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page trail:  Templot Club > Forums > Trackbuilding topics > Steel rails v Nickel Silver + 31.5mm point queries
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                                       Steel rails v Nickel Silver + 31.5mm point queries
     
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1st message | this message only posted: 31 Dec 2011 11:40
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from:
LSWRArt
Antibes, France

 

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I had assumed that nickel silver had largely replaced steel for track (O-gauge indoors), but I recently read "We prefer steel rail for appearance and find that it and the wheels stay cleaner than nickel silver"  (Model Rail December - St. Merryn). 
So what are the pros and cons of NS v Steel, as I could not find this discussed in either GOG forum or on this site?
Does that preference apply to wheels as well as the track?

I am particularly interested if this reduces track cleaning, which I think is one of the worst jobs, especially if you intend to have point rodding and lots of scenic bits which are easily damaged.

What are members' preferences for track cleaning?  Rubbers leave bits, so what about chemical cleaners and does it depend on which metal you use for the rail?

Can I also clarify something on 31.5mm 0-MF.  Am I correct in thinking that the gap at the common crossing and at the wing rails are reduced to 1.5mm, as well as the gap for the check rails?  If so, I guess this means that you cannot buy a point kit or a pre-made common crossing, which I had thought of buying to help me make my first point.

Best wishes to Martin and to all at Templot for the New Year
Arthur

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2nd message | this message only posted: 31 Dec 2011 12:07
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from:
alan@york
 

 

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For some, steel looks better, as NS has a yellow tinge.
There is also the matter of the layout's environment: steel can rust.
Some say that steel is easier to solder,(and needs more careful cleaning afterwards to eliminate flux residues).
Rail cleanliness also depends upon the environment, and I also wonder if DCC is better than DC?

See discussion here:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=321&forum_id=1

So, there may be personal considerations. Apart from cost.

alan@york

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3rd message | this message only posted: 31 Dec 2011 15:12
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from:
Tony W
North Notts., United Kingdom

 

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Hi Arthur.
LSWRArt wrote:Can I also clarify something on 31.5mm 0-MF.  Am I correct in thinking that the gap at the common crossing and at the wing rails are reduced to 1.5mm, as well as the gap for the check rails? Yes, that is correct. If you open the gauge / scale selector window (select other gauges...) with 0-MF highlighted, and click the Show info button, you will see all the data appropriate to that gauge / scale combination.
Tony.

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4th message | this message only posted: 1 Jan 2012 12:53
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from:
LSWRArt
Antibes, France

 

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Hi Alan and Tony
Thanks for the info and links.
Best wishes
Arthur
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5th message | this message only posted: 1 Jan 2012 16:36
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from:
Tony W
North Notts., United Kingdom

 

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Hi Arthur.
I have several friends whose layouts have steel rail and say it stays cleaner longer than Nickel Silver rail.
My own preference is for the 'HiNi' rail mostly for the reasons covered in the above link. I built a crossover using it over a year ago and the rail still has a silvery colour whereas the traditional N/S rail would have long since yellowed. Admittedly this has not been laid and used as part of a layout but has not been cleaned since it was built. It solders very easily, indeed the biggest problem in 4mm scale is keeping the solder out of the web in the rail as it seems to prefer to go there rather than into the joint at times. As mentioned in a reply to another topic, I use Carr's orange label flux for all my track building, which is rosin based and non corrosive.
For cleaning rail I prefer to use a glass fibre brush for the initial cleaning and thereafter use a cotton cloth damped with lighter fluid to remove any build up of muck.
Having said the above, I much prefer steel tyred wheels as they do seem to stay clean longer than N/S but I have had occasional problems with rust. Exactoscale tyres are now made from stainless steel so should not have that problem.
Alan's comment about DCC versus DC is an interesting one as it is well known in the electrical sphere that relay contacts switching AC stay cleaner than those switching DC and the DCC system has a constant AC supply across the rails so in theory the rail and wheels should stay cleaner than with the traditional DC control systems.
Tony.

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6th message | this message only posted: 1 Jan 2012 21:42
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from:
JFS
United Kingdom

 

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LSWRArt wrote:
So what are the pros and cons of NS v Steel

Personally I have always used N/S and like Tony, now use the HiNi version and like it very much. Equally, there are others who have only ever used steel.

In the recent MRJ, Don Rowland relates that he is relaying a large part of his steel railed track with N/S because of rust - and he knows a thing or two about building a working model railway. And for me at least, the bottom line is that in anything other than perfect conditions, steel rusts, and once it has been rusty, it will rust again - Tony and I had a conversation along the lines that, if steel did not rust, cars would not need to be painted!!

Just a small additional point regarding rail cleanliness - on my last layout, I used the Relco electronic rail cleaners - these use a high frequency AC current to "wet" the contact between rail and wheel and I found them excellent - the rails might look dirty but the trains keep running!

