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Building an inexpensive garden railroad.
While going thru my collection of old videotapes I came across some footage of my first garden railroad. The track was made of 1/8”X ½” band iron that sits in groves cut into pine ties. This was a very inexpensive way to lay a lot of track. I used an acetylene torch to braze the ends together however; I think I would clamp them if I were to do it again. I also would use plastic bender board for the ties and the pine had a tendency to split.
This railroad was built back in the days when I had to scrounge together enough money to by trucks and wheels for projects.
Hope this inspires some of the younger modelers out there.



Joel
 

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Hmmm? I can get Stainles at work. We houtsource our Laser cutting so i could get some stainless sheet cut it in 1/2 wide strips and the laser cutters and then make my own "stainless" strap rail! using Trex or some other plastic wood for ties. That's just may be the trick! Of course the laser leaves a pretty rough (& heat hardened) surface that would need to be ground smooth for wheels to run on. STill pretty do able. If I had the time.

Chas
 

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Isn't there an MLS member from OZ that builds his track that way?
 

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How about inspiration for us Broke men out there! I just sold some of my Motorcycle Helmet samples like 30 minutes ago. Now with $275 in my pocket and a train show tomorrow, I was wondering how to come up with more cash for the Buy 3 get 1 free boxes of track from Aristo... Now you have made me wonder, hhhhmmmmmmm
 

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While you don't get the satisfaction of doing it yourself, buying used track is probably a cheaper and better alternative, and certainly far less effort.
 

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I have been messing around with flat copper strips on wooden 'rails' like the old strapiron railroads used. So far, here's the advantages (?): vanishingly cheap. I used some scrap 12ga solid copper house wire and flattened it in my slip roll to ~ .015". Then I drilled it, countersunk some heads and some not, and used tiny finish nails in the countersunk holes and flatheaded tacks in the non-countersunk ones. I filed all of 'em smooth as possible w/o losing their holding power. I left a couple of inches hang on one rail, and on the next adjoining (not adjacent) I left a like amount of bare wood before affixing the next copper strip. After trimming and hitting both rail ends with a file to scarf an angle, I soldered 'em together and smoothed the joint. Then I got stopped with the flu. The idea is to test the flatheaded nails vs the countersunk finishing nails to see which give the smoothest operation, then settle on one or the other. Cost? Zero for about 3' so far by using scrap lumber sawed to scale and the copper wire. I haven't tested it yet, but I know copper strips have less resistance than other metals. And, my RR is indoors, which is also a factor. A lot of work, but I relish making something out of scrap. NOTE: I have not yet run anything on it, that's for when this rotten winter breaks. (Coldest December on record for MO). Also, insofar as my present knowledge goes, one is stuck with stub switches--which are also incredibly cheap to make by the same method.

Les
 

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Semp & Jerry,

Yep, I'm nuts. But I'm happier this way. Ever stop to think what a drag good sense is, at times?


Les
 

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Pete,

I want to point out that the idea wasn't original with me. One of the Bright Sparks on this board answered a comment of mine about two years ago concerning the high cost (then) of brass track, and suggested I do a strap-iron line, that it had been done before in RR modelling with good results. He even got me pixes and sites to visit to see what was out there. (Very little).

But that's all it took to light the bulb in my head. I've been pursuing the subject ever since--that's how I discovered kick switches, plate switches and even did some heavy thinking on very early flanged track with flangeless drivers/idlers as the Brits tried in the early days. I have not abandoned this line of thought concerning a certain sub-route on an industrial site. Just to see how it does.

I admit the concept as described sounds awkward and labor-intensive. But it can be organized into a 'production system' to make a lot of track with less labor/ft. Compared to shaking a box of Aristo track out and laying it, it is. And looks funny. If one isn't doing a specific era and/or type of RR (mine is backwoods SL in concept) then it likely isn't a viable option. It nearly requires early and small engines, though 8-driver locos came on the scene very early--they just didn't look modern.

Scratchbuilding is likely mandatory.

I wish I could see the article you've referenced. I've seen some of your DIY efforts, and I applaud them. For the techniques and material you were using, you fared well, in my NSHO. Also, judgining from your Avatar you've been around the block once or twice, too.
Kinda like me 'n Jerry. (Semp must be a kid of tender age).


Les

Les
 

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I did the same when I was starting out, except I used aluminum flatbar in 20 foot sections joined together with aluminum fishplates with four bolts. My ties were slotted cedar. Actually ran track power with it before switching to batteries.

Seen here




It was interesting "inventing" a whole new method of building track, but in the end i had to admit it doesn't warrant doing it this way. Had I known that I would stay in the hobby I would have been better off buying bulk rail and hand spiking it to wooden ties as I do now -- and (no coincidence) the way real railways have done for eons.


Mind you, the cost of rail these days may have tilted the equation.
 

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Posted By Semper Vaporo on 02/19/2009 11:46 AM
Tender age.... TENDER AGE!?!?!?!????

Heck, I'm so young all three of my kids are older than I am!







Uh ... dude ... (Mr. Dude?) raising kids makes guys feel that way.
My oldest is 35, she was a dream to raise. Okay, at 16 she felt I should be hidden away, at 25, it was "Daddyyy..." again, just like this old guy at work warned me it would be. My son is lucky he's still alive. He's 27, single, and I hope to **** he gets a wife, the dumb*ss has it so good--he thinks--nay, he knows--I'm this rank ol' failure. His only saving feature is, he reminds me of a tougher version of me at that age.

It ain't Time passing that makes one old, it's raising children. Be patient, keep on keepin' on (my SS depends on it--may you prosper greatly).


Les
 

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Pete,

I'm seriously Po'ed. I spent about an hour replying to your very informative post, moused 'preview' and did a change and lost the whole dam' thing.

Who do you complain to?

Steve, where are you?

Les
 

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I have had that happen on a few occasions Les. I have found be clicking the page reverse, i.e. going back to the previous page, often restores the missing page.

It is infuriating I know.
 

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Thanks for knowing I'm not alone. I admit to being a computer illiterate. One used to drop one's nickel in the phone, listening for the dialtone and dialing up one's number. If not, a few clanks on the change slot got an operator who somehow magically 'knew' the money had been deposited and connected the call, very politely.

The reason I named Steve was, he shut me down on a thread he deemed inflammatory. So, where's he when I need him? Hm? How'd my correction get the whole post deleted? Software? My screwup?

I have no problem with moderators: they have a sense--or should have--of 'bad' topics. Fine. Okay. He said 'shut it off', I shut it off. I paid my first class fees, and that's part of the freight. In other words, "that's the way it is". And because of the efforts of moderators, this is a very happy board IN MY OPINION. And, re aforesaid, I PAID to express MY opinion.

It screwed a good-going thread--you post excepted.

Les
 

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You have to protect yourself by typing "Ctrl-A" and "Ctrl-C" BEFORE you click either Preview or Submit. Sometimes the browser "Back" button will recover the text, but often it does not. The "Select all" and "Copy to clipboard" (that is what the "Ctrl-A" and "Ctrl-C" are) is the insurance against loss of lots of typing!

And, hey, you'll just have to rely on someone else to keep your SS checks coming... I know I sure am!



*** "Ctrl-A" is holding down the key labeled "Ctrl" (it is like the "Shift" key but reads "Ctrl", "Ctl", "Control" or 'Cont" on the cap) and typing the "A" key... same for "Ctrl-C", only type the "C" key.
 

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Hay it's your RR and the way you build it is great. Neat Idea for when times are tough and money tight. That's called using ones brain. To bad more kids now days don't do the same. Later RJD
 
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