Difference in track?

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
20,693
4,053
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
Hullo and welcome to the forum.

Don't write off R1 curves. They can be brought cheaply and straightened/re-radiused with a cheap rail bender.

I've even used a Black & Decker Workmate to straighten track until I brought a second hand rail bender at a model exhibition near me for a fiver!

Also, look at the real railway, and you will see different types of rail and sleepers/ties used. So mixing and matching is prototypical.

In the UK concrete and steel sleepers have largely replaced wooden ones on main lines.

The narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway now uses recycled plastic sleepers, just like us railway modellers....

As Gizzy says mixing and matching is ok. I use LGB, Aristocraft, Peco G and TrainLine 45 on my line. The Peco needs a converter fishplate that Peco sell to join up to the makes with the karger code rail butvthis works fine. Once the track has been outside for a while and the rail blackened with sleepers dulled down by weather the difference is hardly observed.
 

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
34,405
1,783
60
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
Country flag
As Gizzy says mixing and matching is ok. I use LGB, Aristocraft, Peco G and TrainLine 45 on my line. The Peco needs a converter fishplate that Peco sell to join up to the makes with the karger code rail butvthis works fine. Once the track has been outside for a while and the rail blackened with sleepers dulled down by weather the difference is hardly observed.
I'm using all code 332 rail, mostly LGB, but some ART, PIKO and I have some Trainline R2 points as well....
 

Eeyore.Boater

Registered
24 Oct 2009
111
16
Stafford
Country flag
I'm using all code 332 rail, mostly LGB, but some ART, PIKO and I have some Trainline R2 points.
Ahh, I forgot I had a page comparing R numbers between Piko, LGB and Train Li:


Hope this helps as you consider buying track.

Greg
Apologies Greg, I couldn't send this as a "conversation".
I think there may be a typo in the lower table titled "pick your diameter" in the column for TL45 track.
The R2 should, as far as I can tell, be in the row for 6 foot diameter; the R3 in the row for 8 foot diameter.
TL45 also sell R5 turnouts at 210cm radius, about 13-3/4 feet diameter.
I think it was Train Li that once had a web page extolling their R numbering as a simple R plus the radius in feet. A good idea that just added another layer of confusion to the wider market.
 
Last edited:

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
5,741
753
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Country flag
thank you, any corrections are appreciated, I see I did not go back over the second table... fixed the errors and cleaned it up.

Yes I remember when Axel defined his "R" system, while it makes some sense in the USA, it still causes confusion in my opinion.

Greg
 

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
5,247
585
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Country flag
My two pennies worth - Rail "code" refers to the rail's height, though not its profile, from foot to rail head in thousands of an inch. Code 332 = LGB and its compatibles e.g. Piko, USAT, Bachmann, all 332 thousands of an inch tall and are all flat bottom with similar profiles (there are some exceptions e.g. UK made Temmille). The different codes available in 45 mm track systems are there to allow better scale representations at one end, 200, or robustness, 332, at the other. Some makers use "bullhead" rather than "flat bottom" profiles, rare but beware. Different rail heights can be joined with the correct adapter but why create complications for yourself ? Settle on a rail code and stick with it. The code 332 based systems generally offer the widest range of off the shelf (set track) track layout options - switches, curves, crossings and slips (do you have those in the US ?),etc', so you avoid paying extra for "specials" to be made in the other types.

Curves & radii. Yes there are some who do not fear R1 curves and switches. Problem is they will limit your initial thinking and options that will inevitably impact on your future developments - don't do it. Sage advise I was given 18 years ago - nothing below 4 ft radius. If you are not inclined to create your own curves from flexi' track then I doubt straitening R1's out to get added value later is going to appeal. Having said that I started out with a load of LGB flexi and a single rail bender. It is a lot easier than you think to create the curves with the right tool, and again it gives you a lot of flexibility (see what I did there) in your layout designs into the future. I have a mix of flexi' and set track on my line with 35 yards of track in total. I do not have a large garden.

Inclines and control of live steamers - It is vary rare I come across a totally manually operated live steamer. at least on a meandering garden layout. Indoors or on those "racetracks" favoured by the G1 brigade (representations of mostly std gauge express trains on 45 mm gauge) is another matter. It is seen by some as a "right of passage" to be able to set one up to navigate a typically twisting line unattended. It can be done but can be a PITA to others sharing the line at a meeting, if not a downright hazard if it runs away or cannot be stopped for a blocked line . However, if you must and you have inclines to navigate, then get a geared loco like a Shay, Climax or Heisler. I have two that I delight in allowing to run free (at least on my line). Other loco type with good climbing ability, by adhesion alone, is anything that is an 0-4-0 or 0-6-0 configuration - all the weight is supported by the driven wheels.

