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									                      THE TWO FOOTERS
Issue 11                                                               Nov/Dec 2003

                              ―Happy Holidays‖
Concrete Ties on the “Get off and Push RR”                                      by Ed Archer
My Father, the late Harry Archer, and I started making concrete cross ties for our two-
foot gauge railroad, which uses thirty-pound rail, back in 1969. I have been making ties
off and on as needed ever since. The original wooden ties were acquired from the Florida
East Coast (FEC) when they came through replacing ties back in 1957. Many were of
cypress and were some of the first ties on the FEC. These condemned ties began to rot
out in the mid ‗60‘s, so we started to look for new wooden ties. The cost of new wooden
ties from a railroad supply company was prohibitive. The FEC again came through with
a re-tie program, but instead of sawing the old ties in two as done previously, they were
using a hydraulic scissor that splintered them beyond anyone‘s usefulness. That is when
the idea came up to have ―permanent‖, i.e., concrete ties.

The first attempt at forms had tapered sides. The tapered sides being similar to a patio
stone form. The tie was cast upside down with the track bolts protruding through the
bottom, but these forms just would not release the castings. After using the forms for a
while, the wood became rough, even though it was well oiled. That‘s when the forms
had to be taken apart to release the tie. The present forms are made of pressure treated 2
x 6‘s and ¾ plywood. The sides are totally detachable to allow for easy removal of the
tie. These sides are positioned by studs (nails that have been driven in and cut off), and
held in place with rubber straps cut from an old tire tube. (like a big rubber band!)

The four 5/8 dia. X 6 inch long hex head bolts are held by a 2 x 2 drilled and sawed to
pinch and hold the bolts at the proper gauge and height. A nail at each end of the 2 x 2
locates the assembly to the form. I had been using only two bolts per tie on the straight
track sections. One tie would have two outside bolts followed by two inside bolts on the
nest tie. The plan was to reduce the number of bolts used thus saving $‘s. Have since
gone back to making all ties with four bolts. Found that if the rail was not straight to
begin with, the results were a very wavy looking track. With wheel faces at least 3
inches, this would not be a problem. The bolts are cast in rather than installing an insert
because the rainwater would lie in the hole and cause the bolt to corrode. For folks in
freezing climates, you should know what would happen around January. You would
have twice as many ties. They would just be half the size!

The forms are well oiled before pouring the concrete. In the process of pouring, two ½
inch or 5/8 inch reinforcing rods (what ever is within reach) are placed in the center
vertically, about 2 inches apart. After completely filling and installing the bolt fixture
assembly, care is taken to chug with the trowel around each bolt to remove any air
pockets. The finished concrete tie measures out at 6 x 6 x 50 inches long and weighs
something around 175 pounds.

A pressure treated wooden block (2 x 6 x 10 inches long) is pre-drilled to the bolt spacing
and placed between the rail and tie. This acts as a cushion. A washer and nut hold the
rail down but the nuts are not tightened! They are left half a turn loose so that the rail can
move up and down. This gives a softer ride (when tight, the ride was harsh and would jar
your teeth!) and this also allows for expansion of the wood and rail.

In the future, all that needs to be maintained is this block of wood. This wooden
‗cushion‘ block is much cheaper than a whole new tie.

This set up could be adapted to most scales of the railroad hobby. We have four forms,
which takes a little over an hour to mix and pour. The bagged premixed concrete
available from your local building supply store works good. As the old wooden forms
are now wearing out, am planning to make a new form out of metal, which would have
multiple cavities. This way, a ready-mix concrete delivery truck could make quick work
of it.

Oh yes, the spacing of the ties. There has been much discussion of late on what spacing
should be used. We are putting our ties on a 28-inch center to center spacing. This was
derived from: 1) it looks good. 2) Any closer meant making more ties. 3) Lastly and
foremost - it is a good spacing for walking on.

                    This is the yard being retied using the concrete ties.

Nov/Dec 2003                                                                                2
                        Another view of the yard from the shop.

                                 ARCHER TIE CRANE
                   This is what we use to move these ties around with.
                              (Note the forms on the left.)

This is driven by a 16hp gas engine running a hydraulic pump. It will rotate 360 degrees.
The red clam bucket is operational and has moved many loads of dirt. There is a dump
car that mates with the tie crane. The tie crane is another story for later.

All photos copywrite by Ed Archer

Nov/Dec 2003                                                                            3
Archbar Trucks                                                                by Tom Bauer
In early October the Bucksgahuda and Western railroad was able to pick up five pair of
twenty-inch gauge arch bar trucks. These trucks will be rebuilt and re-gauged to twenty-
four inch. One set of trucks will go to Todd Hunter to place under his coach and another
pair will be modified and be the base for the future B&W private car. Ideas for the other
three are being looked at.

John Parry’s Two-Foot Gauge People Movers in Britain                         by Frank Kyper
                                          Part 2
In January 1996, the Parry engineering and manufacturing facility at Cradley Heath, West
Midlands, consisted of a main office and a series of connected buildings housing a
drafting department, the manufacturing of building material machinery, and building and
storing the two-foot gauge minitrams. A dual gauge four-rail 24-inch and standard light
rail track extended from the depths of one bay.

