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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have been accumulating some large scale equipment trying to model the sp narrow gauge over the past few years and am looking to build a small layout so that I can run the equipment without the hassle of setting up and tearing down the tracks every time. Problem is that I live in a condo and the layout must go in my 12.5' x 17.5' concrete back porch. I've set up the layout, basically a R3 loop around the perimeter of the porch with a couple sidings to change consists, several times on the porch but I am not pleased by the look of the track just sitting on the concrete. In addition, our dog uses the yard for his business and I fear track on the ground will become a target if left out.

I have been looking into elevating the track for aesthetic and sanitary reasons. Does anyone have experience building an elevated roadbed on a concrete porch? I have looked at the articles regarding the plastic lumber "ladder" type roadbed, but most entail driving posts into the ground for support. Has anyone done something similar with a stand type support for use on hard ground? I see a small portion of a layout on a concrete driveway in this thread, http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/9/tpage/1/view/Topic/postid/59362/Default.aspx. I am also open to suggestions of totally different methods of supporting the track.

Also, I would like to make a section of the layout removable to allow visitors to access the patio. I was thinking of a lift out bridge, possibly securing the track in place with split jaw rail clamps when the bridge is in place. Does anyone have experience with or suggestions regarding this idea?

Thanks for any advice, I am just trying to get something set up as the trains are just gathering dust on top of shelves.

Steve,
Placentia, CA
 

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What you need is a carpenter. I'll be right over. On second thought, you live alittle too far to make it profitable. It would be nice if you could build some sort of a self supporting trestle, in modular form. This way each section would be structurally sound, and stand upright on its own without the need for in ground spikes or what have you, but when all the sections are joined they would be even more ridgid. You could join the sections by using pins or maybe even small "C" clamps. The trestle sections don't have to be the spindly kind, they can be a series of arches, made from wood. Medex is an exterior type of MDF ( medium density fiberboard ). It holds up extremely well outdoors, can be cut easily, glued and screwed together easily. The only thing to remember when joining any type of MDF with screws into the edge of the material is to predrill a clearance hole in the first piece, and a pilot hole in the second piece. If I was able to draw a sketch on this computer, I would post it here. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. Alas, I cannot. Being a former structural draftsman I can make a drawing for you and mail it if you would like.
 

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Steve, perhaps you could use a variation of my construction methods; do you have a railing of any sort around your porch
I started construction by partially supporting the roadbed from our existing chain-link fence:





The roadbed is HDPE decking laid flat, supported underneath by perforated angle iron: in the above 2 photos, U-bolts (not visible in those pictures) support one side of the roadbed off the vertical posts of the chain link fence. The other side was supported on pressure-treated 2 X 4's bridging the hedges; the far end of the 2 X 4's are supported by steel U-channel garden stakes (4 feet long), driven 2 feet into the ground. In your situation, I would substitute vertical supports of pressure-treated 2 X 4. On the initial construction in the above photos, I used angle iron ONLY on the fence side of the HDPE decking (at least on the long straight tangent). On some stretches where I couldn't easily support off the fence, here's how I did it...







The "cross pieces" between the parallel angle iron sections are short pieces of 2 X 4 pressure-treat. Curves are made by cutting notches in one side of the angle iron with a Dremel, then bending it...






This method permits additions relatively easily
- the 2 photos above were the start of construction of my mining branch, which was added to the already-built mainline. Here's that same area after the framing was complete:



...& after adding ballast
(supported by weedblock cloth added under the track)..



- 2 bridges provide lawnmower access inside the curves; in your case, you might want to hinge a bridge, similar to what I did with this LGB through-truss
...







Hope that gives you a few ideas to start with...
Tom
 

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Why not mount the ladder roadbed on top of an inverted 'T' made out of wood? 1x3s should be enough, 2x4s are overkill but you can often mooch short pieces for free at construction sites. Make the feet about a foot long for a single track, and build it in about 6 foot bolt together sections so it can be dismantled if the neighbors whine too much....
 