OK that's my lot. Max.
 

KeithT

Hillwalking, chickens and - err - garden railways.
24 Oct 2009
13,104
184
Nr Manchester
Country flag
Accucraft is good track when used on its own but despite being nominally the same profile as LGB or Piko it is in fact, slightly taller. There is a resounding bump when running from LGB etc onto Accucraft
which plays havoc with skates and can result in derailments even after judicious chamfering of the offending rail “nose”. If mixing Accucraft with any other track I suggest keeping it as a continuous run with very gradual chanfering at each end.
 

tac foley

Registered
11 Apr 2017
3,492
875
75
Near Huntingdon, UK
Country flag
I am starting out with live steam and may do electric later. I have 2 Merlin locomotives from the 1980's in 16mm scale (1:20.3) I think. I ordered LGB R3 curves because I didn't want any disappointments with curves too tight. There is a huge learning curve with all these different terms and things. I tried to join a club but never got a response from them.
16mm scales out to 1/19th, not 20.3.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
20,693
4,053
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
16mm scales out to 1/19th, not 20.3.
Indeed that us true, but a 16mm 2ft gauge loco often scales out the same size as LGB, that is why back in the early 80’s I was using Merlin 16mm locs very happily with LGB Wagons and Coaches.
 

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
5,247
585
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Country flag
16mm scales out to 1/19th, not 20.3.
As a scale definition true Tac. However the Merlin, like a lot of "freelance" kit sold nominally as 16 mm scale, it's scale is actualy open to interpretation - by the owners. Like a cat, If I fits......

I seem to remember IP Engineering not so long ago introducing a range of laser cut "freelance" coach kits marketed as being suitably oversize to match the proportions of that near ubiquitous and long time stalwart of many a 16 mm loco roster - Roundhouse's Lady Anne. Those coaches were seen as the answer to lot of LA owners' prayers. And don't get me on the subject of IP's VoR coaches. Yeah, sure Ivan the Roundhouse loco is way over scale, as were Perfect World, Brandbright and Tenmille's matching to scale prototypical coach offerings for it to pull, along with the TME version. The old rubber ruler gets shared out a lot by LGB :D Max
 

tac foley

Registered
11 Apr 2017
3,492
875
75
Near Huntingdon, UK
Country flag
FWIW - I run Gauge 1 live steam, British, German and Canadian, American so-called Gauge 1 [1/29th], Bachmann 1/24th, LGB 1/22.5, US Narrow Gauge 1/20.3 live steam and electric, British 16mm live steam and electric and 7/8th scale ALL on a mix of Aristocraft and Tenmille so-called G scale track.

This has worked out just fine for the last 19 years. without anything falling off.
 

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
7,206
2,282
68
Hutt Valley, NZ
Country flag
I started off using R1, and track power. I now use R1 and track power, and run 1:29, 1:24, 1:22.5, whatever some of my LGB is, and 7/8ths, all on that track, but never at the same time.
Done me alright for 22 years, and like Tac, nothing's fallen off (the odd wagon has blown off, but that's to be expected in our climate).
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
20,693
4,053
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
As a scale definition true Tac. However the Merlin, like a lot of "freelance" kit sold nominally as 16 mm scale, it's scale is actualy open to interpretation - by the owners. Like a cat, If I fits......

I seem to remember IP Engineering not so long ago introducing a range of laser cut "freelance" coach kits marketed as being suitably oversize to match the proportions of that near ubiquitous and long time stalwart of many a 16 mm loco roster - Roundhouse's Lady Anne. Those coaches were seen as the answer to lot of LA owners' prayers. And don't get me on the subject of IP's VoR coaches. Yeah, sure Ivan the Roundhouse loco is way over scale, as were Perfect World, Brandbright and Tenmille's matching to scale prototypical coach offerings for it to pull, along with the TME version. The old rubber ruler gets shared out a lot by LGB :D Max
Not just in our world, but I am having fun with Gauge 3 where things are not scaling out as I expected. A lot of G3 people use Bachmann Thomas Wagons and Coaches for Gauge 3 but next to my scaled 13.5mm to the foot Steam Tram they are quite narrow, low and short. But half the fun is trying to compromise and make things look as if they match. I may need to make a new Steam Tram body yet!
 

