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Track Suppliers: C - K

Module: 12B

 Cumberland Engineering 

 Cliff Baker 

 H&R Trains and Revalda AG 

GMTS Brinkmeier GmbH

 KM-1 Modellbau  

 Gargreaves 

 Hegob 

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Cumberland Model Engineering (USA)

 

Another  company that you may not necessarily have heard of is Cumberland Model Engineering based in Knoxville, Tennessee. They specialise in the production of standard gauge (and dual gauge) flexible track for the small group of modellers in 1:20.3 scale (F Scale), who would otherwise have to scratch-build  their track, in comparison to those who prefer to model in Narrow Gauge (Fn3) and enjoy a wider choice of commercially available prefabricated track.

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Prototype Standard gauge (4’81/2”) converts to 70.64mm in 1:20.3 scale which is the precise gauge to which Cumberland have set their own to accord with NMRA standards.

The lightweight track uses conventional UV-stabilised narrow moulded hollow plastic tie (sleeper) strips (but to a wider specification to accommodate the wider gauge) with miniature representations of spikes to grip the nickel silver or aluminium rail supplied by Llagas Creek which comes in a choice of Code 250 or Code 215 rail heights.

In addition to the standard gauge offering the firm also manufacture a flexible dual gauge version which incorporates a third rail inset at 45mm gauge (Gauge #1) to permit the running of narrow gauge models (Fn3). This practice was often observed on prototype railways.

Both types of track are sold in either as individual 6’ sections or boxes of 10 and you can purchase the tie strips separately and assemble your own.

Flex track comes in either standard gauge (below left) or dual gauge (below right). The images use Code 250 rail. Flex track is not actually offered ballasted or weathered as shown in the pictures but you can do it yourself..

 

Rusty rail evidenton the left is aluminum painted with Krylon rust primer. Nickel Silver does not require painting when used out-of-doors and weathers to a prototypical grey-brown. Ballast is sand and gravel with Portland cement mixed in to help ‘fix’ the mix.

See typical product list below but always check up on the company’s website for latest local availability and other F and Fn3 Scale products in their range.

You can visit their website by clicking this button link :

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Some examples of the company's product range.

This video presentation by the smartly dressed owner, Dave Queener himself, shows some of the engineering capabilities in his workshop. His website contains useful information on modelling in F and Fn3 Scales and even British Gauge 3.

Cliff Barker (UK)  

 

Cliff Barker is a well-established UK firm based in Southend-on-Sea offering a range of Gauge 1 (Code 180 Stainless Steel or Brass), Gauge 3 (Code 250 Stainless Steel) and 16 mm track (32mm Gauge) in Standard and Finescale. The rail chairs are particularly well moulded.

 

Cliff’s website (click the button link - Talk Talk have announced that they are closing their platform so you may need to search in your browser) provides a useful guide to the development of large scale railway track together with useful tips and advice before you ‘embark on the journey’ to find the best track solution for your own railway.

 

The track is slightly unusual in that it uses Code 180 and Code 250 rail set in polypropylene sleeper strips. This combination of materials is explained on the website - clisk the button below for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GarGraves Trackage Corp. (USA) 

 

GarGraves have been around in the track business since 1940 originally supplying O gauge three rail track with tin-plated rail. Their tubular range has expanded to include two rail and outside third rail versions followed by S gauge, Standard gauge, and Gauge 1 (2 and 3 rail versions) in both tinplate and stainless steel Code 215 rail.

 

Click the accompanying button link to view full details on their website:

 

 

 

GarGraves also have their own channel on YouTube called "GarGraves Trackage": (Click button link below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H&R Trains (USA) 

 

H&R Trains are reputed to be the largest model railway store in Florida (if anyone would care to sponsor my trip I would be happy to verify this in person!). Although they stock some other brands of Code 332 brass track (now mainly LGB) their most interesting product is less easy to find and was secreted away on a completely different website. 

