Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

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Chris Cairns
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Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by Chris Cairns » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:09 pm

Not sure which section to post this in?

My initial plans for a Garden Railway layout started with using Mamod/MSS track. However after attending several 16mm NGM running days I was persuaded to use Peco SM32 track instead. My back garden (yet to be built) is relatively small so I needed to go with a small radius layout. The smallest radius Peco points are 38" radius so I decided to settle on using those together with 38" setrack curves & flextrack for the straights. The layout will effectively be a large rectangular oval with 2 passing loops/stations and two sidings.

I obtained a couple of 45mm gauge only locomotives, primarily to run on an indoor 45mm layout at a Heritage Railway, but was then tempted by the 7/8ths scale Accucraft Bagnall (an excellent runner with incredibly long running time). Peco only do a setrack SM45 curve in 600mm radius, so I was going to get very dizzy watching that Bagnall run round for over 45 mins. There will not be space for a separate 45mm track in my garden so my thoughts turned to dual gauge track.

This is available, but rather costly. I found that there would just be enough sleeper available on Peco SM32 track to mount a 3rd rail on the outside. As the layout is going to be a rectangular oval, if I put that 3rd rail on the inside of the oval, and had all the points going out of the oval then I could get away with just a straight 3rd rail on the points.

Coincidentally around this time, Tony Bird posted a topic on making a dual gauge side change for the track at CMES - https://gardenrails.org/forum/viewtopic ... ge#p124650

I purchased a supply of Peco Sl-802 rail chairs & Peco IL-8 Code 200 rail (this is listed under Gauge 1 rather than SM32, adding to the confusion), and thanks to Tony's topic, E.M.A. Model Supplies PLASTIC WELD.

I converted a panel of flexitrack, one setrack 38" radius curve & one RH point. A battery powered locomotive & 45mm stock ran OK over these, and I had pushed a live steam locomotive over them with no problem. So the rest of the track for conversion was put back into my 'To Do' list after I've built the back garden.
Dual Gauge Track S.JPG
Dual Gauge Track S.JPG (316.05 KiB) Viewed 8815 times
I've recently been offered another 45mm gauge only 7/8ths scale locomotive, but it has an unknown actual minimum required radius. So I needed to convert some more track to see if that loco will cope with just under 38" minimum radius. As I've not run a locomotive in live steam on this converted track I took the opportunity to run 2 of my 45mm gauge locos with a selection of 45mm rolling stock to check all was well so far.



Not obvious in that video but the Bachmann V Dump Car was bumping over the frog on the RH points. When I converted these I had not considered fitting a check rail for the 3rd rail, so when I converted the LH points I added a check rail, although not without some difficulty.
Dual Gauge Track 02S.JPG
Dual Gauge Track 02S.JPG (289.59 KiB) Viewed 8815 times
My initial thoughts after that video running was it confirmed that an extra check rail was required, but before committing to that action I took a closer look at both points, and discovered a potential design fault. On the faulty RH point the nose of the frog is formed from the curved rail -
Dual Gauge Track 04S.JPG
Dual Gauge Track 04S.JPG (142.58 KiB) Viewed 8815 times
Whereas on the LH point the nose of the frog is formed from the straight rail -
Dual Gauge Track 03S.JPG
Dual Gauge Track 03S.JPG (129.98 KiB) Viewed 8815 times
So the gap between the check rail & the frog on the LH point is wider than the equivalent gap on the RH point, which is smaller than the flange on those Bachmann wheels. I got another LH point out of storage to convert to dual gauge, and that gap is big enough for the Bachmann flange, so converted it without an extra check rail.
Dual Gauge Track 05.JPG
Dual Gauge Track 05.JPG (389.29 KiB) Viewed 8815 times
The Bachmann wagon ran through no problem.

I've filed down the side of the frog & adjacent check rail on the troublesome RH points so the Bachmann wagon runs through now rather than riding up over the frog.

