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October 10 2000 at 9:46 AM
Bob Gregory  (no login)
from IP address

Response to Choo-chooo


I spent 15 years on the railroad as a track man. In my opinion a rail looks nothing like I beam or H section as people here have said.

A rail is wider on the base and the rail head is thicker and more narrow than the base.

I would look for the DML tracks, I haven't seen them but I would guess they are not just I beam and that DML went to the trouble to mold realistic rails. Maybe somebody can comment on DML rails?

As for the fastenings, rails sat in steel plates and were held down either by cut spikes or screw lags. On early railroads the rails were spiked straight into the ties. More modern railroads even use rubber coated plates to cut down on the noise.

A few more tips on a realistic railroad. Space your ties even but not exact. It is very common to see some tie spaces wider than others. You can also angle some of the tie spacing. Railroads are built using certain standards and guages but out in the field when you are laying a lot of track these standards are not exacts. The only standard that must be exact is the guage of the rails where it would, here in modern day NYC, be 56 1/2 inches on a straight and 56 3/4 inches on a curve.

When adding your ballast, paint it in differbt shades of grey, you would never see fresh all same color clean ballast unless it was new track and that would only last a few weeks.

Add some dirt and some weeds here and there. Also try to track down any photos you can that show the type of rail fasteners used.

Remember the Germans had to regauge all of the rail lines in Russia as did the Russians when they pushed the Germans back out. That is a lot of track and I doubt neatness mattered, the only thing that really mattered was the guage of the rails.


 Respond to this message   

  1. thanks... - Danny O on Oct 10, 2000, 11:43 AM
  3. DML rail - Paul Hanson on Oct 11, 2000, 5:14 AM
    1. rail - Bob Gregory on Oct 11, 2000, 2:48 PM
  4. Everything I ever wanted to know ! - Brian W. on Oct 11, 2000, 9:01 PM

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