Help with ore cart rails

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Doc Holliday, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

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    I'm currently working on a Cambell's Idaho Springs Mine kit. It includes wooden rails along the platform walkway and says to space them to accommodate whatever ore cart (not included) I'll be using. My question is if the ore carts actually ran on top of these rails or if these wooden rails are meant to be guard rails. If the latter, should metal rails be installed inside them or did the small hand pushed ore carts ride on the flat platform? I've spent some time looking for prototype pics but haven't found what I'm looking for. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Doc
  2. shortliner

    shortliner Member

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    A lot of small mining adits used wooden rails, mainly due to wood being plentiful in the wilds and metal being relatively difficult to get hold of. Remember a lot of small mine claims would be fairly far from what was loosely called "civilisation" or even a small town, and the miners would be poor if they hadn't had a strike. Few cars would have had flanged wheels even, so the "rails" were laid outside plain wheels as a guide to stop them falling off the often rickety structures, rather than running along them.
    Of course this info is worth what you paid for it <BG>
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the highlands
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    It would depend on what you are modeling. Most of the mines in the West that I know of were bankrolled by large investors. If they went very far underground, they would run on steel rails usually about 18" ga. if I remember correctly. Also a lot of the mining out here was done in the desert where wood would be scarce. Even in Virginia City, Nevada, where they had ready access to the forrests around Lake Tahoe to the point that there is no old growth timber left anywhere around the lake, they used steel rails for ore cars. The lumber was used for shoring.
  4. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

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    Thanks for the input. Very interesting, albeit different points of view. I'm modeling the southwest and planned on a somewhat high desert motif. Many of my buildings are wood sided, I've got two timber trestles, but I also have a plate girder bridge. One thing is fer sure, the Bigashol Mine isn't bankrolled by eastern carpetbaggers. It's a cave-in waiting to happen on a shoestring budget.
    Doc
  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    Doc hers one of wood rails havent found one of the smooth wheel cars most of them were pulled by mules the rails were just guides.

    Attached Files:

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Doc: I think you have a choice. I would go for flanged wheels myself as running on the rails made the cars roll easier. If you want interesting, double flanged wheels loosely mounted on the axles would roll over rails laid only roughly to gauge, but switches and things got interesting.
  7. zedob

    zedob Member

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    Wow, if you look at the wheels closely, you'll see that they are made of wood. No foundry patternmaker worth his tools would make a wheel pattern like that.

    I've seen pics of steel plates mounted in front of headframes to facilitate the turning of carts. Rails would terminate by bending them to help guide the wheels onto the rails. I would assume that the same idea was used with wooded rails. Just not as durable.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    If your modeling the Colorado Rockies, the rails could have been either. If your modeling the Arizona, Nevada, or California dessert, steel probably wasn't anymore expensive than wood, and it might have been cheaper if some enterprising soul had the good sense to go back to the last ghost town where the mines played out, rip up track, and haul it to the new strike.
  9. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

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    Thanks for the input. I've decided not to decide right now since I don't have the ore carts anyway. I'm leaning toward using N scale rails, with flanged wheels, but can always add them later.
    Doc
  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    If you wanted to get REALLY ridiculous...you could use N scale track, and mount a Roco HOn30 steam locomotive and ore cars on the mine trestle!

    Just a thought...
  11. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

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    Adding something like this might make for an interesting scene,
    This was used in Copper mining but the concepts the same,
    Tracks laid along flat of tunnel and the sides are dre dug into at a sloping angle.Dug ore rolls down to track level,machine scoops it up and brings it to the crusher.

    Attached Files:

  12. DWP

    DWP Member

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