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  • Topic: Rail Joint Spacing

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    • May 13, 2019 9:38 AM EDT
      • The Villages, FL
         
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      Rooster,   I am enjoying the hobby and have since the late 80s.  In that time I've built two garden railways, three portable live steam show tracks and an outdoor raised live steam layout that now resides in PA.  For at least 20 years I've been totally live steam and have spread the word near and far.  Were I more computer savvy I might be able to post pics of my "retirement" layout here in Florida but at least I can run my trains at home now vs going 20+ miles to the local ride-on railroad where I helped build a Ga 1 track last year.  

      Pete,  I appreciate your report.  I am interested to see how my little layout fares, so far so good, but higher temps are in the offing as summer progresses.  Hopefully it won't get as warm as in your area but our humidity is higher. 

      We'll be travelling back to our former home in NY soon and I probably will find some more railroad "treasures" that I don't have room for here.  Stay tuned for more opportunities to increase your stash of railway goodies.

      Again, I appreciate the input from experienced outdoor railroaders, 

      Tom

    • May 13, 2019 9:48 AM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      So this is being argumentative?

      "So the next cool spell do you regap? Or do you let them pull apart as they will?"

      I thought I was being curious....

      This post was edited by John Caughey at May 13, 2019 9:48 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • May 13, 2019 12:19 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      Honestly John, it's really sort of confrontive (you know darn well no one is going to go out and regap rails just to regap them!), and not curious if you are already telling people what the result is "let them pull apart as they will" You are stating your opinion, not really asking out of curiousity.

       

      You have your opinion and observations, great. You state what you believe, great. Pretending to be curious while just telling people they are wrong is pretty transparent. This is just like the Todd Brody post where he offers to design a locomotive cradle for $1100 and ask when I will send dxf files.

       

      Maybe a few people don't see this, but when there's history it becomes clear.

       

      Funny you won't allow me to refine my opinion/position over the years, as more people add their experience.

       

      I added what I thought was helpful, the fact that your rails are stainless seems pretty relevant. The fact that your track is almost all curved seems relevant.

       

      Greg

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    • May 13, 2019 12:31 PM EDT
      • Chaco, Paraguay
         
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      Tom,

      with temperature variations of up to  50°F. and a nailable/screwable underground, like your composite board, you might want to try my method.

       

      for the brass, not to "work", get kinky and pushed outside, when i lay track at at a median temperature, i put a creditcard between railends.

      under your screening this one mm should compensate the "stretching" of about one foot length of track. longer pieces of track will still push sideways.

      on my layout consisting mainly of one-foot pieces of track, i nail down each section at only one of its ends (3rd sleeper), so that there is just one nail near any given joint. - no kinks, no outward movement of curves on one-foot pieces of track. just expanding and contracting gaps. and, since the LGB-joiners can move only about 2mm against the sleeper webbing, the gaps stay more or less similar in size.

      so, if the circumstances are: short pieces of track (many, but smaller gaps), LGB joiners (fishplates), fixing of sleepers - then it works out.

      while i don't remember having had to push two foot track pieces back, i have to push back the four and five foot pieces back into line.

      but even there because of one nail near every joint, it is easy, to get them back exactly, where they shall be.

      ____________________________________

       

      My Chaosplace ->  

    • May 13, 2019 12:58 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      I see that the averages for The Villages Florida range from 48 to 91 degrees. Probably add 10 degrees for rail temp in hot sun and say 48 to 101 degrees, so the 50 degree estimate by Korm is remarkably spot on.

       

      You have a mild temperature compared to San Diego (gets a bit colder) and definitely John in Vail where the averages are 38 to 97 air temp.

       

      Since your low temperature is not very cold, I'd tightly butt the joints unless you are having unseasonably frosty weather.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

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    • May 13, 2019 1:52 PM EDT
      • The Villages, FL
         
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      We didn't move here for "unseasonably frosty weather",

           There was plenty of that in western NY.  Last winter we had three hard freezes, this past winter none.  I guess that's normal climactic variation for anywhere on the planet.  Except for a few "fill in" pieces my rail sections are 5' or 6' long so I wonder if that increases or decreases the amount of thermal expansion.  Also less bulk of code 250 vs code 332 could also be an influence since I assume the expansion occurs in all dimensions not just length though that is the gist of our discussion.

           Korm's method is how I've always done rail gaps though usually by eye vs measurement.  That's how the composite was done as well with angled joints cut with a rented compound miter saw so the spacing between composite pieces is inconsistent.

           I've been thinking about an experiment that might give an answer in my situation.  Since we'll be away for a few weeks the cumulative change could be observed by placing painters tape under some of the ties and marking the outline of the ties on the tape.  When we return it will be easy to see if any rail expansion/contraction induced movement of the tie strips occurred.  Since I need to cut joints at the lift out section I will do so and screw the ties down in that location.  I'll then close the gaps as much as I can and wait to see what happens.  

    • May 13, 2019 2:49 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      Tom, should be no difference in the lengths, but it will provide fewer opportunities for gaps, which is good in my opinion.

      Expansion does indeed go in all directions, but the linear expansion of 250 vs 332 is the same.

      Your experiment may be interesting, but it will be measuring the expansion of the ties, which may or may not be the same as the expansion of the rails. I suggest marking the rail ends too.

      Of course, the substrate underneath will also expand and contract too...  but what you want to know is the difference in expansion between the underlayment and the "track", i.e. if there is a great difference between them.

       

      For example a friend had concrete curbs poured for his right of way, and then glued the LGB track to it. Well the brown plastic ties and rails expanded much more than the light grey concrete, and basically tore the rails from the ties.

