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Hello,

 

Are there any fully insulated wheelsets available? I'm leaning towards making a hybrid 2 rail layout (I have a small room 10x12 in which I plan to use Ross switches and track, but modify it by removing the center rail, and using small mth 3-2 ps 3 locos with high rail rails. Tests seem so far so good, (and the modified 2 rail with tie plates added and grained and stained looks so sweet, but I would need to modify the rolling stock wheels so that they are insulated because I'll be keeping the knuckle coupler, and the rolling stock are mth's line of diecast rolling stock so insulating on both sides is a must. 

 

Thanks,

Adam

Original Post

NWSL may have them in steel, or you could use plastic.

 

I insulate my own - but it requires a short drill bit and a lathe with a collet big enough to hold the wheel.  Older pre- war uninsulated scale wheelsets are drilled for plastruct tube, then a steel axle is rammed down the middle.  The older, bigger flanges might be better for 3- rail track.

Athearn and Weaver 2-rail delrin (engineering plastic) wheelsets with steel axles drop right into MTH trucks.    Atlas 2-rail wheelsets are double insulated.    I have a large stash of  used Athearn wheelsets.   They are slightly dirty and some have been painted, but other than that OK.   I am asking 25 cents an axle but am open.   

 

Gargraves used to make (maybe still does make) a 2 rail track that is hirail height.   It used the same rails as their 3-rail, but has only two and does not have the groove in the center of the tie for the 3 rail track.

Originally Posted by Ed Kelly:

Let's see if I got this right.  You are going to remove the third rail from 3 rail track to make 2 rail track.  Is that it?  Why not buy 2 rail track to begin with and go from there?

Ed

Simple really,

 

1.) Space considerations. I have only an 8 foot x 10 foot space with which to work. To lay down two rail scale track, would be unfeasible with the width of the curves I'd have to lay to get scale equipment to run.

 

2.) A heavy investment into 3 rail equipment. I had always planned to build a 3 rail layout in that room.

 

3.) A dislike of plastic ties and roadbed. I am attracted to the fine modelling aspect tremendously, and I knew from the start that I wanted Ross switches and track, it was the most reliable and bulletproof combination, and had real wood ties

4.) So I started experimenting with unspiking the ross track, sanding it down, graining and distressing the the wood, staining it, and then laying down tie plates to simulate the real world and distract from the third rail. I've posted a pic below of an early piece. It doesn't look bad at all. But then I was like what if I remove the center rail and it was all over. (I've posted that pic as well.)

 

5.) Eventually will I move to 2 rail and laying my own track? Probably but not anytime within the next few years. Not until I can buy a house and have the room for my basement empire. Until then I will make do with what I have and experiment and learn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally Posted by prrjim:

Athearn and Weaver 2-rail delrin (engineering plastic) wheelsets with steel axles drop right into MTH trucks.    Atlas 2-rail wheelsets are double insulated.    I have a large stash of  used Athearn wheelsets.   They are slightly dirty and some have been painted, but other than that OK.   I am asking 25 cents an axle but am open.   

 

 

I'd be interested in maybe buying some off you. email me at adam@adamferraro.com

 

Thanks,

Adam

Last edited by adferraro
Originally Posted by prrjim:

Athearn and Weaver 2-rail delrin (engineering plastic) wheelsets with steel axles drop right into MTH trucks.    Atlas 2-rail wheelsets are double insulated.    I have a large stash of  used Athearn wheelsets.   They are slightly dirty and some have been painted, but other than that OK.   I am asking 25 cents an axle but am open.   

 

Gargraves used to make (maybe still does make) a 2 rail track that is hirail height.   It used the same rails as their 3-rail, but has only two and does not have the groove in the center of the tie for the 3 rail track.

Do you have a part number for the atlas wheelset?

 

Thanks,

Adam

At first I too was confused.  It appears that you are doing what is obvious - running tinplate equipment on 2-rail track, by merely insulating things.  I have long advocated that step for folks who like 20" radius curves, giant couplers, and giant flanges, but who hate the center rail.  I cannot figure out why that option has not got a huge following.

 

But getting insulated pizzacutter wheels is not going to be as easy as getting insulated 2- rail wheelsets.

This sounds like the hard way to only partially achieve what can be done more easily and more accurately using 2-rail O-scale equipment. There's plenty of stuff available to build a nice 2-rail layout, using Micro Engineering track, switches built from Right o' Way parts (and there are other suppliers), small engines, KD couplers, Delrin trucks with NMRA wheel sets, and so on. No 3rd rail, no huge couplers, no enormous, weird flangers, no cars sitting too high on their trucks.

 

In fact, I've done it myself, and it was a lot of fun!

Originally Posted by clem k:

Ross will make the switches without the third rail and using the plastic(Delrin) wheels solves the insulation problem. Plus your trains will be much quieter, I use mostly weaver Delrin wheels and trucks and always looking for more. Call Weaver they might be able to dig some up.

How are Delrin wheels with respect to collecting track crud? I've heard plastic wheels are problematic as they pick up/distribute crud on the rails.

Originally Posted by AGHRMatt:
Originally Posted by clem k:

Ross will make the switches without the third rail and using the plastic(Delrin) wheels solves the insulation problem. Plus your trains will be much quieter, I use mostly weaver Delrin wheels and trucks and always looking for more. Call Weaver they might be able to dig some up.

How are Delrin wheels with respect to collecting track crud? I've heard plastic wheels are problematic as they pick up/distribute crud on the rails.

Non-metal wheels will certainly pick up and collect dirt. I remember that from my HO modeling days, and had to change out every plastic pair of wheels to metal.

