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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember an article in Garden Railways that Kevin Strong did a couple of years ago about how to regauge wheels if they were too narrow or too wide. But what do folks do if their track gets too wide or too narrow? I have one section where it's too narrow because I hand bent some flex track and it's below minimum gauge. Another section I may have stepped on the track and it is slightly over max width gauge.
 

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Jim

There are several methods to fix the problems of out of gauge track but essentially none are really easy or quick. In my order of preference (keep in mind I use Llagas Creek code 215 aluminum flaex track on a solid wood or ladder roadbed - it is incredibly easier to work with than the code 332 brass track on the IPP&W where I also help with maintenance).

1. replace the out of gauge section with an ingauge piece of track ... your apetite for doing this will depend on how easy it is to cut a short out of gauge section out and splice in the replacement. (With code 215 aluminum rail, I can cut out the piece with flush cutting rail nippers and install a new section in minutes)

2. chisel the tieplate off the ties and respike the track - if the ties are the typical plastic the respiking may be a complete pita but this is a good approach where the out of gauge problem is very short

3. if the out of gauge section spans many ties, chisel the ties off the rail and remove them replacing them with wooden ties to reset the gauge - respiking may be painful if you float your track and don't have a substantial solid roadbed to apply force to. A technique to help this if you use brass track is to solder in place a gauge bar to hold the track and then set in the ties after.

Good luck and let us know more about your approach as well as the track type, size, material and also the length out of gauge and the type of roadbed ... all influence the choice of technique for correcting the problem.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Doug. I have a combo of Aristo and AMS Flextrack. Both are 332 brass. They both come with preformed plastic ties. For roadbed I use electrical conduit on the ground which is attached using zip ties to rebar stakes in the ground about every 3'. The track is screwed to the conduit and ballasted.

The AMS flex I bent a little too much by hand and is slightly under gauge in one section. One section of Aristo is slightly over gauge, not sure how it happened but I may have stepped on it. In both cases the out of gaugeness is pretty short, just a few inches, maybe 6 inches long. They are just enough to cause random derailment problems. I'm using the Aristo track/wheel gauge tool to verify track gauge.
 

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For barely under-gauge track I've been able to actually file away some of the inside area of the rail head with complete success.

With over-gauge track, I've been able to slip brass wire (and even plastic strip) between the base of the rails and the tie plates to scoot the rails in as far as they could go.

In your case, if you actually stepped on the track, if the area is small, hold the area just beyond each side of teh out of gauge area with sturdy pliers. Now have someone carefully grab the out-of gauge rail with pliers between your two pair and bend it in the right direction. If you wrap the pliers jaws with tape or ??? you will do less damage to the brass.
 

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I haven't tried it, but if you have access to a Train-Li rail bender, a few passes may straighten things out for you. Train-Li also has a track clamp, normally used to keep one end of the track even when making bends. These tools may help get you back in gauge and hold it there while you spike into some wood ties, if necessary.

Just some thoughts.
 

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I have successfully used the Train-Li on straight and curved track when the track was under [too narrow] guage. A friend whose name I won't mention [right, Joe] used two sets of locking pliers [vice grips] and successfully opened up the guage on a narrow set of rails during a fun run two years ago.
JimC.
 

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I remember seeing a pair of flat nose pliers. I think it was at THE BIG TRAIN SHOW. The nose of the pliers hat the profile of a rail cut into each head of the pliers. So when the pliers were closed it looked like you could thread a rail through it.
These pliers were supose to "Crimp" rail jointers. So if you had a loose rail joint you cold used these pliers to tighten it up.

I think these also could be used for RE GAUGING TRACK. I think but I could be wrong on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I ended up going to Home Depot and buying a large bolt, 4 nuts and 2 washers. Cost was about $3. For the section of track that was too wide I set the washers so that they would fit snug against the outside of the rails. Then ran the tool over the section several times, back and forth. If it was still too wide I narrowed the washers a smidgen and repeated the process until it was in gauge. No need to use a wrench, just hand tighten the nuts. Likewise, for the section too narrow I did a similar operation only set the washers on the inside rail. Here is a picture of the tool. After using it the derailment issues I was having at each location have ceased.

 

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Posted By jimtyp on 08/08/2008 10:26 AM
I ended up going to Home Depot and buying a large bolt, 4 nuts and 2 washers. Cost was about $3. For the section of track that was too wide I set the washers so that they would fit snug against the outside of the rails. Then ran the tool over the section several times, back and forth. If it was still too wide I narrowed the washers a smidgen and repeated the process until it was in gauge. No need to use a wrench, just hand tighten the nuts. Likewise, for the section too narrow I did a similar operation only set the washers on the inside rail. Here is a picture of the tool. After using it the derailment issues I was having at each location have ceased.




That's what I like to see, innovation through the use of commonly available products to solve an unrelated problem. ;)
 

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Amazing the crazy ideas you'll try before hitting on the obviously correct and simple solution like that bolt!
 
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