Lift-out bridge rail clamps

funandtrains

funandtrains

Registered
20 Sep 2011
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Croydon, Surrey
Does anyone have a spare set of lift bridge rail clamps? I not sure who makes them but I've been told they exist! Is there a UK shop that stocks them?
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

Registered
13 Jul 2015
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Ascot
They were Hillman clamps sold it seems exclusively by Glendale Junction who have retired / ceased trading. There was a thread about this recently and no-one was able to suggest an alternative supplier then, maybe someone has looked harder since! :)
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
24,991
480
North West Norfolk
They were Hillman clamps sold it seems exclusively by Glendale Junction who have retired / ceased trading. There was a thread about this recently and no-one was able to suggest an alternative supplier then, maybe someone has looked harder since! :)
I think it's just that Glendale had the last stocks of Hillman clamps.

There is an alternative, which isn't quite as instant lift-out as the Hillman offering, but some Accucraft clamps are split on one side, so you can undo half the clamp and lift out a section while the clamp stays in place connected to the remainder of the track (that's what I use, simply because I had the Accy clamps at the time).

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Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,718
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North Essex
I always understood that the ones Brian stocked were some he had specially made, as a close copy of the original Hillman design.... I have no idea what would have happened to any remaining stock after his retirement - maybe somebody still has contact with him and could find out whether he has a box of them sitting around somewhere, or perhaps they all got sold off during his pre-retirement clearance.....?

Jon.
 
ebay mike

ebay mike

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6 Dec 2011
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Norfolk
Does anyone have a spare set of lift bridge rail clamps? I not sure who makes them but I've been told they exist! Is there a UK shop that stocks them?
Conversation started Steve.
 
funandtrains

funandtrains

Registered
20 Sep 2011
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Croydon, Surrey
I think it's just that Glendale had the last stocks of Hillman clamps.

There is an alternative, which isn't quite as instant lift-out as the Hillman offering, but some Accucraft clamps are split on one side, so you can undo half the clamp and lift out a section while the clamp stays in place connected to the remainder of the track (that's what I use, simply because I had the Accy clamps at the time).

View attachment 253799
Good idea!
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,529
146
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
As an alternative to a conventional bridge clamp I soldered correctly aligned and positioned short lengths of 2mm ID brass tube to to the outside edge of each rail on a section of track wnere I wanted to create a lift out joint. I then cut the rails, in situ with a hack saw, at mid point on the soldered on brass tubes to create that join point. So now I have 2 perfectly aligned rail locators, soldered onto the rails into which I can then insert 2 x 2 mm quick and easy to remove, though secure, L shaped "keys" to hold the rails in alignment and conduct the track power (lubricated/protected with a bit of graphite paste). It was a solution I came up with when I had to cut a set of GRS made 6ft radius points that are located off one end of a removable bridge. Remaking the track geometry to avoid the issue was not an option. A pair of Glendale's Hillman knock off's are at the other end. Max

126796_d055465b0b76d99a9010ae627a736c73.jpg


H
 
Last edited:
ebay mike

ebay mike

Registered
6 Dec 2011
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Norfolk
After consultation with Steve and inspired by Greg's photo I convinced myself I could knock some up - so here goes.

I don't know who produced the donor clamps but they seemed the most suitable donors from my box of tricks. I made a small brass spacer to fit between the two halves at the drop in end to prevent nipping up too much. The rail is then a snug push-fit. Hopefully the photos will be self-explanatory. I realise it ain't pretty, but it was just an experiment. Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.
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Ralphmp

Ralphmp

Registered
6 Jan 2010
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15
Herts
An alternative approach could be to use Massoth / GRS style rail clamps - see pic
127052_4d9535697f7a6318addd41608ca6dfcb.png


These clip to the rail on one side and then use 2 screws that clamp down on the other. To remove rails from one side of these clamps - e.g. to lift out points (switches) for maintenance - you simply remove the screw holding the rail to be released and just move the rail end outward slightly before lifting it away from the clamp. Refitting is the reverse. Only potential drawback is to avoid losing the screws when you take them out!

I did have some of Glendale's bridge clamps but found them a real pain to use - they wouldn't hold the track in alignment and they never were "lift out". I eventually gave up trying to get them to function "as described" and switched to the normal Massoth / GRS clamps which I've used throughout my layout.
 
