G Scale Model Train Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are peoples' experiances or preferances to either a concrete or mortar railbed?  I have seen the article on MLS about poured concrete roadbed but also I read in a book on begining Garden RR that reniforced mortar hold the ballast in place better, thus make a more stable roadbed for the track to lay on.  Just wondering if anyone has anymore info.

Thanks,

Johnny
 

· Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Pete,
The reinforced mortar comes from Jack Verducci 'How to Design and Build your Garden Railroad'. I hope I cite this right and don't get in trouble but pg 40 states

"Drive the rebar into the ground in the same way you would install a grade stake. Next, form a piece of rebar to the the track curvature. Wire the rebar together, forming a spine under the track. Next, mix a batch of mortar and spread it over the rebar to form a roadbed. When the mortar has cured,the rebar will lock the roadbed together."

He goes on to state that then you spread finishing ballast over the mortar while the mortar is still workable. This sound like a good idea, but the reason for the post is I know the durability of concrete, but I was wondering of the durability of this mortar system. I live in northern Arizona, above 5000 feet, so it does freeze during the winter quite often and we do have severe weather at times and I am looking for a roadbed that will hold up during the monsoons that bring a lot of water in a short time.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
About 2/3 of my layout is Marty's reinforced concrete system.  As far as I am concerned, the concrete is the way to go.  Kansas weather varies from -16 to +115.  We have rains, ice, snow, in this area.  I've had five pound HedgeApples make a direct hit on the concrete based track and on ballast based track.  The ballast based track ended up bent.  The concrete based track was supported well enough to prevent damage [but not a sticky mess].

The first fifteen feet of concrete I laid took me several hours.  By the last 15ft, it took me less than two hours, including building the forms.  Much of my concrete base is curving and going either up or down hill.  

Early on, I tried stabilizing ballast by putting mortor over it and watering it in.  At first that process seemed to work.  However, the next spring, most of the mortor had turned to powder and lost all adhesive power.

JimC.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
362 Posts
I use reinforced concrete exclusively. I don't like uncompacted fill (it settles) so in some places my concrete is a foot or more thick. (It is only 5" wide though). It won't settle. 10 years from now my trackwork will be just a good as it is now and I won't be rebuilding it. It has the advantage that if I need to I can step on and even walk on the track without worrying about hurting it. I need to expand the layout. I was looking at alternatives due to cost but everything else has gone up in price equally so the cost of the concrete is relative. I mix and pour all of my concrete in the wheel barrow (no mixer). With a mixer you have to get the bag of ready mix up into the mixer. Easier to just throw a bag in the wheel barrow and mix it. With the train layout, sidewalks, walls, and other concrete projects, I have probably gone thru 900 bags of ready mix concrete so far. I quite hauling it myself, easier to have Home Depo deliver 4 or 5 pallets at a time and just keep it covered unyil I need it.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys, I have quite a bit of experience pouring concrete, but not with Large scale RR, so thanks for help with this.

Johnny
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
7,217 Posts
Posted By johnnyboy on 02/09/2008 11:33 AM
Pete,
The reinforced mortar comes from Jack Verducci 'How to Design and Build your Garden Railroad'. I hope I cite this right and don't get in trouble but pg 40 states

"Drive the rebar into the ground in the same way you would install a grade stake. Next, form a piece of rebar to the the track curvature. Wire the rebar together, forming a spine under the track. Next, mix a batch of mortar and spread it over the rebar to form a roadbed. When the mortar has cured,the rebar will lock the roadbed together."


Aha - Jack lives in sunny California, if I'm not mistaken.  Hence he can get away with driving rebar into the ground.  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif

In my area, where we get solid frost for 3 months and hot sun for 3 months, (in between it varies randomly,) there would be a problem with frost heaves and expansion/contraction.:mad:

I let my track 'float' on top of the roadbed.  As I didn't need track power, I used ordinary n/s rail joiners between lengths of rail, and I never had a joint problem or misalignment due to heat or cold.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
189 Posts
When I begin with my newest Garden railroad I also will be using Martys method for the pain areas of the railroad....possibly all of it....it all depends really...I have a VERY soggy area where the railroad will be going thru so i need to make sure movement is at a minimum. This is probaly going to require a small steel mill worth of rebar but so be it!!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
It depends on were you live. If you have to deal with snow, you may want to go with something stronger than mortar. As for me, I use a mixture of quik-crete mortar and chicken grit, You can get the grit at a feed store. I mix it in a five gallon bucket with 4 parts grit to one part mortar. Once I get the track how I want it, I use the hose to water in down. Once it dries, it makes a very realistic looking roadbed that is pretty durable.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
4,872 Posts
You do have to remember that roadbed and ballast are two different things. (in modeling) Even the real RRs have to "dress up" its ballast from time to time. But the sub roadbed needs to be stable. With or without the track attached to it.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
434 Posts
I followed Martys way with concrete 2 years ago and have had no problems, I live on the south side of Chicago so we get lots of snow and cold weather. My problem is I can never stop expanding my RR :D

tom h
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
5,723 Posts
I lay my track as the real RR due.You don't see them using concret for road bed just a good sold packing of dirt and what ever else they had.  Then used ballast to surface and line.  Of course here in the south we usally do not have the severe cold temps which in the north later turns into frost heaves when the weather gets warmer.  This also is a problem even on the ! to 1 RR.  But hat you have a RR and its always requires maintence of some sort.  Its to be expected.  Being a track person I prefer laying my RR as close to proto type as possible.  Later RJD
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
5,870 Posts
Ok Here is part of my Concrete road bed.










After that it looked like this












Then it became this.    The orginal  concrete roadbed  remained un changed.  It is still the same and is about  4 years old














 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
5,578 Posts
Modern Railroads are experimenting with building new trackage using methods quite similar to todays Garden Railroad.  Trenching deep, then packing clay into it, then pooring either concrete or asphalt or asphalt over concrete, then a layer of clay, with the normal ballast that the ties float in. Very rigid sub-bed with a layer of ballast to cushion the track and allow thermal expansion and to absorb vibration.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top