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Matti

I messed up (track distance)

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Hi, this is my first post (newly signed up) as I’ve hit a bit of a road-block with my layout development.

 

Firstly, I feel massively under-skilled but do have huge ambitions. So forgive me as I’ve probably made every rookie mistake. 
 

Tonight I finished my third loop to my layout, it’s been painful but so pleasure able to see the third loop in place. Only to notice (and I tried to prevent this) that my larger coaches brush against each other at the corners when navigating my curves. 
 

ive used tracksetta’s 24” and 21” for the outer and inner curve respectively. I even used Peco’s gauge red plastic thing to make sure my curves are somewhat equal distances. 
 

but to no avail the brushing of coaches happens and it’s quite noticeable. Could even derail a train I feel. Not to mention damage the paint. 
 

other than ripping it all up and starting again (he’s me hoping that’s not the case) does anyone have any fantastic tips / tricks to give the parralell tracks a little bit more wiggle room to allow coaches to navigate? 
 

I think as I’ve driven track pins in it has moved the rails from their perfect alignment with the cork but I didn’t realise at the time it was significant enough to cause this :(. 
 

also, I bet there’s many topics on this but I couldn’t find something specific to recovering the problem. More topics on preventing :( but link me if you know of something better !

 

finally. Thank you in advance, I hope I’m in the right place and following the right rules of engagement :(

 

matti 

 

included some snaps of the layout tonight 

097C7068-C3E9-4AA9-B409-4DAFE3E05E2E.jpeg

02D1C0ED-04C1-4F3F-A7E2-598D6BDD32F0.jpeg

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I can't see what you can do apart from:

  1. lifting all of the track in the problem sections and relaying slightly further apart; or
  2. imposing a restriction on the stock that is permitted to use certain lines (a bit like the real railway).

Obviously your Tracksetta differ in radius by 3" (76 mm), whereas if you are using the Peco track spacing gauge, this will ensure that your tracks are either 2" (51 mm) or 63 mm apart depending on whether you are using the streamline or Setrack setting.  I suspect that this is the source of your problem rather than movement when pushing home the track pins.  A 21" curve is about 4th radius Setrack, so I'm guessing that the wider spacing is probably most appropriate, especially if you are running longer coaches.  What distance apart were you trying to set the tracks?

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13 minutes ago, Dungrange said:

I can't see what you can do apart from:

  1. lifting all of the track in the problem sections and relaying slightly further apart; or
  2. imposing a restriction on the stock that is permitted to use certain lines (a bit like the real railway).

Obviously your Tracksetta differ in radius by 3" (76 mm), whereas if you are using the Peco track spacing gauge, this will ensure that your tracks are either 2" (51 mm) or 63 mm apart depending on whether you are using the streamline or Setrack setting.  I suspect that this is the source of your problem rather than movement when pushing home the track pins.  A 21" curve is about 4th radius Setrack, so I'm guessing that the wider spacing is probably most appropriate, especially if you are running longer coaches.  What distance apart were you trying to set the tracks?

 

Agree. Frrom the photo the OP is using Setrack geometry. So the track centres need to be at 63mm.

 

Perhaps he is using the Peco gadget the wrong way round? Although it does not look that way on the photo.

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6 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

Perhaps he is using the Peco gadget the wrong way round? Although it does not look that way on the photo.

It does if you look at the distance on the left hand side points and then move towards the front onto the curve.

 

As others have said the best bet is to rip up the outer track and re-lay it using the wider gauge on the spacer, if you dont it will drive you round the twist in future, trust me on that one.

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Posted (edited)

I can't help on the track geometry, but would a quick fix be to let the trains pass each other only on the straight sections?

If you need a rationale for a train sitting on the straight section waiting to be passed on the opposite line, perhaps put a signal there and assume that an imaginary train is blocking the section ahead.

P.S. Otherwise the layout is looking good, look forward to following progress!

Edited by Ian Simpson

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Personally I would adjust the curves as the others have suggested.

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You're at an early stage with your layout - no ballast or scenery yet -  so I'd suggest you bite the bullet and adjust the track now.

 

There doesn't seem to be much space at the back against the wall, so I'd lift the back half of the inner track, reduce the straight on the sides, and relay to keep it further away.

 

At the front you could move either track as there appears to be more space.

