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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Moving my live steam layout over from the Track, Trestles, Bridges and Roadbed forum. After working on the rest of the house for the last four weekends I was able to get time in on the layout. I finished the build last August and had some high/low spots. The goal on Sunday was to find a reference point and begin to re-level the layout using a home built water level. It took quite a while to get it referenced in but I was able to find on the North side of the layout that it was a good 3" low.









I also worked with bondo to fill in the places where the top warped from too much solar gain when it was painted green. That needs more work but it is making progress. Once I get bondo done I will be able to run a few wires to electrify the layout.

I was then able to run. This was the first big run of the year and the re-leveling made a huge difference. I hope to work through dropping the South end of the yard about an inch, once done I "think" the layout will be good for the year. I am still considering putting down ballast, which if done, could be helpful to fill in the warped areas.





A video from the day:

Finally over the winter I worked on a better way to store the trains in the crawl space. Good news about the crawl space is that I have a lot of room, bad news is that it is only 4 feet high. I ended up getting wire shelves on casters that allow me to load the cart at the stairs where I have more headroom and then roll the shelves to their storage area.



Overall continue to make progress

Kevin
 

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Good looking railway, Kevin.
So, obviously the 'logs' are not there permanently!
How did you raise the track?
New legs, or lifting the blocks, and how to go about it all.
A little at a time at each leg, or lift it all at once using hydraulics or?
Just curious.
Regards,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good looking railway, Kevin.
So, obviously the 'logs' are not there permanently!
How did you raise the track?
New legs, or lifting the blocks, and how to go about it all.
A little at a time at each leg, or lift it all at once using hydraulics or?
Just curious.
Regards,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
Thanks David, I appreciate it.

To lift the railroad I would unscrew the deck screws that attached the leg and lift that section. The worst areas required me to unscrew about 20 feet of legs and then begin to reset each at a time.

In a few areas I put shims under the legs between the 4x4 and the deck blocks if the space was not too far. No hydraulics needed, I would just kneel on the ground and use my back to lift the section and then screw the leg back in.

When I built the railroad I knew I would need to adjust the legs but I did not have the discipline to always screw the legs in from the bottom. In a few areas I screwed them in from above (before the top was put on). Clearly that caused issues pulling those legs out... a yank with the crowbar and it was fixed.

Some day I will figure out a better means to adjust the leg height without spending a fortune on screw jacks. I saw someone that used PVC tubing which is pretty innovative.

Or... I may just accept that I will use shims and be ok with it. :)

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Bob, this is in Southern Wisconsin; Lake Geneva

Pete, those PVC pipes look like a great idea! I may try that next year as an option if I need to re-level again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Was able to do some work on the layout last weekend and get a bit of running in. I wired the inner loop for electric power (need to do outer loop this weekend and maybe the yard) before getting to more fun:

Daylight Consist:

H8 Coal Consist:

The H8 still slows a bit in one spot which I think might still be a high spot. I am also trying to figure out a better way to confirm if the second burner is lit on the H8; it has been a consistent challenge to get that lit.
 

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Looks good Kevin. It’s unfortunate that Covid-19 derailed a steamup at your awesome layout. Mine was disassembled after all these years...so I need a place to run!

I’ll be looking forward to running there in the hopefully near future.

Sam
 

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Kevin,
If you are talking about it slowing down on the 'left hand' curve in the second video, I would first check the gauge of the track at that curve.
In curving the track it may have narrowed things just enough to cause enough friction.
As I have said before, great looking track.
Cheers,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks David, I think it may have been a kink in the corner. Going to rerun the H8 soon to see if it is fixed.

Sam, will have a Saturday steamup at some point in July. Been too much work on the house, layout, and dealing with weather to get something scheduled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bringing this thread back up to life.. after two years of running and continued tweaking I "think" I finally have the one corner that was causing issues, fixed. I ended up ripping out the corner twice and making it a wider radius along with re-leveling. I am happy enough with it that I would like to add in some ballast to level out where the PVC top sagged due to sun before I painted it.

I did a test of gravel and sand but I was generally not happy with the results. What are folks using for ballast these days? Still something like "1/15 Bridge Topping"? I also believe I will need to do some type of glue and used Concrete bonding mixed 50/50. When I tested I used the glue all over including on the rail, that was a mistake. I will end up masking the track to avoid getting glue on there but any other recommendations?
 

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As an idea, I use loose ballast a bit big but holds rail well, it's know as 1/4 " minus (7mm minus) and being loose you will need raised edges to hold it or create some. Have look at one of my old posts on building my layout and you can see the idea and where I used artificial grass and small flat rocks to be an edge to hold the ballast. Scroll down the whole post as more images appear.
Kitchen window to carport, construction of removable...
On an earlier layout I used glued ballast and that was a huge mistake as expansion and contraction pushed the rail around and not being loose it was a major job to relay. Ballast must be sharp edged not smooth river pebbles as smooth does not hold together.
Loose ballast makes tack adjustment, and for new or re-aligned trackwork, really easy as it holds in place just like the real thing but small edges are needed to keep it in place and does not need to be deep just the thickness of your sleepers.
Russell
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Will do Sam, hoping this fall (maybe September) and I will send a note out on dates.

I put down the first 5 gallon bucket of granite fines, I think it is turning out nicely. I would not say it is perfectly to scale but at the end of the day my goal is to add some visual appeal which I think this is doing. Won't get to spend much time on it for another few weeks but hope to finish it off (and to make sure it doesn't all wash away!)
 
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