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Steve,
How about the concrete support pads for decks. They're made to hold 4x4's in upright position and just sit on the surface. Expense may be an issue.
Dave
 

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Take a look at Raymond's web site and how he built his ramp. There are a series of photos. PVC pipe c/w adaptors. Topside build the ladder as per forum specs... PVC stilts down to either Ray's design or for ballasting purposes anchor each PVC stilt into a large ice cream container filled with concrete.

www.rayman4449.dynip.com



gg
 

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I used shelf brackets attached to the roof support posts and will later replace the shelving board with a trestle. It allows trains to run. The back door is about 28 inches above the deck and the track crosses a landing to give a raised track.
Bob W
 

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Well I assume that your dog is doing his business in the grass and not on the concrete and are worried about him messing up the track. I had a dog with my first garden railroad, and he did not seem to zero in on track for his business. Any dog mess on the track could be easily cleaned off with a wet broom. What would be hard on the track would be where he was running back and forth along the fence potentially tromping on the track. I just made sure not to put my track in his established pathway.

Found alot more trouble one year when hundreds of aphids decided to use the top of my rail for their highway. Thousands of the bugs where crushed by my battery powered locos and they would start bumping down the rails!

Do you have a fenced in yard? Would your neighbors object to putting track in the grassy area? Would my Flexible spine system work for you?

http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/9/tpage/1/view/topic/postid/59569/Default.aspx#59569



Terl
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hello,

Thank you to all that replied. All the replies contained good ideas that I will incorporate into my final design. I went to 3 Home Depots yesterday to buy the necessary materials to build a test section of the roadbed and support system. Hopefully I can find a single store with all components if this is what I go with. Here is what I cam up with:

1. The beams/stringers of the "ladder" are comprised of 1x2 (3/4"x1-1/2") Tuf-Board PVC Board that comes in 8ft lengths @ $4.95 a piece.
2. The rungs/spacer blocks of the ladder are 2x2 (1-1/2"x1-1/2") vinyl trim plank cut to a width of approx 1-7/8" to correspond with the outside diameter of the pipe. 12ft @ $12.97 a pop. The 1-1/2" dimension is more than the 1" standard spacer block size and smaller than the 2" spacer block at joints as described at http://www.btcomm.com/trains/primer/roadbed/ladder1.htm, but we'll see how it works.
3. The base of the stand is a 3" inside fit abs flange ($3.10) that happens to accept a 1-1/2" x 2" adapter (the kind designed to fit over the outside of both the 1-1/2" and 2" pipe) perfectly. A section of 1-1/2" ABS pipe, 24" for my test simply because it came pre-cut, is then installed in the other end of the adapter. Up to this point I just copied the method at Raymond's site at http://www.rayman4449.dynip.com/Basement_Ramp_Rebuild_2006.htm. He capped his pipe and screwed it to the bottom of the roadbed. I simply slid the pipe up thru the ladder and screwed it in place.

Is PVC significantly better than ABS in this application? Just wonder if its worth digging around for the comprable PVC components. Other things I am going to consider are putting some sort of rubber pad on the bottom of the flange for stability and putting some sort of edging like Tom Lapointe has on his layout to hopefully keep errant trains from plunging to their destruction and to allow placement of weed cloth and ballast (that looks good).


Overview of my test section.


Closeup of the ladder roadbed.


Closeup of the base.

Thanks for the info and I'll keep the board posted if anyone is interested.
 

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. Thats an excellent idea! Easy to work with aprts and non rusting.
 

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That looks like it might be a bit wobbly. You might want to cut it down a foot or so, and put some weight (sand?) in the bottom 6" or so of the pipe.
 

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VERY nice design.

Have you considered filling the lower 1/3'rd of the post with cement to provide stability and lower center of gravity?

gg
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The test section is a bit wobbly as you guessed. I hope that as the ladder is extended and more legs are installed the system becomes more stable. I will also test out weighing down the base with concrete, sand, etc as suggested and will see about getting some longer screws to travel thru the spacer block into the pipe to provide 3 points of contact.