 

If it's any consolation it took me all day on my layout to get a 180 degree curve right (it included points and a yard exit), but it was worth it to have smooth, trouble free running for the following eighteen years!

 

John.

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I think the tracks near to the far wall are too close together*. I would ease the inner curves (not worrying too much about keeping the tracks parallel - the prototype wouldn't!), starting the curve earlier to allow some sort of transistion curve. This is quite important with sharp curves especially in long stock is to be used.

 

From past experience (!), I try to get everything working properly before fixing the track down. Flexible track should be curved so that it rests in more or less the correct position.

 

* The prototype spacing requires prototype radii

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I agree that relaying is the best option.  Before you permanently fix the relayed track down permanently, tape felt tip pens to the centre and end corners of your longest vehicle, and push it gently around the layout so that the felt tips mark the baseboard.  Except at junctions, the marked lines should not intersect at any point; if they do, there is insufficient space for clearance between tracks!

 

This method guarantees clearance plus half the diameter of the pen safety margin, sufficient to cope with stock wobbling at high speeds. 

 

Don’t worry too much about rookie errors; we’ve all made ‘em!  You’ve done the right thing by asking rather than plugging on and making things worse.  This could have been a disaster if you’d not asked about it before ballasting and scenery made alteration impossible.  

 

 

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When I was laying flexitrack, I checked with my longest coaches (Mk111s at the time) before pinning down. This was a fourth circuit being laid a couple of years after the first three, hence a bit near the edge of the baseboard fillet, and the sharpest curves on the whole layout.IMG_3215.JPG.7acbc2479cc62715b4a2819f509dfcc8.JPG

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Hey everyone. Thank you very much for the quick replies! 
 

I wanted to upload a video but couldn’t I’ll try to add some more helpful facts :)

 

im using peco flexitrack, code 100.


Where you see the hornet track distance it’s because I’ve tried to make use of old points I had (but maybe I’d be better off replacing with peco?)

 

so the majority of track is set at peco’s streamlined distance. With the exception of one set of points and one Hornby crossing. 
 

what’s confusing is new stock makes it round fine, it’s my older C3 virgin east coast and really old intercity stock that doesn’t. But as you say, I want to be able in the future to run anything. So this does need resolving as much as prototypical running conditions would be fun! I’d love to just leave trains going around. 
 

I have been using peco’s track gauge it’s just annoying that at some points of the curve it doesn’t line up and that’s why I wondered if the driving in of my pins did it. 
 

what I can’t get flex I track to do is stay in a curve / position whilst I test something. That’s why I pinned it down. 

image.jpg

image.jpg

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Here’s an example of where I had to expand to hornbys track distance for the older points. 

10C1DA3F-20BA-48A1-BC15-CB96F0C99811.jpeg

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And then how I had to come back to peco’s distance. But obviously too close right :( 

1AEEEDC9-CF59-4455-85D0-2365DEFBCA9C.jpeg

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And here’s some newer stock. 
 

So - I think my options are to replace the track. do you think this will throw out an entire rings connections and so id need to re-do the whole loop? Or could I just cut the track at the curves and try to make it tighter.

 

is there a preference on track, outer or inner? 

31F990BA-BCFB-4BA3-8059-442E44C1E82B.jpeg

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You have to bear in mind that for model railway track spacing the Peco gauge is only useful on straights, or on VERY generous curves.  As everyone else has said, with typical model railway curves the spacing needs to be wider as the overhang of rolling stock is exaggerated by the tight radii.

 

Regards,

 

John P

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Matti said:

Where you see the hornet track distance it’s because I’ve tried to make use of old points I had (but maybe I’d be better off replacing with peco?)

 

so the majority of track is set at peco’s streamlined distance. With the exception of one set of points and one Hornby crossing. 
 

what’s confusing is new stock makes it round fine, it’s my older C3 virgin east coast and really old intercity stock that doesn’t. But as you say, I want to be able in the future to run anything. So this does need resolving as much as prototypical running conditions would be fun! I’d love to just leave trains going around. 
 

I have been using peco’s track gauge it’s just annoying that at some points of the curve it doesn’t line up and that’s why I wondered if the driving in of my pins did it. 
 

what I can’t get flex I track to do is stay in a curve / position whilst I test something. That’s why I pinned it down. 

