The clearances you require have
so many variables there is no hard and fast rule.
- Type and stability of rolling stock
- Passengers - public running or private only
- Type of obsticles - bushes could be closer than a concrete
- Approach angle - a fence coming in at a shallow angle is better
than a sharp corner of a wall
Behind the wall of the down local platform at Chadwell Heath Station is the
Ilford and West Essex Model Railway Club. Existing obsticles means there are
tight clearances. It is either this or no railway.
Clearances are not a one time issue, things change
and need to be monitored -
- New or visiting rolling stock - can be wider, different seating
position (knees sticking out further)
- Plant growth - especially thorned bushes
- Type of driver/passenger - children are notorious for leaning
- Movement/settlement of track
You decide. Sit on your train and physically measure
it. Make sure you get the tallest adult to be the model. Add extra to allow for
those moments when you forget where you are.
One word of caution - if possible do not put overhead
objects (signal gantrys, tunnel entances etc) at the level between your eyes and
the top of your head. Put them in front of your eyes or above your head. It is
too easy to miss an object in this range. This is also the range where you stand
up forgetting the low ceiling.
One driver at a childrens theme park in Milton Keynes
area paid the ultimate price for a tunnel on the railway. Nobody knows why he
stood up. Enough said.
5" Gauge Private
These notes below are a record of what we did on the
Middleton Garden Railway and are the absolute minimum requirements. We have
ended up with these measurements by necesitty rather than choice.
Diagram above shows the absolute minimum we have worked to on our
line. An assessment of risk for individual objects should take place before
deciding on the minimum distance.
Running through our tunnel we have placed the tracks at 450mm.
that is the two rails are 450mm apart. This is not ideal but it allows us
squeeze the inner loop with a 10' radius. We wouldn't recommend this by choice
as it only leaves just over 100mm between knees. These dimensions are no good
for a public railway.
In contrast to the above, I know of several clubs
that work to a 1m clearance from the rail. This may seem excessive but if you
are starting from scatch, why not. Makes tunnels a bit roomy though.
Next Stage -Track Choice