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Author Topic: Code 55 rail for Bachmann?  (Read 1596 times)

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« on: May 29, 2008, 06:41:04 PM »

Hi, can the Bachmann locomotives and cars handel code 55 track? And if so will it work well? Thanks Smiley
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 09:18:00 AM »

A friend has a code 55 siding on his On3 SPSG module. He soldered the rails to pc board ties. Cars with RP-25 wheels can be put into the siding. I doubt that spiked code 55 would be usable.

Personally I think that code 70 is small enough for O scale narrow gauge. The real SPNG was laid with some really light rail and code 70 works well to duplicate this but the train crews definitely need slow orders.

My best advice is to try and see. Remember that unless you are using a Proto48 wheel contour, wheels made to NMRA standards are oversized.

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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2008, 01:21:45 PM »


Woody has explained this well. Most of the smaller porters and industrial locomotives and rooling stock were built to be operated at 15 mph or less. Some of the portable track was as light as code 55 would represent in 1/4" scale. The D&RGW started with 35 pound rail but quickly went to 55 pound rail with the coming of the initial order of 2-8-0s. Tese were still slow speed operations at any rate. 25 mph would be something sonic for those trains.  60 and 80 pound rail found its way onto most of the surviving narrow gauges  about the turn of the century.

In the book "Rails Around Gold hill", Cafky describes many 3 foot gauge spurs as being built with old 35 and 40 pound rail removed from the D&RGW. In operations they seldom operated a locomotive on these spurs, they woul usually use either availble flat or box cars to "Reach" anything spotted on the spurs. 

While many modelers like the "rinky-dink" look of small rail, even the poorest of railroads knew tht larger and heavier rail was the best for operations.  When the light rail was used, reaching was used to keep heavy locomotives off the light rail. This makes for more interesting operations. As I recall, those SPNG spurs were serviced by reaching with cars rather than the locomtive making a direct coupling.

Code 83 represents light mainline rail, perhaps about 60 pounds. Code 70 would represent very light rail as used in portable panels for construction or a very early narrow or standard gauge operation. Those Maine 2-foot locomotives had a relatively high axle loading, note the 60+ pound rail illustrated in most pictures.
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 06:28:55 PM »

I might add that the prototype and era you model might influence the code of the rail you would use.

For example, the SPNG started life as the Carson & Colorado and this was definitely a budget operation. When the SP absorbed the line they abandoned trackage and, at the same time, relayed parts of the mainline with used heavier rail handed down from the SP.

If you have the rail and a gauge you might make up a yard or so of code 55 trackage and see how it works. PC ties are easy to make - just be sure to cut a gap so the things don't short out! You have nothing to lose and it might be fun to experiment.
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