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Peco Track Sleeper spacing


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15 hours ago, ITG said:

As a relative new modeller of just 3 years or so, although I have no experience of adjusting sleeper spacing, I do have recent experience of the myriad of other things there is to focus on when building a layout…….. things one needs to get pretty close to right, if you are to enjoy trouble free running and maximise a positive experience. Not sure of what your other commitments are, but as a newly retired person with a reasonable budget, I was able to devote time and resources to modelling. But even then, I’d say one has to prioritise if you don’t want to risk time running away with you.

l’ve noted you’ve asked a few different questions via various threads. Well done for identifying so many things there are to consider, but sooner or later we all need to prioritise. 
By no means am I saying “don’t respace sleepers”, but I am saying do decide what is essential, what is important, what is nice to have, and what you’re trying to avoid……. Before you start spending time and money!

Thanks for the Compliment and the Advice. 

 

I like to ask question because i dont want my first proper layout to be a big disaster 

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29 minutes ago, Trainnoob said:

Thanks for the Compliment and the Advice. 

 

I like to ask question because i dont want my first proper layout to be a big disaster 

Well I suspect that ‘disaster’ (like success and beauty) is in the eye of the beholder. But, as I hinted, you can affect success by prioritisation and focus. Good luck.

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3 hours ago, Il Grifone said:

It might be an urban myth, but I can't think of any other reason for making your main product in the wrong scale and with incorrect sleeper spacing. Their track from the fifties was definitely 00 and looked very good (pity about the fibre sleepers!). The 'longer look' myth* is on a par with Wrenn's "Scaled to match the rail" which, seeing their rail was to 7mm scale, tells you all about the result.

 

* Perhaps it's just me, but I consider it just looks undersized (or at least the sleepers do - the rail looks like American 'high iron', but that's the price to pay when rolling stock has overscale flanges.

Yes, but nothing you have written gives an indication of a US basis, it's merely an argument that appears to fit.

 

It certainly doesn't look right, but as several others have stated, it can never be right, because the gauge is so under scale.

 

It's a decision Peco made in the 60s and I can't imaging how many lengths of FB flexible track they have made to OO since! If sleeper spacing seriously affected sales of their top selling product, I'm sure they would have changed it decades ago.

The conclusion that must be true, is that a significant portion of modellers, don't care enough.

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Insignificant in the overall scheme of things, but I don't use it for British layouts. Apart from the scale, it's an excellent product and my American layout uses it.

Really they control the 00 market since Hornby Dublo, GEM and Farish stopped making track. Scaleway etc. are rather a niche product and Tri-ang-Hornby gave up and switched to imported H0 track with Series 6.

 

"The conclusion that must be true, is that a significant portion of modellers, don't care enough."

I can't disagree with that! Apart from track to the wrong scale, Walschaerts return cranks set at any angle but the correct one, and 2mm over height buffers come to mind.

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2 hours ago, Il Grifone said:

 Tri-ang-Hornby gave up and switched to imported H0 track with Series 6.

 

and 2mm over height buffers come to mind.

Tri-ang Hornby went broke in the early 70s and had to significantly reduce their range. So the track was probably the largest range of products. IIRC Tri-ang Hornby did actually produce System 6 track, but soon stopped making it.

 

As for the 2mm height error of the buffers, that was so that the couplings would still work with the steep changes of gradient on their inclined track.

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When I did some measurements on Peco Code 75 FB and Bullhead I came to the conclusion that neither is really correct. The only true dimension in the BH track is the width of the sleeper at 3.33mm. For the sleeper length and spacing the scale comes out at about half way between H0 and 00, so still out of proportion to the gauge of 16.5mm.

The sleeper spacing for FB worse, being closer to 2.5mm scale or 12mm track gauge, similar to TT but that's another can of worms with about four different factions purporting to be the True Faith.

 

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I think we all need to remember that with 00 and a gauge of 16.5mm which scales to a bit over 4', we are already dealing with a huge inaccuracy for which there is no easy solution.

 

Obviously the EM and P4 factions that claim to be of the true faith can greatly improve the gauge conundrum but at great effort (I had a flutter with EM a few years ago but gave it up.  Life is just too short.)

 

One approach, and I have taken that, is to go 0 gauge.  Finescale is the default and has track gauge that scales to 4'6" (equivalent to EM).  All RTR stock and Peco track comes with this gauge.  Again, the True Faithers will go for Scale Seven but at great effort and expense since new wheels have to be procured.

