by R. A. Ganderton


SINCE THE FIRST part of this series appeared in the May M.R.N. several modellers have asked me for a drawing of the standard wheel contour. I have therefore drawn the BS 276 A contour using the dimensions given in the standard. However, a few words of warning to anyone who wants to try his hand at making his own wheels or reprofiling existing ones. To obtain a consistent profile it is essential to use an accurate form-tool. This is a very expensive tool to have made and not at all easy to use.

Prototype Wheel Profile Drawn Using Data From BS 276A (1927)

bs276.gif (4498 bytes)

This month’s subject is that of track-work for P4. There are five main features which must be satisfied before a piece of trackwork can be considered suitable for P4 use. These are:

(i) Running qualities.
(ii) Visual accuracy,
(iii) Dimensional stability.
(iv) Ease of construction.
(v) Cost.

So that we can formulate a variety of constructional systems and compare their merits and demerits let us consider the component parts of a length of scale model track from the baseboard upwards.
Sub-base — 1/8 in. thick cork cut into strips 1˝ in. wide glued to the baseboard with an impact adhesive.  I use the cheapest sheets I can find (A.B.C., London Bridge). Ballast — There is only one thing that looks like granite ballast — granite ballast! However, a large number of suppliers market scale 4 mm. granite ballast which would be more suitable for Gauge 0!  One problem is its weight as, when bought by mail order, the postage doubles the price!  Suitable makes are E.A.M.E.S., Precision Scale Models and Protofour®.  There may be others available but watch the size. For fastening track and ballast to the sub-base the only adhesive I have found to be any good is Clam 2.
Sleepers.  1 mm. thick plywood sleepers are recommended and are available from EM Gauge Society (Members only) and Protofour.  The EM Gauge Soc. sleepers are intended for use with small tacks (known as the BrookSmith system) while the Protofour ones use small rivets.  However, the EM sleepers can be easily modified by opening up the holes to accept the Protofour® rivets using the pilot of a No. 1 Slocombe drill.   The rivets may be set in the sleepers with a simple tool used in a pillar drill. (See drawing.)  This cuts the cost of sleepers by half. The Protofour® system (which is after all said and done only a de-luxe BrookSmith track) has dummy chairs clipped on after the track is laid.  For those of us who cannot wait another two years for chairs, I suggest that "Kingsway” chairs, cut in half and held in place with a dab of adhesive, produce almost as good results. In fact, one can do without the rivets or tacks and use “ Kingsway” chairs fastened to the sleepers with “Araldite.”  This system was used on Luton M.R.C.’s “Bute Lane” and survived extremely well.  Using EM Gauge Soc. sleepers gives the lowest cost per unit length of scale chaired track. The "Araldite" can be cured faster using a hot soldering iron or a faster curing version (“ Kingsbond “).
Rail.   Without doubt the best bull-head rail for P4 use is that supplied by Protofour®. However, “Kingsway" rail is suitable as long as it is selected as some lengths tend to get larger in section due to die wear.
There is no 4 mm. scale flat-bottom rail available at the present time, but for the “modern image" modeller a quite presentable version of this type of rail is either Jones’ TT3 rail or Peco FB3X.  The running qualities are not quite as good as the bull-head rails, but the Model Railway Club’s P4 test track is laid with Jones’ TT3 rail and my locomotives and stock run without trouble.  No chairs are required with flat-bottom rail and, in this case, I suggest that the EM Gauge Soc. sleepers be used with tacks instead of rivets.
Track construction is simple using the systems outlined above, as long as a complete set of steel gauges is used.  The series of articles in the Model Railway Constructor is indispensable here.  A form of glued construction using home made chairs was described in Model Railway News, May 1970.
I was planning to start on some motive power, but I have used up my space with tracks, so, all being well, locos. next time.

To be continued

Copyright - R A Ganderton, reproduced with permission.

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K Norgrove 25/04/03