If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Rail Weights

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by SpudUk, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,469
    Likes Received:
    198
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Project Manager
    Location:
    South Wales
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Does anyone know what the average rail weight used on narrow gauge lines in the UK is? Curious as to how many use 30lb and the issues that causes

    Cheers
     
  2. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,176
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Even the Talyllyn (according to Capt.Tyler's orignal 1865 report) and Calthrop's system (the L&M used 35lb/yd ..... which looked decidedly odd on the isolated std gauge lengths butted onto the ends of various sidings up this 2ft 6in gauge line) used heavier section than that. I'd be surprised to learn of any public line of 2ft gauge or over using anything that light.
     
  3. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,469
    Likes Received:
    198
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Project Manager
    Location:
    South Wales
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Well I know of at least one
     
  4. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,176
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Which one that? I'd imagine with very light stock there aren't too many issues, but the L&M (for example) was built on a system which specified a 5ton max axle load. From memory, pw replacement costs were cited by the LMS as one reason, along with loss of milk traffic, for closure, though I don't know if they meant rail or sleepers (from personal experience, it can get very soggy in the Manifold Valley) . If talking small quarry Hunslets etc. you'd be OK, but probably wouldn't be hosting a visiting VoR 2-6-2!

    The Teifi Valley track certainly looked light in photos posted during the hoo-ha a few years back and track at Launceston (not Wales ... I know) looked to be on the light side for visiting FR 2-6-2 Lyd.
     
  5. SpudUk

    SpudUk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,469
    Likes Received:
    198
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Project Manager
    Location:
    South Wales
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Launceston definitely did have 30lb but I think it's all been replaced now. I imagine places like Old Kiln etc. are very light, not sure about Apedale? The railway I definitely know is 30lb is Margam Park.

    Interesting you say about the 5 ton max axle load of the L&M. I know that the Sierra Leone Government Railways used 30lb rail until the 50s and thus restricted axle load to 5 ton. I bet their 2-6-2+2-6-2 Beyer garratts were interesting on trackwork like that
     
  6. bantamd14

    bantamd14 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Albrighton
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    But that is a lot of wheels to spread the load. On the WHR, K1 (an 0-4-0+0-4-0T) has a higher axle loading than the much heavier NGG16s (2-6-2+2-6-2T).
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    8,979
    Likes Received:
    3,878
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I don't know the reason for the question but the weight of rail used will probably be determined by the availability of second hand rail in many cases. 35, 50 & 60 lb to BS 11 will be fairly common. The ORR give recommended maximum axle weights in RSP5, as follows:

    56 The weight of rail to be used should be appropriate for the maximum weight (ie axle loading) and the speed of the trains prescribed in the approval or any subsequent direction issued by HMRI. If a mixture of locomotive types and rolling stock is used, the track should be suited to the longest and heaviest stock. Experience has shown the following weights of rail to be suitable for light railways operating at a maximum of 25 mph. Suitable rail weights for light railways
    30 lb/yd 4 to 6 tons
    35 lb/yd 5 to 7 tons
    40 lb/yd 6 to 8 tons
    45 lb/yd 7 to 9 tons
    50 lb/yd 8 to 10 tons
    55 lb/yd 9 to 11 tons
    60 lb/yd 11 to 13 tons
    65 lb/yd 13 to 15 tons
    70 lb/yd 15 to 17 tons

    It is also dependent on sleeper spacing. Although it does not say, I think that these are all based on a spacing of 2'-6" centres
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
    ross, SpudUk and 2392 like this.
  8. Wenlock

    Wenlock Active Member Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    429
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Loughton Essex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Those quoted rail weights do seem very light. I recall that many years ago the KESR had acquired some ex-MOD 75lb rail, but I believe this was replaced before the section of line opened to public service.

    An "Austerity" 060st axle loading (just about) falls into the 70lb/yard category, but I don't think I'd want to run one at 25mph over 75lb track.
     
  9. marshall5

    marshall5 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,130
    Likes Received:
    811
    Location:
    i.o.m
    ISTR Llangollen used ex MOD 75lb F.B.rail when it first started. Wasn't the Longmoor Military Railway laid in the same 75lb rail?
    Ray.
     
  10. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Likes Received:
    1,268
    By comparison the latest rail installed on the NYMR is approx 121lb or in Euro language UIC 60 (FB 113A is UIC 56)
     
  11. Baldopeter

    Baldopeter New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    For two foot gauge lines anything from 9lbs / yard upwards has been used.

    Many miles of ex WD 20lb rail was used for years, with 2 - 3 ton axle loading, a fully loaded Class D is 12 ½ tons over four axles. It is only in the last few years that the cost of maintenance has meant ever heavier weight rails have been used. Many lines are still “upgrading” to 35lb rail from something lighter. The recent availability of a large quantity of ex Eastriggs 35lb rail has enabled this happen.

    For two foot gauge lines anything over 60lbs / yd gives a harsh ride. That is why S30 was used on the Welsh Highland, the Welshpool also purchased the same rail. Most of the SAR was 60 lb. I expect the Ausies use heavy rail on the cane railway main lines.
     
    ross likes this.
  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    3,176
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Most surviving secondary 3ft6in gauge SAR lines were relaid with heavier rail quite some years ago. In many cases, working the relaying trains were one of the last duties of Garratt locos being displaced, ahead of dieselisation. Low axle loads were one of the principle attractions of these beasties in the first place. Half decent riding qualities helped too.

    Away from our 25mph light railway limits, Dusty Durrant (who ought to know) mentioned that the 2ft gauge NGG16's could happily bowl along at 40mph. Just for the hell of it, I wonder .... if TRAWS Link goes ahead and Afon Wen to Bangor reopens (big 'if', I'll grant you!), would the WHR be able to take advantage of a higher speed limit on dual guge track between Dinas and Caernarfon?

    Interesting to read the downside of using inappropriately heavy rail .... they do say you learn something new every day.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019

Share This Page