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Introduction to PNP Railways Track Work Products

Jump to Section:
+   Track Overview
+   Sleepers
+   Rail Fittings
+   Automatic Gauge Widening
+   Sample Packs

Track Overview

PNP Railways are able to supply a range of plastic injection moulded sleepers, rail fittings and track components for the following gauges:
• 3½" Gauge
• 5" True Scale, 5", 5" & 3½" Standard Scale
• 7¼", 7¼" & 5" Standard Scale
• 7¼", 7¼" & 5" Narrow Gauge

The range has been designed to replicate the look of its full size counterparts.  Once laid, the track will take on a very realistic appearance; this is due to the wood grain finish of the sleepers and the two tone colouring of the rail fittings which gives an overall authentic rusty/weathered look.   

Assembly of the track panels is extremely easy as all of the hard work has been done for you.  All sleepers are supplied with moulded in pilot holes, and have a hollow ribbed underside that will allow the ballast to enter, thus creating a very stable base to run on.  The range of rail fittings all have the facility for gauge widening to be easily achieved. 

Rail fittings for standard scale include, a generic ‘Screw Fit' Chair, PNP own design ‘Clip Fit' Chair and the Bar Rail Chair.  For narrow gauge a range of sole plates, rail clips and bar rail chairs.  All rail fittings apart from the ‘Clip Fit' Chair can be used on wooden sleepers if required.  Rail fittings are available for 5/8" x 5/8" (16mm), 2lb yard (21mm) rail. 10mm x 20mm and 12mm x 30mm black steel bar and most heavy gauge rail such as 6lb and 9lb yard.

Being plastic injection moulded the sleepers and rail fittings will give many years of trouble free service as they are manufactured from high grade engineering polymers that are extremely durable, rot, frost and UV resistant. 

For those looking for a low maintenance, permanent, portable or display track, then the PNP Railways Track Work range is definitely one to consider.

Plastic Sleepers, 5/8 x 5/8 Rail & Clip Fit ChairsWooden Sleepers, Bar Rail & Screw Fit ChairsPlastic Sleepers, 5/8 x 5/8 Rail & Screw Fit Chairs

How do you decide which system to use?
You may be just starting out, or you may have an existing railway or belong to a club that is looking to extend/replace track. In order to help you decide the best system that suits your needs, please take a look at the sleepers and rail fittings page.

Articles of Interest - Over the past few years there have been some interesting articles written, about track construction using PNP Railways track components; these may be of interest for those planning a garden railway.

• Track Construction by Richard Williams - Turnout Magazine - May 2005
• Once I Built a Railroad by Tony Finn - Model Engineer - 3 Parts in issues dated 20th Dec 06, 19th Jan 07 & 16th Feb 07 (A short video clip of Tony Finn's Railway can be seen here on YouTube.)

We have also received some very positive feedback from our customers, please take a look at our customer projects page for details.

While all reasonable steps have been taken to produce a product for use on miniature railways, it is the responsibility of the end user to ensure that the track components have been assembled properly and have been laid on a stable and secure base, and are only used for the purpose for which they are intended. Frequent inspection of the track components for defects, loose fasteners, stability etc should be carried out by the user.


3½" Gauge Sleeper
Slightly over scale, but still in keeping for standard scale engines, the sleepers are also ideal for narrow gauge. Can be used for ground level tracks (if your balance is ok) or ideal for raised level tracks.
• Dimensions - L 190mm x W 22mm x D 15mm
• Recommended Sleeper Spacing - 70mm centres

5" True Scale Sleeper
Designed for the serious 5" Gauge fine scale modeller who uses design references which are featured in the GL5 magazine Turnout and the writing and products of Doug Hewson and Dave Noble to name but a few. Suitable for ground and raised level tracks.
• Dimensions - L 225mm x W 22mm x D 15mm
• Recommended Sleeper Spacing - 80mm centres

5", 5" & 3½" Gauge Sleepers
A slightly over scale sleeper that is designed for stability when passenger hauling. Although of not any particular scale, it is highly suited for both standard and narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock.
• Dimensions - L 250mm x W 33mm x D 25mm
• Recommended Sleeper Spacing - 100mm centres

7¼", 7¼" & 5" Gauge Sleepers
A slightly over scale sleeper that is designed for stability when passenger hauling. Although of not any particular scale, it is highly suited for both standard and narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock.
• Dimensions - L 353mm x W 50mm x D mm
• Recommended Sleeper Spacing - 166mm centres

7¼" Narrow Gauge Sleeper
The largest sleeper in the PNP range, this sleeper has been designed to carry the weight of the larger and heavier locomotives and rolling stock which are becoming very common in 7¼" gauge. They can be used in conjunction with a wide range of track, steel and aluminium rail of heavy section or bar rail.
• Dimensions - L 460mm x W 75mm x D 55mm
• Recommended Sleeper Spacing - 200mm - 250mm centres

What happens if you drop fire onto the sleepers?
As with wooden sleepers the fire should only be dropped in the appropriate place. However should hot coals drop onto the track they will mark but should not burn readily.