This nugget is a range of stainless steel track understood to have been originally imported from TdV factory in France who specialise in wire-drawn products although production is now understood to be undertaken by Revalda AG, a Swiss company specialising in large scale model railways (see separate listing below).

 

This product formed part of H&R’s “Heritage Railroad Collection” and was described as the world’s best all-weather track. Unfortunately the bad news is that they no longer feature this track on their new store website (which is tortuous to negotiate). Fortunately for modellers this side of the pond Revalda still appear to be in full-scale production and their website can be found by clicking this button-link:

                                                          

The advantages and disadvantages of stainless steel track are explored elsewhere in this manual and Revalda site:

 

  • Its weather resistance with only slight change of colour

       and no oxidisation

  • Virtually maintenance free

  • Compatibity with other Code 332 profiles

  • Conductivity only slightly less than brass.

 

The company produce pre-formed track straight sections track in 15cm, 16cm, 30cm, 31cm and 60cm lengths and curves of radius 60cm,75.6cm, 117.5cm upwards to 250cm although even larger radii can be 

The bigger pieces and curves from radius 117.5cm are used outside and allow the real model rail fan to construct any installation without curving any track. Giant curves, however, can be formed out of the 300 cm long  rail section using a bending machine. 

Their website does not seem to have been updated for quite a while but this is my understanding of what is currently available to order direct:

 

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GMTS Brinkmieir GmbH    (Germany)  

 

 

 

Quite by accident I recently came across a retailer based in Saerbeck, Germany who appears to have their own range of Spur IIm garden railway track. As far as I can tell they are not officially listed in any Trade Directory but may be worth a look. I must stress that I have no knowledge of this company or the quality of their products or services.

Whilst the main interest appears to be scale model vehicles their selection of gauge 45mm track is fairly modest but wide enough to satisfy many enthusiasts with an interest in garden railways in general and continental 2 meter lines in particular.

Details of their current product range are summarised below:

Click on the right hand arrow to view gallery.

The rail joiners are also made of stainless steel and incorporate a hole to allow any water to evaporate thus avoiding icing forming in wintertime. They also have a spring to guarantee excellent electrical contact so, in theory, you do not need any conductive paste for good contact. 

As an aside Revalda suggest that if you consider building curves like the “BRUSIO VIADUCT”  in Switzerland, you progressively install fixed radius curved track sections Radius 4 to Radius 10 in   sequence avoiding the need to bend any curves at all.

 

This video should help you visualise the process. It is a most spectacular spiral loop over a viaduct and a tribute to the engineers that built it. Incidentally, the accompanying squealing sound you hear is not, apparently the brakes, but the flanges of the train wheels pressing tight against the high side of the rail. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For feeding power to the track they also recommend at least 0.75mm2 diameter cable at home and for up to 2.5mm2 for outdoor connections.

Revalda also used to produce a version with concrete ties (sleepers) but this has been discontinued.

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2' Re-railer                                                                1' Re-Railer

Straight track sections, small radius curves, points and feeder and isolating track sections.

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Feeder and Isolating Track with terminal

Postcript:  Since compiling this module I have been unable to locate the Swiss Revalda AG company via the web so they may no longer be in production. The good news seems to be that H&R Trains Inc. are selling Stainless Steel    Track once again so the button link above should take you there. 

KM-1 Modellbau (Germany)

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When you are convinced that you might have located all the major international manufacturers of G Gauge (Gauge 1) model railway track it is refreshing to discover yet another firm who appear to have “sneaked under the radar” (memo to self: must stop using these expressions). I refer to the German firm of KM1 Modellbau who may be better known for their range of high-end Gauge 1 (Spur 1) locomotives.

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It is rather unusual to find a track system that is available in such an interesting variety, that is to say:

·         real wood track

·         simulated wood look

·         plastic track in steel look

·         what KM1 describe as acrylic art track.

Real Wood:  

The edges of the all wood track are laser cut from beech wood panels. To avoid all sleeper shapes having identical grain and cracks every so often along your track each tie is surface engraved with one of over 100 different patterns giving a more realistic matt appearance.