Only 4 more points to convert now for the planned dual gauge circuit!

Code 200 rail obviously restricts what depth of flanges you can use, but I do not intend to use the larger flanged LGB wheels. Peco G-45 track is Code 250, thus 1/20th of an inch taller than Code 200.

Chris Cairns

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by ge_rik » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:33 am

That's a really smart solution, Chris. I was considering some dual gauge track at one point, but abandoned the idea as too complicated and/or expensive for my limited resources (capabilities and financial). You've now rekindled my interest.

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by angr607 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:21 pm

I'm not going to lie. Now I've seen this, I'm genuinely tempted to give this a go. Some dual gauge on the long straight on my line would certainly make like interesting when running trains! What were the costs like?

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by Chris Cairns » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:46 pm

angr607 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:21 pm What were the costs like?
Peco SL-802 rail chairs - £5.62 per pack of 100
Peco IL-8 Code 200 rail - £18.95 per pack of 6 lengths
E.M.A. Model Supplies PLASTIC WELD - £3.50 from trader at show

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by Phil58 » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:10 pm

Hello Chris, I’ve just joined the forum and this is exactly what I’m looking to achieve on a small modular layout.
Couple of simple questions if I may.
1 - For the 45mm gauge additional rail on the curved set track, did you use a rail bender.?
2- Did you make a simple jig to get the 45mm gauge spot on? Just wondering about the spacing of the chairs for accuracy
Many thanks....

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by Chris Cairns » Thu Apr 01, 2021 4:22 pm

Hello Phil,

1. No rail bender. I formed most of the required curve by hand & used pliers to make the required bend at each end of the panel.

2. I used my digital calipers which have a screw lock to hold the desired width. I start gluing the middle chair in place with the adjacent ones held in the right place by clamps until the Plastic Weld has set (it is quite quick).

Regards

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by Phil58 » Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:58 am

Thanks v much for the reply Chris. I will give this a go. Cheers....

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by FWLR » Sat May 22, 2021 8:21 am

Wow Chris you don't believe in doing things half hearted do you mate. I would never in a million years try to attempt something that complicated, for me it is anyway :lol: :lol: :lol:

Why don't companies make 3 rail more common, it does solve loads of problems when you have a steam up and it's only one gauge, plus you are restricted in some ways to buying only that gauge's rolling stock in particular. Locos I know can be gauge adjustable to some extent.. It's a case of going with what you feel works for you though hey Chris. :thumbright:

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by TonyW » Sat May 22, 2021 11:51 am

FWLR wrote: Sat May 22, 2021 8:21 amWhy don't companies make 3 rail more common...
A Peco G45 point costs about £65. Adding the third rail would add to that cost, so they would probably be nudging £100 each. Also, instead of having only two options (left and right) there would have to be four: Left-hand third rail on left, left-hand third rail on right, right-hand third rail on left, right-hand third rail on right. This would add to the production costs considerably for what would always be a very limited market.
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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by Phil.P » Sat May 22, 2021 2:34 pm

Then you would also need a 'transition' track, for your return loop. - Think the earlier iteration of the track at Statfold.

There is a prototype for everything!

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Re: Dual Gauge Peco SM32 Track

Post by FWLR » Sun May 23, 2021 7:13 am

TonyW wrote: Sat May 22, 2021 11:51 am
FWLR wrote: Sat May 22, 2021 8:21 amWhy don't companies make 3 rail more common...
A Peco G45 point costs about £65. Adding the third rail would add to that cost, so they would probably be nudging £100 each. Also, instead of having only two options (left and right) there would have to be four: Left-hand third rail on left, left-hand third rail on right, right-hand third rail on left, right-hand third rail on right. This would add to the production costs considerably for what would always be a very limited market.
Thanks Tony.

It's good to know now why it's not feasible, it's expensive enough our hobby already. That's why I bought mainly second hand, which do have there own problems don't they.

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