Hope that helps,

Howard
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7th message | this message only posted: 2 Jan 2012 07:16
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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LSWRArt wrote: I had assumed that nickel silver had largely replaced steel for track (O-gauge indoors), but I recently read "We prefer steel rail for appearance and find that it and the wheels stay cleaner than nickel silver"  (Model Rail December - St. Merryn). 
So what are the pros and cons of NS v Steel, as I could not find this discussed in either GOG forum or on this site?
Does that preference apply to wheels as well as the track?

I am particularly interested if this reduces track cleaning, which I think is one of the worst jobs, especially if you intend to have point rodding and lots of scenic bits which are easily damaged.

What are members' preferences for track cleaning?  Rubbers leave bits, so what about chemical cleaners and does it depend on which metal you use for the rail?

Can I also clarify something on 31.5mm 0-MF.  Am I correct in thinking that the gap at the common crossing and at the wing rails are reduced to 1.5mm, as well as the gap for the check rails?  If so, I guess this means that you cannot buy a point kit or a pre-made common crossing, which I had thought of buying to help me make my first point.

Best wishes to Martin and to all at Templot for the New Year
Arthur
Hi,

Just a reminder that I actually do common crossings for 0-MF and most other scale/gauge combinations (either steel or NS). Details are on my website. As for point kits, it's usually cheaper to buy just the components, (for instance each C&L kit contains a set of gauges and a template).

As I presume you are interested in the LSWR, you may be aware (if not please shout) that there is quite a bit of freely available info available for this company, so best to use Templot anyway.



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8th message | this message only posted: 2 Jan 2012 09:57
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from:
LSWRArt
Antibes, France

 

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Hi Stephen,
Do you use the high nickel content NS for the points, common crossings and blades you supply, as most Templot contributors think this is better than 'standard' NS?

What is your feeling about minimum radius for 0-MF? I would much prefer to use this finer standard, as aeons ago I built both 00 gauge and S4 points and found the S4 so much easier to build for reliable operation, because there was less room for error. I shall be running a LSW Terrier, radial, 02, but due to the very limited space in the spare bedroom I will be down to 1200mm radius on the main line / main line points and 1100mm in the yard / yard points and was worried whether this is too small for 0-MF, as the Templot alarm for 0-MS is set at 1750mm by default.

I am a member of the South Western Circle, but if you have some links to other info for this company I would be grateful for these.

Like Howard I have used Relco in the past and have found that works well on a DC layout. I recently looked at DCC Concepts web site (which is full of good info if you are thinking of starting DCC) and think their 'stay alive' function looked very interesting to carry a loco over a small patch of dirt without the loco stalling.

Best wishes everyone,
Arthur
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9th message | this message only posted: 2 Jan 2012 11:43
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Top : Marcway
Centre : Peco
Bottom:C&L Steel




LSWRArt wrote: Hi Stephen,
Do you use the high nickel content NS for the points, common crossings and blades you supply, as most Templot contributors think this is better than 'standard' NS?

What is your feeling about minimum radius for 0-MF? I would much prefer to use this finer standard, as aeons ago I built both 00 gauge and S4 points and found the S4 so much easier to build for reliable operation, because there was less room for error. I shall be running a LSW Terrier, radial, 02, but due to the very limited space in the spare bedroom I will be down to 1200mm radius on the main line / main line points and 1100mm in the yard / yard points and was worried whether this is too small for 0-MF, as the Templot alarm for 0-MS is set at 1750mm by default.

I am a member of the South Western Circle, but if you have some links to other info for this company I would be grateful for these.

Like Howard I have used Relco in the past and have found that works well on a DC layout. I recently looked at DCC Concepts web site (which is full of good info if you are thinking of starting DCC) and think their 'stay alive' function looked very interesting to carry a loco over a small patch of dirt without the loco stalling.

Best wishes everyone,
Arthur
Hi,

The last lot of 7mm scale rail came from Marcway. I have used Hi-Ni in the past and to be honest I couldn't see any difference between it and the rail from Marcway. It may be that it was from the rail that C&L supplied to Marcway sometime ago I don't know - unlike the NS that was previously available. Anyway I've added a comparative photo above.  The photo below shows a GWR GOG-F Scissors/Double Slip using C&L Hi-Ni rail.
 .

Apart from the South Western Circle, which I know has supplied most of the info, there is some info on Southern Permanent Way in The Southern Way No 16. Members of Scalefour will also be aware of the various photos via the Forum/website and EM Gauge members (I think from memory though it could be Scalefour again) will have templates for plain track.

Minimum Radius : depends on how much sideplay/clearance you have in your stock/locos. Templot alarms at 1200mm for GOG-F. I'd stick with GOG-F in this situation.

Of course Relco's are not compatible with DCC. Not sure you'd need the capacitor in 0 Gauge, think it's probably more use in 4mm scale with small tank engines.

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