Rolling stock hitting spikes on handlaid turnouts

prr2bnsf_sd Jul 12, 2020

  1. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    34
    20
    3
    I have been hand-laying turnouts with code 55 ME rail and ME microspikes. However, I am noticing the wheels on all of my cars and locomotives hit the tops of some spikes, in spite of my best efforts to drive the spikes in as far as possible and only use the best-looking spikes for the inside. I have seen suggestions of using pliobond, soldering to PCB ties, or even soldering to the outer spike and removing the inside ones. I am not super excited about any of these options, and I am wondering if anyone has experience or suggestions.
     
  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    11,340
    6,193
    160
    What are the ages of the cars and locos? Most older stuff will not run on code 55 because of pizza cutter wheels. The one exception is Peco code 55. The next thing is to question the spikes. Is there another brand out there that maybe has a lower head.
     
  3. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    34
    20
    3
    The wheels look low-profile--the locos are BLI and the cars I've been testing with are a Red Caboose autorack and an Atlas EV caboose.
     
  4. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    34
    20
    3
    The caboose seems to have less trouble. I recently ordered Fox Valley wheelsets to convert my fleet, but I was frustrated that the locos were affected too.
     
  5. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    11,340
    6,193
    160
    Most of that stuff should be low profile wheels so I would begin to suspect that the design of the head on the spike is the culprit. Are the spike specifically marketed for hand laying track? There is a difference between track nails used to spike sections of track down and rail spikes.
     
  6. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    34
    20
    3
    I think they are supposed to be rail spikes. I bought them based on the tutorial by Michael Stoner here (http://www.owensvalleysub.com/layout_designpage.html)
     
  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    11,340
    6,193
    160
    Well they look like rail spikes because track nails have a round head. The only other thing I can think of is are they the right scale?
     
  8. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    34
    20
    3
    As far as I could tell they are the smallest that ME sells.
     
  9. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    11,340
    6,193
    160
    Well I think I would return to revisit the equipment wheel flanges because that is usually the norm with code 55 and hitting the spikes.
     
  10. wvgca

    wvgca TrainBoard Member

    353
    168
    17
    you can measure the flange height .. 0.9mm for older pizza cutter style, and 0.5mm for newer RP25 compliant low profile wheel sets .. what do yours actually measure at ??
    code 55 track is not as forgiving as code 80 track for larger flanges ..
     
  11. dualgauge

    dualgauge TrainBoard Member

    351
    208
    19
    Contact ME and find out what they say. They would might have a solution.
     
  12. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

    213
    127
    19
    ME Micro spikes are the smallest ME sells, they are intended as track spikes.

    The interesting thing is that a friend of mine and I both handlay ME code 55 rail using micro spikes in HO and don't have problems with the flanges hitting the spikes in HO equipment with NMRA flanges.

    I have also handlaid code 55 using ME small spikes (next size larger) and HO flanges would hit those.
     
  13. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    2,324
    828
    46
    Can you flatten the top of the spike more than they already are?

    Are you sure its the spikes?

    Could the guardrails on the turnouts be set to wide for the wheelsets? I have often built turnouts where I set the guardrails as close to the stock rail as I could but the result was the wheelsets were not wide enough to negotiate without a click or lifting up.

    Just my spit balling to consider.
     
    BarstowRick likes this.
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    8,919
    3,361
    134
    Here comes that mr. wet blanket.

    This is one of many reasons why! I buy pre-fab switches.
    You'll figure it out, most of the time it's something simple.

    Just a word of advice: Do listen to those who actually have hand laid track on their layouts. Your answers will come from them.

    Hey JP, Good to hear you are still here and working your railroad. If you ever get a chance you need to stop in and check out his railroad, preferably in the fall, winter and spring. It gets hot in Riverside, California.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
    jhn_plsn likes this.
  15. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    619
    262
    18
    Ok, I'm one of those idiots that has handlaid his track. I'm not willing to abide by your limitations, either. .I had a number of discussions with my friend Andy Sperandeo, who hand laid every inch of track on his Cajon layout, and he was completely dedicated to using spikes, and thought we all should do the same. He liked what he saw as doing it just like the prototype, but things moved soooo slow.I used PC ties and soldered the rail down. It was fast,, easy, and allowed for adjustment of gauge as needed, and it was permanent. I discovered that doing this with a resistance soldering tool with the tweezers made it a dream., Oh, and don't solder to the spikes, solder on ferrous metal can be very weak.

    So my advice is, unless you have a really serious reason for using them and are willing to disclose that reason, 86 the spikes, get more PC ties, and be happy.
     
    wvgca likes this.
  16. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    34
    20
    3
    Those measurements are actually very helpful--when I broke out the caliper the wheels on the autorack have about 0.9mm flanges! I also have an NMRA gauge on order to double check the clearances.

    I went for spikes over PC ties to keep cost to a minimum.
     
  17. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

    1,115
    1,255
    27
    If you make your own PCB ties you can make them for next to nothing. I can make enough for a couple turnouts in about 10 minutes.







    More Info here ...

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/page-4.html

    Sumner
     
    goatfarmer likes this.
  18. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    619
    262
    18
    When I built mine, I calculated that I had about $2 in each one. Enough saving over factory ones to pay for the resistance solderer, and having one of those is something you'll always appreciate. Beware false economy.
     
  19. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    19,948
    14,690
    243
    Sounds like pizza cutter flanges are the culprit! I run Atlas c55 on my layout. Pizza cutters most of the time hit, except most of my engines are fine.
     
  20. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

    1,625
    176
    31
    Guess I'll chime in since it was my tutorial that you linked to above.
    You should be using the Micro Engineering micro spikes that are 3/16" long. I've seen the 1/4" labeled as "micro" before, but the heads on them are too big.
    While the large flange wheels could be your problem, there still is a possibility that you are not getting the spikes pushed all the way down. I still have this problem at times, especially at the frog points. Most of the time it is because I put them in at too much of an angle, which makes the spike head harder to bend down against the rail. You'd be surprised at how much pressure I've had to push down on with the needle nose pliers to get them to finally bend and sink in. The easiest way to get them to really sink down is to put each side of the pliers on each side of the rail, even though you are only having the problem on the inside. Then give it straight down pressure, or a slight rocking side to side. Trying to use both tips of the pliers on only one side can lead to nasty consequences.
    I've converted my entire fleet of freight cars to either fox valley small flange or BLMA wheels. My only problems now come from Atlas locomotive wheels that have a larger flange on them. I take one of the trucks off an Atlas loco and use it to roll back and forth over the newley spiked turnout to "feel" if there is any spikes still sticking up too far. Once found, I attack it until there isn't any more bump.
    Hope this helps!

    -Mike
     
    mtntrainman likes this.

Share This Page