I can lower the roadbed slightly, but it needs to be high enough to travel over the AC unit and water spicket (about 23").
 

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Steve - you could simply make a tee at the bottom of each support post - use PVC tee with two short pieces out either side and endcaps. That will improve stability, and you could use all white PVC - might look a bit "cleaner" with less visual bulk (black is very heavy looking against the light concrete). If you make the railroad in sections - you can use railclamps to connect sections together. Maybe you might construct it based on the sectional methods used by the large scale model railroad clubs for their "portable" event displays. I think some have standardized on 2 ft x 4ft sections for double track; you could make your sections narrower if desired for a single track line plus some buildings etc. This permits you to include some scenery yet retain the ability to knock it down relatively quickly if you need the porch for entertaining.
Al
 

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Posted By Al McEvoy on 02/14/2009 8:39 AM
Steve - you could simply make a tee at the bottom of each support post - use PVC tee with two short pieces out either side and endcaps. That will improve stability, and you could use all white PVC - might look a bit "cleaner" with less visual bulk (black is very heavy looking against the light concrete). If you make the railroad in sections - you can use railclamps to connect sections together. Maybe you might construct it based on the sectional methods used by the large scale model railroad clubs for their "portable" event displays. I think some have standardized on 2 ft x 4ft sections for double track; you could make your sections narrower if desired for a single track line plus some buildings etc. This permits you to include some scenery yet retain the ability to knock it down relatively quickly if you need the porch for entertaining.
Al


"need the porch for entertaining"???? Now just what could be more "entertaining" than running trains?


I agree with the comments to make the base wider. Curves can be self stabilizing if tight enough and can support some short straight sections, but a double-footed stand should exist at least every other place (make the sections a three legged table with each section reversed... 2-legs, 1-leg, 2-legs, 1-leg, etc.). Doesn't have to be real wide, but I think around 18 to 20 inches between the legs on one end and 4-ft to the single leg on the other end would work well.

I also will stress again to make the top wider! I made my elevated structure just wide enough for the track and found that it is a LONG way to the ground for a train to fall... and mine lands on relatively soft grass and dirt, not concrete! Well, actually the "fall" does not harm the train (though it does do some damage to the heart and stomach of the owner of the equipment... not to mention the ego)... it is the abrupt interruption of the fall that is so hard on the equipment.

I do like the design of the support system, though. I have to go look at the cost of the piece parts. Wonder if you can get a discount if you buy those adapters and flanges in bulk?
 

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Semper.... repost your video for effect... Message will be received. This is a concrete floor here !
 

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Jeeze! I about had a coronary watching that and it's not even my loco!

Looks like it went straight through the switch on it's original heading.

Did the pilot lift off the rails? Did you guys ever figure out why it happened?

Regards, Greg
 

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For "FUN" I used to read old Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and Federal Railway Administration (FRA) reports of railroad accidents. They are quite fascinating and informative. I also always found them to be VERY candid in what they reported. If someone said something stupid, it got reported verbatim; right, wrong or indifferent! So when this happened I just had to generate a "realistic" report of the accident. See below. There is FACTUAL information in this report, but YOU have to sift through the chaff to get it!)

I apoligize that it doesn't really fit this thread, but you asked the question here... I have reported it in MLS once before along with a response from "Corporate HQ", as well as a "E-rag" called "Transportation Weakly" that my son generated about it (and the consequent response from Corporate CEO).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The ICC and the FRA combined to investigate the accident on the CMBY RY. (In this instance, the ICC is the Incognito Croneys Club and the FRA is the Fabricated Research Association.)

The accident investigation report follows:

=====================================

In testimony gathered by the investigation team and in inspection of the disaster site:

It was determined that the switch was placed in the "Mainline" position while the rolling stock was transferred from the storage box to the elevated track so they could be rolled past the siding where the engine would be serviced.

