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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am expecting(Hoping) to get my first large engine this year when Accucraft makes deliveries of the C-18. As those engines will require more space than my indoor loop will allow, I had better snatch up that permitted land my wife agreed to before I do something to upset her.

Last year I purchased 6 cases of track from Accucraft, anticipating the this build and fearing the price increase that has happened. Their 332 Flex track was selling for $4.15 a foot last February,(same price I was getting used stuff off ebay) currently their website shows $7.33 per foot.

I have been studying construction materials and methods for my elevated layout. I have found a great deal of inspiration from Peter Spoerer's Youtube video and his Elevated Layout.

My plan was to copy his design of PVC posts on 4 foot centers with 1x4 Stringers, 3/4 inch plywood on top. While looking around for reclaimed materials I came across some 4 inch SCD 80 PVC in 5 foot lengths for $5 each. Quite a bargain in today's economy, especially since my target elevation is 24 inches and I hope to have 36 inches in the ground. They're already cut to length!

While in the yard for this surplus store, they had 8 to 10 foot lengths of 4x6 x3/16 wall Fiberglass beams for $12 each. My plan is to simply hole saw into the fiberglass to make sockets for the pvc posts.
Wood Tree Grass Building Shade

What luck, for less than the cost of lumber, my frame will be made out of materials that won't decay. And stronger. I have been looking to find another material I could re purpose to make the 16 inch wide decking and have a permanent (won't rot away) rail road structure. For now I have an abundance of hardwood pallets free to me that I will use, Paint with preservative, then cover with roll on roofing.

My layout will be built in stages, and in a manner that allows additions that I don't even know of yet. I have a general plan of all the features I want infrastructure wise. But the first step an all variations is a double mainline loop around the outside.

My curves will be 12' 4" and 11'8" radius, it will be mostly rectangular, overall 45 foot wide by 75 Foot long. The long straight next to the garage inside the loop will eventually be a depot/switching yard. The opposite side against the woods will be a curvy straight that follows the edge of the current grass. I plan to have the track 6-8 feet from the garage so I can eventually have it as a covered patio area for steaming in the shade/out of the rain. The layout will stay 12 feet away from the fence.
Building Tree Plant Natural landscape Wood



Plant Sky Building Tree Branch


They are hard to see, but the orange Fiberglass driveway markers are inserted as the centers of my 4 main curves.

Hopefully in the next few days I can get better pictures with a hose showing the path of the mainline. And within the next few weeks I can start digging post holes after the frost is out of the ground. Tomorrow I will call diggers hotline. I know the only thing back there is the power line, so I need it know where I'm going.

Updates to come.
 

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my frame will be made out of materials that won't decay.
Sounds like a great plan. I would suggest painting the uprights and beams so that they don't see any UV from the sun.

Some folk have had great success using 4" pipe in "deck post bases", which saves the digging and frost heaves - as long as the top is a rigid structure. I think you have to check that it is all level after every winter.

 

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Looks like a great plan! I used the deck blocks and 4x4 lumber to make my track. If I had it to do all over again I would use the PVC pipe like you have with an inset so that I could easily level out the track. Right now it takes a few hours each year to go around and level, I think with a nested PVC pipe it would be easier to extend to retract the posts.
 

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I think Scott Mcdonald did an article in Steam In The Garden mag on his raised layout where he used, as Pete said, pre cast deck blocks and 2 different diameters of PVC pipe? He also used toilet flanges to attach the PVC pipe to the underside of his decking.

Jerry
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have seen several versions of the telescoping pvc legs. The one I like is using the reducer fitting that is split and then tightened with a hose clamp.

My initial plan will be to set the posts into the ground since those blocks will eat at my budget. The manual post hole digger will just eat at my short term comfort but provide long term benefits. My posts will socket into the beams, so I will have up to 4 inches of vertical adjustment.

This week I laid out some stakes to outline my curves, I also had the utilities marked. Tonight I had the laser out to plan the grades and elevation. I managed to discover my yard is flat as a pancake. The deepest depression to the highest rise is 8 inches across the whole area. Along the planned track route the variation is only 4 inches.

Plant Natural landscape Branch Wood Tree


I was about to dig my first post hole when my son had very compelling arguments why I shouldn't.
"I want to play with Thomas."

While no more progress was made on the Railroad, it was a very productive evening in other respects.
This is that video.

This Video Shows my son demonstrating our whistle on the air compressor. Rather than fit whistles on smaller locos, I think I should just rig a radio and servo to this whistle.

Hopefully this weekend I can get some posts up.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I like those telescoping pipes.. I may end up beginning to replace my 4x4s with those over the next set of years.
While looking for an example of the telescope method I like I came across these.
Telescoping adapters.

If I could find, or have someone fabricate, something like that in the 4-3 inch range. I think there are a lot of people whole would be very interested.

This could work. If you had enough engagement to keep the slip connection straight.

These are what I originally envisioned modifying to use a hose clamp to tighten the slip adjustment. But at $20 per fitting, with 70+ posts. I think I'll keep researching for what to do if my 4 inches of built in adjustment isn't enough.
 

