Building a Gantlet(ish) track for a narrow bridge.

Scot Lawrence

Scot Lawrence

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My new "three rail" track over my bridge! :D



This thread is an off-shoot of this thread:

But I ended up not using the LGB switches at all, so instead of continuing that thread, I thought this warranted a seperate thread.

So I've had a bridge setup on my "upper loop" for a few years now:



The main body of the bridge is a steel support that was once part of one of those "suspended from the ceiling" supermarket G-scale ovals.
Originally I had one track across the middle, with two turnouts leading to two 8-foot diameter return loops. This is my "upper loop" and is battery power only, no track power.



I attempted to make the turnouts into "spring switches", so the turnouts would "trip and hold" automatically, which works fine with diesels with heavy solid trucks, but doesnt work so well with steam locomotives with light pilot wheels. Details on my 2018 page:


So, since the "spring switches" wouldnt work for me, I went with "Phase 2" of the design, removing the turnouts completely and interlacing ties to get the two tracks as close together as possible:



That worked fine for all of 2019..
Until 2020, when I began building the Arch portion of the bridge. (which has been part of my plan for this bridge all along.)



This resulted in clearance problems! :( The side of my larger steam locomotives hit the side of the arch..So that lead to a thread on G Scale Central, (link at the top of this post) about trying automated powered switches, so I could return the bridge to a single-track across the center.. While exploring that idea, I looked at Gantlet/Gauntlet/Interlaced ideas, which I knew about.. A proper gantlet is brilliant, but a challenge to build, it requires frogs the same as turnouts:





I dont have any spare turnouts I can canabalize, so i would need to scratch-build the whole thing.. Doable! but quite a project..
I would basically need to scratch-build the whole 8-foot section of gantlet track, and spike down all the rail on some sort of support/base..
Is there an easier way?
then I came across this photo:



Looks like its from an outdoor "live steam" club, hmmm.. that has potential! :)

So later that same day, I went to work:


Then I worked on connecting the pieces for a few weeks! ;)
The "3 rail" track is the easiest part.. joining the curve to the straight track takes some fiddly work with a dremel tool and a cut off wheel, and a file.
I used a dremel tool to cut away the bottom of the rail, then cut the side to a point to make the two "center" rails mate together smoothly:



You can see the one screw that keeps the two rails together. the screw both holds down the modified pointed rail, and presses it into the side of the main rail.
its basically just a sharp point pressed into the straight rail, and held tight by that one screw. I havent tried solder yet, not sure its necessary.. we'll see how it holds up over the winter.

Some photos of the finished product:









And video 2:


I'm calling it a "Gantlet-ish" bridge because I dont think its a "real" or "proper" Gantlet bridge/Gantlet track..
I have seen the terms "Gantlet", "Gauntlet" and "Interlaced" all used to describe the same concept..
I believe "Gantlet" and "Interlaced" are correct. "Gauntlet" is likely originally a mishearing of "Gantlet", but it's one of those things that is used so often "wrong" that it "becomes right" over time. ;)

And thats it! :) I'm quite happy with how it turned out..
No electricity needed, and no moving parts..
would have been easier to just have a wider bridge! ;) but that's not always possible of course..
thanks for the help everyone! much appreciated..

Scot
 
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Paul M

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Ingenious. :clap::clap::clap::clap:............:clap::clap::clap::clap:
 
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PhilP

PhilP

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Now you need 'train detection', and signalling, to avoid a collision. :):nod::devil::devil:
 
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Madman

Madman

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Great !
 
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simon@mgr

simon@mgr

Aviation, model engineering & all things technical
Threading the rail would have been an exercise in patience.
Well done.
 
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Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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Isn't one of those tracks the power pick up?
I think that's San Francisco and they're cable cars - essentially a funicular and they frequently use the common rail idea that Scot has used on his bridge :nod::nod:
 
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Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I'd imagine that switch is only taken in the downhill direction, since they have to release the cable during the process.

