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Discussion Starter #1
It's been some years since I've been around the forums. An extra child and a move that was a couple of years in process does that to train activity.
Anyway, my last layout was built with a variant of ladder construction and I was pretty happy with it and would use it again but I'm now in mid-Ontario and the ground most definitely freezes. My concern is that frost heave would play havoc with the supports of a ladder road-bed.
Is this a valid concern, if so, how do others deal with it?
Thanks
SteveJ
 

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Steve

I am in the Ottawa Valley and depending on your definition of mid Ontario (north of Lake Superior?), I suspect this is as cold as anywhere. All of my trackwork on the Northland RR has been built either on elevated post and beam or on ladders supported by posts. I have no ground level track so cannot comment on that.

I build on undisturbed compacted soil using deck blocks and 4x4 risers. This is the same support called for in the building code for decks. There has been no trouble with frost heave though each winter I have had some spring repairs for fallen branches due to ice acculation. Last winter's record snows also caused a few problems - this stuff bears some tremendous loads so it can never be built too strong.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Doug
Guess I meant the middle of the populated bit of Ontario. Funny thing that when I was in Vancouver, it always as south as you could be and still be in Canada but we were at the same latitude as Thunder Bay.
What spacing do you use for the deck blocks? I'm imagining having to rent a truck to get enough blocks home for even a modest layout.
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Steve
 

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Steve

I generally set my deck blocks on 4 foor centres for post and beam or ladder construction ... up to six feet if I am using a 2x6 on edge as a stringer. Sag is not good!

By the way, deck blocks are relatively inexpensive (compared to fixing your back after crawling in the dirt working on ground level trackage) BUT they are a tad heavy. I own a truck so I buy a few at a time and just bring them home myself.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Steve

I'm in southern Ontario. I have had some heave problems with a trestle in compacted drainage stone, but a friend in the same area poured concrete. I was expecting to see a mess over time, but he's 5 years in with minimal to no movement.

Robert
 

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find out what your local code is for frost heave for burying deck posts (mine is 42" in the greater detroit area) and then rent one of those handheld pipe pile drivers and drive galvanized pipe down below the frost line. Cut off the excess flush with your ladder system and that should cure your problem.

Don't know where you are in Ontario but there is a fairly large club in the greater London area.
they might be of some help.

Also, don't forget to call your local utilities before you do the work to make sure you don't hit a uried cable or pipe.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm too lazy to dig anymore through the local building code, once was enough, or drive that many posts that deep. I do notice that all the decks around here are built as Doug describes so I think I'll take that approach.
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Steve
 

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i think that is the wisest choice. the few elevated railroads here in the Ottawa area have all been built this way. The thought of setting posts in concrete footings below the frost line (the building code here calls for 54 inches as that is one foot below the frost line) at 4 foot intervals the length of the mainline would drive a man to drink. And that same reasoning is why decks are built on inexpensive deckblocks.

There is just one caveat ... the soil must be undisturbed or it will settle and it must by reasonably well drained or it will always heave.

You will never regret elevating the track ... especially as you get older.

Regards ... Doug
 
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