 

John

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1 hour ago, brossard said:

One approach, and I have taken that, is to go 0 gauge.  Finescale is the default and has track gauge that scales to 4'6"

 

John

O gauge is actually slightly more accurate than that. As I understand it the gauge is 32mm which converts to 4' 6.857" so very nearly 4' 7". This is why I would love to model in O gauge. I don't have the room for a roundy-roundy in that gauge which is what I would want, but one day may try an end to end layout.

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14 minutes ago, Robert Stokes said:

O gauge is actually slightly more accurate than that. As I understand it the gauge is 32mm which converts to 4' 6.857" so very nearly 4' 7". This is why I would love to model in O gauge. I don't have the room for a roundy-roundy in that gauge which is what I would want, but one day may try an end to end layout.

 

OK Robert, I just did the math and that's right.  I don't have room for a roundy roundy either, I suspect few people do.  Mine is 21' long incl a 5' sector plate.  I can do a nice BLT in that space.  If you browse around you will find quite a lot of good looking small 0 gauge layouts.

 

I'm also developing a small industrial layout that will end up being 10' long all in.  The goal being for it to fit in the car to take to shows.

 

John

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On 01/11/2021 at 11:34, kevinlms said:

Yes, but nothing you have written gives an indication of a US basis, it's merely an argument that appears to fit.

 

It certainly doesn't look right, but as several others have stated, it can never be right, because the gauge is so under scale.

 

It's a decision Peco made in the 60s and I can't imaging how many lengths of FB flexible track they have made to OO since! If sleeper spacing seriously affected sales of their top selling product, I'm sure they would have changed it decades ago.

The conclusion that must be true, is that a significant portion of modellers, don't care enough.

 

I would think every model shop in the UK stocks Peco track. I don't know if any stock C&L or SMP (Marcway, obvs.)  if you want it you have to get it by mail order. So most modellers buy what is forced on them. If modellers had the choice when they were in a model shop of Peco track or C&L/SMP, it's a no brainer.

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42 minutes ago, philsandy said:

 

I would think every model shop in the UK stocks Peco track. I don't know if any stock C&L or SMP (Marcway, obvs.)  if you want it you have to get it by mail order. So most modellers buy what is forced on them. If modellers had the choice when they were in a model shop of Peco track or C&L/SMP, it's a no brainer.

Sorry, I don't believe that at all. If people want something 'better' they will take a little bit more effort to find it.

No one is forced to buy anything, unless perhaps you know a model railway shop owner that twists peoples arms?

 

If I went into a shop and they only had GWR locos, would I say to myself, if that is all there is, I'll have to model GWR - not likely.

 

It comes down to the fact that to some people, track is track and they probably want the cheapest, which is code 100. Even Peco code 75 track sells at a higher price, even though code 75 has less prime material - nickel silver!

 

In case you're wondering I have previously used Peco Code 100 and 75 and built my own points in EM.

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13 minutes ago, kevinlms said:

Sorry, I don't believe that at all. If people want something 'better' they will take a little bit more effort to find it.

No one is forced to buy anything, unless perhaps you know a model railway shop owner that twists peoples arms?

 

If I went into a shop and they only had GWR locos, would I say to myself, if that is all there is, I'll have to model GWR - not likely.

 

It comes down to the fact that to some people, track is track and they probably want the cheapest, which is code 100. Even Peco code 75 track sells at a higher price, even though code 75 has less prime material - nickel silver!

 

In case you're wondering I have previously used Peco Code 100 and 75 and built my own points in EM.

Im not a fan of code 75 because since 00 track is under scale anyway I don't see the point of using code 75 and having to change old stock wheels for only a little bit more realism.

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On 01/11/2021 at 11:34, kevinlms said:

 

The conclusion that must be true, is that a significant portion of modellers, don't care enough.

 

9 minutes ago, kevinlms said:

 If people want something 'better' they will take a little bit more effort to find it.

 

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On 01/11/2021 at 09:55, Pete the Elaner said:

DOGA also make sleeper re-spacing templates, with a choice of spacings more modern main lines seem to have sleepers closer together than older branch lines, but both are further apart than with Peco Streamline.