That has been my experience.  Nothing but steel wheels for me, and not sintered iron, either.

 

There is room for all of us.  We are talking about four hobbies sharing the same 5 foot gauge.  One is truly tinplate, with undersize caricatures and a charm that has nothing to do with scale modeling.  Another is the Hi- Rail/ 3-rail scale area, where folks try to get as realistic as possible while retaining the center rail.  Two rail scale has been around for a very long time, but is not as popular as either of the 3-rail variants.

 

And I suggest a fourth - the one obviously discussed above.  All it would be is American Flyer blown up to 1/4" scale O gauge.  No center rail, very sharp curves, giant couplers and flanges.

 

There: Something for everybody.  I am staying in 2- rail, minimum curves O-120.

Originally Posted by clem k:

I don't seem to have a problem with dirty track or wheels. Even better now that I don't run traction tires.

 

Clem 

But are you a 3-Rail modeler, or a 2-Rail modeler? In 3-Rail there isn't much current draw through the wheels, as there is in 2-Rail. In 2-Rail even the plastic wheel sets are exposed to the DC voltage in the two rails and the corresponding oxidation deposits are picked up on the non-metal wheels (just like in HO modeling).

So far it looks like I have 4 options:

 

1.) intermountain wheel sets. I ordered a pack and they are nice, but only insulated on one side. Not a problem GeForce the layout I'm currently building, since the trains are only gluing to run in one direction, I can just put the insulated side on the hot rail And that solves that. In the future thouoh might be a different story. Also I have to check how the lower flanges deal with ross switches and frogs.

 

2.) Atheran Wheelsets. Plastic so solves any future issues, but might have the same problem with the flanges.

 

3.) Atlas wheels which are metal and fully insulated on both slides. Solves the long term problem, but again flanges and the switch might be an issue.

 

4.) Lionel plastic Wheelsets from the MPC era. (Ugh). Solves the problem of insulation and the flange problem. 

 

I'll be trying them all and let you know what works.

Actually, my 2-rail locomotives only draw about 0.60 - 1.50 amps, depending upon

configuration (0.60 amp for an articulated engine with one big ball-bearing Pittman and 1.50 for my ABBA F3 set with two big ball-bearing Pittmans).

 

I'm not sure I understand the comment about the effects on plastic wheels of being exposed to DC current in the rails. I don't think this causes oxidation deposits, which are ultimately the result of atmospheric oxygen. The problem with plastic seems to be that it develops and holds a static electrical charge that attracts dust and dirt.

 

I use Intermountain metal wheel sets in Athearn Delrin trucks and I almost never have a problem with dirty wheels or track. The Intermountain wheel sets are fairly heavy and have a plated surface that imitates an actual polished wheel tread. I prefer them to NWSL wheel sets for these reasons.

 

I agree with bob2 that we are talking about four different hobbies, all sharing 5' gauge.

Invidious comparisons don't advance anyone's enjoyment. I'd say, figure out which you like the most, then work at it and enjoy it. If you change your mind later, the market place will absorb your old equipment. (Maybe we should add 17/64 to the 5'-gauge list, and then throw in Proto-48 as well.)

You should check out Scratchbuilder's suggestion to use the Intermountain 3 rail plastic wheel sets.  They have the pizza flanges (as well as plastic couplers in the package) and are probably common.  I have at least enough to do 12 cars.  IM also makes plastic 2 rail wheelsets as well as the metal ones.  I replace the plastic 2 rail sets that come with the kits with the metal ones and so probably have 40 sets of the 2 rail plastic.

 

Allan

Originally Posted by B Smith:
I'm not sure I understand the comment about the effects on plastic wheels of being exposed to DC current in the rails. I don't think this causes oxidation deposits, which are ultimately the result of atmospheric oxygen. The problem with plastic seems to be that it develops and holds a static electrical charge that attracts dust and dirt.

 

Neither do I.  May be a static effect or just a simple wearing effect of the plastic itself.

 

I use Intermountain metal wheel sets in Athearn Delrin trucks and I almost never have a problem with dirty wheels or track. The Intermountain wheel sets are fairly heavy and have a plated surface that imitates an actual polished wheel tread. I prefer them to NWSL wheel sets for these reasons.

 

Yes!

 

I agree with bob2 that we are talking about four different hobbies, all sharing 5' gauge.

Pennsylvania trolley gauge is 5' 2.5".  It's still in use in New Orleans and Philadelphia. 

@prrjim posted:

Athearn and Weaver 2-rail delrin (engineering plastic) wheelsets with steel axles drop right into MTH trucks.    Atlas 2-rail wheelsets are double insulated.    I have a large stash of  used Athearn wheelsets.   They are slightly dirty and some have been painted, but other than that OK.   I am asking 25 cents an axle but am open.   

 

Gargraves used to make (maybe still does make) a 2 rail track that is hirail height.   It used the same rails as their 3-rail, but has only two and does not have the groove in the center of the tie for the 3 rail track.

I would like to buy wheelsets for my ore cars I use on my Timesaver layout.

My ore cars have 8 wheels total--4 axle sets per car.  I have 5 cars.  20 total.

In fact, I'd buy 40 total if you still have them and cover shipping.

Thank you.

 

John Coy 

Pittsburgh and most other Pennsylvania cities used 5'-2 12", which became known as the Pennsylvania trolley gauge. Cincinnati used 5'-2 12", Philadelphia 5'-2 14", Columbus 5'-2", Altoona 5'-3", Louisville and Camden 5'-0", Canton and Pueblo 4'-0", Denver, Tacoma, and Los Angeles 3'-6", Toronto 4'-10 78", and Baltimore 5'-4 12.

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