TRACK DETAILS- Small Details for Small Rails

NP 1041 Everett

My previous blog postings have covered light rail in the form of 56# rail or Code 82 in 1/48 scale.   The whole concept of lighter rail on standard gauge roads is one that has not been done too often in our scale.   The tendency is to go with Code 125 or larger on most layout.  Larger motive power and heavier rail go together.   My railroad concept is to go with smaller locomotives and shorter trains.   I have given up on a lot of interesting prototypes but the reality is that I don’t have the space to enjoy a cab forward or a northern.  I realize that the big power suggests the need for long trains and larger infrastructure.  One has to look at what scale you are modeling in.  For me, the small concept fits my interest in building models and not rely on the Atlas ready-to-run catalog.

Rick Leach sent me several photos he took while visiting the Northern Pacific Wilsall, Montana branch. It was an excellent example of how real railroads still had light rail branches in use.   This line was used up until the early 1980s.   The line had both 56# and 66# rail.  There were many places on the line with no tie plates.

These rail chairs were made by Pettibone and Mulliken.  They were intended to prevent the #66 rail from roll over on curves.

These rail chairs were made by Pettibone and Mulliken. They were intended to prevent the #66 rail from roll over on curves.

The Wilsall line served an elevator in Clyde Park, Montana.  There were a couple of interesting bridge on the line.

Here is an example of a chair and some rough ties.

Here is an example of a chair and some rough ties.

This compromise joint from 56# to 90# rail.  American Switch and Signal makes compromise joints but not for this rail combination.

This compromise joint from 56# to 90# rail. American Switch and Signal makes compromise joints but not for this rail combination.

The joiner bars have notches to permit spikes to pass into the tie plate holes.

The joiner bars have notches to permit spikes to pass into the tie plate holes.

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8 thoughts on “TRACK DETAILS- Small Details for Small Rails

  1. Gene:
    Our museums rail line, the former Toledo Angola & Western Railway was constructed as an electric line and lain with 60# rail later upgraded to 70#. In 1984 when we acquired this 8 1/2 mile line its motive power was an Alco S-1 and transported 100 ton cement hoppers over it. Sections of rail have dates as early as 1889. I also favor small motive power and short trains. I will send some photos when I have accomplished more construction.

    Charley

  2. Neat blog post. I’m getting ready for a proper layout and over the year so far I’ve been building a couple of micro layouts to get back into parts of the hobby I’ve missed. Chief among these activities is track building. The last micro I built was in HO and used code 55 rail to achieve much the same effect as you’re working on with the Kilgarin rail. It’s been far too long since I’ve had a chance to see lightweight rail on an actual railroad so details like the ones you’re describing here are really neat to learn about. One of the first I really liked were the rail chairs to prevent the rail from rolling on it’s side in curves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen those but they would make a really neat detail to add to the track. I really enjoy following you blog and your work. Thanks for sharing this with us. Chris Mears Prince Edward Island, Canada princestreet.wordpress.com

    ________________________________

  3. Gene or anyone else on this blog,

    Do you know of any manufacture of “rail chairs” in code 82/83? I believe at one time The Backshop was doing code 100 rail chairs in brass, but those are to large to work on code 82/83 rail.

    Rod

    • Rod San Juan Car Company has a switch detailing set done for HO style Code 100. I test a chair/ rail brace on the side and it fit. I’ll post a shot shortly.

      Gene

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID RAZR MAXX HD

  4. Gene – That wonderful scene of the iron bucket coaling station was taken in Waukesha, WI on the Soo Line. The little engine house stood into the 1980’s, although the coaling station was long-gone by that time. Behind the engine house in the background are the former shops of the original Wisconsin Central RR.

  5. Gene – Addendum to above comment. The July 1952 Model Railroader had a full photo spread on the small Waukesha engine terminal and yard. The bucket coaling station had a sand house built onto the coaling structure. Was the picture taken by either Paul Larsen (former MR editor) or Russ Porter?

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