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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I'd maybe show you what I'm doing to get around a problem I have.

For a while now I have been having the odd derailment on my double crossover on my outdoor ground level layout.
The crossover is about 6 feet long and is a maintenance hog.

The track gets uneven because of weather and crud (sand /dirt /stones... you name it) gets between the switch points, frogs causing a wheel to lift and before you know it a car is off the rails. This occurs of course only when visitors are watching.


Anyway, I wanted something that I could lift out and remove over winter and also be able to easily clean periodically should the need arise. Having visited an outdoor club layout I noticed they mount their switches on a piece of plywood to stabilize the movement and I thought this was a good idea.
I bought a 4’x4’ ½ inch piece of plywood, which I cut into 2 2x4 sized strips and spliced them together end to end from the underside (glued and screwed) to make a single 2x8 length of platform. I then cut 1 foot off each end making the final size 2’x6’. The actual crossover is about 20 inches wide by 68 inches long.
The 2 1'x2' pieces leftover from each end will be used for two individual switches elsewhere on the RR. I had thought about using ¾ inch plywood but the weight would make the 2'x6' size just too heavy to lug around.

I then painted the 2' x 6' with some exterior black paint I had left over from my fence and I also painted the 2 1'x2''s and the results are pictured below. I may yet trim the wood up a bit more but I'll see how this works first.

All I have to do now is change the joiners to Split Jaw rail clamps and screw the track into the wood bases and fit into the layout ...blend them in with some ballast and hopefully I'll have reduced my maintence.

All in all it was a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon in my garage

Gary









 

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Pretty cool.

Yes, points can be a headache. Also, ballast gets stuck between the rail and the guard.
 

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I would be afraid of that plywood warping and coming apart due to water damage. I would suggest Hardi-Backer board. You can get it at your local Home Depot or Lowes. It is about 1/4" thick. It is a cement product with lots of strength and waterproof.

p.s. I just noticed the bucket in your photo. Is that a "ServiceMaster" bucket? My father had a ServiceMaster franchise here in Fort Collins, CO for years. I am very familiar with it.
 

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At work we have had some problems with AC plywood that our customers have left out all summer on the ground in the Midwest de-laminating and warping. I spent some time talking to the distributors and they recommended using 2 sided MDO ply and sealing the edges very well with a penetrating waterproofer. MDO is an exterior sign product and the faces are waterproof and the cores are better than standard ply. Many lumber yards carry it and if you can find it in the shop grade the price is reasonable.It is lighter and stronger than the concrete board. We solved our customers problem by making his replacement parts from steel diamond plate.


Phillip
 

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For my turnouts. I cut pieces of 2" x 8" a little longer than the turnouts (about 3-4 ties into the next piece of track). I then totally coated these with roofing tar. I put a piece of roofing paper on top with the tiny stones that match my grey ballast. The turnouts are then screwed down to the board with brass screws. This way, I can ballast lightly around the turnouts, and it still looks about the same. The tar keeps the wood from rotting and these have been in the ground watered 2-3 times daily for 11+ years with no problems.
 

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I've had some of the hardi-backer board down for a couple of years, under some switches. Holding up fine. Even the MDO board will fail. Some thing that would be good would be some neat sign stuff that is double aluminum sheets that have a honeycomb plastic layer in between, it would be real good, great also for the top board of elevated lines. I suggested it to Ron Brown(Steam in the Garden) and he used it for his elevated layout and really likes it.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Posted By Del Tapparo on 10/21/2008 10:15 AM
I would be afraid of that plywood warping and coming apart due to water damage. I would suggest Hardi-Backer board. You can get it at your local Home Depot or Lowes. It is about 1/4" thick. It is a cement product with lots of strength and waterproof.

p.s. I just noticed the bucket in your photo. Is that a "ServiceMaster" bucket? My father had a ServiceMaster franchise here in Fort Collins, CO for years. I am very familiar with it.





Hi Del, I have some concern as well regarding warping but thought I'd give the plywood a try first. I'll be lifting the section out over the winter anyway so that will help. I am considering drill some holes in key areas where it looks like water may accumulate so time will tell.

I wanted to get it back in the ground today to set it up but... if you can believe...we had an early shot of wet snow up here today...about an inch. No doubt it will melt but it came as a surprise and I haven't even finished raking my leaves!

Your right...the bucket is indeed a ServiceMaster... I've had it for several years courtesy a former neighbor that worked for them. They've been around for years.

Gary
 
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