 

http://www.doubleogauge.com/shop.htm

 

While I agree with the comments about Peco's bullhead looking good, new track from the 70s onwards has been flatbottom laid on concrete sleepers. I don't know why so many people assume you are modelling steam.

 

The DOGA gauges also act as 6' way gauges on the straight, as long as you don't mind the sleepers being tidily aligned with each other on adjacent tracks. They also provide a choice of Peco's streamline 6' way or a more accurate, narrower 6' way, but this option can be problematic around curves (but looks great on an end-to-end layout).

 

It has already been mentioned that cutting the webbing weakens the track. For this reason, I recommend gluing the track rather than pinning.

 

It took me about 45 minutes to prepare & lay each yard of track, rather than about 3-4 minutes than just glue an unmodified length. For some, that is too much hassle.

 

A lot to think about there.

I'll leave you with a photo of what it looks like when done. The top track is unmodified. The left of the bottom 2 are with 9.5mm between sleeper centres & on the right, 8.5mm between sleeper centres. The bottom 2 tracks use the narrowed 6' way too. Doesn't look much different on this small test piece, but it does over a longer length with trains running.

 

 

All spacings.jpg

Exactly, I'm into Modern era, so Bullhead is useless to me.

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35 minutes ago, kevinlms said:

Sorry, I don't believe that at all. If people want something 'better' they will take a little bit more effort to find it.

No one is forced to buy anything, unless perhaps you know a model railway shop owner that twists peoples arms?

 

If I went into a shop and they only had GWR locos, would I say to myself, if that is all there is, I'll have to model GWR - not likely.

 

It comes down to the fact that to some people, track is track and they probably want the cheapest, which is code 100. Even Peco code 75 track sells at a higher price, even though code 75 has less prime material - nickel silver!

 

In case you're wondering I have previously used Peco Code 100 and 75 and built my own points in EM.

The term ‘better’ is like beauty - in the eye of the beholder. It means different things to different people… better in….

Price

value

secondhand value retention

easier

more accessible 

wider range/choice

longer guarantee

more reliable

etc

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1 hour ago, Trainnoob said:

Im not a fan of code 75 because since 00 track is under scale anyway I don't see the point of using code 75 and having to change old stock wheels for only a little bit more realism.

Obviously we are going to disagree about virtually everything, but I found that code 75 worked significantly better than code 100. The latter I wouldn't touch if it were free!

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1 hour ago, Trainnoob said:

Im not a fan of code 75 because since 00 track is under scale anyway I don't see the point of using code 75 and having to change old stock wheels for only a little bit more realism.

 

There has been a debate raging at the club over whether we switch to code 75 or stick to code 100.  The usual excuse trotted out that some older locos have wheels where the flanges touch the sleepers.  A number of older locos have been tested on Peco FB code 75 and we have found this to be a crock.  We also found that C&L code 75, having canted rail, might be a problem for some newer locos (60s and 70s).  IIRC, only locos of Triang vintage have issues. 

 

Since this is your first layout, I'm guessing your locos are new, so no issue.  If you have wagons with ancient wheels, these will benefit from a wheel change anyway.  I would warn you about buying second hand so only buy these if you know what you are getting.

 

John

 

 

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3 hours ago, brossard said:

 

There has been a debate raging at the club over whether we switch to code 75 or stick to code 100.  The usual excuse trotted out that some older locos have wheels where the flanges touch the sleepers.  A number of older locos have been tested on Peco FB code 75 and we have found this to be a crock.  We also found that C&L code 75, having canted rail, might be a problem for some newer locos (60s and 70s).  IIRC, only locos of Triang vintage have issues. 

 

Since this is your first layout, I'm guessing your locos are new, so no issue.  If you have wagons with ancient wheels, these will benefit from a wheel change anyway.  I would warn you about buying second hand so only buy these if you know what you are getting.

 

John

 

 

I find Code 100 perfectly good, and my old wheels work well on it, for me changing wheels Is just another needless cost. 

 

Everyone has there own opinion on track but for me in my circumstances is just another needless cost.

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Seeing that the supply of 'Formoway' is drying up/silly prices, I was considering using 'Scaleway' for my sidings. The smaller code 75 would appear to be older track so I could get away with that, though I might have to lay it in 30 foot  lengths?* Any wheels that bump on the sleepers can be binned. (Most are Nucro/Jackson/Romford or Hornby anyway.)

