Large Scale Central

Hand laying Dual guage

Can a third rail be hand laid onto commercial plastic ties to make a small section of dual gauge? I realize this is sort of a weird and maybe even a dumb question. I keep coming back to trying to refine exactly what I want to do with a small section of my track where the walk through bridge is. With the new theme of my railroad being a single area, as opposed to an entire line, and the incorporation of more buildings and industry, one of the things I want to do is have a 32mm gauge ore tram that goes from the Hecla mine to the Helca concentrator. I want to use one leg of my wye and then run across the bridge (which is at the point of my wye, which goes no where and is only to turn locos) and then separate from the dual gauge and cross a bridge over the mainline to the concentrator. All of the track now (except for the bridge itself) is Llagas track and their tie strips. I am not opposed to hand laying the small section of dual gauge if I have to but if its doable I would like to just add the third rail to the existing track.

Depends on how well the ties take a spike. Worse case you might have to predrill a slightly undersized hole first. The other thing to consider is the tie plate detail. Will the 45mm gauge tie plate detail get in the way of the 32mm gauge?

I am not sure what I want to do is even possible even if hand laid. An easier solution would probably be to redo the bridge with two sets of tracks and not have dual gauge at all

I dont know Craig. I am beginning to think this wont work logistically and maybe easier just to run two separate tracks and build a new bridge. The ONLY reason to do dual gauge would be to avoid building a new bridge. but at the end of the day that is probably easier

Yeah, but dual gauge track would be cool. Everybody has bridges, not everyone has dual gauge track :upside_down_face:

 I had dual gauge on the entire loop of my live steam track which utilized Accucraft narrow gauge ties with code 250 brass rail.  Llagas Creek used to make tie plugs which held the rail so I made a jig to locate the appropriate sized hole, placed the tie plugs and inserted the rail.  It was quite easy to do.
 I just looked at and see that they sell tie plates but they don't appear to have the post on the back that inserts into the hole drilled in the existing ties.  I will write to them to ask.   I would like to add it to my current layout if I could obtain them.  My switches are dual gauge Sunset Valley so the major expense is already covered.
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If they were to make what oyu describe then that would be very cool. I have some of their tie plates and they are for show more or less. You still have to nail the track through the plate and into the tie. But what you are describing sounds like a very cool deal.

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there will be some logistical nightmares to what I am wanting to do. Yes it would be very cool and was the whole intent from the beginning and morphed into this tram idea.

But the 32mm tram would come from some place in the mine complex, probably the ore bin area as there are some small tracks that are seen in the prototype photos going in the ore bin, then have to enter and combine with a 45mm section of track, travel through a wye, so that means a dual gauge wye where the 32 mm is only on one leg, then the dual gauge would go over the bridge where the 32mm would then need to diverge from the 45mm and travel to the concentrator. All of this would have to be accomplished in a fairly short section of track.

the yellow would be 32mm and the grey would be 45mm track.

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To my way of thinking you would have to have a hand laid dual gauge turn out that is curved, a dual gauge wye where the right side is dual gauge and the left side only 45mm. and then another dual gauge turn out to split off the 32mm once it crosses the bridge. In other posts I seem to recall that you don’t necessarily need a switch to merge the 32mm and 45mm if each only goes in their own perspective directions. That may simplify part of it but the wye would be a booger

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the other way would to keep them separate and have a double track bridge

the challenge here would then be to make the track crossings.

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Can you elevate the tram trackage so the two different gauges never interact other than a bridge across the existing track?

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Another option al together would be to bag this idea entirely and just make a different mine/concentrator at the hill where the concentrator is now labeled.

Part of the overall big picture is I really like the types of stamp mills/concentrators that are built on the sides of mountains and have a small ore tram at the top dumping ore and then the process is gravity fed down hill through the mill to the loading tracks at the bottom.

something like this

IF I were doing this, I would take the challenge and put wood ties, tie plates and hand spike those “yellow areas” :). My FIRST turnout build (in any scale!!) was the 7-1/2 inch gauge turnout I built a few years ago. That was a very satisfying project for me. AND those crossings and curved turnouts can very satisfying to you once they are completed :).


not easily not easily. Not enough room. The bridge that would be common to them is a lifting bridge for the walk through. At the end of the bridge where the wye dead ends is an elevated track crossing where the main line runs underneath. A lot of stuff already going on in a tight space.

to make the tram high enough for clearance would put it very high and would then require an different bridge because there is no way to bring it back down in that amount of space. I know its hard to picture but no that really isn’t an option.

that is a large part of the appeal to this project is the challenge in trying to make it work. It would add some very neat visual elements to the layout and have some interesting operations with the dual guage sections. It would be fun and IF I got it to work would be something to be proud of.

The most prototypical method would be to dual gauge the existing track. Much cheaper than laying another set of rails. You’d have 3 turnouts to build along with the section of dual gauge.

Do you want the dual gauge to be 3 tracks or 4 tracks?

I agree and it ultimately would be the most fun and visually interesting to do the dual gauge section. It has long had an appeal to me and different ideas for it keep emerging. So It is something I would very much like to do.

as to the dual gauge I have always considered it to be 3 rail (with a common shared rail). Never really considered a 4 rail system.

I have no heart burn over hand laying track. I think I can even manage building turnouts. The only part of this that has me really scratching my head would be the wye. I am not even sure where to begin to build a wye that had one side 45mm only and the other side dual guage. That just sounds like a daunting task.

Now I am wondering this. For the guys who have already tackled dual gauge track laying. If I break it down the 32mm tram track really doesn’t have ANY turnouts. It is a simple point to point. The 45mm only has the wye. So when it comes to selecting tracks through a turn out there is really only one for the 45mm. The other two are simply where the 32mm diverges from the dual gauge and if I remember from previous posts on the subject that does not require a mechanical device just a frog, am I correct?

If that is all true then how could/would you build the wye so that it selects a track on the 45mm end of things but always shunts the 32mm to one side?

Stan Ames has gantlet track on a bridge.