designed track parts so that people will try it and see that its really not difficult to build track.
People wont mind messing up a kit that only cost a fiver. they do mind messing up a kit that costs £20.

Peter
 

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Graham, I get the impression that you're making things more complicated than they should be. You are battling over specifics with a handful of others and not realising that the masses just don't care about the details that you obsess about.

Your poll will not be representative of the UK modelling market because most of the modellers will get half way down the list of questions, get confused and loose interest. Those that do fill it in will never be happy because each will have such opinionated views that they will never be happy with whatever is produced.
 

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QUOTE (Graham Plowman @ 30 Mar 2007, 10:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...
We are asking everyone to assume that an unspecified manufacturer is proposing to manufacture a new range of ready to run 4mm scale track comprising yard lengths of flexitrack and just one turnout in left and right hand versions. Our questionnaire allows readers to indicate their preferred specifications for these products....

So I assume from the phrase 4mm scale track that you have sorted out the gauge problem and that this mythical manufacturer is making track to 18.83mm gauge
and rolling stock to suit.

Ozzie21
 

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You do have to be an expert to answer most of the questions in that poll however I gave it a go and discovered that my selections were almost entirely the most popular current selections based around a certain period. By coincidence this same period is the most popular period to model according to the Model Rail Forum poll. In fact there are a lot of similarities between which period modellers model and which track they would prefer. The conclusion already is that folk will want the track that suits their period.

Now given that there are 9 different interest groups all wanting track that suits them how are you going to satisfy every group?

And is the market large enough to offer track that satisfies each interest group at an attractive price?

A 4ft radius though as the first curve option! Don't you mean diameter?

Its great that somebody is prepared to have a go at offering track that is more finescale that the current offerings and as a cottage business it would be an opportunity but for mass market sales its never going to be strong enough. Think of Hornby Dublo 2 rail track that was the finest 2 rail British setrack ever offered from a large manufacturer but also had this habit of falling apart in your hands!

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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While I like the idea of the poll, I'm with Ozzie.

Assuming that this is to be OO gauge, then describing TRACK as "4mm scale" is an immediate off-putter.
It would make more sense if clearly described as "OO Gauge", assuming that is what is meant.
I think that is what is meant, but it remains a guess.

Oh, and there is a little glitch - if you omit an answer to any question, the vote doesn't register - fair enough.
But, if you start again, then you are told that you have already voted and can't do so again.
 

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I honestly don't understand what there is to complain about with this survey?

It is simple, straightforward...with enough technicality to please the techos, and equally, enough general simplicity to please the likes of me?

I have added my twopennorth.

Having seen the stats, it seems we generally want a track system which is more to 4mm scale than any other scale.

This being regardless of any gauge differences.

The issue being raised, isn't about track gauge..that is an accepted fact we put up with, or not, as the case may be?

However, I note, there is about an equal number who want finescale, to those who want the more ''universal' standards as used at present.

Most want turnout radii to be much the same as what is offered today? (an acknowledgement of space considerations?), ie sub 4 foot radius?

Most are in favour of live frog turnouts.

most are in favour of separate switching.....perhaps an issue of manufacturer reliability here??

Some large percentages favour bullhead rail......to be expected, I suppose...however, the largest percentage in favour of flatbottom rail seem focussed on the sort of trackwork that might not look out of place from the '50's through to recent times?

( I voted for a 60's flatbottom rail track........out of consideration that, since FB rail is the type currently most commonly offered, why change, especially when BH trackwork is already in the marketplace.....is BH really a more 'universal' approach? Apparently not when an awful lot of fok are content with the current FB offerings?)

so really...what IS the problem with the survey?
 

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So what happens if the absolutely perfect option for you is early LNER Southern Area bullhead but you'd be quite happy to accept post war wooden sleeper FB if it was available?

It seems to me the big problem is that this poll is deliberately designed to fragment support amongst as many options as possible, and therefore allow Graham to claim, as he has done repeatedly , that no possible product would satisfy the market and therefore there should be no new product...

QUOTE Oh, and there is a little glitch - if you omit an answer to any question, the vote doesn't register - fair enough.
But, if you start again, then you are told that you have already voted and can't do so again.

In other words - if you are relaxed about something , and would accept either option - you're not allowed to vote at all!

A further problem is that the poll specifically does NOT allow you to vote for track to match current RTR stock.

It specifies EM, P4, or "OO Finescale" , which I take to be EM wheels using 1.0mm flangeway. or current Peco . You can't vote for DOGA OO Intermediate , or BRMSB . So Graham can now claim that nobody supports track to those standards, and either would rewheel all their stock or would choose Peco's current standards

Furthermore you are only allowed to support a strictly prototypical geometry. I do forsee the claim will be made that proper OO points would be too long etc etc.

It strikes me this is not in fact a neutral poll, and that Graham is attempting to dictate the terms of the debate and establish himself as the arbiter of what track we can or can't have
 

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I think you are being too hard on Graham. If he made the questionaire too simple he would be criticised for that.
He's at least making an effort which is more than the vague "all I want is better 00 track" which has gone on interminably.
I personally believe we are stuck with what we've got and that if you want change then British H0 is the answer. But that isn't going to happen either.
 

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QUOTE So what happens if the absolutely perfect option for you is early LNER Southern Area bullhead but you'd be quite happy to accept post war wooden sleeper FB if it was available?

I f a PARTICULAR HISTORIC ERA/LOCATION is one's barra, one has the option of scratchbuilding, or adapting what is currently available from the trade?

