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Well it's taken some time and I'm finally at the stage where I'm about to commence building my new garden railway. I remember seeing an article in GR about using PVC conduit as trackbed. This appeals to me as it will certainly be cheaper, easier and I like the idea of having a full scale model of the trackplan prior to building. Problem is I can't find the article which describes the method of installing the track. Can someone please help?
 

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At the risk of offending a few of my fellow garden railroaders in the area that came up with this idea, I never have, and still don't "get it". I can see no advantages and only much more work to install and maintain track that could have easily been done free floating in ballast. I have seen it done on several different layouts now. Sorry ... just my opinion. If it works for you, that's great.
 

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It was a series by Kevin Strong in 2006.

Del, I have wondered the same myself, the only thing I see is that it does keep stuff "together".

The P-T wood roadbed we tried in the 1980s did not work, I do know that for sure!
 
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Yep, I've done it...it works GREAT to hold all in place. I investigated all options and could never decide on method...Kevin did the story and I follow suit...Glad I did! I am the proud Daddy of 2 boys (5 and 3) and they stomp all-over everything...the track stays where it's supposed to. Extra work...not for me, it prevents extra maint.... holding track in place-even when the rain washes out all the ballast! For me it was the best choice and I'm really glad I chose the method!

Here is a link to my build log...if you have more questions please let me know!
http://www.largescalecentral.com/LSCForums/viewtopic.php?id=6875

cale
 

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I use the electrical conduit too. I use it because it's was cheap and fast to put in. 10' piece is $1.10 at Home Depot or Lowes. Takes a couple of minutes to put in per 10' :) It's is very tough stuff but will bend to 8' diameter curve (have not tried less). It helped level out my track and also helps support it. With out it I think the track would have some ups and downs. If you will be stepping around it a lot or have kids or pets you can also screw the track to the conduit so in case it accidentally gets kicked it will stay in place.



I'd use the same method again. I've heard of folks using 3 together in sort of a V shape. I've also used 2 as sort of a quick and cheap ladder system, with the rebar acting as a level guage. Just zip tie them together.
 

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To answer Del's question, the PVC is merely a reinforcement. It keeps the track firmly attached to the ground so when dogs, kids, garden hoses, one's own feet, etc. bump it, it stays put. Structurally, the PVC is too flexible to give any kind of serious vertical support to the track; you're still relying on the ballast for that. If you're building in an environment where the potential for errant foot syndrome is minimized (raised planter box, or no kids/dogs), floating the track is a very simple way of doing business. But if your railroad is sharing space with larger dogs, small children, or if you're just ordinarily clumsy, having that simple anchor to keep the track where its supposed to be saves a TON of work replacing bent rails.

Having built railroads using both methods (floating and anchored on PVC) I can say that both require springtime maintenance including a bit of leveling and reballasting. That aspect is really a wash in my experience. But having tripped over a bridge once myself, and watching the various 2 and 4-legged inhabitants of my back yard interact with the railroad, I know the little bit of extra work at the beginning has already paid off.

Besides, the PVC pipe in itself is a great way to simply lay out your curves. You'll be hard-pressed to find a simpler method that gives you smooth curves with even transitions (which is--incidentally--how this method came about.)

BTW, the laying out of the pipe was specifically covered in the October 2006 issue. The series started in June 2006, and ended in Feb. 2007. It's also available for download--at a cost--from GR's web site. (I get nothing from the download sales, so...)

Later,

K
 

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Let me say this about that, I read Kevin's article and it made sense. Look at the choises you have for ground level road bed, I did and used Kevin's method. It is a **** of a lot easier to set grade I drove Rebar every 2' and secured the track. I am using LLagas creek code 250 aluminum ( yes I am Battery powered and R/C) believe me it works. I finished the first loop Sunday night came home tonight and there were traces of my 2 dogs roaming the track system. No damage. To each their own it works for me. Thanks Kevin.
http://drrail.blogspot.com/
 

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I've also used it and found it great for all the mentioned reasons. I'm a noobie so don't have much experience of other roadbed types to compare it with.

One rider I found is that it wasn't very good when using sectional track. The nice smooth transitions the conduit sets up doesn't match the prebent stuff and quickly becomes a pain.

OTOH, a TrainLi and 5' straights or similar works really well. :D

Cheers
Neil
 

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I just relaid the original section of my railroad ( 10 years old ) using Kevin's method. It took 3 days only because I wasn't working with virgin dirt. It took awhile to get all the roots, etc. out of the way. But, I'm VERY pleased. Since this section is the oldest and most established, it's the hardest to get to. Now the curves are very subtle and there are no more upidy-downy glitches. I was running trains over it within a couple of hours. Thanks Kevin.

Tom Rey
 

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Kevin,
I remember your article, and I'm glad everything is holding up. My concern at the time was that expansion and contraction would make the conduit twist on the curves, rolling the conduit with it. Is this the maintenance you were talking about?
I had no idea that many others have used it.

Thanks,
Matt
 
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