Gauge Widening

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WeymouthJohn
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Gauge Widening

Post by WeymouthJohn » Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:28 pm

I'm very new to garden rail and I've built my baseboard layout on 3 foot posts. I'm now laying the first of my track which is 32mm track coming from Cliff Barker. In amongst the bits and pieces which came with the track are a few spare sleepers in a packet marked "for use in gauge widening". My radii are about a metre and my locos are are a Millie and a Fowler. I understand the engineering necessity of gauge widening for tight curves and the reasons for it but should I worry about it and if so, how would I use these odd sleepers?
Thanks very much for any help .... it'll give me a better nights sleep!
John

Phil.P
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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by Phil.P » Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:42 pm

You could always ask Cliff?

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-steves-
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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by -steves- » Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:46 pm

Welcome to the forum :D

I have no idea about your question, but good idea using 3 foot high posts, exactly what I did so I didn't have to bend down :thumbup:
The buck stops here .......

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http://peterborough.16mm.org.uk/

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philipy
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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by philipy » Sun Mar 07, 2021 5:24 pm

Welcome to the forum.

I have no idea about Cliff Barkers stuff either, I'm afraid. As Phil said, you could ask Cliff, or failing that SVLR Andrew has built his railway with Cliff's stuff and he'll know your answer if anyone on here does.

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Andrew
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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by Andrew » Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:06 pm

Hi John, and welcome!

I'm afraid I don't know about that type of track, but lots of folk have tighter curves than that without widening (I'm thinking of Peco and Mamod 2'6" settrack), so I think you'll be OK with those powerful RH locos, as long as you don't have too steep a gradient at that point and don't want to run very long trains.

My trains definitely slow on encountering my 3'6" curves, and the drag means I need to be take steps to avoid the "bow string effect" (adding weight to carriages, ensuring bogies are as near the ends of the carriages as possible, keeping coupling height consistent), but again, lots of people do it...

Sorry, not a definitive answer, but I hope it's of some help!

All the best,

Andrew.

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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by WeymouthJohn » Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:11 am

Thanks to you for those useful answers. Yes, I could ask Cliff, who I've found very helpful in the past, but I rather assumed that it was a more general subject rather than specific to his track. I know, never assume, always check.
Andrew, I'm reassured by your suggestion that all should be well. Having laid half my track I'd really rather not go back and start again. There isn't much in the way of incline and I don't plan on running long trains. I've pushed a wagon round the bit of track I have laid and it seemed fine. I might get steam up later today and see what happens.....
Cheers
John

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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by Andrew » Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:57 am

WeymouthJohn wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:11 am
I might get steam up later today and see what happens.....
Always a good idea! Let us know how it goes...

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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by philipy » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:13 am

WeymouthJohn wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:11 am
I rather assumed that it was a more general subject rather than specific to his track. I know, never assume, always check.
Andrew, I'm reassured by your suggestion that all should be well.
I think Andrews comments are spot on. Whilst B-B, flange depths and widths, etc, are important, our 'standards' ( if there are any!) tend to be more forgiving than the fine scale approach would allow. My impression is that Cliff's stuff is aimed at the more precise/prototypical/standard gauge PW construction, where gauge widening could be vital.

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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by Soar Valley Light » Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:53 pm

Evening all,

I seem to be a bit late to this party (I hope someone saved me a Guinness!).

The purpose of gauge widening is to reduce the frictional resistance of flange on rail as a vehicle travels through a curve. This also reduces the risk of 'flange climb' and thus the chance of derailment. 'Standards' for narrow gauge railways appear to have been railway specific (although some manufacturers may have had their own standards so, for industrial situations where track and vehicles may have come as a 'job lot', then there could be some commonality between lines belonging to the industries they supplied). Standard gauge railways on the other hand have had a common set of standards (or at least guidelines) from quite an early date. This meant that there were specified amounts of gauge widening for increasingly tight curve radii (in three steps). Any gauge widened curve also required the fitting of a check rail. As the gauge widening increased so did the flangeway opening between the check rail and the running rail. The increases were in 1/4" steps.

All this is very fine but as Philip has said, not that relevant to our railways in most cases. As John's locos are all 0-4-0's then there shouldn't be much 'flange bind' on the curves in question. If there was a gradient, if the curves were tighter, or if long wheelbase loco's or rolling stock were planned to be used then there could be problems but at that radius I suspect all will be well provided you don't intend to build a fixed wheelbase 0-10-0 version of a quarry Hunslet! As Andrew said, it's worth giving it a try and seeing how you go.

I'm very impressed with both Cliff and his track. I'm delighted with the results I've had. I have used his gauge widened sleepers on my sharper curves (around 4' radius) but have nothing to compare them with. If using them they need to be installed from the start of the curve, maybe even a sleeper or two before, and continue right through to the far end. I forget now how much Cliffs are widened by but it's a very small amount, making it even less important in our scale. I believe Cliff's products were originally produced for finescale gauge 1 standard gauge models. Being used in those circumstances, with things like A4 pacifics and 9F's, the small amount of gauge widening is far more relevant. I think you will be satisfied with the appearance of your track overall. Besides my plain line I've also used Cliff's products to built my own turnouts (to my own design) and I found them remarkably adaptable and easy to use.

Please let us know how you get on.

SVLR Andrew
"Smith! Why do you only come to work four days a week?
"'cause I can't manage on three gaffer!"

WeymouthJohn
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Re: Gauge Widening

Post by WeymouthJohn » Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:42 am

Thanks Andrew for your further reassurance and useful post. I did in fact discuss gauge widening with the ever-helpful Cliff and I came to the same conclusion, in that with the sort of engines I was likely to be running on my very modest track I didn't need to worry about it.
I must say, based on very little knowledge, I find the Cliff Barker track is exactly what I wanted. It's beautifully made and cheaper than Peco (which is why I was drawn there in the first place). Cliff has been extremely helpful in getting me set up since I haven't been able to access much local advice over this last year.
In the meantime, my dumbell track is complete and my Millie has chuffed her way round quite nicely without falling off which is quite a relief!
Roll on the relaxation of the rules!
John

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