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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning my railroad and want to use code 215 or code 225 rail (closer to prototype size). I want to be friendly to guest trains. What works? and what doesn't? Any suggestions? - Web
 

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The smaller code rail will cause more trouble with models that have oversized flanges on the wheels. (It can sound like a kid dragging a stick along a picket fence! Lots of cars is like lots of kids with lots of sticks!)

In addition, the method of attaching the rail and tie will also affect this. Some ties have very small molded in spike heads that lay low over the rail foot, while others have large projections gripping the rail foot, effectively taking up the space that the flange needs.

The smaller code rails are also weaker and won't take being stepped on as well as the larger code rails... not that either will take serious abuse all that well or that a well built roadbed won't protect the rail, either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Which models have oversized wheel flanges? Should I expect more people have purchased and run guest trains with oversized wheel flanges or is it likely to be a small percentage of guest trains? (All of my trains will be custom built (with appropriate wheels), so my question is really about likely guest trains.)


I'm thinking of hand laying rail and switches. (I know it's a crazy amount of work, but my prototype predates track practices that's commercially available.) I'm guessing hand spiked ties and rail won't interfere with flanges like the plastic grips. Is that right or just wishful thinking?

I realize this is all a balancing act. My whole concept is to operate my finescale stuff some days and at other times have lots of guest trains running just for fun.


Can code 332 actually withstand being stepped on? I've worked with code 332 and it is indeed tough stuff. My guess is stepping on it would still cause it to be damaged or deformed enough to require almost as much repair or replacement as the smaller rail. - Web
 

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Yes, you can walk or roll a loaded wheelbarrow over on most code 332 without a problem (as long as its on a solid base). From what I have heard just about all rolling stock will run on code 250 rail which is available from several sources.

-Brian
 

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Posted By Webber on 11/05/2008 9:08 PM
I'm planning my railroad and want to use code 215 or code 225 rail (closer to prototype size). I want to be friendly to guest trains. What works? and what doesn't? Any suggestions? - Web


As mentioned, code 215 is a bit fragile but it looks great. I used code 250 and 215 aluminum for my layout (pics on that multi-gauge thread of the 250.) Code 332 brass can be walked on but looks a bit heavy - if you are making your own models to scale, then scale track will look nicer!

Almost all the models with over-sized flanges will run on code 215 track; the only problems might be those New Bright xmas trains. Llagas makes a nice 1:20.3 track base for their rail. I had a lot of their 1:32 scale track and never had a problem with flanges hitting the spikes. But - if you are making your own, then you'll need to use small spikes and it will be more fragile. Nail some battens underneath parallel to the rails to hold the ties in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Pete. I'm REALLY tempted to go with code 215. The prototype and era had light rail* compared to today's rail. I'm planning to put some real effort into getting the rolling stock and related structures right.

(Keeping it sociable is high on my priorities list, but it's going to be in second place on my priorities list after reasonable accuracy and reliable running.)


Good reminder. I was considering using battens or some other solid base under the ties or stone sleepers (then burying it in ballast or dirt). It'll help hold the ties and track as one unit and reduce derailments due to alignment problems too. - Web

* originally between 42 and 45 pounds per yard depending on year and location. A sampling of 9 other railroads of similar era and region of the country shows they used rail ranging between 38 pounds and 58-1/2 pounds. The first rails "T" rails on this prototype were 3-1/2 inches high, head width 2-1/2 inches, web of 1/2 inch, base of 3-1/2 inches wide. Llagas Creek chart shows code 215 equal to 65 pounds per yard in 20.3 scale. I know its a tradeoff between modeling and running, but I can wish for both can't I?
I'm fortunate to have access to detailed documentation, and access to an original piece of rail, sleeper stones, and fasteners located at a nearby railroad monument and another nearby historic site.
 

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Half my outside trackage is 250 aluminum.
The other half is 215 aluminum.

I run stock flanges, except for a couple of test cars, and nothing hits spike heads.

We determined down to about 195 or 200 will work with stock flanges.

Measure your flanges and see!

The only caveat is any trash between the rails will cause the flanges to hit the garbage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
C-Good advice. I was visiting with Rick Spano recently, a nationally famous N Scale modeler, at his open house for his stunning Scenic and Undecided layout. He told stories of tracking down grit stuck to the rails and removing it with a dental tool. Large or small, its good advice.

Yeh, the idea is to have off-the-shelf wheels and flanges running as guests. We'll have to keep outdoor debris off the track and right of way so trains can run without incident.


A quick calculation shows 3-1/2 inch tall rail (prototype) works out to code 172 in 20.3 scale (model). Code 215 is close enough, considering I'm not up to making my own rail
.
 

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I should add that I run Llagas Creek code 215 Nickel-Silver rail with 1:32 scale ties on a totally elevated line. (Nickel-Silver is a bit of an overkill for an all Live Steam line, but I didn't want the yellow rail of brass and had heard that aluminum would hold oil more which would make the rails a bit more slippery and I didn't want that (at the time)).

All of my MDC brand train cars run just fine. I have had a couple of guest trains that had over-sized flanges (I think they were Bachmann Ore cars... not sure) that managed to bounce on the ties, even though the spike heads molded in to the ties are really small. It had a bit of a comical effect to see the cars jittering down the line, very much like a "Merrie Melodies" (tm) cartoon. I have seen track and ties that have huge molded in tie/rail hold-downs that look like bolt heads and I am sure those cars would derail every other tie with low profile rail!

Since I don't own any rolling stock other than MDC I cannot tell you what brands have larger flanges... I think the 1:29 scale stuff from USA and Aristocraft and those Bachmann ore cars, but I am not at all sure about what companies or models or what sizes each are.

One of the members of the CVGRS has a layout that he built on strips of Styrofoam insulation for a roadbed. He "nonchalantly, yet deliberately" walks on the track at times... I think just to prove he "can". I don't know what code or metal track he uses, but it sure seems to take that abuse without problems.
 

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We use Llagas code 250 nickel silver rail on their 1:20.3 "narrow gauge" plastic ties. Great looking track.

So far I've never had any issue with deep flanges, and we run pretty much all of the standard companies including; LGB, USA, Aristo, Bachmann, Hartland, MDC, Accucraft, and even a K-Line speeder.


We also use code 215 on the mine spur and for indoor display tracks.

Some photos of the track:

Code 250:


Code 215:







A lot more photos can be seen on our website.
 
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