Trix Twin History : Gradients in Pictures
© Copyright 2010 Garry Lefevre all rights reserved
After 4 years of rapid development 1939 was no exception. Many new models were planned and some introduced. Unfortunately as we all know in September of that year the Second World War began which meant production stopped with some planned new items never getting beyond the prototype stage. Some did make it to the shops. Produced in small numbers, some were not made after the war. The gradients were one such example.
Below a leaflet from Bassett Lowke
For some time Bassett-Lowke had used gradients on their demonstration layouts in their shops and by Trix on exhibition layouts. These could be assembled in different formations. Demand from the public led Bassett-Lowke to make these for sale to the public.
Launched in 1939 with the name “Lowko” Gradients. A name Bassett-Lowke had used for other 0 gauge model railway items being a play on the word Lowke but with the sound of LOCO.
The leaflet above shows the various components and one example of their use.
Another recent example is shown below :-
This layout under construction shows how the gradients can be used to raise an outer track over a double track and reversing down into the inside.
The components of the system consist of wooden strips either straight or curved, each two full Bakelite track lengths. These are mounted on to piers which vary in height so as to raise the track to a height of 3 ¼ inches (83mm) over 14 full rails the equivalent of 3.25%. The thickness of the gradients is ½ inch (12.5mm). This means the clearance underneath is 2 ¾ inches ( 70mm).
The above picture shows the components.
Each gradient is exactly either two straights or two curves long. The first gradient is tapered so it rises from zero to ½ inch (12.5 mm). The second raises the track to 1 inch (25mm) and at this height is attached to the first pier. Other gradients are all ½ inch thick ( 12.5mm) and 2 ½ inches wide (62.5mm).
Half straights and curves are provided, ( that is one rail length needed for some formations).
Each pier is ½ inch higher (12.5mm) than the one before, except for the last one which is only ¼ inch higher (6.25mm). This enables a smooth transfer from the upslope to the horizontal at the top.
Note : each of the platforms at the top of each pier is not flat but bevelled so that the centre is about 1/32 of an inch higher (>1mm) than the outside edge.
The gradients are held in place to the piers by means of a special clip. This has sharp teeth that bite into the wood when the screw is put into the pre-drilled holes.
View of a clip in place on one of the piers
Near the base of each pier is a slit. Into this rail clamps can be fitted to hold the piers to the table top.
These gradients were sold in sets and individually, the price list shows them separately priced.
Each starter set consisted of :
Two tapered track bases, six piers stamped with a letter A to F to identify their order, five straight base gradients, clips and screws and an instruction leaflet.
This would raise the track to the full height. Additional pieces would be needed for a down slope or to run along at the new height.
The price of the starter set was 17/6 that’s about 87 pence or after inflation the equivalent today would be £ 45
These sets were either painted in pale yellow or pale green similar to the “TrixStadt” station and the other wooden buildings.
They were made of special African white mahogany for the strength yet lightness of the material.
Sad to write they were never produced after the war.
It is not known how many were sold to the public.
Many were probably used for fire wood in the cold winter war days !!
Today they are a rare collectors item