The design …

A cross-sectional drawing of the Wharton Coke Ovens at the Joseph Wharton Coke Works at Coral, Indiana County, Pennsylvania was used to come up with a design for my coke oven bank. Now, I will go back to that to design the larry track.

In the drawing it shows 70# rail for the larry track .. and also for the cross-rails used instead of ties.

Makes sense with all of the heat being given off from the ovens

On page 157 of “Coke: A Treatise … 1 it states “The larry track should be made with T rails, weighing 70 to 80 pounds per lineal yard, to be laid on iron cross-ties or iron girders with necessary chair fastenings.”

I decided to use a heavier rail for that purpose and so I got some code 125 rail from a friend, Patrick Welch. Thanks Patrick. This will represent a 100# rail – I just think the visual difference between the 70# rail that the larry runs on and the slightly heavier 100# rail will just look good. It’s not THAT far out of reason either, I don’t think.

The cross-rails will be Code 125 rail as shown which represents 100# rail. They will be 3-7/8 in long or 15½ ft. The larry rail will be Code 100 representing 70# rail. The larry track will have a 1½ in or 6 ft gauge. The 1.2 in spacing of the cross-rails – basically, a cross-rail will sit on either side of each oven charging port – and they will be equally spaced.

The ‘plan’ is was to solder everything solid. Since the larry was electric powered, picking current off a trolley pole I am was going to use the track for one polarity and take the other off a the trolley pole. Proto: 87 makes a near-scale trolley pole and pantograph fittings – which might be used. This depends on my own skill-set I suppose.

Code 125 rail

The packet of rail pieces as sent from Patrick. He even pre-cut them to 4in lengths. Thanks man. Now .. I just need to file each end neatly and clean off the black coating – or not.

Here’s the cross-rails cleaned up. I was a bit surprised to find that they are made from steel of some sort since they started to rust. That’s fine as long as I can solder to them well-enough since they will be painted completely at some point.

.. and there … dear friends .. is “the rub”. I could not solder the suckers no matter how hard I tried.


I needed to get some basic dimensions before I started.

The ovens are 1.4in between centers. That allowed me to space the cross-rails at 1.2 in on either side of each trunnell hole. With these dimensions I could come up with a jig to keep everything aligned while soldering.

I don’t show the dimensions here but the track gauge will be six foot.

  1. Coke: A treatise on the manufacture of coke and other prepared fuels and the saving of by-products, with special references to the methods and ovens best adapted to the production of good coke from the various American coals – By John Fulton A.M.E.M, Pub 1905 – page 157[]

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