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Beginning my Outdoor Empire. A Raised Steam layout.

6402 Views 56 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Tdreabe
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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That looks very well thought out and the decking gives it a very nice look. I have been watching your progress since near the beginning post. Thanks for the updates! I am looking forward to seeing the rail go on. Are you putting in switches to cross over to inner and outer lines
Thanks for the kind words.
Yes, my whole plan includes cross over, switch yard, turn table, round house, sidings in other 'towns.' I am approaching this in stages. My first big step this year will be the main loop construction, track will be just the outside loop and a long siding. Once my yearly allowance resets I will get the rest of the track for the inner loop and maybe some switches.
Thanks for the kind words.
Yes, my whole plan includes cross over, switch yard, turn table, round house, sidings in other 'towns.' I am approaching this in stages. My first big step this year will be the main loop construction, track will be just the outside loop and a long siding. Once my yearly allowance resets I will get the rest of the track for the inner loop and maybe some switches.
I started mine this spring, at ground level.
I have my main loop completed and a small siding. My switch yard is started, however as you say my "allowance is depleted" . Maybe Santa will bring me some more rail clamps...
I admit I did burn a bit of my budget on plants. Next spring, or If we have a bit of an open winter I will try to finish my switch yard.
I definitely like the look of your layout, in time I may attempt a spur to a lower level of my yard with something like what you are building.
Since I only have an hour to hour and a half of daylight after I get home from work. I figured I should get some lighting up before daylight savings takes away the rest of my work light.
Sky Road surface Wood Plant Tree

Slope Grass Sky Wood Tints and shades
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That looks like it would have some wonderful ambiance. Will you leave that only for construction or is the game plan to keep it for running?
That looks like it would have some wonderful ambiance. Will you leave that only for construction or is the game plan to keep it for running?
I'm leaning towards permanent installation. These lights are compatible with a dimmer, this is full light. I have no other lights back there yet. But even if I do put up a security light, the wife says this looks more inviting.
I started a thread asking for advice on some practices laying the track. Here is that link. Beveled rail ends at Joiners, and flex rail practices.
I have started laying track. With daylight savings time this weekend, all further progress during the week will be under the lights.
Light Nature Train Track Street light

Light Road surface Wood Line Parallel
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Really great looking layout, can't wait to see how it comes together
As I made progress laying track, Bingham would run one of his battery powered trains back and forth. It served as a good test as you go system.

The Second week of November gave us some snow.
Here is the video of our first snow. His engine has the cow catcher that would serve as the best plow. I Feel I may finish my un-detailed flat car as a plow car instead.

Ruby in snow 1.
Ruby in snow 2.

Some day I'll figure out how to stitch clips together as one video so I don't need as many links.

Luckily, a warm spell melted the snow and ice off the track. And gave me enough evenings that I could still work without gloves. Tonight finished at the lower limit.
Tonight I celebrate with a warm drink though. I have finished laying down the first outer loop of track. Tomorrow after work I will certainly celebrate with Bingham by running the whole consist behind the Ruby.
Plant Tree Street light Grass Slope

Plant Tree Road surface Grass Landscape

Automotive lighting Road surface Grass Tree Asphalt

Water Plant Grass Tree Street light
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This represents my goal for the year. My budget/allowance resets after the first of the year. I'll need to get some switches and more track to make the crossover and inner loop.

The outside loop is 230 feet.
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Tonight we played with Trains.

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Many congratulations to all of you.
I am very impressed as to how you have gone about this railway construction, and how quickly (8 months) you have made it single handed.
I know that Catalina and Bingham were a big help too.
May you all enjoy it for many years to come.
Merry Christmas,
David Leech, Canada
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!
Very nice work. It’s great you can get the kids involved.
I know the thread has gone cold, but this is why I made a 10 foot bridge in my layout.

Wheel Tire Plant Vehicle Tractor


Tire Wheel Vehicle Plant Tractor


You never know when you'll need a tractor.
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