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check this out [my favourite piccy...I am intending to detail/alter my vitrains version to match this phote]

ignore the loco...look at the trackwork. Note the bullhead rail in the foreground, flat bottom rail under loco.

[note colouring, ballasting, small details, etc...a nice clear photo, thanks to John Turner.]

why not mix 'n match, C&L Finescale trackage, with Peco code 75?

that way, the OP can decide for himself which he prefers...........note, type of rail at this time period will depend on actual location/usage of running lines, sidings, etc.

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2,202 Posts
thanks for the reminder, ebaykal...tillig is indeed fine trackage.....

but still gives us 4mm scale modellers the same situation as Peco...track ideal for 3.5mm, HO, and a severe compromise for OO.

sure, we 4mm modellers have only ourselves to blame, seeing as we opt for a track gauge of about 4 foot 1 inch..forgetting the other 7 inches or so. and by reducing the length of the sleepers, it alleviates the somewhat 'narrow gauge' look.....[irish modellers must have things even worse?]....but the distance between sleepers could be better.

what I would like to see...[seeing as I don't get out much] are good, natural colour photos of TRACK,,,different types, ballasts, locations, etc.......allowing many of us with poor memories to model what is ACTUALLY THERE, rather than what we THINK would be there?

a recent surprise for me was to take a GOOD look, close up, at old, used trackage on the realise, many of the sleepers were actually GREY in colour!!!

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2,202 Posts
short [ie tight ''radius''] points are the spaced-starved modellers' dream........but have to be used in context with the type of stock in the prototype, where space is a problem, and tight curves/points are essential,locos and stock are severely limited as choice as well [ My most recent example being the complex Devonport Dockyard Railway??...only 4 wheel locos useable, only short wheelbase or short bogie stock useable, etc].

the ultimate space-saver point in my view was the Peco Streamline small wye point.

The problem is....many folk modelling railways want their cake, and to eat it as well.

They want nice mainline locos, and stock, all finely detailed, with something approaching 'scale' wheel sizes, for appearance sake...yet they haven't really got the space to operate that stock appropriately.....on track and point radii which is suitable, ie what the fancy locos and stock can happily negotiate.

It's all down to that wheel/checkgauge problem.....

short points can be realistic if modified..and in the right [railway] context.

but if reliability of performance of stock through a point is essential, then the larger the radius [for want of a better description] the better...this also enables more appropriate crossing clearances.

[it's a bit like expecting a stretch limo to successfully complete a slalom course, which is a tight squeeze for a SMART car.]

Horses for courses?

If planning a new layout, consideration has to be given to the type of stock one is running.......and whether this sits well with the amount of track one wants to lay.

For nearly a century, modellers have had the same problems of space, and how to best deal with it, or disguise the lack of.

WHen I first got into railway modelling, the then-current advice regarding how to go about building that model railway took into account not just the geometry of the track plan, BUT ALSO the types of stock which would best perform/look good on that trackplan, given the limitations of space and radii.

Hence, a typical, ''starter'' layout, for example, on the then-typical 6 foot by 4 foot baseboard, with what are now, ''set-track'' points and curves, woud also carry the proviso that locos should be small tanks, or 0-6-0 tender locos, [maybe a 'small' diesel...short bo-bo, for example......]....goods stock should be short wheelbase stuff, a brake van being about the limit in wheelbase.....[modern goods wagons being out of place and too long]....and coaching stock wold be advised to be 4 wheel, or 'short' bogie stock.As far as 'prototypes' were concerned, and era..this left the potential modeller well and truly stuck in the realms of pre-grouping, or pre-BR branchlines......which is probably why GWR branches were popular, stock to match...the old autocoach and 0-4-2T or pannier tank, for eg.

most rtr coaching stock of the day was short in prototype length anyway.

So an A4 with mk 1 stock would be totally inappropriate........despite the fact it may be a strongly desired model.

I had the same issue when I built my young son's layout...and oval, basically, without straight about 1 1/2 metres by 1 metre and a bit....folding too.

No problems with running 0-6-0 tanks..although Bachmann's were less 'forgiving' of the peco setrack turnouts than Hornby's offerings...I found some short coaches, so the platform gaps would remain within reasonable bounds....but.......he found Bachmann Mk1 coaches ..and insisted on a few....all had to be slightly modified to allow greater bogie swing without having the wheels foul the underframe......patforms shaved to suite the much-increased ovehang

I suggested a hornby dmu...the 110[?] the old green one...or was it blue, I forget....particularly because it was a SHORT model, so would not look too askew on the curves, or require the platforms shaving back once more....hence perform more reliably.........BUT NO!

it HAD to be a bachmann 158, just like the one's that run through our local town........

which model looks faintly ridiculous [although it runs reliably].....just advise passengers to remain seated and not use the toilet......they'll fall off the end....oh....and the platforms were shaved yet again....


if space is truly a severe handicap......why not learn how to construct one's own points, doing what the real thing did, and use more complex-looking a bit like 'stacking' ordinary points, on top of each other?

slips, single and double, inside and outside, or in between.....after all...a 'point ' is but a crossing , and a set of blades [the 'point' in reality]........more 'complex' P&C work is simply, fitting crossings and point blades..with bits of rail in between......and on the prototype, surprisingly one was more likley to find 'complex' [read, 'space-saving'] point and crossing work in places like goods yards, loco facilities, industrial sites, etc, than out on the 'main line' so to speak.

Consider the use of points on a curve, to save space, rather than squeeze in a 'short ' point.....

or......reduce the amount of trackage you actually want....''less-is-more??''

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2,202 Posts
QUOTE It just upsets my original plan - which was to start with a simply connected loop and sidings and then move on as I got more comfortable with things. It's years since I've done any soldering and my old irons are beyond redemption as I did not treat them terribly well at the time. That, plus 'possible extras' is likely to mean that start-up costs are beyond what I have budgeted for unless I don't buy any locos / rolling stock - which are what I'm actually doing it for in the first place! It's think again time

PP.....firstly, obtaining [notice I didn't specify 'buying?] decent tools is an investment....arguably not just for model railway use?

Perhaps your old irons [no songs please, those from Kent]....aren't quite as unredeemable as you imagine?

Is it possible to buy a new tip or two?

Irons, anyways, aren't overly expensive these days.....sites such as Richard's, and C&L, not only sell suitable irons, but inform us as to what sort are best.

Turn the idea of ''loco's'' into ''loco'' much more selective about stock acquisition...[I'd suggest buying kits from the likes of Parkside, rather than least you'll get fairly accurate models...if this forum's observations are anything to go by?]

Another 'route' you could try, is to have a go at PCB trackwork?

Whilst not as 'realistic', close up, as the new stuff coming out from the likes of C&L, certainly is more robust, and from a normal viewing distance..[and with practice] can be almost as good to look at.

plus, it may be cheaper to do?

also, being soldered, if a mistook is done, then nothing is irretrievably stuck down.

[I have been known to go one further in the titewad stakes, and only use pcb sleepers every now and then...the rest being card or thin wood {veneers is a posh word I'd hesitate to use......I simply left some cheapo plywood outside for a few de-laminated quite nicely}]

I take it the main thing you're after is the bullhead rail appearance, with better sleeper sizes?
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