2016-02.6: Back to the workbench - track gauge

27 Feb 2016

Average: 4.6 (27 votes)
12:55 - Feb 2016 Bonus 2 - Track gauge tips (2016)

Miles Hale returns to TrainMasters TV to host a new bonus series:  "Back to the Workbench".  He’ll bring you tips from his basement workshop as he builds his layout.  This month: More effective use of track gauges.

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Miles made a few small errors in this video.

First, the "NO-GO" flangeway tab is only used to gauge the distance between the wing rail and the frog rail, it is not used for the location of the gaurd rail. The location of the guard rail is only checked with the pair of flange tabs. If one of these is pressed against the guard rail, the other must NOT touch the frog rail. This is the most common problem with commercial turnouts. If this distance is too small, and the tab can hit the frog rail, then the wheels can take the wrong slot through the frog.

This relationship is given in NMRA standard S-3.2. and RP-2. FastTracks has an excellent video showing this in four parts, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Finally, the terminology. This is the same on both the model and the prototype. The moving points and associated hardward is called the switch. The entire assembly, including the switch, the closure rails, stock rails, frog assembly, and the guard rails, is a turnout.

Thanks for a good overview and every new model railroader needs to watch this.

Tim Rumph

IMHO, what is a must see is Tim Warris's videos on turnouts.  It is THE definitive explanation that all modellers need to understand. And he does it in a very simple way using animated cad graphics. Thanks Tim Rumph for linking those in.



The point about the NO GO flangeway tab is well taken - that's to make sure the wing rail flangeway isn't too wide and allows the wheel to drop into the frog - wing rail space when traversing the frog. The flangeway on the guard rail can be as wide as needed to maintain proper check gauge. The NO GO tab doesn't apply out there.

I always wondered about that!

Think tying a ribbon through the hole is a strange idea?  Wait til you "lose" your own gauge, buy a new one after 6 months of guess work, then immediately find the old one the day after.  

There is one more noche on the gauge I was wondering about on the bottom of the gauge. I was told it's for Platforms in relationship to the track and Cars? Or is it for another reason. it is on the bottom and to the left of the track gauge.     Vincent.



thanks for the 2 videos on the NMRA gauge I much appricated the videos and learnt how to use it .I think I sould have watched the video before I bought my second gauge 

,then I would have put a bright Red string throught it and tied it around my neck so I  would not lose that one as well .They are in the layout room somewhere.      Smokey  Dawson     Australia