OR, if that is too much hassle, then one has the option of doing EXACTLY what one does now, and accept what is currently available from folk like Peco?

so the choices would remain exactly the same as now, reference type of rail?

Support is fragmented as it stands.

the stats simply put figures on it.

QUOTE that no possible product would satisfy the market

That is the CURRENT situation, surely?
which is why folk often accept compromise?

I feel the issue is about reducing that compromise.

QUOTE Furthermore you are only allowed to support a strictly prototypical geometry. I do forsee the claim will be made that proper OO points would be too long etc etc.
erm....the first box on point geometry covers pretty much as things are at the moment....which also has the largest vote.

not sure how you conclude the latter paragraph?

All polls will have faults...unfortunately not all folk will feel they can honestly answer....and there were plenty of 'couldn't care less' boxes scattered about??

would it have made ANY difference if 'I ' had got off me butt to organise one?
 

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QUOTE I personally believe we are stuck with what we've got and that if you want change then British H0 is the answer. But that isn't going to happen either

it's about simple changes, perhaps even reverting to what 'used to be?'

as for british HO?

it already exists.....albeit more of a scratchbuilder's realm, like TT........but it is an option for all to take if they so wish.

a case of, make one's stock, and buy one's track?......or as with OO, buy one's stock, and make/put up with one's track?

it would seem not an unreasonable request to have sleepers spaced better?

(besides, I don't think Peco's trackage (apart from the US code 83) is particularly of use for HO either?)
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 30 Mar 2007, 13:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Support is fragmented as it stands.

the stats simply put figures on it.
That is the CURRENT situation, surely?
which is why folk often accept compromise?
No one would dispute that there have to be compromises, but it's the current compromise that's being called into question.

The stats show fragmentation because the poll is designed to produce that result.
As Ravenser has pointed out, this poll does not offer the option that people have been asking for so in effect is not relevant to the discussion about "better" or improved 00 track.

 

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QUOTE (Oakydoke @ 31 Mar 2007, 07:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The stats show fragmentation because the poll is designed to produce that result.
As Ravenser has pointed out, this poll does not offer the option that people have been asking for so in effect is not relevant to the discussion about "better" or improved 00 track.

It's entirely relevant.
Graham has taken the fragmentation to the edge but standards have to be agreed upon which for the most part are lacking from the discussion. I challenge those supporting change to post their own poll listing the standards they feel are most likely.
 

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Something odd has happened to the poll over the last 24 hours. From being a situation where most of those being polled use current OO scale like Peco track the poll now has a situation where most of those being polled (over 40%!) actually use finescale track! How representative is this of the broad market for track?

Given though that a high number of those polled use finescale then the follow on results to be fair will be more representative of what finescale modellers would like to see.

The poll results may well reflect the level of interest that various goups have in participating in such a poll rather than being representative of modellers as a whole.

And I guess that is the trouble with all polls.

Here is a poll:-

Would you like to receive £10?

Yes
No

What would be the result of that one?


Whatever your thoughts please take part in the poll as if you are a bog standard Peco/Hornby track modeller then we need to knock the finescale modellers off the perch!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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>Whatever your thoughts please take part in the poll as if you are a bog standard Peco/Hornby track modeller then we need to knock the finescale modellers off the perch!


I wasn't going to participate in the poll because it was "off site"; but given Gary's provocative comment I guess I will just have to go and vote for Peco code 75. I only use it because at present I don't think I would live long enough to hand build the amount of "true OO" scale track I would need for my railway empire. What I want first, second and last from my track is good electrical pickup; Peco 75 is the only easily available off the shelf source for electrofrog crossings and slips. I don't particularly care whether the "chairs" are of the correct pattern, my eyes are trained on the rolling stock not the track. Now if a manufacturer was to come up with some nano technology which resulted in self cleaning track, I'd be at the front of the queue...

<Edit>
Now that I've done the poll, I find that there was only one question I didn't understand - number 8 about rails being inclined inwards. It appears I may be more of a track geek that I thought


David
 

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Gary:

I'm not sure if you're reading the figures quite right here. The question being asked in the poll is not "what track do you currently use?" but "what OO track would you like to see made?"

What Graham means by "OO finescale" track is very unclear. You could put your Vi-Trains 37 down on hand built track built to the old BRMSB track standard - which is what most "finescale OO" track actually is - and it would run very well indeed, with no problems at all. I've seen it done. The same goes for all todays RTR

On the other hand some people build an even "finer" OO track using EM wheels and clearances- This "OO Finescale" isn't compatible with RTR, but only some "finescale OO" modellers do this.

So most "finescale OO" isn't "OO Finescale".

Which Graham Plowman means by OO Finescale is anyone's guess.

However I think what most people think they are voting for under "OO finescale" is OO track suitable for today's RTR , but with finer clearances than current coarse Peco/Hornby track

Speading confusion is the whole object of this poll
 

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QUOTE I wasn't going to participate in the poll because it was "off site"

I am confident that when Graham publishes his poll result at MRE mag he will give credit to those sites whose members have participated in the poll.


I was surprised how much of a track geek I was too!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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DWB i think he was refering to the raft that rails are not held vertical in their chairs but are angeled slightly inwards at the top. this it to help reduce gauge corner cracking and to help even out wear and make the track last longer. it also transmits the forces much more effeciently to the sleepers. ie directly through the web of the rail rather than placing a sideways force on the top of the rail. if the rail were not inclined we would need to use a heavier rail altogether to cope with this.

For modelling purpouses i dont really think it is something we need to take into account. it would not be visible.

Peter
 

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Thanks for the explanation Peter


David
 
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