View single post by Salada
 Posted: Wed May 20th, 2015 11:55 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 4th, 2013
Posts: 1190
'Evening Si,

My track & switches that you saw here on FT are scratch built for my English 'O' gauge (43.5:1) SG colliery layout.

Correct On30 track is difficult here in the UK. In my experience to date there are 3 choices:

1) Scratch built using Peco Code 82 (Peco IL-115) or Code 83 (Peco IL-83) rail. The problem is finding the correct size spikes (difficult) and the correct size ties (impossible).
Our U.S. cousins often seem to have their own timber sizing equipment but I cannot justify the expense. '00' copper clad sleeper strip (SMP, Scaleway, C&L etc) is just a bit too wide for correct D&RGW ties. Some model aircraft retailers have wood strips almost the right tie size but very expensive & not always suitable for spiking.

2) Use Peco O-16.5 NG ready made track. For a freelance type NG layout it doesn't look too bad; Shoulders (Daniel) & others can make it look really good but the appearance & tie dimensions are quite wrong for proper U.S. 3' gauge modelling (or even 2' 6").

3) The only real choice for reasonably priced correct appearance U.S. NG ready made track is Micro- Engineering. However, there only seem to be 2 UK suppliers, of which one has stopped importing (American Model Railroad Centre, Bodmin, Cornwall) & the other (NG Trains) sells the pre-weathered stuff which is to be avoided at all costs - it just buckles & twists if you try to bend it. Both the above do have some ME switches (or did).

Importing your own ME stuff comes with all our usual surcharges, inspection charges etc. Through the kind auspices of a senior FR member I have just received a personal import of ME stuff (thanks old chap !!) but that was a "one-off" fluke. The ME flexitrack & switches look good. All that work in the kitchen has indeed paid a Management Dividend !.

For 'non-standard' switches I will use filed down copperclad & trimmed coffee stirrer ties with Peco Code 83 rail - no spikes, bury the detail in ballast.

No, I don't use track gauges for O Gauge - just eyesight, a vernier caliper, a wheelset & a wagon. For On30 I might turn up a few gauges on the lathe; I have yet to try building an On30 switch (soon !). Code 83 looks damn small after the 7mm SG rail.

Not much help I am afraid Si - modelling US in the UK is a mug's game but at least I hope to be able to run some larger outline Consolidateds & Mikados in a smallish space which I see as the benefit of On30. Anyway, "summer" is supposed to be arriving & that means the UK music festival season so goodbye toy trains, hello 6 string !.

Cheers,          Michael      (normal service will return in the Autumn)  

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