Narrow Gauge Tie Spacing

The following is pulled from the Narrow Gauge Railroad Discussion Forum

30′ rail: 16 ties, 22.5″ center to center
33′ rail: 18 ties, 22″ center to center
39′ rail: 22 ties, c. 21.25″ center to center

EBT notice to tie shippers; May 20, 1943 indicates they purchased 7 ft ties, tolerance between 7ft 1 in. and 6 ft. 11 in. They also purchased 6 ft ties, tolerance, no shorter than 6 ft.

Tie spacing has changed over the years. According to an 1876 engineering guide from the Hartford Providence and Fishkill (std ga) tie spacing was 30″ (roughly 2000 per mile), and at that only 1 tie in 4 was spiked on straightaways, 1 in 3 on broad curves, and 1 in 2 on sharp curves. ties were untreated.

Take a look at the November/December ’89 Gazette. There’s an article in there that covers rail and ties of many narrow gauge railroads. (Neither the EBT nor ET&WNC are part of the listing, unfortunately.) One thing that is clear from looking at that list–there was no such thing as a “standard” tie. They ranged from 5′ 11″ to over 7′ long, widths anywhere from 6″ to 10″ wide, depths from 6″ to 8″, and then some. Spacing was similarly all over the board. Most were in the 20″ to 24″ center range, but even the photo on the first page of the article (the EBT’s trackage at Mt. Union) shows a stretch where the spacing was, well, let’s call it “economized.”

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About etraxx

Retired from the Army in 2006. Served during Vietnam - 1969-1972 as as 72B - Communications Center Specialist (Teletype Operator). Got out .. and went back in 1987 as a 19K - Armor Vehicle Crewman - (M1/M1A1 tanker) getting out in Korea in 1999. Went into the Reserves .. got mobilized in 2001 .. stayed active until my retirement with 20 years in 2006.


Narrow Gauge Tie Spacing — 1 Comment

  1. This is a ‘good nuff’ guide for the dual narrow-gauge track I need. The track will be a On30/On18 dual gauge. The six foot ties works for me – along with a 21 inch spacing of the ties.

    Tie Plates: The EBT used them .. at least in a yard. On other narrow gauge lines rail was spiked to the ties perhaps every three or four ties. For me – the section of track in the diorama can be thought of as equal to a yard – so it will get tie plates I wanted to use On30 tie plates I had printed. That was not to be – I had designed these tie plates for Code 100 rail. I used Code 80 rail though .. and the tie plates are too large – the spike holes spaced for the wider Code 100 rail. Oh well. I will do what they did in reality .. spike directly to the tie without a tie plate. I can live with that.

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