David John describes his wheelpress (originally published in 7mm NGA Narrow Lines):
One of the troubles with 014 (some would say the only trouble) is that all wheelsets need to be regauged. There are lots of tools to help you check you have got it right, vernier callipers, Black Dog produced a cast resin block back-to-back gauge, Roy Link/KB Scale produce a very nice etched brass standards gauge. Of even earlier vintage is my home brewed version, simply a piece of 1/16th brass filed to my 12.4mm back to back and then, carefully, bent at right angles to form an ‘L’ shape. All of these will confirm if you have got the spacing correct but do not make the process any easier.
Then along came Adrian Gray, who described his wheelpress. This was over 15 years ago and I cannot remember if this was in a conversation, by e-mail or in print. My press is based on Adrian’s description without me ever seeing it or any drawings or photographs; so it may be exactly the same as Adrian’s – or unrecognisably different. In any case, very many thanks to Adrian – it makes life so much easier!
As the photo shows the wheelpress is made up of three pieces, the two end pieces are essentially the same. Hopefully construction and use are clear from my photos; although the back of the wheel must have all flash cleaned off before pressing. The two fixed slide rods are tool steel, fixed to one end; my press has tell-tales to make sure it is always put together the same way. The middle piece is machined to exactly 12.4 mm (the back to back I use) and the slot is 3mm. If I was doing it again I would include a cross slot to clear gear wheels on driving axles, as per the Black Dog resin block (if I had a cutter big enough!). Apart from those two measurements everything else can be made up from what is to hand.
Each end piece has been drilled and tapped 4BA, this has to be adjusted every time I use a different axle length but, once set, it ensures that the wheels are pressed in the same distance at each side. Nowadays I put a very small drop of thin superglue against the back of the wheel to ensure that it does not move in the future.
The press is simple and quick to use; finger pressure is enough to regauge any wheelset. I usually use 26mm long axles, so have rarely to alter the position of the set screws, although Murphy’s law dictated that the wheelset I picked up for these photographs was on the shorter 24.5mm axle.
O14 group member Bob T has pointed out a very useful publication available from the HSE which provides Guidance on selection, installation and maintenance of rail track and associated equipment for use underground in mines. It provides a valuable insight into many aspects of prototype narrow gauge track construction some of which is equally applicable to above ground track.
For those of you who are interested in building typical industrial style track KBscale have an excellent downloadable document which describes how to make both plain track and turnouts. It is available from this page on the KBscale website: KBscale Track Parts
This link has lots of photos by Geoff Plumb of various British Industrial Systems including the 2′ gauge Leighton Buzzard Light Railway. Many of the photos are in colour and provide a superb model reference whatever the gauge.
Le P’tit train de la Haute Somme is a preserved 60cm gauge sugar beet line (with WW1 military origins) in the Somme area of France. As well as steam and diesel stock it has an extensive museum with plenty of interesting 60cm/2ft locos and rolling stock (and some O14 models). A trip on the line is particularly interesting as the line has a Darjeeling style reversing zig-zag to help it climb out of the valley onto the plain above.
The society are also the publishers of the Voie Etroite magazine so there are plenty of current/back issues and other tempting reading material for sale.
After discovering one of my locos would not fit under a bridge on my layout I made up a simple height and width jig to test clearances. I cut a profile corresponding to the maximum height and width required from a piece of 9mm ply and fixed this to a piece of wood which fits snugly in a suitable bogie wagon which is as long as expected on the layout. I left the bottom of the profile quite low as this would check for any low level obstructions that would get in the way of my transporter wagons. Following feedback I have added two more profile sections at the ends of the wagon so it will highlight issues on the far corners of curves as well as the inside edge. The outer section of ply can be used to check any future locos and rolling stock.
The Ashover Light Railway Society have just updated their website which includes news about their first engine. The site contains some useful background information on this classic Colonel Stephens railway.