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These are what I originally envisioned modifying to use a hose clamp to tighten the slip adjustment.
There might be a simpler method. Most of the tracks mounted on pipes that I have seen just use a screw. Clamp the joint where the height is right, (which you have to do anyway, whatever method you use,) and put a screw through one pipe into the other. If the ground or deck shifts, then remove the screw, clamp again, and put the screw back in a different place. It would take years before you ran out of places to screw it in.
 

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Tdreabe, in post #6 you mentioned digging post holes. That is the method I used, buried treated 4X4's 24" and have never had to make any height adjustments, and no platform shifting, in place since 07. Takes a bit more work, but I think a time saver in the long run.
Plant Sky Tree Cloud Land lot

Today
Track Grass Wood Railway Agriculture
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Tdreabe, in post #6 you mentioned digging post holes. That is the method I used, buried treated 4X4's 24" and have never had to make any height adjustments, and no platform shifting, in place since 07. Takes a bit more work, but I think a time saver in the long run.
I just dug my first post tonight. All of them will be 30+ inches in the ground. The digging is supper easy after you get through the top soil. I live in super sandy soil, I mixed a little water with the sand I dug up so filling the hole was easy while keeping the post perfectly straight. I used a fiberglass driveway marker to stir the slurry to remove air pockets.

Sky Plant Tree Wood Land lot


Automotive lighting Plant Motor vehicle Road surface Automotive tire


Wow, you guys use wood like it grows on trees!!!!!
Actually, I'm using the current wood prices as justification for materials that are not going to degrade over time. Even treated lumber will start to rot in 20-30 years.
At work (Family business) we have pvc plumbing and fiberglass components that has been exposed 24/7 for 40+ years with no deterioration.

I want to find a permanent decking material, but with my current budget reaching limits, I plan to use pallets from work (free) with some preserving paint ($50-$100) to make my decking. I also plan to cover the deck with roll roofing like steamers in the UK do.
 

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Tdreadbe, yes wood has increased in price along with everything else. PVC will out last treated wood, in addition I also dipped the 24" ends in a Jasco preservative/insect repellent. I live in a fairly sandy soil, so drainage is excellent and will hold off rot for a very long time. Keep up the good work and keep us informed of your progress.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I live in a fairly sandy soil, so drainage is excellent
My drainage is excellent, until about 34 inches. Depending on the season and recent weather, that the ground water table. PVC is my only choice if the bottom will be regularly submerged.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Today's work started slow. First thing I had to do was re stack all of my PVC to get access to the fiberglass beams.
Once I had the beams I drilled one with the 4.5 inch hole saw for the PVC pipes. Turns out I'll have to split the beams at every post. I made a jig to offset the holes as needed.
Road surface Asphalt Wood Saw Flooring

Road surface Wood Asphalt Gas Rectangle

Automotive tire Road surface Asphalt Saw Bumper


It took me a couple hours to figure it all out. Once I figured out my system I started moving at a good clip. My chief helper went back inside for his nap, he found it fun to push my dirt pile back in the hole as I dug ....
I think I could set 2 posts an hour, during nap time.
Running straight is simple. The curves will present a challenge to tackle once I get to one.

So far this is my progress.
Tree Road surface Wood Grass Plant

Sky Building Wood Road surface Tree
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Between a week long trip to Georgia for a family wedding, bad weather, and crossing some other things off my list, (building a sandbox, new tool post and chuck on the lathe....)
Plant Wood Grass Groundcover Gas

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Machine tool Automotive wheel system Gas


I finally had a nice afternoon to make some progress on my railroad. The civil engineer in me also had it out for the design engineer, also me. As soon as I completed the calculations and drawings for an 11 foot primary radius, I decided to make a go on a land grab and up the radius to 15 foot. The bureau of Land Management and Live Stock caught on to my plans and negotiations lead to a net 0 change in square footage. The straight section against the garage that will eventually have the switch yard stayed the same length. The radius was increased 4 feet through out, the length of the back stretch was shortened accordingly. It is now going to resemble a trapezoid more than a rectangle.

Here's my progress.
Plant Tree Natural landscape Wood Sky


Sky Plant Tree Wood Shade


Sky Plant Tree Wood Land lot


My efforts are doing the survey markers was twice as much work. My construction assistant tended to pull the markers
People in nature Branch Plant Vegetation Natural landscape


Hopefully I'll get a chance to do more work this week.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Even though the weather has been cooperating, I haven't had too many opportunities to set posts, when I do, I've been able to it down to 15 minutes a post.

Plant Tree Wood Natural landscape Trunk


The back stretch (right side of the photo) has a jog in it to fit the flow of the yard and break up the straight line.

Plant Sky Tree Natural landscape Branch


I found that standing on top of the propane tank gave me a good perspective.

I have thought about what I'll deck it with but I think I've decided on pressure treated deck boards. I looked into many options and for the cost vs benefit. I've seen 20 years out of treated lumber decks. The synthetic lumber decking I've looked into would be over $3000 for my needs. Maybe in 15 years those numbers will become more realistic.

Just an update. By the end of next week I hope to be done setting posts and starting on the decking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
To keep the decking from warping I added 'sisters' underneath on curves. I have only had to replace one piece that warped despite all additional support. Pic of underside.
I do plan on adding sister boards like you have.
 
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