The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ties and American OO

One of the options for the American OO operator today is to hand lay your track. To do this you need ties. On the OO Yahoo group there were recently several posts as to options for ties today, and I thought a photo for comparison with classic OO ties would be of interest.

This photo is from left to right a section of Tru-Scale self gauging roadbed, Mantua OO flex track with fiber ties, and Midlin track. Over the top is a strip of 1/8” square stock for comparison. All of the classic brands had ties that were over scale.

In an article in the Discover Live Steam website they state "Although there are other sizes, a typical railroad tie is 8-1/2 feet long, 9 inches wide, and 7 inches thick." 1/8 inch square stock scales out to 9.5 inches square in OO. Ties are of course not square, but actually this stock can be made into very workable ties in practice as you have ballast to hide that side of things and it is easy to purchase at say a craft store.

On my layout I started out originally using 1/8 inch square stock but then built a good bit of it with Tomalco Sn3 ties (no longer in production) which are slightly narrower but due to a quirk of scales and gauges scale out pretty close for OO standard gauge use.

In the rebuilding I did a few years ago as a result I used two different types of ties. One area was built with 1/8 square to match track it was next to, and then there is a transitional section built with HO 10x10 and 10x6 stock cut into ties, this was closer to the Tomalco ties in width.

I made a jig for cutting the ties and you can turn out quite a few watching TV, you get a good rhythm going.

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