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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of planning my front yard Christmas display. Last year I ran a train on a large oval with track layed on the lawn directly. The uneven sloped surface of the lawn immediately became VERY apparent and was problematic since I tried leveling it with all kinds of scraps of wood, stone, etc. This year I am determined to make it more level from the start.

I was thinking of driving stakes into the ground under the oval and set the tops of the stakes level with a laser level. Then attach 2 PVC pipes side by side to the tops with drywall screws atop the stakes before zip tying the track to the PVC. I don't remember if I read about this somewhere or am dreaming it up.

Has anyone done a temporary layout using this or any similar method?

I am certainly open to any other suggestions. Since my lawn is very sloped part of the track will be off the lawn.

Thanks for any suggestions!!!!


Paul H.
 

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The "orginial " Splicer, poster here , years ago , built his railway that way , and it was on the Cicnn. Ohio NGRC conv tour , looked great , worked great , he later had to move and it was removed , he also built some large /long wooden trestles between the post / legs . I belive that he used 3 PVC pipes together under the track to support it between post . Cableland Southern Xpress , CSX .

So it should work well for you Paul .

And I found a link with pics , look in the background , he painted the PVC black . Splicer really had some uneven ground !

http://rides.webshots.com/album/159967857PMDltW
 

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Some one on here used Gutter Down Spout Pipe.

He cut "V"'s in the pipe at the right intervals to make curves.
 

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In the archives there is some posts on that sort of thing.

One with a guy doing a Christmas layout in the front yard and then Ray Manely has his layout on what looks that could be a temporary layout and not just a permenent one.

Anyway you will have to search for them.

Bubba
 

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That Flexible Spine System is nice. I am going to try it myself. It is perfect for your temporary layout.

Biff
 

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I have. If you dig through the archives for Christmas train, or Mark's Christmas Layout there are multiple treads showing my holiday layout.

David Wegmuller has several pictures of my layout (and even a movie) on his site. This should give you a feel for the construction method. The PVC lumber sections are 5' long and bolted together with lag bolts.







and here is a link to the movie from 2006 -

http://wegmuller.org/v-web/gallery/albums/Mark20061209/Mark2006.wmv

-Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions and help! A special thanks to Terl and Mark for their unique solutions.
I started working on building some pieces of the "flexible spine system" today using 3/4 inch PVC pipe in 3 foot lengths. The problem I foresee is that with my 8 foot diameter cuve the pvc won't bend that much. I decided to use pvc couplers slid on instead of dowels inside the pipe to connect the pieces. I am thinking that I may need to cut shorter lengths and not connect the spines on the curve or find something the same inside diameter of the pvc pipe that will also allow for flex on a 8 ft curve like heavy rubber hose or something.

My mind is churning. Any other suggestions if you follow my description??

Paul H.
 

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Paul,

Think big! You can cram a fairly large temporary layout in a very small yard - esp if you are willing to cross the driveway or if your neighbors will let you encroach on their yard for the holidays (highly likely if they like decorating for the holidays and you make your layout attractive).


To give you a better idea, here is an arial shot of my holiday layout:




I don't know what engines and rolling stock you have, but 8' diameter is very tight. Still, you have to start somewhere. Here is how my layout looked in 2005 (same yard, just using the small patch to the left of the driveway):




BTW - if you want a simple track system and aren't running heavy brass trains, this is it. The track was heavy Aristo/USA trains track that bolts together, and was simply laid on top of pieces of wood. Slots were cut in the ends of the wood to hold lights. Simple, and it worked great until I started running live steam. Oh yea, and this was an 8ft diameter layout. Worked, but barely.


Glad to see another holiday layout in the making. Please keep us posted on your progress, let me know if I can help, and please post pictures of your results!

Cheers,

Mark
 

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Posted By Dennis Paulson on 11/04/2008 7:23 PM
The "orginial " Splicer, poster here , years ago , built his railway that way , and it was on the Cicnn. Ohio NGRC conv tour , looked great , worked great , he later had to move and it was removed , he also built some large /long wooden trestles between the post / legs . I belive that he used 3 PVC pipes together under the track to support it between post . Cableland Southern Xpress , CSX .

So it should work well for you Paul .

And I found a link with pics , look in the background , he painted the PVC black . Splicer really had some uneven ground !

http://rides.webshots.com/album/159967857PMDltW



It is nice to be remembered!!! :)

Just to clarify I used 2 inch and a half white PVC pipes that I strapped together and then used PVC cement between the 2 pipes and then removed the straps...Then I placed these on top of 3 inch white PVC 'supports'...I used flat ended caps and then used drywall screws to screw the 2 pipes to the support 'caps'...Spray painted the whole thing black because I ran out of time and the convention was only a few days away...It was intended to be a viaduct but as was mentioned I had to move before I got that far and it all came down...It was actually pretty easy and went together quickly...It was the wood trestle that took awhile to do correctly...

Hey Paul!!! Email me...Same email addy! Hope you and Helen are doing well my friend!!!
 

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RC helicopter....The camera is on a gimbal below the heli and there is a video downlink so you can see what the shot looks like while standing on the ground. While I can fly the heli and point the camera, I find it a bit distracting to try and frame the shot in the monitor while flying, so I typically have an assistant control the camera and frame the shot while I fly the heli. If anyone in the bay area wants a photo of there layout just drop me a PM!

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As promised here are a few shots of what I came up with. A special "THANKS" to Mark S. & Terl for sharing extra insight into their temprary roadbed building experiences.
I kind of did a hybrid system. Ended up using 3/4 PVC pipe with wooden clamps as in the "flexible spine system" then secured them into the ground by hammering wooden stakes. It's not perfect and the PVC won't bend around my 8 ft. diameter curves. But you live and learn. The track is just zipp tied to the wooden block clamps. The main thing is that it is more level than last years oval directly on the grass.

Train or trolley runs in the evenings and I often walk outside to find a few of the neighbors standing on the lawn with their children watching it go and go. Makes all the work worth it. My five year old says, "Dad we're like famous so many people come to see the train!"


Thanks again to all who responded and shared ideas on this topic.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS.


Paul H.








 

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Well done Paul! I love the buildings - very cool!

I'm warning you though - this is very addictive. In 4 or 5 years your holiday layout will have grown into an extravaganza. You wouldn't want to disappoint your son or the neighborhood kids would you?

Wishing you many years of joy with your holiday layout.
Mark
 

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I know this is a bit late, but this would work for a temporary or permanent layout, as I have used it to raise my roadbed with this method.
I couldn't find PVC lumber, so I searched the local big box store and found an alternative.... if you're familiar with the PVC lattice, they make an 8ft cap to match. The tops are about 3/4 in wide and thery're about 1 inch tall. Two of those with stringers every 6" works great. 2" pvc pipe works great for the supports every 18" or so! The only issue is that when you're screwing in the stringers, the gap which normally has lattice inserted pulls closed and you get a tapered support rather than a 90 degree. The top of the "cap" stays flat though. You can shape it easily enough. The benefits are that it has a wood grain texture..... a little paint and it appears that you've got bent wood supports. The other benefit is that the gap makes a great place to run wires!

I'll post some pics of mine during construction so that you can see what I'm talking about....IF someone can tell me how to add pics.
 

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bahamasboy lookunder website information on how to post pictures and also the sticky post at the beginning of beginners forum. Personally I find it easiest to write up my post in Word, reference my pictures posted to Photobucket, copy the letter and then paste it in the reply box. Too many times when I attempted a long reply in the Forum reply box I screwed up and lost all my work.

Terl
 
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