Writings by Iain Rice. reproduced with his permission

"What is BEF, why it is important, and what it can do for you",

viz "You CAN have good-looking finescale track in 00, really you can".

added to 4-SF WIKI by Rodney Hills on 18 Sep 2015

originally posted to 00-SF Yahoo Email Group on 20 May 2008

(msgs 710 and 712)


Hello 00-SFers,

Martin, in his posting below has given me the perfect introduction for finally getting round to sharing a very relevant vintage piece of prose with you.

Don't worry, it's not written by me, it's by one of the stalwarts of the M.R. hobby, whose name may be familiar to you: Iain Rice.

Although he doesn't use the term as such, his core topic is really: "What is BEF, why it is important, and what it can do for you", viz "You CAN have good-looking finescale track in 00, really you can".

With Iain's specific permission, I'm offering 00-SFers the chance to savour "The Ganger's Tale" from the series "The Bringewood Tales" written in the early 1980s and serialised in "Model Railways" magazine, until 'new brooms' were installed at that long-history magazine (ex-MRN) towards the end of its life.

Those of you with a copy of the same author's 1991 book "An Approach to Building Finescale Track in 4mm" (pub: Wild Swan) will find a reprise of the 'Bringewood' experiments there (p10), eight years on, by which time Iain had moved on, for reason he doesn't really explain in the book, from a BEF of 15.0mm (on 16.5mm gauge!) to a BEF of 15.35-15.45mm and a BB of 14.7mm ("Rice's bathub OOF"!) , which leads us down the divisive road to DOGA-F (not to mention NMRA Fine:HO) and today's 'Finescale 00' wheels from our friends(?) in the Trade. More on this later.

The BEF dimension for 4-SF is 15.2mm (MAX).

Back to the literature shelf:

Bringewood Gangers Tale Part 1

Bringewood Gangers Tale Part 2

original location of the files: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/00-SF/ Folder: The Works of Iain Rice

Some would say 'twas a pity Iain didn't discover the "EM minus 2mm" approach back then, but that's water under the bridge now........

Is that GW Models variable-settings Back-to-Back gauge starting to look like a good investment?

Regards, Rodney Hills

Original Message ----

From: Martin Wynne To: 00-SF@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, 20 May, 2008 11:31:36 AM Subject: Re: [00-SF] Standards and Constructional Techniques (was:Re: General Wheel/Track standards)

I wrote:

> 16.2mm. It can be widened beyond that as much as
> you like for a simple turnout.
> The only requirement is that wheels don't fall inside it!

Not that I'm recommending that, of course. The track gauge should only be widened where sharp curves demand it, and only by as much as is needed.

Otherwise the crossing wing rail will be acting as a check rail, and it may need to have its end flare angle increased to be sure of catching a wheelset running hard against the opposite rail.

Generally it is undesirable for a wing rail to act as a check rail, although in some cases it is inevitable -- for example in the outer road of a curved turnout.

For this reason the BEF shouldn't be too far below the maximum 15.2mm dimension. For example, if wheels with thin 0.5mm flanges are set to the minimum 14.3mm Back-to-Back, BEF will be only 14.8mm. Such wheels are likely to be frequently checked by wing rails. It would be better to set them to a wider Back-to-Back.

It is for this reason that prototype wing rails are radiused at the knuckle, providing an easier flare-in for wheels being checked than a sharp knuckle bend would allow on short-angle crossings.

Sometimes I see excessively sharp knuckle bends in model wing rails, even to the extent of the rail being notched to make a sharper bend.




Hi Rodney,

> BringewoodGangersTalePart1.pdf 4404Kb

Oh dear. Iain is a great communicator, but sometimes the stuff he communicates goes a bit awry. For example he writes:

> It is attempts to make long curved turnouts with
> curved crossings that have led many people to
> produce quite unworkable pieces of track,
> as a curved crossing will give an enormously
> long gap twixt knuckle and nose - I measured
> it at 26mm on one 00 curved point - a big enough
> hole to lose a Bullied pacific in! With the prototypical
> straight crossing, this gap is constant for a given
> crossing angle.

which not to beat about the bush, is utter nonsense.

In supporting users of Templot, the biggest annoyance as been the number of folks who keep telling me that all the rails through a crossing should always be straight -- despite the fact that the merest glance at a few prototype pictures shows this not to be the case. Nevertheless it is widely believed in the hobby, and now I know who to blame! ARGH!

It is also widely believed that the length of the gap from the knuckle to the nose is the reason for wheels dropping into the gap. Not so. Only the WIDTH of the gap is important, it can be as long as you like. And now I know who to blame for that piece of misinformation too! ARGH!

I've done enough explaining for one day. The grass needs cutting.