15" track in Hango, Finland

Taking a closer look at the local "kiddie train" attraction at the public beach in Hango (on the southernmost tip of Finland, where our summer house is situated, and where I'll build my own track), I noticed that the rolling stock doesn't amount to much from a model engineer's viewpoint, but the track construction is simple and effective...

... using U-profile iron and rot-resistant wooden sleepers a track can be laid with a minimum of effort, expense and time. However, as seen in this picture, even though the rails are sturdy enough to take the weight of the train by themselves, the ballasting should have been made properly, if only for a better appearance !

The curve radius on this track is extremely small for the gauge, only about 4 meters (a little over 13 ft), but since all the rolling stock of this kiddie ride is two-axled (the red wheels visible on the loco are just plastic decorations), the tight radius poses no problems. My own track, 7 1/4" gauge, will have a curve radius of 6 meters (20 ft), which is just large enough for the 4-4-0 model of the 3003. Any larger locos won't be able to negotiate my curves! (A larger radius would mean that I couldn't get an interesting layout on our small lot, see this page.)

The gauge of the kiddie-ride track appears to be 15", a standard in commercial mini-trains for amusement purposes. Construction details are evident from the pictures. Note the simplicity of the rail joiners! The U-profile gives the track a rather nice appearance - from some distance it's impossible to see that the rail profile isn't "correct". The loco running on this track is electrically powered through the rails, just like on a HO layout. The ride operator can thus slow down or stop the train from his stationary position at the ticket booth.

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