The standard gauge ended after about 50 feet, but the two-foot gauge made a sharp curve
to the left to extend across the front lawn of the office building, and then made a very
tight loop around the structure. The curve of this tight loop was too sharp to operate No.
9, the newest and largest Parry tram built up to that time, beyond the front lawn of the
office. Light rails—still readily obtainable in Great Britain—were laid on concrete ties
made in Parry‘s own forms.

Up to then, John Parry and his staff had built nine four-wheel two-foot gauge minitrams,
or people movers, each one an improvement over the previous model. The first, built in
1989, was on the frame of a mine car with a vertical flywheel—which tried to propel the
car in a straight line on curves. Obviously, the flywheel had to be horizontal. Rubber belts
and chain drives transmitted the power in the first few cars that were built, with truck
clutches coming in the later models. Several of the cars were tested, and then partly
disassembled and improved, and rebuilt with a higher number. No. 3 re-emerged as No.

Body styles of the trams varied considerably. After the first few bare-chassis models,
some partly enclosed with plywood, proved the operating concepts, more finished cars

Nov/Dec 2003                                                                              4
with enclosed bodies and seating for passengers started to emerge from the Parry works.
The styles ranged from a modern body almost resembling a small minibus to mini-
versions of what an exceptionally small almost fanciful narrow gauge British tramcar
would probably have resembled during the Edwardian Era of the 1910s and 1920s. These
―vintage‖ tramcars, complete with clerestory roofs, were obviously designed for their
ambience and nostalgic appeal.

The two-foot gauge minitrams were indeed mini—with the cars up through No. 7
weighing about 4 tons and measuring about 8 feet high by 10 feet long. No. 8 was the
open test car with an enclosed cab at one end. No. 9, the newest tramcar when I was
there, completed in early 1995 and the only vehicle with full operating controls at both
ends, was somewhat larger.

While all nine cars built by Parry up to the time of my 1996 visit ran on two-foot gauge
track, the wheels, including disk brakes, on the newest cars were convertible to wider
gauges. Several cars had been tested on the 30-inch gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light
Railway, a steam-powered tourist line in nearby Wales. The Parry minitrams had also
been successfully exhibited and operated in several British cities using about 1,000 feet
of panel track. One car was operated over a larger loop of track for an extended period at
the Himley Miniature Village in nearby Dudley, but the village subsequently closed.

REAR BUFFERS. I definitely learned that January is not the month to rail fan in Britain.
It was rainy, cold and dark—with effective camera-friendly daylight often being from 10
a.m. to 2:30 p.m., if that. No wonder all the tourist railways for which Britain is so well
known were shut down! Despite this, I spent three days at Cradley Heath, and three more
days riding the privatized successors of British Railways out of Birmingham to visit the
new and old tramways at Sheffield, Manchester, Crich and Blackpool. Muddy 35mm
color slides? You bet!

Nov/Dec 2003                                                                               5
PHOTO: Parry‘s yellow and striped test car, No. 8, is on the left, while one of the earlier
more utilitarian two-foot gauge cars is to the right. No, that is not a railway signal tower
                in the background, just a watchperson‘s observation post.

Schweiz. Verein der Feld- und Werkbahnfreunde                                 By Frank Bienz
Schweiz. Verein der Feld- und Werkbahnfreunde is the name of a club of friends of
narrow gauge equipment formerly used on industrial plants and on large construction
sites (e.g. the Zürich airport).

Members                       approx. 120

Loco‘s                       54 various types (mostly O&K / Raco)
Waggons        Coaches       6 home made 8 wheeler‘s
                             2 stripped 4-wheeler-torpedos
               Others        side-dumpers various sizes
                             flat-waggons (mostly 4-wheelers)
Rails                        approx 1000 m of light rails (can be carried by 2 men, and
                             are used for temporary build tracks).
                             Approx. 400 m of heavy rails (part of them used in our
                             depot to store loco‘s and waggons).

Most of the rolling stock is stored in our depot at Otelfingen/ZH.
The other depot in Bremgarten/AG is used to store the equipment not used for our

Currently we are preparing our depot in Otelfingen to erect a loco-shed. The plans for the
shed are drawn, but the authorities of Otelfingen/ZH did not give green lights for this
project yet

Grund in Switzerland is very expensive, the gained amount of the member-fees is
currently not enough to pay the rent for the two locations. We therefore are errecting
some temporary tracks at major events like inaugurations of highway-tunnels or town-
fiestas. Also we where transporting people through a larger brick-factory at the 100 year

Nov/Dec 2003                                                                                6
Classifieds                                                                  by Tom Bauer

Track for sale:
       12 pound rail for sale located in Utah and in good shape – 1.75 per foot.

       For more information, contact or Steve (S&S Railroad) at

Locomotives For sale:
     Two 10 ton Rogers, 1957, 30" g--can go to 24" & 36". Plus a third one for parts.
     4 hrs north of Toronto

Nov/Dec 2003                                                                             7
       For more information, contact: Larry Paiken 905-527-9291

Year end notes                                                             by Tom Bauer
The B&W crew took our last ride on November 29, 2003 as the winter snows began to
arrive. We are sending over 60 newsletters with 26 being sent via US Mail. We continue
to ask for more articles and S.A.S.E. for those receiving hard copies. As the year comes
to a close, we would like to wish every one Happy Holidays.

                                   The Two Footers
                                   534 Armory Road
                                 St. Marys, PA 15857


Nov/Dec 2003                                                                           8

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