Un-Scientific 18″ Gauge RR Survey Results:
A little while back, I posed a dozen questions entitled: “Questions To The Yahoo 18″ Gauge Forum.” I also posed the same questions to certain individuals with 18″ gauge railroads overseas (not already part of the forum). I only received a small percentage of responses from the 18″ gauge forum with respect to the total membership.
I’ve decided enough time has gone by and I haven’t received anymore feedback in the last few days, so I’ve decided to tally the results and share them with all of you. Please bear in mind this was not a scientific survey, and there were no weighted questions. I was simply
curious about what others in the 18″ gauge forum are doing with their railways. You may find the results interesting as well.
I owe many thanks to all who participated and shared information about their respective railroads. I very much appreciate the time and effort they took to respond.
You will see the same questions that were originally posed to the group below, with each question followed individually with my summation of the results from responses received:
(1) What is the most common diameter wheel you use for locomotive drivers?
*Several respondents omitted answering this question. Of answers received, the most common diameters for driver wheels of steam locomotives ranged from 20″ to 22″ and the most common diameters used for non-steam locomotive driver wheels ranged 12″ to 16″ (with most at or close to 16″).
*(2) What is the most common diameter wheel you use for your rolling stock?
*This question was also omitted by most respondents. Of answers received, the most common diameter wheels used for rolling stock are in the range of 9″ to 12″ with only a few being a bit smaller or larger outside that range.
* (3) What size rail do you use for most of your railway (i.e. – 12#,
*It seems that 12#, 16#, and 20# rail is the most commonly in use, however 12# rail is overwhelmingly the most popular rail in use for mainlines.
* (4) What size in cross section and length are the ties that you use?
*4″ x 4″ ties are the most common in the results received, and the most common length is a toss-up between 32″ and 36″.
* (5) How far apart do you space the ties on your railway?
*Some respondents reported their tie spacing at 12″ O.C. and others reported tie spacing much wider at up to 24″ O.C., but the most common tie spacing is a toss up at 16″ O.C. and 18″ O.C.
* (6) What type of couplers do you use?
*There were a few reporting the use of knuckle type couplers, and European style chain & tension w/buffer type couplers, but the overwhelming majority uses link & pin, draw bars, or a combination of the two.
* (7) Do you use air brakes & if so, what type?
*There were almost no air brake systems in use. Many in fact have no brake systems at all. Some reported hand brakes, and that’s about it.
* (8) Do you have both steam & diesel locomotives or just one or the other, and if so – which type?
*When I posed this question, I should have been more specific. Rather than specifying “diesel,” I should have said “non-steam, motor driven” such to include gas, electric, air, and so forth. For the results I received I’ll just refer to non-steam as “motor.” There were only a couple of steam locomotives reported. The majority of respondents use motor driven locomotives of various types. The steam locomotive respondents also had motor driven locomotives.
*(9) Does your railway employ trestles, Warren truss, or other types of bridges & which one(s)?
*There not many trestles or bridges reported. Most were simple beam spans, but there were a couple of short trestles and a simple truss reported in use.
* (10) Is your railway based on industrial, park train, grand scale, or other “rules of thumb” and which one(s) (if a combination)?
*Not surprisingly, it seems that several railroads are based on park train systems, and an equal number based on mining/industrial specifications, with a few being a combination of park train and mining/industrial. One reported “totally freelance.”
*(11) How long in actual feet (not scale feet) is your railway at present?
*The average railway length reported by respondents is about 1000 feet, give or take.
* (12) Do you plan to expand your railway anytime in the near future?
*Less than half of the respondents plan to expand their railway and of those reporting the length of the planned expansion, about 2000 feet is average.
There you have it folks. The results are in no way intended to be regarded as a set of standards. It’s just a “window” to the 18″ gauge forum group, peeking in on what the “other guy” is doing or planning. It satisfies my curiosity, which is of course my original intention. I hope you will all find this as interesting as I did. Once again, I just wish to express my thanks and gratitude to all of the participants. I hope you’ll all continue to share information about your railroads. I find this sort of information exchange motivating in many ways.
Downeast Thunder Railroad, Milbridge, Maine