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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With a train-loving toddler and more time around the house this year, I've started to get back into the hobby. I set up a loop around the house every few weekends and received permission to take over the driveway temporarily, but I'm now looking to set something up that is a little more permanent.

The challenge is that we will be in this house for only 3-4 years before we have to relocate, so I'm looking for a roadbed solution that is relatively quick to install (to maximize the time we have) and relatively easy to remove (unless the next owners happen to be into trains).

I have about 30 x 6 feet available in a raised bed and live in Rhode Island, so temperature and humidity swings are the norm. I'm leaning towards a ladder style roadbed made from PT lumber since it's widely available and I'm comfortable working with wood, but I've read mixed reviews of the method overall, especially from wood vs HDPE, etc., and would hate to spend the next few years fixing issues instead of running trains.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

-Walter
 

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Hi Walter,
Welcome to MLS.
So, did you want to build the railway in a 'modular' style so that it will be removable to transport elsewhere when you move?
You suggest 'relatively easy to remove', but with a view to re-use or just take up?
All the best,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
 

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I've kicked around several ideas when it comes to a temporary G scale railroad, that's one that could be taken up and stored when ever you want. Since I have an HOn3 layout and is pretty much built with 1x4's and form, the type used for insulation and is sold in 4x8' 2" thick sheets (the pink, or blue stuff) at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. I'm thinking this foam could work well. The foam could be cut in strips, say 8" to 10" wide strips and the track could be fixed to it, one sheet would give you close to a 40' run. One advantage is this foam is rather stiff, but it is also light weight which makes handling it very easily done. The foam is easily cut with a hot knife sold at Harbor Freight ($20) and can be glued with Liquid Nail for foam when cutting pieces of foam for the corners, etc. It is totally weather proof and will not hold water, it is paintable, sand able, and cuts with sharp knife. This is just an idea, I have used this type of form in many projects and it's great to work, cut with a hot knife and there is no mess to cleanup.

trainman
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi David - thank you. Good question - I'm more concerned about being able to take it up at the end of our 3-4 years here. If it's possible/economical to transport and reuse, that's certainly a benefit, but not a requirement.

Trainman - foam is an interesting idea and one that I hadn't thought of. The raised bed is level within a few inches, and the height helps keep the kids/dog from walking on the track (which might test the strength of the foam). It's certainly easy to dispose of when it's time to close up shop. A little paint would both seal and disguise. I'll have to dig more into this. Thanks.
 

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I'm leaning towards a ladder style roadbed made from PT lumber since it's widely available and I'm comfortable working with wood, but I've read mixed reviews of the method overall, especially from wood vs HDPE, etc.,
I have not heard of any problems, other than the usual issues with subsidence of the supports, and wood deteriorating over time. The layouts I am familiar with have 'plastic' (HDPE?) and are painted, and they have been fine for 5+ years to my knowledge. What have you heard?

If you are going to move in 3-4 years, I don't see a problem.
 

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Trainman,
Some years ago I saw someones build of 'portable sections' using foam.
They had sandwiched the foam with door skins, or thin plywood, and it made for a remarkably rigid section of about 6 or 8 foot, if I remember.
They were never used, but I guess with the plywood exterior it meant that the track could be attached using screws, whereas the foam would probably not be as secure.
Cheers,
David Leech
 

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Walter,

I agree with Pete on the plastic. Our club layout has been down for 12+ years, and as Pete eluded to the biggest issue we deal with is settling (Florida doesn't get much frost heave). Based on the description of the area you have to work with, 30 x 6, I don't see too many Big Boys running on your layout. For portability you might consider a hybrid construction technique. Consider 2 x 4 PT framing and a spline type road bed on top. PT will last a long time IF it is allowed to dry after it gets wet. Keep the main framing up off the ground on short legs. Use the pyramid blocks for decks to support your framing, keeping the PT out of the ground. Screw the legs to the framing so if necessary you can make vertical adjustments. Due to the narrow width you will likely be using 4 foot circles on the ends unless you do a strictly point to point. That tight a radius I would recommend the plastic spline, it can be bent fairly tight if laid in the sun to get warm, the warmer the better. Check this link for a good idea or where I am going with my description, it is base loosely on this layout http://lsc.cvsry.com/POC_Elevated_Benchwork.pdf
 

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My first outdoor railway was very temporary. I graded the layout flat as I could. Then I laid asphalt shingles on the cleared ground, and used the track's own slip joiners to hold it all together. It was very easy to upgrade, just remove the asphalt shingles, regrade, and put more down. That lasted several years, until I wanted to raise a major portion of the layout.
 
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