Scale rail for TT scale track

Scale rail for TT scale track

Postby Andy Carlson » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:57 pm

I recently read on this site about suggestions for the future of North American TT scale. Good flex track with switches was mentioned as being necessary. I saw code 70 track suggested.

In our nation, the largest rail used for class one Railroads was 155 pound rail, used only by the Pennsy RR for a limited high traffic rail area. Most US heavy rail lines used 135 pound rail max. It should be mentioned that code 70 rail in 120:1 TT scale comes out to be 5% larger than the super large PRR 155 pound rail.

I doubt that any manufactures are going to invest in our fantasy of having the necessary items produced to make TT a vital scale for new modelers. If I should be wrong, starting off with grossly oversized rail would be a huge mistake. If it is argued that large rail would be necessary for European locomotives to run on our track, then we will have lost. If TT is to flourish, the older, huge flanged heritage equipment should not dictate our standards. Code 55 rail, while maybe viewed by some as small, is 115 pound rail in TT scale, a very common rail size used throughout North America on many thousands of miles of mail line track.

I have a friend who makes tie strips for N gauge track, and I asked him about making Central Valley Tie strips for TT scale for code 55 rail, and maybe making a #6 code 55 switch. He said that N scale ties sales are slow enough so that he thought that TT scale tie strips would be a potential loss to him due to very poor sales. I am afraid that he is probably right. If someone were to pay for the tooling, and have a first 3 years exclusive for retail sales that might get some TT stuff made. I, however, am not that flush with cash.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA
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Re: Scale rail for TT scale track

Postby MacG » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:00 pm

Hello Andy, you have mentioned some good points. But the own budget is a point at the model railroading. I know that Code 83 and 70 are too high for a prototypical track work. But they have a reasonable price and they are available. A Code 55 rail would be expensive.

I will use for my large modules layout a mix of Tillig Code 83 and the Kuehn Code 70 tracks and turnouts.

Fast Tracks has already a #6 and #8 turnout for Code 55 and 70 rails. I think also Art&Detail can deliver a laser-cut wooden tie strips for this rails. But the pice is about one dollar per inch. That is good for a small layout or diorama, which you can model scale like the prototype. But at a larger layout with more than 16 foot length of the tracks is a prototypical track work too expensive.

What would be the price for the tooling of a Code 55 tie strips and the first 3 years of the production run?

Links for Rail Sizes:
http://www.urbaneagle.com/data/RRrailsizes.html
http://www.icrr.net/rails.htm
Lok-n-Roll.de - we send worldwide :wink:
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Re: Scale rail for TT scale track

Postby Bernd » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:19 pm

Hey Andy,

I've come up with two ways to quickly make my own track. I use Code55 rail for the tracks.

The first method is doing a resin casting of a 9" long section. I made up an acrylic jig on my Sherline CNC mill with sort of tie plates to align the track. I used Pliobond to fasten the track to the resin casting. Here some pictures of the process.

The rubber masters.
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Sections glued down end to end and rail glued to ties.
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Close up of tie sections showing the tie plates.
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The second method I use in making three foot long sections of curved or straight track. Again I made a 9" long jig for soldering the rail to PC ties every five or tenth tie.
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I refined the jig somewhat for easier track-building by adding slots at the end of the jig for placing the ties easier. Added a length slot for cutting tie strips to length. The PC ties are from Clover House.
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Made a second jig for wooden tie spacing.
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Ready to solder rails to the PC ties.
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Makes nice 3foot long track sections.
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Laying down a section of track. First the wooden ties, remove every fifth tie.
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For curved sections I just solder one rail to the PC ties then glue down that section and then solder the second rail on using a track gauge.
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I also make my own turnouts. This was the first test to see how they would turn out. Again I use my Sherline CNC to make the turnout. It's a #4.
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I made a jig out of rock maple for soldering the frog rails together.
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I used my Sherline lathe to grind the correct angle on the rails for proper fit.
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Finished turnout with an over-center spring for manual control.
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I've started a second module using the three foot track sections and the milled PC turnout boards.

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I haven't done anything on this module for some time now. Sort of lost the drive to finish it. was hoping to post the build on the forum when finished. It'll happen, but when will it happen is the big question.

Bernd
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Re: Scale rail for TT scale track

Postby CFRiad » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:47 am

MacG wrote:Fast Tracks has already a #6 and #8 turnout for Code 55 and 70 rails.

Andy, here is a photo of the crossover module Bill Dixon made using the Fast Tracks jig and code 55 rails. All modern trains, North American and European run well on it. The end pieces of track, where it connects to adjacent modules are code 83 Tillig bedding track.

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Re: Scale rail for TT scale track

Postby Andy Carlson » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:15 pm

Hello Bernd-

Your techniques in making resin track reminded me of what a long time friend did for a test code 40 Nn3 track, when challenged in a similar way as we are.

He made a straight 12" Nn3 track, ties and rail. RTV rubber mold allowed him to place code 40 rail into the mold, and then filled the rest with Devcon 2-ton epoxy. I had a picture at one time but it is not available for me now. Of course the curves would not be able to make without making a new pattern with curves, and then the layout would run the risk of looking like sectional track. The track looked very good, as does yours.

Casting the track with the inserted rail did make for strong rail bonding!

I guess great minds think alike!
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA
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Re: Scale rail for TT scale track

Postby Bernd » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:19 pm

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the nice compliment.

I also tried another method of track. There is a modeler that uses "Task Board" to make roadbed and tie strips. I thought I'd give that a try to. I did this experiment a couple of years ago. Here's the results.

And here's a link to what Task Board is: https://taskboard.com/

I had 3 foot long sections cut on a laser to see if it was feasible to do. It wasn't profitable for the laser guy. He did a couple of strips for me. The cost would have been quite high because of the linear footage the laser had to cut.

I had both straight section and curveable sections cut.
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Tested it in water to see what it would do when drying.
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Didn't warp at all.
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A couple of test sections.
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Using Micro spikes to hold the rail.
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Ballasted section.
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So there are ways to produce NA style track if you want to scratch build. I've shown the three different ways, but nobody seems to want to do that.

Bernd
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Re: Scale rail for TT scale track

Postby Richard-B » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:11 pm

Bernd wrote:So there are ways to produce NA style track if you want to scratch build. I've shown the three different ways, but {nobody} seems to want to do that.
...very few people; ONE here...
Richard Brennan - http://www.tt-west.com
Somewhere between San Francisco and Budapest...
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