Perry

Perry

Registered
24 Nov 2017
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5
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Heights of High Wycombe
On my layout I have a hinged bridge. There are gaps of two inches between rail ends which are filled with short lengths of rail, secured in place with easy to slide fishplates. Push the fishplates onto the rails (either direction), remove the short lengths & raise bridge. I'm confident that would work for a lift out bridge as well.

I had to know. The name fishplate is derived from fish, a wooden bar with a curved profile used to strengthen a ship's mast. Fishplate - Wikipedia
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
After consultation with Steve and inspired by Greg's photo I convinced myself I could knock some up - so here goes.

I don't know who produced the donor clamps but they seemed the most suitable donors from my box of tricks. I made a small brass spacer to fit between the two halves at the drop in end to prevent nipping up too much. The rail is then a snug push-fit. Hopefully the photos will be self-explanatory. I realise it ain't pretty, but it was just an experiment. Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.
View attachment 253828View attachment 253829View attachment 253830View attachment 253831
Pretty sure they are Hillman Clamps the not over Fishplate ones. Plenty of these about in UK that appear in small lots now and again at Sows and EBAY. Nice credible alternative solution. Gives the non check book modeller something to think about.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,828
351
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
An alternative approach could be to use Massoth / GRS style rail clamps - see pic View attachment 253945

These clip to the rail on one side and then use 2 screws that clamp down on the other. To remove rails from one side of these clamps - e.g. to lift out points (switches) for maintenance - you simply remove the screw holding the rail to be released and just move the rail end outward slightly before lifting it away from the clamp. Refitting is the reverse. Only potential drawback is to avoid losing the screws when you take them out!

I did have some of Glendale's bridge clamps but found them a real pain to use - they wouldn't hold the track in alignment and they never were "lift out". I eventually gave up trying to get them to function "as described" and switched to the normal Massoth / GRS clamps which I've used throughout my layout.
Strange that you find the Hillman/Glendale Ones a Problem. Been using them around 6 years on my liftout flap to one of my sheds with no issues at all. Well once I got them setup properly that is. Ball bearing needs to be just tight enough to allow retention but not so tight that the Rail will not slot in it with ease.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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8 Mar 2014
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San Diego
www.elmassian.com
The adjustment on both the hillmans and the split jaw bridge clamps often needs to be set, with slight variations in the width of the base of the rail, you can see the spring loaded ball that retains the rail, and the outboard side has a screw slot.

Once set it normally works very well. Having more support for the rail, the hillmans work better in my opinion.. I have both, and I have several lift out sections.

Greg
 
D

Dan

Registered
28 Jan 2010
218
6
Eastern MA
For a friends bridge I used the LGB expansion track. Gives a good power connection.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
For a friends bridge I used the LGB expansion track. Gives a good power connection.
That is a very useful piece of Track. Wish I had thought of that when doing my lift outs. Perhaps if I come across one or two more of them things may get revised.
 
Ralphmp

Ralphmp

Registered
6 Jan 2010
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15
Herts
Strange that you find the Hillman/Glendale Ones a Problem. Been using them around 6 years on my liftout flap to one of my sheds with no issues at all. Well once I got them setup properly that is. Ball bearing needs to be just tight enough to allow retention but not so tight that the Rail will not slot in it with ease.
Ball bearing? What ball bearing?!! None of the 4 I purchased from Glendale had any ball bearings in them. Probably explains why I had difficulty in getting them to work! As Homer S would say, D'OH!!!!
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,529
146
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Ball bearing? What ball bearing?!! None of the 4 I purchased from Glendale had any ball bearings in them. Probably explains why I had difficulty in getting them to work! As Homer S would say, D'OH!!!!
The Glendale versions seem to use a slotted set screws either side with a pointed end to fulfill the function of the ball bearings. At least the pair I have do. An odd alternative to a spring loaded ball bearing I think. You either mess around screwing and unscrewing the set screws, when bridge removal is required, to provide positive and secure location for the track or you rely that your bridge end foundations/pads are level and secure and you don't accidently kick the bridge. Don't ask me how I know. Max
 
Ralphmp

Ralphmp

Registered
6 Jan 2010
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15
Herts
That is a good description of the clamps I bought. Unfortunately, I could never get things to align correctly and securely. No doubt it was me being cack-handed.