Erie Lackawanna 'erielack' E-Mail List Photo Archive

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From: "Joseph A DOT Braun" joebraun AT optonline DOT net
Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2008 12:33:00 -0400
Subject: Superelevation - cant deficiency
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I just offer random thoughts and photos for this discussion.

- [from Schuyler: "We supported all this on risers, like Joe, but instead
of securing the plywood directly to the riser, we used a piece of 1x3, which
with many many clamps we would move things around until they were Just
Right. Right in elevation, right in horizontal location, and right in

The additional 1x3 onto the riser is a great thought. That mode does get
tricky for a multiple track superelevated curve. Photo 2216 shows the
sawtooth cut beneath a three-track curve. With all these risers or with the
1x3 adjustaibles, the trick as Schuyler said is being patient and meticulous
to get the final placement right in ELEVATION, HORIZONTAL LOCATION, and
SUPERELEVATION. Without these three elements in place by whatever method,
the superelevation can become an operational and visual nightmare. Photo
2220 shows the three tracks above and the nice effect of the superelevation
(here 5-degrees/roughly 5" prototype). Photo 2222 shows additional riser
supports on top of the basic joints to allow for the risers being at
90-degrees to each track. This is quite crucial, as Paul B noted. [The
corrugated board is pre-scenery, anti-floor-drop protection.]

- With multiple add-ons of support, it is likely that the used surface of
the final riser support may not be plumb. What was my answer when a level
showed this surface to be not quite vertical? MASKING TAPE on the weak
corner to even it out. As Paul B noted, if risers themselves are not true
plumb vertical, one can get undulations in the subroadbed. For risers on a
grade, I used the masking tape on the corners of the riser supports to have
the risers sit at an angle concordant with the grade at that point.

- C-clamps of all shapes, sizes, and reaches were my best friend.

- Re Schuyler's admonition about rounding the bottom corners of risers and
keeping them above the support joists, that came 20 years too late. After my
hair cutter kept wondering about all those scars she kept seeing on my
scalp, I now wear an OLD BIKE HELMET whenever I am going below.

- I used AC Exterior ply...not the neatest on the bottom -- but the glues et
al are meant for external use. I have never had a problem with shrinkage or

- Per my Michigan Central Station exploration and saw cutting, I recommend
considering the following:
which gives protection (not for painting, however) for sawing and sanding a
notch above the masks usually found in hardware stores.

- I do not like the dogmatism re techniques for doing things that sometimes
seems to surface in the trade publications. Two points relevant here:
1. Soldering flex track joints before laying track on curves is not
the only option. One can shape the flex track and trim off the excess on the
inside rail and proceed as usual as if on straight track. Soldering the
joint eliminates the joint's expansion/contraction advantage and a soldered
joint is no longer able to be tweaked on site.
2. The electrical continuity provided by joint soldering can be
achieved by soldering feeder wires onto each rail on a section of flex. The
MR mags always seem to show this done afterwards on the side of the rail and
it is always sort of ugly. One can solder the feeder onto the UNDERbody of
the rail at right angles to the rail and from the side that will be more out
of sight, then bend the feeder wire down, and, before laying the piece of
flex, drill a large enough hole in the roadbed for the feeder wire so that
you have some tweaking room. The track looks nice this way.

All the above, hopefully, is shared non-dogmatically in the hopes of helping
people find what works best for them

- Re the prototypical problems of superelevation, the double-tracked Bergen
County Line through Glen Rock has a major grade-crossing right in the middle
of the curve. So here it had to be worked out that both superelevated tracks
had to be in the same plane at the grade crossing, else trucks et al would
have a horrendous sawtooth to drive over. Exactly what rails and tracks went
up or down I do not know. But anything is possible as long as a long enough
transition is able to be used.

Joe Braun


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