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Tram Tracks


RichardS

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Nobody's mentioned the plastic based track that used to be imported by Model Masters I think. I've got a drawer full of the stuff  but I understand it went out of production a few years ago so not very helpful. I can't even remember who produced it! memory loss...

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 Rivarossi, prior to acquiring Lima, had a tramway system back in the 60's, long since discontinued. It didn't have points, only straights and very sharp corners, all single track. Finding that online is very rare indeed.

 

 

Rivarrossi's system did have both left and right handed points to the same radius as the curved track, and a also right-angled crossing. Matching overhead sections were also provided. Later on this range was issued under the Trix brand. 

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That track is the range I have developed , primarily for railway modellers, as no-one has ever done that before. Alan Kirkman had one of my points he built up, at Manchester. His main problem was getting hold of code 100 rail, as I gather many tramway modellers use code 75 rail. I can normally pick up very cheap S/H flexi code 100 track at exhibitions. The tightest radius I designed is 25cm. I did try something tighter but I wanted to concentrate on items I could use for my model railways. Gauge has to be increased for tighter radius curves. I might introduce some designs more suited to tramways, possibly with a closer 'checkrail' to handle finer scale wheels.

Trouble I have so many ideas, and each idea expands into quite a few different designs, as I have 2 sizes of stone sett as well as plain surface, as well as gauges from 6.5(just starting) up to 32mm . I need to add some 12mm gauge, but I already have mixed gauge sections. I only use code 100 rail(although Peco code 143 would also fit), as print thickness was an issue, and I needed a common standard for mixed gauge sections. I can develop new items faster than they can write about them in the press.

I have an article in January Continental Modeller, which shows how I have used some of my track.

I am currently trying to get other magazines looking at the track, I will send samples to BRM when I get them back from another magazine.

 

Simon

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That track is the range I have developed , primarily for railway modellers, as no-one has ever done that before. Alan Kirkman had one of my points he built up, at Manchester. His main problem was getting hold of code 100 rail, as I gather many tramway modellers use code 75 rail. I can normally pick up very cheap S/H flexi code 100 track at exhibitions. The tightest radius I designed is 25cm. I did try something tighter but I wanted to concentrate on items I could use for my model railways. Gauge has to be increased for tighter radius curves. I might introduce some designs more suited to tramways, possibly with a closer 'checkrail' to handle finer scale wheels.

Trouble I have so many ideas, and each idea expands into quite a few different designs, as I have 2 sizes of stone sett as well as plain surface, as well as gauges from 6.5(just starting) up to 32mm . I need to add some 12mm gauge, but I already have mixed gauge sections. I only use code 100 rail(although Peco code 143 would also fit), as print thickness was an issue, and I needed a common standard for mixed gauge sections. I can develop new items faster than they can write about them in the press.

I have an article in January Continental Modeller, which shows how I have used some of my track.

I am currently trying to get other magazines looking at the track, I will send samples to BRM when I get them back from another magazine.

 

Simon

 

Sounds really interesting. I have quite a few HO tram kits stored away. One of the many reasons nothing has been done with them is the lack of suitable track for a quick-and-easy layout.

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the Andy who moderates this forum. Had to look in BRM for his email. Bad time of year as many people are busy working or playing.

 

As for quick and easy tram track, the Tillig Luna looks OK, except it is not solid rail, and someone I was talking to was having problems with it. It is also only a printed stone surface. There was something in USA, but apparently only the Atlas super flexi track rail fits it.

I think Hornby also used to do this same track and people complained it slipped out of the sleepers if held upright. I managed to bend some to a very tight radius and it still worked OK.

Walthers do some inserts(?) for an American HO point, but otherwise it seems to be necessary to do it yourself. My track panels just require code 100 rail to be fitted. Points are a bit more complex and I initial just used my inserts for a demo module, but am trying to build some points up at the moment. Fitting tiebar is still the difficult part for me, and I am trying various ideas including point blades from some old broken Peco points. Ideally I would like someone to take on the job of building points , and just buy the panels from me.

My main interest was to help railway modellers build dockyards or industrial lines, but tramway modellers are welcome. I am working on some very sharp radius track for a narrow gauge project/challenge. Curves and hopefully points will be 10cm radius, and still 16.5mm gauge, although I might have to increase that a bit.

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I am not using it for trams but a narrow gauge challenge in Gn15, hopefully. the first track pieces I tried out with 3d printing were 10cm radius. The power unit from Bachmann Brill tram easily went round it. I think the ETS O gauge tram Track radius is 17cm and that is therefore tighter for the gauge(equivalrent of 8.8cm for 16.5mm gauge). I have some and managed to get a 4 wheel loco pulling a wagon round it. Not thinking long wheelbase though.

 

For more convential trains/trams I settled on 25cm radius. I had thought about 20cm to match the Luna track, but not yet.Also by chance using a common point angle with 25cm radius, track work out very near to that for British OO trains - 6.7cm. I looked throiugh the history of British OO trains, in particular Hornby Dublo, as I could not undestand why Fleischmann had produced curves at 25cm radius, and found how the various British track systems were in effect connected. Hornby Dublo started with 15in radius, which resulted in an outer radius the same as Bristish R2 track, but track to track distance was too large, so this was eventually changed resulting in a slightly larger radius than the 15in. Meanwhile Jouef experimented with a radius insde the 15in, not 25cm, but this was eventually dropped. The 25cm radius fits in, but as to why it was introduced is odd, except that it has been adopted as outer radius for Tillig Luna track. Sorry about mix oif metric and imperal, but that can;t be avoided for OO/HO , partly thanks to Henry Greenley.

I have already designed the track sections for both standard railway R2 and 25cm, including mixed gauges(9mm/16.5m) and plan to design similar for 12mm gauge. All use code 100 rail.

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Simon, 10 cm radius is too tight for tramway tracks. Even the Americans use 6" as minimum radius for their trolley systems. Hartel used 180 mm and that was wasn't enough for many European tram car. The general consensus for tramways is 25 cm for modern articulated models, slightly less for older types but anything less then 20 cm is only suitable for 4-wheelers.

 

Depends on what you're running....I've got curves considerably less than 20cm that bogie cars take happily, modern artics wouldn't be happy I agree but for first generation stuff.......

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I don't think there is a US "minimum", unless it's buried in a an NMRA RP somewhere. It depends more on the prototype and whether the mode (thereof) can also work down to the same radius.

 

The real LARY cars were designed to work down to 35 ft radius (4.8") and the real PE cars to 55 ft radius (7.5"). But the models were generally made to only work reliably above 8" radius.

 

I only added a smaller 6.25" radius to Electric Avenue to help folk who already had some Orr tram track turnouts of that radius and needed to match it.

 

I don't know, but have feeling that the real UK bogie trams such as the LT E1, were designed to handle even smaller radii when needed. Perhaps some here could correct me on that?

 

Andy

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British trams were generally shorter than American or Continental cars and this enabled them to negotiate sharper curves. Not without its problems though, many had a very short wheelbase for the overall length, a 25 foot long car on a 6' 6" truck for example. This resulted in an enormous 'out-swing' leading to a ban on cars passing on curves in some instances.

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When I started this thread the decision about which track to use on the layout had yet to be made. In the end, as I have mentioned before, the future owner opted for Tillig Luna. Due to several factors we have yet to lay this section of the layout (it's a long story). But now that momentous step beckons in the new year.

 

But a new 'snag' has been 'hit'  and we are reflecting on this over the holiday period. The issue is how to operate the Tillig Luna points. The points have a very (very) small throw and no latch or spring.  We have assessed Tillig slow action motors which are too big to use where there are two points adjacent (we have a twin track junction to resolve). It is not apparent if there is any other suitable motor supplied by Tillig.   

 

So we look at Peco motors - but they don't latch. Seep PM4 is an option but the throw is enormous compared to that needed by the Luna Points which is perhaps 1.5mm at most.

 

Reliability is essential as the motors if attached to these two points will be difficult as they are on a high level section and to access will require the completed layout to be split to access.

 

We have considered wire in tube for the owner to use himself - but latching is again a problem and we have started to consider remote WIT control from a motor. The use of servos is another possibility.

 

Did I say that the two adjacent points need to operate in the opposite direction to one another to allow trams to traverse the two lines (line and loop) through the town in opposite directions even though they are actually on the same line. No? We have considered using a lever on a central pivot to operate both points from one drive.

 

Of course the system we choose needs to be easy for the future owner to maintain and adjust if necessary.

 

I would really welcome the comments of anybody who has (successfully) motorised Luna Points.

 

Shortly I will post some more pictures of progress on the 'Bohemian Saxony' layout page.

 

If you are considering the Luna track I suggest that you thoroughly evaluate it. It has some very good points but also some aspects which are not so favourable. We have run trams on it without any problem. But it is a bit fiddly.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Seasons Greetings

 

RichardS

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I'm not sure if you asked me about motors off list. Apologies if I'm covering old ground.

 

mole-11-arm-300-300.jpg

 

I designed the smaller Mole specifically to have an optional short sideways throw (0.1" max) (shown fitted) and a soft spring (0.015" dia wire) to protect the turnout if the needed throw is less. (it has its own mechanical stops). It doesn't mechanically latch, but has all the inertia of a servo motor, if left unpowered by using push buttons. Otherwise 30 mA stall current draw using toggle switches.

 

More details via PM if desired.

 

Andy

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Thanks for the prompt replies to my questions. Much appreciated. No don't think that's old ground Andy. And thanks for the suggestion D/M. I'll pass this info onto my colleague who is doing the track and electrics - he's far more adept at this than I.

 

Regards

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I have a couple of luna points. Had not noticed they did not lock in place, as tiebar seems to hold point blade in place. On all my points(Peco) I uses the PL12 unit to connect to point, even if using wire in tube, as it is easier to access than digging up point, but it could easily be used to lock  the Luna point blades, and a simple omega wire(GEM?) should cope with the shorter distance blades move.

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For anyone interested, I am experimenting with a Z gauge tram track system. Straights and curves only,  as points might be a bit trick to build(although not difficult to design).

Have you thought of following prototype practice with a single moving tongue?

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I am exploring the idea of 'no moving parts' but with very sharp curves, to reduce the temptation for the tram/train to take the curve rather than the straight. If this does not work I will use either one or two thin wire tongues. I also prefer not to use finescale wheels and sacrifise look for performance but using coarser wheels especially on tight radius curves. At the end of the day it has to work OK.

One of the reasons I am playing ith Z gauge track is for metre gauge in N scale, and pointwork  was not common in town sections. If I do design points for Z gauge, it will be possible to use various methods with or without moving blades, so it will be up to who ever is building the points.

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