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
7,646
1,172
58
Royston
Country flag
Thank you. I am still trying to figure it all out.
Don't is probably the easiest way. Just remember Rule 8. If it fits on your track and is roughly in scale with everything else, what's the problem?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
20,693
4,053
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Country flag
Don't is probably the easiest way. Just remember Rule 8. If it fits on your track and is roughly in scale with everything else, what's the problem?
Soundish advice, but there is always a bit of a but. Some of LGB so called standard gauge stuff mixes and matches fine with the Narrow Gauge stuff and it al looks swell till you start to put figures by things. Some of the LGB figures are quite small, some not so, then there are those cheepo Chineese ones from Ebay that are very small. So one needs to treat things with a little care but do not expect a 16mm scale figure to look right with an LGB Standard Gauge ish loco cos he/she will tower over it. Also worth remembering that some of the LGB wagons have swoppable couplings from a centre one to a single one that makes the narrow gauge look better. Piko go in for this but not in a reliable way, my 2-10-2 that I have made Narrow Gauge with a centre buffer never had this option but a 103 diesel shunter that recently bought does as did the 218 that I have from some years back now.

All very confusing for the newcomer, rule 8 does work but in time it is easy to be disgruntled by purchases made in the early days when one never had a theme. depending in ones wants it does pay to think about this as experiments and buying cos it looks nice can result in some expensive (I wish I had never bought that) mistakes that can be rectified but usually at a serious loss of cash. So my advice is sit back, take stock get a few catalogues, look at on line websites maybe even join the 16mm and G scale Society for a year before you race ahead. Knowledge is power but do not pontificate too long as one can spend ones life never getting perfection!
 

miniboB

Registered
6 Mar 2020
13
0
70
Union Grove
Country flag
Points are a component part of a turnout. They are the skinny rails at the start, that, strangely, are ground down to a point, hence the name. Turnout is the universally accepted name for this type of track structure... even the Americans (real railroad types, not the train nutters) are (slowly) coming around to this terminology.
being the old hard head that i am they will always be switches. In the US model railroading mag came up with turnout as a way to separate from electrical switchs. i switch from one track to another. boB but then I spell my name backwards because I can. hi hi
 

ntpntpntp

Registered
24 Oct 2009
7,391
266
58
UK
Country
United-Kingdom
Country flag
Accucraft is good track when used on its own but despite being nominally the same profile as LGB or Piko it is in fact, slightly taller. There is a resounding bump when running from LGB etc onto Accucraft
I remember there was a problem many years ago with a batch of Accucraft/AMS track that did indeed have a slightly taller profile and a more rounded rail head. A friend used some on his line. In a couple of places we took a hammer to the rail head to deform back to the same height as LGB. However, all the AMS track I ever used was a perfect match and I freely mixed it in with LGB without any problems at all. All came from Track Shack (sadly missed).

The front left piece of track is AMS (notice the square end sleepers and slightly more yellow brass), the rest in this photo is LGB. The line is no longer in existence but may live again one day :)

DSCN1172.JPG
 
Last edited:

tac foley

Registered
11 Apr 2017
3,492
875
75
Near Huntingdon, UK
Country flag
Funny, I was researching terms on a UK site, and I found "turnouts" used in modern prototype documents as much or more than "points".

By the way, R3 is still tight, Live steam locos are sensitive to grades and curves, so you wind up playing with the throttle more on them. I would not go R3 unless you have to. Get at least 10 foot diameter (R3 is 8 foot diameter).

Any increase in diameter, and reduction in turnout frog angle will help.

Greg
That's because many commercial businesses and organisations are making increasing use of commonplace US-style terminology - very much to disgust of those of us brought up on the native languages of Welsh and Norman French.

Greg's comment about R3 not being big enough is a very valid one - NONE of my Gauge 1 locos will go around an R3 curve, and even a couple of my 16mm locos are unhappy about it.

You'll also need to do some track-planning to allow you to transit INTO a curve from the tangent, rather than go right into the curve like toy trains do. Bigger-sized model like ours like to pretend to be full-size, and curve-easing is just one way of allowing them to behave like their bigger brethren. This is where the use of flexi-track is recommended. No brans of track has so-called transition curves - you have to make 'em yourself.
 

tac foley

Registered
11 Apr 2017
3,492
875
75
Near Huntingdon, UK
Country flag
being the old hard head that i am they will always be switches. In the US model railroading mag came up with turnout as a way to separate from electrical switchs. i switch from one track to another. boB but then I spell my name backwards because I can. hi hi
? miniboB spelled backwards is Bobinim.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
31,114
3,721
North West Norfolk
Country flag
Greg's comment about R3 not being big enough is a very valid one - NONE of my Gauge 1 locos will go around an R3 curve, and even a couple of my 16mm locos are unhappy about it.
LGB R3 isn't quite 8ft diameter - many US outline locos and stock require a minimum 8ft.

I got rid of all my original LGB R3s and some of my models (Bachmann Centennial 4-4-0 and Accucraft Jackson Sharpe coach) occasionally struggle slightly on Aristo's 8ft curves, which is why, much to Greg's chagrin, I have introduced an element of superelevation on my tighter curves ;);)