Yes San Francisco, where the center slot is where an arm from the cable car reaches down and grabs a moving cable for locomotion.
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

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I think that's San Francisco and they're cable cars - essentially a funicular and they frequently use the common rail idea that Scot has used on his bridge :nod::nod:

Hyde St at Jackson. The San Francisco system is definitely NOT a funicular railway. The rope runs continuously, and the cars grip on at will.
Cars enter this junction from Jackson St, just behind that red auto. Hyde cars continue along the top track heading to the left of the photo.
California cars going into service, drop the rope and drift over to the near track, where they reverse direction, take rope, and head off back along Hyde to the right of the photo.
The middle track, is the 'inbound' Hyde line. This runs gauntlet style also back along Hyde, to Washington St., where it veers off at an equally complex junction.
Remember, they run on the wrong side of the road. The reason for this junction came about with the consolidation of the Cable Car system in 1957 when the California line cars were rehoused at the Mason and Washington powerhouse,
and the trackwork was modified to allow those cars to access the powerhouse from California via Hyde.
 
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Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

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Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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Hyde St at Jackson. The San Francisco system is definitely NOT a funicular railway. The rope runs continuously, and the cars grip on at will.
Cars enter this junction from Jackson St, just behind that red auto. Hyde cars continue along the top track heading to the left of the photo.
California cars going into service, drop the rope and drift over to the near track, where they reverse direction, take rope, and head off back along Hyde to the right of the photo.
The middle track, is the 'inbound' Hyde line. This runs gauntlet style also back along Hyde, to Washington St., where it veers off at an equally complex junction.
Remember, the run on the wrong side of the road. The reason for this junction came about with the consolidation of the Cable Car system in 1957 when the California line cars were housed at the Mason and Washington powerhouse,
and the trackwork was modified to allow those cars to access the powerhouse from California via Hyde.
Yep - hadn't realised that (never having actually been there) but got it from Greg's post.

The operation is more complex than it first seems - not sure that I'll ever get to see it.
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

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173.JPG

By now, you will be completely befuddled with this layout, so, to complete the picture, here's the 'other end' of the gauntlet.
This is Hyde at Washington, looking back the opposite way to the previous picture. In the shade beyond the bright spot, you see an inbound Hyde car running on the gauntlet track, it's on the one closest to the centre of the road.
As it gets nearer, it will take the turnout, and swing up Washington to the right of shot. The continuation of that track is the line that cars from California use to access the inbound Hyde line to get to the depot. They drift into this line, then reverse, take rope, and go up Washington. Now the track at the left, all the way along the photo, is that line shown in the previous shot, and is used for cars going into service. This layout dates from the 1982-4 rebuild.
In the 1957 layout,the middle track here, went straight ahead, diamond crossed the Hyde line then joined through a turnout. Thing to remember is that there is always a slot, but not necessarily a rope under each slot.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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San Fran Cable Cars, certainly a thing to do before you die. Did them in 2000 and loved every minute of the Clanging Cable Gripping experience, so much so that I would love to go again. Not sure that I could now cope with the flight, just too much hassle and stress in flying. Though a Container Ship trip each way across the Pond may have its attractions.
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

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There is more gauntlet type track on the inbound Powell line from midway Mason and Powell block on Washington down to the Powell intersection, and another, starting on Powell, outbound, from mid block Washington and Jackson, around the corner and up Jackson to Mason, where the Powell and Mason line veers off.

Currently, the system is having a beauty sleep...... essentially, there is no practical way to protect the crews in the Covid environment that we are in.
 
Madman

Madman

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San Fran Cable Cars, certainly a thing to do before you die. Did them in 2000 and loved every minute of the Clanging Cable Gripping experience, so much so that I would love to go again. Not sure that I could now cope with the flight, just too much hassle and stress in flying. Though a Container Ship trip each way across the Pond may have its attractions.

I had the good fortune to ride them in 1970. We were allowed to help turn them at the end of their run. I don't believe it's permitted nowadays.