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.
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.
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.