Train-Li rail clamps - Proper gap?

LGB Joe

Registered
30 May 2020
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Southern NJ
Greetings all,

I am a lifelong LGB fan, having received my first set when I was 6 or 7. Over the years, I have accumulated a decent collection and I am finally going to install a "permanent" garden railway.

I've done temporary setups in the past, but without rail clamps theyve always been a pain and I've put them away after a week or two.

I purchased some rail clamps from train-li, and installing them has been pretty easy. I've been assembling some sections before putting them on the roadbed, which will be bricks.

However, I am curious about expansion and contraction concerns. I would assume clamping every single section without room to move would pose an issue?

Should I leave maybe one section of track with the LGB joiners so it can "float" a little to accommodate expansion? Im thinking basically of having all pieces clamped down, but where they "complete the loop" with LGB joiners for this issue.

Or am I over thinking this?

Any input is appreciated!



-Joe
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
29,161
3,502
North West Norfolk
No need to worry - provided you don't fix the track down at close intervals and allow it to float, especially on curves, you won't have a problem.
 
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Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
33,864
1,697
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Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
Welcome Joe.

I've used Hillmans or Aristocraft clamps on a layout with a 30 metre run, and I've not allowed for expansion. If it's clamped tight, it won't move.

My track floats on ballast and is not fixed down....
 
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LGB Joe

Registered
30 May 2020
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Southern NJ
Thanks fellas, I appreciate it. I'm still playing with the track plan a bit, but it will basically be a loop using LGB R3 and R2., with some S curves for interest. Roadbed for now will simply be bricks and no ballast, that may come later depending on the landscaping we do. I'm basically using this loop as a flower bed outline, around an existing bush. My anyrail plan:


garden plan may 30th v2.PNG
 

Martino

Kit bashing, The UK narrow gauge, The GWR, Aviatio
Joe, I see you’re up in NJ where I guess you have some extremes of temps. I’m in NW Florida where we can have freezes in the winter and of course pretty hot in the summer. I have mostly used TrainLi/Massoth clamps. I also have virtually no screwed down track and my track bed is virtually all on bricks or stones. I do have areas of ballast which is bonded with a concrete bonding agent, which does anchor the track somewhat. However, I have not had any issues with expansion. From time to time I’ve had to tighten up clamps which have worked loose, and some have generated their own gaps! I run battery, so I don’t have issues with electrical continuity - the clamps are purely there to - clamp!
 
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Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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San Diego
www.elmassian.com
So one unanswered question that directly affects the answer to your question: is your track free floating, semi-floating or fixed down.

My answer would depend on this and also the layout of your track, which you did provide, thanks.

Greg
 
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LGB Joe

Registered
30 May 2020
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Southern NJ
Hi Greg,

Good point, the track is not fixed and will be free floating. I'm also rather fickle with the layout plan, after laying it out back I changed my mind. Funny how track plans look great on paper then the real thing isnt quite what you pictured. I'm now going for a dog bone shape, one with much more main line run than the layout in my prior post. Same mix of R2/R3 and 1 foot straights but about 20 feet from end to end. Sadly I didnt order enough rail clamps for this new plan, so I may end up buying some 1200mm straights rather than use the many, many 300mm on hand. Of course, if I dont change my mind again.

Cheers,

-Joe
 

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
774
348
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Hi Joe,

Welcome, My track is free floating and laid on brick with no ballast at present or laid on 31a slag sand base with slag sand as the ballast. All the track was put down with tight joints and with rail clamps. No special provisions were made for expansion or contraction. The climate where I'm located has temperature swings from below 0º to the high 90ºs F. I've not had any problems in four plus years since I started my outdoor layout. Like Martino, I've had to re-tighten the occasional clamp but that's it. The only locations where the track is somewhat "fixed" is on my curved trestle where the track is loosely screwed to the trestle about every two meters. I'm running track power DCC/mfx.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
29,161
3,502
North West Norfolk
Thanks fellas, I appreciate it. I'm still playing with the track plan a bit, but it will basically be a loop using LGB R3 and R2., with some S curves for interest. Roadbed for now will simply be bricks and no ballast, that may come later depending on the landscaping we do. I'm basically using this loop as a flower bed outline, around an existing bush. My anyrail plan:


View attachment 267318
With that layout, I'd be tempted to drill a fixing into a few of the bricks - if each dash represents a brick, about every eight or nine would be ample, but only on a straight section.

There's not going to be many holes to drill :p
 

LGB Joe

Registered
30 May 2020
9
0
32
Southern NJ
It's been a while, but I wanted to follow up with some progress. I went with rail clamps on every section, and so far it is great as everyone suggested. One of the biggest challenges was simply leveling the bricks. I found out quickly that just because the ground looks flat, doesnt mean it is! I had some amusing derailments at the start. Then I used a tool called an action hoe (I think also called a push pull weeder) to make a 1-2 inch trench for the bricks to fit in. It took some doing but we did it over a weekend. Still had to go back every so often and fill spots with gravel or shave some more down.

I went with the about 25-30ft by 8 foot dogbone shape.

overview.JPG

Here's a video of my LGB 2078 pulling a train around it. Also a cab ride!



 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,608
3,798
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
It's been a while, but I wanted to follow up with some progress. I went with rail clamps on every section, and so far it is great as everyone suggested. One of the biggest challenges was simply leveling the bricks. I found out quickly that just because the ground looks flat, doesnt mean it is! I had some amusing derailments at the start. Then I used a tool called an action hoe (I think also called a push pull weeder) to make a 1-2 inch trench for the bricks to fit in. It took some doing but we did it over a weekend. Still had to go back every so often and fill spots with gravel or shave some more down.

I went with the about 25-30ft by 8 foot dogbone shape.

View attachment 270167

Here's a video of my LGB 2078 pulling a train around it. Also a cab ride!



You have a nice selection of locations in your vids. A couple of points (and I do not always listen to my own advice!J.
1 much better if you run slower, perhaps 1/2 of what your speed setting was. French Narrow Gauge Trains ran really slow, possibly as slow as 20kph.
2 your phone. Was the wrong way round, I am always round this in my vids as well!

oh when laying the bricks a longish spirit level is a great help in getting them flat, much addition of sand earth and tamping as I think you eventually found out.
 

The Tinker

Every day I wake up is a good day
6 Feb 2014
296
47
Whangamata New Zealand
I am using rail clamps to hold my turnouts/ points in and also each end of bridges, so I can take them out and maintain them easily . I am also going to use them at every second or third join on the straights and curves, most of these are 3metre lengths, I am going to leave the standard lgb joiners for all other joins to allow for expansion. The rail clamps are very useful. I have steam and battery power no track power. Tracks are held down every 400mm by screws into concrete no issues at all. I will admit some of the gaps do get a little bigger at times.