 

 

 

The age of the stock isn't critical - it's the length between bogie pivots and Mk 3 coaches are among the longest vehicles on most layouts, so these should be your test vehicle for clearance purposes (particularly on your outside track, because it's the midpoint of the coach that will be critical).  For the inside track, you're looking for a vehicle with a large end throw and that's often a steam locomotive with a large bogie ahead of the main driving wheels. 

 

If you were laying track to 'scale' spacing, then the centre to centre dimension should be 45 mm.  However, to lay two tracks that close, means that you would need to stick to typical railway radii - ie 21 foot rather than 21 inches!  As you make the curves tighter in a model, you need to increase the spacing between the tracks.  The Hornby points that you are reusing and the Peco Setrack equivalents are intended to be set 63 mm apart.  This is the space that you need between two curves at typical train set radii, which I'd define as those less than 24".  As such, I think you should have been using the other side of your red track gauge.  The Peco streamline setting (51 mm) is intended to be closer to scale, but obviously needs closer to scale radii probably greater than 36", but that will be partly stock dependent.

 

What you could have done is used the Setrack setting of 63 mm in the centre of your curve and tapered to the streamline setting on your straights, but this will require a bit of trial and error.  Pin the track gently without driving the pins home (just enough that they are below the level of the axles and couplings) and then undertake your tests with a pen or pencil checking for fouling points.

Edited by Dungrange
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45 minutes ago, Matti said:

This photograph shows the problem quite well.  The tracks should be closer together on the straight and further apart going round the curve - the exact opposite of what this photograph shows.

 

I think I'd be inclined to leave outer track where it is and lift the inner track.  The radius of the inner track doesn't have to be tighter (you can still use your 21" Tracksetta), the curve just needs to start earlier, so that you can keep a minimum distance of around 60 mm between the curves.

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Another vote for changing the inner track - assuming you are using flexible track, it will be easier to trim a little off here and there than it would be to increase the length around the outer loop. Trial and error with your rolling stock. At that radius, you are likely to need closer to the setrack gap of 67mm than the 'streamline' 50mm.

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Mk3 coaches are about the longest thing on most UK layouts, 75' in reality where mk1s and 2s were 64' and some older stock was 57' or less.  So these are your ideal test vehicles, but watch out for overhangs on some steam locos as well, especially any with 4 wheeled trailing bogies, 0-4-4 or 2-6-4 tanks for example.

 

Obviously, the larger you can make the radius of your curves the better, both from the point of view of scale appearance and running clearances, but this eats into your space and all model railway layouts are a compromise in this sense.  Model curves are incredibly tight and, if scaled up, setrack 4th radius which I believe Hornby call 'express' curves would be impossible for most stock to negotiate and even the 36" radius Peco Streamline 'large' radius points would be very severely speed restricted.  Scale high speed running should involve curves or 10' radius or more, at which you could probably get away with the Tracksetta straight line clearances.

 

Another problem with sharper than scale curves is clearance for platforms and lineside equipment such as signals.  

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8 hours ago, Dungrange said:

This photograph shows the problem quite well.  The tracks should be closer together on the straight and further apart going round the curve - the exact opposite of what this photograph shows.

 

I think I'd be inclined to leave outer track where it is and lift the inner track.  The radius of the inner track doesn't have to be tighter (you can still use your 21" Tracksetta), the curve just needs to start earlier, so that you can keep a minimum distance of around 60 mm between the curves.

I would not use the 21" tracksetta.

If you turn the 6' way gauge the other way, it will give you settrack spacing, which is the same as Hornby geometry. If you re-lay the inside track the whole way around using this to set the track to the correct distance apart, you should have sufficient clearance.

 

An issue of that 6' way gauge is that it flops over when the spacing is correct, which allows the track to move. There is a solution to this though: glue 2 of them to a small strip of wood or plastic so they stand up.

Mark 3 coaches have been mentioned as being a good test coach. I can see Mark 4's in your earlier photos. These are a similar size & shape except for the tumblehome, which was designed to allow them to be retro-fitted with tilt.

 

As an aside, Hornby's early Mark 3's were too short specifically to avoid the problems you are experiencing. Many modellers, myself included, bought the Lima offering instead because it was full length. Hornby later bought the Lima tooling but the earlier, shorter coaches are readily available on the second-hand market.

 

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