Switch ties size

Discussion in 'On30 Forum' started by farmer ron, May 19, 2006.

  1. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    A buddy has asked me to build a couple of On30 switches for him, for his small switching layout that is 2ft by 6ft. What I need to know is the size of the switch ties ? Do you go normal switch tie measurements with an O scale ruler? Can you use HO switch ties (properly spaced) ? He has a 0-6-0, I am assuming the engine and cars will navagate a #4 with minimal difficulty or should I build #6's ? Thanks Ron..
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Prototype 3ft gauge railroads generally used 5" x 7" or 6" by 6" ties, 6 ft long for regular track. Tie spacing was generally 21" or greater. Narrow gauge used proportionately longer ties than standard gauge due to the increased side pressures on the track. Normally switch ties would be set up in 6" increments of length (6 ft 6", 7ft, 7ft 6", etc) until they got to 12ft. Once you needed more than 12ft, you used 2 sets of 6 ft ties again.

    I don't know the specifics for 30" prototypes or 2ft prototypes but I believe the 2ft prototypes used around 5ft long ties. I would use 5ft 6" for regular track, and up to double that for turnouts (in 6" increments). On30 is O scale, 30" gauge, so using your O scale rule is correct. HO ties can be used because On30 is the same actual gauge as HO track, but will not look correct. HO scale ties are too short, too narrow, and spaced too closely.

    Your buddy doesn't have space for #6 turnouts with only a 6ft run. He will be limited to small cars and engines anyway - a K-27 locomotive in On30 is not small! And a 32ft prototype car is 8.5" over the couplers - that's only 8 of those cars in the length of his layout.

    my thoughts, your choices
  3. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    I have a 0-4-0 Porter and a t-boiler shay. The porter can do a 10inch inner rail radius curve easily and the shay can do 12 inches. Although I won't be using anything less then 15 on my layout, I had to try it out.
    I hope that helps.
    Photos on my website.

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