Life Expectancy
The sleeper system has been manufactured from a high grade virgin polypropylene. The properties of which  can be guaranteed. Polypropylene has a very high stiffness with high impact strength, therefore incredibly strong. It is UV, rot and frost resistant and is virtually unaffected by moisture. Treated in an appropriate manner the sleepers should give a long and trouble free service, alleviating a number of the problems associated with wood.

Rail Fittings

Many devices are used in the railway world to attach rails to sleepers; PNP Railways have designed and developed a range of chairs and clips that embody the general appearance of the full size item while not being an exact copy of any particular item.

‘Screw Fit’ Chair
The ‘Screw Fit’ Rail Chair is compatible with both standard and narrow gauge items of rolling stock without looking out of place, they have been designed to accept 5/8”x 5/8” (16mm) or 2lb a yard (21mm) high rail and are suitable for light and heavy use including club and commercial environments, they can be supplied in two forms in both sizes. One is compatible with many of the PNP range of sleepers, when used in conjunction with these, automatic gauge widening is achievable. The other has a flat back allowing them to be used with other types of sleeper including wood.

Please note: We cannot supply 2lb yard rail; the best place to go for this type of rail is The Miniature Railway Supply Company.

‘Clip Fit’ Chair
A new addition to the PNP range which has proved very popular is the ‘Clip Fit’ rail chair, as its name implies it requires no screws to attach it to a sleeper, it just clips into position in seconds. This particular chair has been designed for use in conjunction with PNP sleepers and the lighter 5/8” x 5/8” (16mm) rail and enables an easy fast build of track without the need for screws or tools. Automatic gauge widening is another plus and a prototypical shape including simulated square head screws which blends well with both standard and narrow gauge models. This sturdy novel design is ideal for garden railways and indeed club use if 5/8”x5/8” rail is considered adequate for the weight and traffic to be handled.

Bar Rail Chair
Bar rail is the name frequently used to describe running rails made of, most commonly black hot rolled mild steel. The use of this material is not uncommon in the model world and the slightly curved sides and rounded corners simulate somewhat the head or top profile of a rail. There is a precedent for bar rail in the full size world, as can be seen at certain places in and around the slate museum at Llanberis in North Wales.

Before rail that approximated the full size article became available, bar rail was the only option available to lone model engineers wishing to test their latest creation in their back yard. As the hobby grew and clubs were formed, bar rail was used extensively. On raised tracks the rail was either laid on sleepers on top of a raised beam and was held to gauge by rods and spacers used where deemed necessary, these in turn being secured by hook bolts to the beam, or was pressed into slots cut at gauge width into sleepers and again held down and in place by the use of a rod and hook bolt where considered appropriate.

Bar rail does have some advantages over prototypical shaped rail these are, it can cost less, local availability saves on transport costs, the black mill scale finish helps make it resistant to corrosion, it does not require bending with rolls when creating curves and it welds easily. The disadvantages are not looking prototypical when used with standard scale stock and should the sleepers on ground level track not be on a firm substrate can move down the bar which has no foot.

Should after reading the above bar rail is considered to be the one to use PNP Railways has developed a comprehensive range of fittings to suit 10mm x 20mm and 12mm x 30mm sizes of bar.

Rail Clips and Sole Plates
Larger rail sections used on heavier 71⁄4” and 101⁄4” gauge railways whether steel or alloy can be secured by the PNP comprehensive range of rail clips and sole plates. These have been designed for use in conjunction with the PNP large narrow gauge sleeper as well other types of sleeper including wood. The range has been designed to accommodate rail sections with differing foot angles and widths. There are many and varied large rail sections on the market and PNP advise those considering laying track using the PNP range of clips and accessories to consult PNP Railways to establish the most suitable item.

Automatic Gauge Widening

If using our complete system, plastic sleeper and chair, whether our ‘Screw Fit’, ‘Clip Fit’ or Bar Rail chair automatic gauge widening can be achieved.

How is this achieved?
We will explain using the ‘Screw Fit’ Chair as our example.

The chairs have a spigot sticking out of the base which is used to locate the chair into the sleeper, but this spigot is slightly off set; each chair also has a set of arrows moulded in. Therefore if located on the sleeper with the arrow pointing in as shown in the diagram, this sets the gauge for example to 5”:

Automatic Gauge Widening 

To achieve gauge widening on corners, either turn one chair 180º to achieve a 1/32nd widening or both chairs 180º to achieve a 1/16th widening as shown:

Automatic Gauge Widening 

Automatic Gauge Widening

Sample Packs

Sample packs are available for each gauge. The pack consists of a sleeper and selection of rail fittings in your chosen gauge, the packs are free but we ask for £5.00 towards postage and packing.

If you are interested in receiving a pack please complete the sample request form which can be downloaded from the download section and return it with your payment, alternatively you can pay for the postage via our on-line shop, and email us your completed form.

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