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Barry,

I'm new to this Forum however, I've been modeling and researching Narrow Gauge for quite a few years.

Narrow gauge rolling stock generally is pretty stable and rarely tips over. Is it wobbly, somewhat, but that's primarily a function on the quality of the modeling, quality of the RTR model, or track-work.

Weighted or not? In my case just about everything I model is scratch built or heavily bashed. I use minimal added weight if I use any at all in rolling stock. I also restore the real cars, the modeling reflects that so in my case, visible added weights are a no-no. The cars and trucks work very well and I've come to the conclusion that the NMRA weight standards were designed to mask sloppy building practices, poor wheel sets, sloppy track work, etc.

The only exception on the weight I've had is when running HOn3 in a group setting with other people's cars and on overly long trains. My cars can get pulled off the track if there's heavily weighted cars in the string.

Greg mentioned that NG trains ran slow. True, most roads had average speeds between 12 and 24 MPH.

There were a few that ran passenger service faster (but less than 40MPH)...some of the locos were capable of around 60MPH. Generally when they went that fast the crews were looking for new jobs the next day.

Hope this helps a little.

CraigH
www.pacificng.com
 

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BZ,

Wobbles and weight:
Take a look at the Railway Engineering web site and specifically at this link: http://www.railwayeng.com/rrhints.htm

It's a technique that works very well to add a 3 point suspension to a car. It's dirt simple and I use it regularly.

Steve Hatch owns the site (and Railway Engineering). His bread and butter is custom switch building and he's extremely good at them. He also has some very strong feelings about the NMRA track standards...backed up with decades of testing and evidence.

He's a great guy, and a good teacher. Taught me the process of hand-laying absolutely flawless trackwork.

CraigH
http://www.pacificng.com/template.php
 

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Bob,
Regarding slow speeds Shays, Climaxes, Heislers were all geared locos intended for lumber, mining, and other uses on minimal cost trackage. They weren't designed for high speeds! Basically minimal effort made to grading, roadbed, curves, bridging, and the like. In a lot of cases the basic topography was pretty extreme for locomotive use. Speeds had to be low, and in a lot of cases rod locos couldn't operate in the conditions.

On Narrow Gauge "common carrier" roads the slow speeds were primarily a function of economics. The idea was to keep fuel, lubricant, wear and tear (loco maintenance) and other consumables costs down. The rail was kept as light as possible initially to keep initial costs down. Also, light rail can't support speed. Later most successful roads replaced with heavier rail as tonnage and passenger loads dictated. Management also had to deliver positive returns to the investors.

Also look at the very premise of Narrow Gauge:
These were roads built in regions that economically couldn't support Standard Gauge roads. Later, all the Narrow Gauge roads that had sparked adequate economic development were Standard Gauged.

Rod locos were essentially scaled down standard gauge equipment and were fully capable of high speeds (if the basic purpose of the loco wasn't specialized for slow speed, high tonnage hauling).

The basic 4-4-0 American (1870's-1920's) was capable of 60 MPH but rarely ran that fast as most Narrow Gauge roads trackage simply wasn't designed or built to support such speeds! Also, management generally couldn't condone the fuel and consumable costs due to most roads traffic loads. Two of my roads of interest, the NPC and SPC (in California) had a few areas that could support moderately high speeds up to about 30-40mph (curvature, grade, commuter service, local express service). Generally they averaged 24mph due to station stops for passenger pick-up and refueling). Freight service was a slow 12mph average as dictated by economical reasons.

A book everyone interested in Narrow Gauge should have:
"American Narrow Gauge Railroads" by Hilton. It's basically one of the bibles on the subject.

CraigH
 
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