       

      All of this really is related to whether or not you get gaps in your rails, but the expansion of the ties and the underlayment is sort of secondary to if your rails develop gaps.

       

      You can go all over the map with this thinking. Butt the rails tightly, loosely connect the ties every so often to your underlayment, I am sure you will be fine.

       

      Did you mention what type of rail joiners and track you are using? (I went to the first post, Accucraft code 250 brass, but no mention of the joiners)

       

      Greg

       

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at May 13, 2019 2:50 PM EDT
      ____________________________________

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    • May 13, 2019 5:01 PM EDT
      • The Villages, FL
         
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      I'm using the slip on rail joiners.  With all the tracks I've built they've worked just fine especially the portables which made setup faster.  I've never felt the need for more secure joints.  Since I run live steam they only need to hold the rail together not pass electrons.

    • May 13, 2019 6:07 PM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Well I was curious, to the point of perhaps seeing a way to accomplish your desired results; tight at one end and looser at the other, then you might control which way the growth goes.

      It was a valid question since it was important to mention it. It has been stated elsewhere, that gaps can migrate until a gap forms that separates the rails. So I wondered if you set the gaps each year.

       

      I did mention my SS in my 1st post on the subject, last line.

       

      Please stop telling people what I am thinking, it's not your job. It has nothing to do with your running feud with Todd.

       

       

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • May 13, 2019 7:06 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      OK, I will take our feud at face value ha ha.... OK, taking you response at face value: if the joiner was tight, like welded to one rail, and slips on the other I don't see how it would control gaps, it could control the joiner, but most track has the tie strips limiting the joiner from migrating away from the ends of the rails. It might have benefit in conductivity, but we are talking unpowered rails here.

       

      Over time, it has been shown that even a small difference in friction between joiners and the track on the substrate or in gravel makes it impossible to predict where the gaps open. Originally this was also related to the theory that removing all the screws that secured the rail to the ties in Aristo track would solve issues and even things out.

       

      Again, just small differences in friction negated that idea. It does not appear to hurt, but removing screws does not eliminate nor distribute gaps evenly.

       

      Like many other things in nature, it's the path of least resistance that get's the movement.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

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      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
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    • May 13, 2019 7:11 PM EDT
      • Defending the State of Exile! ,
         
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      John Caughey said:

       

       It has nothing to do with your running feud with Todd.

       

       

      I rest my case once again. 

    • May 13, 2019 7:18 PM EDT
      • Chelmsford, MA
         
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      In Chelmsford the temperature generally falls between 0 and 100 so I generally like to lay track when it is around 50.  I have however put down track below freezing as well as well into the 80s.

       

      I normally never put in an intentional gap between rails other then electrical gaps.

       

      Part of the reason that this works is that each section of track (other then turnouts) has a pair of 12 gauge feeders that go to bus wires under the 5 1/2 inch deep gravel roadbed.  Once the gravel sets up the center of the track section is fixed and any flexing occurs only at the ends. And any expansion of contraction works itself out.

       

      This method had worked very well for over 30 years of operation.

       

      Stan

       

       

    • May 13, 2019 8:02 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      In a similar manner, when I re-bend Aristo track, I remove all the screws except one per rail at the center of the section. This works well for bending tighter or looser. I've fixed the "center".

       

      Greg

       

      p.s. shut up rooster

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
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    • May 13, 2019 8:25 PM EDT
      • Defending the State of Exile! ,
         
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    • May 13, 2019 8:37 PM EDT
      • Marysville, Kansas
         
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      Must have been the low point of Andy's life.

    • May 13, 2019 9:29 PM EDT
      • Highland, Maryland
         
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      I haven't met Andy, but it looks like he, Rooster and all those guys were having a good time in the Alcove! 

       

      Tom, as far as gaps are concerned, I agree with everything Todd, Greg, Rooster, John, Korm, and especially Stan, have said. 

       

      And I'll steal and paraphrase what John said (on 5/10) for my tombstone:

       

         Here lies Cliff.

         He wanted the clicks. 

         So he added the gaps.

       

      Try to top that, haha!

       

       

    • May 14, 2019 12:15 AM EDT
      • Nashville, IL
         
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      I don't usually leave gaps in the track on the Bluestone Southern, but I do use Split-Jaws expansion track pieces..  My roadbed is aglime (crusher fines),

      which holds the ties in place and the rails expand and contract with the heat & cold..  Every spring there is usually a place or 2 where the track pulls apart..

      In those areas, I usually go and cut out a track section and install an expander track..

       

      Cliff, for the record, I haven't gone to the York show for the past 2 years..  Bascially, it had been a choice..  York or TrainOps, and since TrainOps is back in Massachusetts, 

      where I grew up and still have family there, We have gone there..

    • May 14, 2019 12:46 PM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      "OK, I will take"(y)" our feud at face value ha ha...."  -snip-

       

      Greg

      Note; I added quotation marks and the parenthesis plus the red y.

       

      Wrong thinking... WE don't have a running feud, I have stopped in deference to Bob. Nowadays  I delete way more replies to insults, than I post.

       

       

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • May 15, 2019 3:20 AM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      you imagine insults when there are none, you say you are curious when your post tells people they are wrong. if you don't see this i feel sorry for you

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • May 15, 2019 7:26 AM EDT
      • Marysville, Kansas
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      you imagine insults when there are none, you say you are curious when your post tells people they are wrong. if you don't see this i feel sorry for you

       

      Are you the Pot or the Kettle in this one?

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