*The rest is laid in 44' 6" lengths at broad gauge spacing, so not a great hassle.

 

Quote:

"If I went into a shop and they only had GWR locos, would I say to myself, if that is all there is, I'll have to model GWR - not likely."

Seems good to me! (see above/below).  :)

 

Three offers of Formoway on eBay at the moment including this:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/363033868086?hash=item5486813736:g:FtMAAOSwvIJe-KuS

Well it is our 'friend' the Studebaker fan. (I suppose it's not too bad at just over ten pounds each (counting the slip as two), but three of them are 2 foot radius and they are all the earlier version with plastic crossings). (I usually pay a lot less and don't need any more pointwork anyway!)

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1 hour ago, Trainnoob said:

I find Code 100 perfectly good, and my old wheels work well on it, for me changing wheels Is just another needless cost. 

 

Everyone has there own opinion on track but for me in my circumstances is just another needless cost.

 

Not disputing your choice of code 100 track, just questioning the rationale of flanges hitting chairs when using code 75.

 

The club has decided on the main loop to be code 100 but a "finescale" section to be code 75 BH.  We have also decided that turnouts for the FS section will have to be handbuilt (copper clad) since the Peco turnouts are not in sight and even if they were, prices are about double of the FB equivalent.

 

John

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Whether flanges on "old" wheels hit chairs on Code 75 track depends very much on the origins of both.

 

A club layout of late 1960s origin with which I was connected in its later life was laid and had, to a considerable extent, been relaid (through sheer old age) mainly with SMP flexi and accommodated Hornby Dublo wheels and anything finer quite happily.

 

However, acording to the "old hands" who'd  laid them, they'd used up some very early "donated" C&L oddments in a couple of sidings. This had chairs with pronounced square top corners whereas the SMP ones tapered inward under the rail head.

 

Quite a lot of wheels, including some even more ancient Romford drivers, rattled along said sidings on the chairs, and one or two 0-6-0s on which the wheel-spacing coincided too precisely with that of the sleepers, occasionally "beached" altogether. I must stress that modern C&L doesn’t  do this, and I don't imagine for one moment that Peco BH will either.

 

John

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On 31/10/2021 at 17:53, Bomag said:

It would have helped if you mentioned scale/gauge.

 

The word "trackmat" was a bit of a clue. Not really a S scale thing... It's a fact of life that if no scale or gauge is mentioned, 00 should be assumed.

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On 01/11/2021 at 08:48, kevinlms said:

Are you sure that Peco really made track purely for the USA market? It sounds like an urban myth to me.

The actual British market must be far larger than it ever was for the US one.

Doesn't make the track to scale, but I suspect the 'longer look' statement is actually correct. 

Outside the UK most people tend to collect European HO and American HO and N, so I suspect the British market is relatively small, bad news for anyone living outside the UK (Like me) who want to model British outline as hobby stores don't see a need to stock it. 

 

It's especially a problem when you live in a country with high Customs duty and package theft.

 

 

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On 31/10/2021 at 12:41, Bomag said:

It depends on the flexitrack you are using; Peco code 55 requires a different technique than code 80. Similarly you need to take into account that on the real railway the sleeper spacing varies depending on the nature of the track - with between 20 and 28 sleepers per chain (22 yards/20m).  

 

Standard sleeper spacing for years has been between 24 and 30 sleepers per 60'-0" length. Although I believe  the Underground may sometimes use less sleepers, as I seem to remember reading the results of tests comparing the BR EF28 and LT's first design of concrete sleepers, that included use at 20 sleepers to the length. From what I recall the LT sleepers were so good that they were replaced during their first week of service.

 

On BR (Before Railtrack) 24 sleepers to the length was traditional with wooden and concrete sleepered bullhead and early flat bottom track. Later the sleeper spacing was upped to 26, with 28 being used on busy lines like the WCML fasts. By the early 2000's this had increased to 28 sleepers in 60'-0" on the slows and 30 sleepers on the fasts.

 

Closer sleeper spacing is also sometimes specified on tight curves to help increase track weight and lateral resistance. 

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11 hours ago, ITG said:

The term ‘better’ is like beauty - in the eye of the beholder. It means different things to different people… better in….

Price

value

secondhand value retention

easier

more accessible 

wider range/choice

longer guarantee

more reliable

etc

Which is why I typed 'better', so others can interpret better as they wish.

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