The locomotive was then placed directly on the siding and, in so doing, bypassed the switch.

The Yardman testified that he played with the switch after that, checking that it worked properly, but he said he didn't remember what position he left it in. He also stated; "That dumb Engineer that works for this hic outfit should'a looked at the switch before he took off like a bat out'a Hades!"

The Engineer said his job was to run the engine and the Conductor had told him to pull forward and he was just doing what he was told.

The Conductor said that switches are the responsibility of the Head Brakeman in this instance. He attempted to cite some obscure rule numbers, but since the rules are not numbered, his citations were totally meaningless.

The Head Brakeman said his view of the switch was blocked by the grin on the CEO's face.

The Rear Brakeman said he was asleep in the caboose and then asked, "Why'd you call me in here; was there an accident?"

The Roundhouse foreman refused to testify as he thought that everything he said would be held against him if it weren't for the fact that anything he said would be censored from the report anyway. (Or, at least, that is the censored version of what it is thought he meant.)

The Fireman on the Locomotive said, "I was too busy tasting, I mean, testing, the alcohol fuel to have noticed anything. (Hic!)"

The board of inquiry has determined that flogging of the individuals involved is out of the question as that is a term used to describe beatings associated with maritime operations, not railroads.
When the Yardman was threatened with dismissal for his part in this disaster he stated that he is so well liked by the staff that if he went, the entire workforce (management and stockholder included) would definitely go with him. Fearing the loss of the railway, management determined that all employees either could have their salaries doubled or could go have supper with the visiting dignitaries. (Much to the stockholder's delight, they all chose the latter.)

Several suggestions for preventing this type of disaster have been put forward.

1) Beating the operating crew about the head and shoulders with a baseball bat was rejected as it being too likely that pieces breaking off the bat might hit the Locomotive and mar its finish.

2) Lining the Eyeshudmowsoon Jungle below the elevated track with feather pillows was rejected by the laundry of the CMBY RY Grand Central Tool-Shed, Bunkhouse and Beanery as being too much work to wash them. Also, the Maintenance of Way Foreman said he refused to spend the time required to put them out and take them up on each operating day.

3) Lowering the track was ruled out as the construction crew had done too much work making the track this high, and height was what was wanted so I don't have to bend over to play with the train.

4) Keeping the locomotive in the house to be admired on the mantel was rejected as not being worth it. This thing was meant to run under steam and will be!

5) Deployment of nets below the Elevated Structure is still being considered if an inexpensive method of doing so can be developed.

6) Installation of a barrier along the edges of the Elevated Structure has always been a consideration, but is also expensive and would have to be tall in order to prevent the Locomotive from going over it, but that would then obscure the view of the workings of the Locomotive, thus negating the reason for running it.

7) Adding a side extension to the surface of the Elevated Structure at the critical points (i.e.: Switches) WILL BE done as an interim measure until some other method can be found. This will at least provide a place for a derailed Locomotive or other car to come to a stop before dropping to the ground. The Chief Financial Officer fears that this will provide a place for more track to be laid... an expense he doesn't want.


Semper Vaporo,
Charles T. McCullough,
Founder, President, CEO, CMO, CFO, Engineer, Fireman, Head Brakeman, Rear Brakeman, Foreman of Right-of-way Construction and Track Maintenance, Hostler, Roundhouse crew, Blacksmith, Head of Public Relations, Yardmaster, Switch tender, Sole Stockholder, Disaster Inspector, Dispatcher and Proprietor;
CMBY RY
 

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Semper, you and I should connect ! This is what this forum is all about !!!!

LOL





As CEO and President of the GR&G Rail Road I motion that said report be subject to appeal by the board of this forum for said and apparent discrepancies of the documented report, this under R&R mylargescale section 1, para 2:1.

Reason: Validity of report is singular and results of same inconclusive which may result in parallel incidents on concrete substrates.


Herewith signed:

gg



Seconded:..... _____________________________________________


 
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