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Could I use some Phosphor Bronze Rail?



A couple of days ago I tweaked my back which has hampered progress on baseboard construction. To keep a modicum of momentum going on this project I looked around for some light duties.


I’d been kindly given some used Phosphor Bronze track, unfortunately as it’s mainly in short lengths I’ll not be able to use it for standard 60ft sections of track. It would be a shame to discard them so I started to mull over how to justify their use. I vaguely remembered reading something about the GWR using shorter sections of track prior to standardising on 60ft sections. Then found, in Stephen Williams’s book Great Western Branch Line Modelling - Part One, that after 1929 the GWR started to use 60ft rail sections on the main lines replacing the previous shorter 44ft 6in sections.  After a little further research on the internet I discovered a good article by Stuart Hince on the Templot site http://templot.com/martweb/pdf_files/gwr_track_panels.pdf which confirmed this and also describing how to create these 44ft 6in sections in Templot.


So how could I justify 44ft 6in sections of track on my model? My thinking is, in my fictitious twist on history, when this area was being redeveloped in the 1930s any reclaimed 44ft 6in rail was reused by the thrifty GWR in the construction of the sidings. After all, these sidings might not have seen much traffic so would be on the rusty side which phosphor Bronze track can depict. The thought then was, do I have enough rail? This prompted me to open Templot and use Stuart Hince’s article to redraw the three sidings at the front of the layout with 44ft 6in sections and 18 sleepers in each.

The track bases were of thin plastic with 3 bolt chairs and not in the best of condition. Also as my preference is to use 1.5mm thick plywood sleepers I stripped all the rails off the bases. The rails were then laid on the revised plan of the sidings matching each 44ft 6in section.




It looks like there are enough, especially as I found another short section of track when emptying the turntable storage box. Next task will be to clean all the rails as they have been heavily weathered.


Excellent, this might not be prototypical for 1959 but it might have been possible…


Recommended Comments

It looks like you are doing some amazing modelling.  I've had PB rail before and pondered what to do with it.  My answer was to do nothing.  It looks awful to me.  The old saying about a pen'orth of tar comes to mind.  If it were me I'd get some NS rail.



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Thanks guys. I have used phosphor bronze rail a long time ago on a fledgling EM gauge layout. The rail should clean up, if it doesn't look as expected there will just be a few chairs lost. I think it's worth a try.

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