Simulated Wood:  

The sleeper ties are moulded form UV-stabilised polyamide and is ideally suited for indoor or outdoor use in a range of temperatures. The rail profile height is said to be 4.98mm which converts to around Code 195 (0.195 inches) by my mental arithmetic (no - only joking - I used an online calculator naturally).

 

This seems less robust than Code 250 or 332 but if you are accustomed to Code 200 I suppose you will know how well it stands up to harsh treatment in an outdoor environment.

According to my Google Translation they recommend this version for beginners, gardeners and ‘carpet workers’ but we know what they mean.

Simulated Steel:  

Steel sleepers are rarely represented in model form but are widely used on the world’s railway networks.

All the KM-1 regular track production is to fine scale standards. Straight sections are available in 150mm, 300mm, 600mm, 800mm, 900mm, 1000mm, and 3000mm lengths. You can also add shorter “compensation” levelling straight lengths in 101mm, 106mm, 1030mm, 133mm, 184mm, 194mm, 200mm and 294mm. There is also a 150mm section of uncoupling track.

 

That would seem to involve an awful lot of careful planning and levelling adjustment but I am assuming that the track geometry follows some engineering principle. Unfortunately, none of the “links” on the company website were working properly for a fuller explanation.

Curved sections come in so many different varieties that it would be impossible to do them justice here. Suffice it to say that I detected at least 11 individual radii from 1020mm, 1394mm, 1550mm, 1706mm, 1715mm, 1862mm, 2018mm, 2174mm, 2321mm, 2461mm right up to 4500mm. 

 

I suspect that the possibilities would impress even the most ardent of “flexitrack” devotees.

The KM-1 website also features at least 20 different types of switch and apparently the range is always expanding. At the moment the modeller is well catered for with radii of 1394mm, 1550mm, 1715mm, 2321mm, 2461mm, and 4500mm in single, curved, double crossing and three-way versions. They also invite customers to apply for custom solutions. There is even a selection of 3-rail track if you require it.

 

Please visit the website to check on availability.

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I have not had the opportunity to see this track at close quarters but judging from the accompanying images (courtesy of KM-1) they appear very realistic. The "bolt" detail is particularly impressive. My only concern would be how robust this track is in practice. If you are interested it might be a good idea just to order some sample pieces for evaluation first.

KM-1 also provide links to planning and design software applications which you can use to produce your own layout plans. The first is the “Railroad Professional” which on first look does appear to be a well thought out app. The other is the long-established “WinTrack” which I have trialled previously and found extremely difficult to use but that is probably down to me for not persevering enough. The major advantage to using WinTrack is that you can download track symbols for KM-1, Hübner, Marklin, Piko and many other European scales/manufacturers. They promise to add USA track types at a later date which

I shall follow with interest. I have yet to find any software featuring my Bachmann Brass track but perhaps I am the only satisfied customer?

Make sure you download the latest English (American) version and add the required track pack modules appropriate to your system.

 

Pros:

  •    Vast range of Gauge 1 track types

  •    Accurate moulded representation of track fixings etc

  •    Finescale.

Cons:

  •    Difficult to find a UK stockist

  •    Expensive compared with competing brands – a complete oval can set you back £350.

  •    Code 195 rail may not be robust enough for outdoor use.

Modellbau-Heyn (Germany)

I had originally intended to finish this module at this point but during my research for more obscure track suppliers I came across a small workshop in Germany, founded by Bertram Heyn in 1983, which produces architectural models, fair displays, museum and functioning models. Since 2001 Modellbau Heyn have extended their activities to embrace model railways and now specialise in several unusual products including  a comprehensive - field railway track system ( very well suited for 1:13.3 scale modelling), 45mm gauge, 64mm gauge, and even 89mm gauge (suitable for 1:16 scale) as well as dual gauge variants and a choice of wood, concrete or even ‘Y’ shape steel sleepers.  If you seek the unusual, I recommend a visit to their website: