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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have any tips for how they did their roadbed? What works the best for you and why? Do you attach your track to your roadbed and if so, how? How do you deal with track expansion and retraction? Do you have any suggestions on keeping your track straight and even? How is the best way to produce grades? Any tools you suggest for making the job easier? Do you know of any good links for creating a roadbed and laying track? Thanks once again in advance for any and all info guys! MLS = #1!

-Will
 

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do a search, lots of threads on it with photos.
 

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There are a lot of ways to lay track. In your part of the country you do have a lot of temp changes I f one knows the rules and is familiar with track laying procedures You can lay your track free floating as the real Railroads do. My track is all free floating with no problems and is not screwed down and I leave the screws (if your using AC track) in place. they act as rail anchors. Make sure you lay when warm verses cold. Rail expands and contracts with temp changes, Brass rail more than SS track. If you lay your track in the hottest time of the year you will have less problems with the track trying to sun kink or buckle. Use rail clamps to help restrain rail movement for summer and winter movement. In saver heat conditions one may need to use expansion joints. i have not had to do this as yet here in Ga.

You will get a lot of different ways for doing track work from the folks here so just absorb all the answers and go from there. Later RJD
 

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To best answer Will's Q we need more info.
how much track you talking about?
What state?
How much $$ do you want to spend?
How long will the RR be in place?
Where was you born?
etc?
 

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Posted By NTCGRR on 12/20/2008 5:18 PM
To best answer Will's Q we need more info.
how much track you talking about?
What state?
How much $$ do you want to spend?
How long will the RR be in place?
Where was you born?





Marty forgot to add - What's your sign?


see my recent threads on ladder support -

http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/9/postid/59071/view/topic/Default.aspx


http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/9/postid/67108/view/topic/Default.aspx

-Brian
 

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Most important of all, what's your favorite beverage....


My outdoor track will be all elevated at least 40" off the ground.
 

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Will
As you can already see from the replies there are many different answers to your question, and what will suit you and your situation depends on so many variables.
What type of land do you have, and how much will it move due to tree roots, frost or moisture effects

Is the land sloping or flat
Do you want a raised railroad, a ground based railroad, or a mixture of both

Do you want the railroad to be landscaped into your garden or stand out from it.
Do you want to landscape the garden to give it a new look, fitting the railroad into the new design

If you want ground level track, what is the probability of it being dislodged by clumsy folk like me
How much space is available
Do you intend running high speed mainline services or slower narrow gauge trains


In my case I wanted to re-landscale a flat garden to give multiple levels and have some of the track at ground level. I opted for concrete foundations and building blocks (I think you call them cinder blocks in North America). The track is then bent to the curves I need and screwed to the blocks. This allows for the fact that my land is clay based which swell and shinks with moisture content (I do not have any problems with frost movement) and prevents me disturbing the track if walked on. Some of it has been in place for 11 years now with no signs of alignment or level problems.


In the past I set out the grades while laying the blocks using a spirit level with a wooden wedge under it to give me 1 in 50 (2%). In the latest changes, I have used a digital inclinometer I bought on Ebay. This makes it easy to set out any grade that I want.

Once the blockwork is complete and track laid I then cover the blocks either with raised gardens or with stone.


The advice about track laying in warmer weather is very sound, and makes it much more comfortable.

My web site has pictures of the solutions I have adopted www.sdfr.info I would also add that these solutions suit me and my situation and are probably unsuitable for folks with priorities different to my own. The advice I received when I started out was to talk to as many people as possible and see many different garden railway solutions before starting to build. This, in my opinion, is still the best advice available.


Best wishes and seasons greetings
 

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As Marty has pointed out, there have been many past threads describing the various methods ... and the method chosen depends on lots of variables (as well as a goodly dose of personal prejudice).

A few factors which influenced my own decision (and other members of the Ottawa Valley Garden Railway Society www.ovgrs.org ) included:

1) a desire to have elevated trackage even if it leads to terraced gardens ... in order to better enjoy prototypical ops sessions as well as make construction/maintenance more comfortable
2) there is serious frost heave here - the frost line is 42 inches and the railroad will sit under snow from mid November through early April
3) maintenance of trackwork is a serious issue - the most trouble method of keeping track smooth enough to operate derailment free is the goal
4) battery power or live steam will be in use so no concerns for electrical continuity need be entertained

The end result was a solid roadbed built either via the ladder construction or pt 2x6. This solid base is elevated on pt 4x4 posts set in deck blocks on 4 to 6 foot centres. My track is all Llagas Creek code 215 aluminum flextrack - it is the best looking and the cheapest of all the available commercial track. It is easily cut with flush cutting pliers and can be readily hand bent to accept any radius - no special tools are needed. I attach it to the solid roadbed by spiking every twelfth tie through the ends with brown aluminum siding nails. The spiking through the ends prevents the ties from twisting when the rail moves due to any temp changes.

I leave very small gaps between each length of rail but since I lay track in summer and the railroad is generally shaded, heat expansion is not a huge problem. More common is cold contraction during the winter when the temp can sit below 0F for seemingly weeks on end. I have had at least one joint to be repaired each spring where the rail has contracted far enough to pull out of the rail joiner.

You asked about grades. i try to keep them to 1.5% or less for live steam operation. Normal grades are easily built just by making the 4x4 posts the desired height and allowing the pt 2x5 to accept a slight bend.

This particular approach yields very smooth trackwork that does not require maintenance to keep it laterally level. It is a bit more work and expense initially to raise the roadbed but that pays huge dividends saving my back and knees ... plus I now do virtually no track maintenance.

I would be the first to agree that for those who need track power, maintaining electrical continuity means a somewhat different approach. And those who want ground level track that might be walked on also have different constraints. In summary, think through what you want as a final product and factor in how much maintenance you want to do to keep trains running without derailment ... then plan accordingly.

Regards ... Doug
 

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I started of with a trench 3 inches deep with compacted ballast the then track on top. Then I ballasted the track. I used a mixture of Portland Cement and Ballast. After the track was level I wet the ballast mixture and let it harden.

Then I went to a "Ladder system" made of steel. I then put some re bar down the middle of the void and then filled the void with concrete. I backfilled the sides to the top of the concrete. That is about the way I do it today except I now use 2 inch x 1/8 flat steel as a form since It bends to make curves.

Also look at home depot. There is a 2.5 inch x 1/4 x10 ft fiber board that makes great re useable forms. It is light tan and looks like masonite except it is smooth on both sides. It is not the expantion joint stuff.

I then take a roto hammer drill and drill a 1/4 inch hole about every 2 feet. I inserte a plactic anchor. ( you can buy them by the box at Home Depot. Some are red some are blue.) Then I take a Piece of wire. ( The kind of wire you use to tie re bar together.) and make a loop around the screw. I insert the screw into the anchor. I then bend the wire over the two ajoining ties. I then use the ballast mixture as mentioned above and ballast the track.

One benefit of the concrete method is since you leveled the concrete side to side when you poured it you never have to worry about track being out of level again.

Do a search Marty has posted a indepth thread on how he does it. It is simalar to the way I do it.

One other suggestion. Look into a Train Li bender ( They support a forum here on MLS) The bender allows you to lay track any way you want. You are not comfinded to the standard curves. Inface you can buy any track curved or straight and bend it to your needs. So when you see a great bargin on track you can scoff it up.
 

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Posted By Engineercub on 12/20/2008 2:52 PM
Does anyone have any tips for how they did their roadbed? What works the best for you and why? Do you attach your track to your roadbed and if so, how? How do you deal with track expansion and retraction? Do you have any suggestions on keeping your track straight and even? How is the best way to produce grades? Any tools you suggest for making the job easier? Do you know of any good links for creating a roadbed and laying track? Thanks once again in advance for any and all info guys! MLS = #1!

-Will



Will it all depends on what you want to do and what kind of soil you have and so many other things. Here in Houston the soil is mostly "black gumbo" with no bottom. What I found works best here is this pvc roadbed sold by Split Jaw. Here is the link. http://www.gardenrailwayproducts.com/

It's expensive, but works great. You can conserve some by using 1x4 hardi plank for the straight sections as long as it is laying flat on the ground. Hardi plank is brittle and will eventually break under pressure. It rains here all the time and is humid so anything made of wood quickly rots away. I use decomposed granit efor the ballast. We have no crusher fines or anything like that here. There are people that just lay the track in the ballast, but they use sectional track. Flex track needs to be fastened down to something. Personally I use Llagas Creek code 250 and 215 track and switches.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok now I'll answer all these questions lol. It is about 260 feet of track (give or take). I live in Tennessee where the temperature ranges from 10-90 degrees depending on the season. I will spend as much money as need be, otherwise I would have just suck with N scale ;-) The railroad will be a permanent part of my property. I was born in Tennessee but raised in Pennsylvania. My astrological sign is Cancer on the cusp of Gemini. My favorite beverage is Pepsi on the rocks. The land is just a grassy back yard but hard clay under the grass. There are no tree roots to worry about. The land is generally flat. Yes I am going to raise it about 3 feet off the ground for easier viewing. It will have a 1% grade and rise a total of 13 inches for bridge/double stack clearance. The railroad will be landscaped. Available space is 75 x 80 feet. I intend on running high speed trains including BigBoy and double stacks. I am also trying to build the layout to accomodate all types of G scale (1:29 , 1:32 , 1:20.3 , etc.) so visitors can run whatever they've got on the layout without having to worry about leaks at the seam. The track will be Stainless Steel Aristo with USA ties and feeders. Split Jaw rail clamps are my chosen method for joints. Which does bring up another question... If I were to leave a small gap when i tighten the rail clamps, leaving one side slightly loose, would it accomodate expansion and retraction? Someone wrote a thread on expansion and said with Stainless Steel it was just over an inch per 100 feet of track. I'm not sure about that one but it seems like it would work. And as always, thanks for the help guys ^^

-Will

p.s. - If I missed any of your questions .let me know ;-P
 
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