I've finally been able to start on a project I've been dreaming about for the past 10 years or so: a walkway/pathway alongside our home, consisting of paving stones set between real mining railroad rails & ties. I've accumulated a decent collection of real 12- & 25-pound rails, 60-inch-wide ties (sleepers), as well as rail joiners, shoulder bolts, and spikes from a 3-foot gauge mining railroad that saw heavy use in the 1920s & 30s:
For anyone interested in viewing the construction progress (it's still a ways from completion), for your viewing pleasure I've set up an online slideshow narrative, so I don't jam up anyone's download times in this thread:
The area under construction now will feature a real functioning switch, recovered from a scrap pile at this abandoned mine. Much of this pathway/walkway is inspired by an 18-inch gauge ride-on railroad in Oregon,which details the construction of working switches (points):
My ties are set on 18-inch centers, which allows 12-inches between the ties, just enough room for the 12-inch square paver stones to set in. I originally wanted to gauge the rails to 18-inches, as this would look a lot better on the 30-inch-wide ties (I cut each 60-inch tie in half to fit; due to the narrow width of the side yard access between my house & wall with plants, 30-inches was all I could fit in), but my lawnmower & other yard implements wouldn't fit on the walkway...SOOOO, I regauged to 24-inches at the last minute, which looks a little funky on 30-inch wide ties. Oh well, it's better than not having it at all!