Mine rails?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Mountain Man, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    What kind of scale track would be appropriate for an N-scale 18" gauge mine handcar track?
  2. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

    It'd be around 3mm, which is tinier than any scale I know of.
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    3mm would definitley be a "build your own" scale :). I have seen ads in the walthers catalog for the "n-scale architect". I remember they sold some kind of mine tram/cars. I assume they were n-scale, but I am not sure of the gauge.

    EDIT: http://www.thenarch.com/

    Scroll almost all the way down - looks like it would be 30" gauge rails - but it may be the best you will be able to do commercially.

  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    You could handlay some code 40 rail at any gauge you desire, although that rail would be regular railroad size in N. Spikes from Proto87 Stores are the smallest I know of, and work well with code 40 rail.

    Some folks are also handlaying very small profile track using bar stock (basically rectangular or square wire) that is .030 or even .020 inches high.

    Round brass or copper (or other solderable material) wire .025" or smaller diameter would be reasonable also, and easier to find. Either glue to wooden ties, or solder to metal ties.

    Possibly some N metal (maybe even plastic) handrail stock would be of a suitable size.

    According to my charts, 25lb rail is 2.75" high, which scales to .017" in N. .020" stock scales to 3.2" high, which is between 30 and 35lb rail.

    Just some ideas.
  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Thank you all for your input. Although I know that N-gaugers do put these things into their layouts, I'm not sure that I am up to it yet...but I need one - I want one - so obviously I'm going to have to learn. :cool:
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Mountain Man

    An example to inspire you. The first pic is mixed gauge Z and Zn? track - 6mm and 4.5mm gauges. I don't know what he uses for mechanisms on the narrow gauge. The 4.5mm track scales to 28" in N.


    More pictures of this work are at http://www.rmweb.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=22163, about halfway down the page.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    There are are a few mechs available for Swiss-proto Zm.
  8. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I appreciate the information; however, it seems that the proper gauge for internal mine usage is 18".
  9. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    A couple of thoughts come to mind:

    AFAIK, mines used a wide variety of gauges, depending on purpose, finances, era, and loads. Transportation was needed for both tailings and ore from a bored mine shaft, and transport of shoring materials, machinery, and ventilation equipment into the mine. This assumes the run from the surface to the vertical mine shaft was horizontal enough to use a tram in the first place. In larger mines, horizontal shafts on different levels linked by elevators were seen as the most efficient way to remove ore and tailings. Where horizontal shafts and elevators were too expensive, a tram on a slope powered by cables and winches would be the most likely solution. But even the latter requires the infrastructure to power the winches.

    A small mine worked by just a few people in the 19th Century might use a hand pulled tram on 12" gauge, if they used anything at all. Your 18" gauge would be a good fit for a human-sized tram, as shafts would be minimum size to fit their human miners. A large production shaft mine of the 20th Century would probably have electric trams, and could be up to standard gauge in size to accommodate the considerable transportation needs of the large operation.

    I have heard of mine trams using 12", 15", 18", 20", and 24" gauges, and a look at mining supply catalogs reveals more than the one gauge. If the mine can financially support the infrastructure of electric tram motors, they would probably have greater transportation needs, and gauges smaller than 15" become impractical. I'm not an expert, but I would think a horse- or mule-pulled tram would not be less than 2ft gauge to accommodate the animal walking on planks between the rails. And normally using the animal outside the rails would make the shaft unnecessarily wide.

    External mining supply railroads varied in gauge in the 19th Century, too. The Gilpin Tram here in Colorado was 2ft gauge, and there were many 3ft gauge as well as standard gauge lines.

    From the modeling point of view, the big question is whether the mine tram is a dummy, or is going to use powered vehicles. For powered vehicles, gauge choices are limited to availability of commercial mechanisms, unless you intend to scratchbuild the mechanism itself.

    For a dummy tram, or one externally animated, gauge choice is up to you as long as you are willing to hand lay the track and scratch the vehicles. In N scale, a difference in 3" in track gauge is less than 0.5mm. That is getting close to the limit of my working tolerances (which is why I am in HO :mrgreen:). I would think - could be very wrong - that as long as the mine tram is less than 1/2 of standard gauge track wide, the appearance would have the desired effect. Again, the effect would depend on period modeled and the figures placed around/beside the tram, which would give it a sense of scale.

    The point of the links I provided was to show that handlaying track for a mine tram in N scale was practical and feasible. To find out that commercial 4.5mm gauge mechanisms exist is an unexpected bonus.

    my thoughts, your choices
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Thank you. Your opinions and your information are valuable.

    Electrification of mines came only when they showed themselves to warrant the expense. Mines which were in the initial stages of operations used hand carts - humans were cheaper and more flexible than donkeys.

    I'll work something out.
  11. BobGui

    BobGui New Member

    Just a quick thought.
    I read your post yesterday and while working on my track last night got to thinking about it. Started playing around and put a couple of straightened paper clips down beside the tracks. While it might be a bit of a bugger to work with it looked about right for a light guage rail.

    Just a thought.
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    And quite a thought it is, too! :thumb:
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Depending on how primitive (or cheap) your mine is: some of the the early efforts used pole track with double flanged wheels. This meant rails made from long skinny trees and wheels that looked like pulleys. The wheels were not fixed to their axles and guage was approximate, depending on how straight the poles were.
    This could actually be modelled with paper clips!
  14. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Thinking about how small this is, and assuming you don't intend for it to actually operate - maybe if you took some very thin stripwood or dowel rod and cut it to tie-length using wire cutters, and then affixed some thin steel picture wire as rails. I'd use CA glue to glue the rails down. You could easily scratchbuild some mine cars. In that small scale, they can be relatively crude.

  15. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I don't think I have ever seen an actual, operating mine car on anyone's layout.

    I have heard about "pole tracks", but find very few references to their use in Colorado mines. As far as "scratchbuilding" the ore cars, that is pretty much a given in N-scale. :cool:
  16. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

    Well, unless the price is right for the N Scale Architecht's m-track and stuff (Kevin's link above and mine in another thread). It's probably around $20 shipped and all for a dummy engine, two 4-ton cars and an LPB, add another $13 for each set of 3 more cars.
  17. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I'm modeling ore handcarts, either pushed by miners or pulled by a mule. Mines had to be large scale operations posting a healthy profit to employ engines to haul their carts.
  18. palmsprings2009

    palmsprings2009 New Member

    Micro Engineering makes n-scale mine track (plastic) and mine cars. The N Scale Arch. also makes a set of n-scale mine track called 'M track' I think?

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