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I agree--if you pile a bunch of dirt and pavers around the tree you'll maybe injure it, and you don't want to dig a trench around it because you'll harm the roots.

You could build a circle using the "ladder" method. There are a lot of posts about it in the archives. It's pretty easy to do and it makes a stable base that sits at grade and is real easy to make level.

http://www.btcomm.com/trains/primer/roadbed/ladder1.htm

It's a great method, extremely easy to level. The inventor used HDPE lumber, which was expensive and hard to find. I've built it two ways, using two different materials.

First with Trex--you get a 2x4 made from trex or similar composite lumber. You rip 3/4 off each side, then take the center post that remains and slice part of it for spacers, and use the rest for posts. Advantages: Looks good, solid, no waste, simple. disadvantages: a little pricey, will not bend to less than a 8 ft (R3) curve without breaking, needs to be drilled or it can snap screws or crack.

Second with "tuf-board" from Home Depot and PVC pipe. My local Home Depot sells two composite lumber/PVC products that work well. The first is called "tuf-board" and comes in 1x8 lengths. It's easy to work and inexpensive and can be painted. The second has no brand name--it's some kind of PVC or vinyl. It's very flexible and comes in 12 foot lengths. It's really good if you need to make 4 ft RI curves, but it's a bit floppy. With both methods you cut spacers (I used a chop saw) and then I used PVC pipe as the support post. Advantages: Cheap, easier to bend and work. Disadvantages: less attractive, requires painting

This link has some pictures taken early on:

http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/magic/westover/index2.html

The track in the foreground of the first image is supported on tufboard, the track in the background is supported on trex

You can add trestles, bridges or other forms of viaduct later
 

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I wouldn't dig a trench at all. Just lay the ladder down and then put ballast around it if you like. Ballast is water and air permeable so it'll do less to the tree. Also having the track up off the ground even the 2 inches or so you get with the ladder method makes it much much easier to deal with debris on the tracks. You just brush it off
 
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