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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone investigated the use of T-post like used for cattle fence for elevating their ladder style track?
I tried searching the site for T-post and fence post, but none of the results I read addressed using studded T-post like These.

My thought process is to pound them in 3 ish feet to get past my usual frost line. Which is twice as deep as these posts are usually placed for fencing. These posts would be between parallel ladders of the pvc type. The cross member between the ladders would be held to the posts by u bolts. This would allow me to adjust the height should it shift. I would either use single posts between the tracks every 6 feet, or a pair of posts, one on each side.
My switch yard and steaming areas will be built on 4x4s and a deck.

Should I need to reroute, just pull the bolts, pull up stakes, and pound them in the new route. And although more pounding, I can install during winter.

If someone has any feedback on this plan, please let me know. I plan on gathering material this next week. And starting next weekend.

Once the kids go down for the night, I'll finish my layout on scarm and share my plan. Should be a 320 ft main line loop plus a spur for the steam up/staging area next to the garage. I will also have a line that comes from the garage to connect with the layout in there.

I look forward to any of our experienced railroaders to speak their mind.

Tyler
 

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First I wouldn't use T-post, they are hard to work with, one they would be hard to drive into the ground straight, plus they are thick metal and you would have to drill holes the mount the cross brackets, and I think you would get some wobble out of them. I looked at every way to do this and after much deliberation using the chain link corner post 2 5/8" 12' post cut to 4' lengths, one foot in the ground in concrete deep holes 2' deep. I used only one post every 6' and the fence rail brackets that slide on the post and mounted the cross brackets. Yes the cost is going to be higher and you will have to dig those holes, buy concrete, but very sturdy and looks nice.

trainman
 

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I used 4x4 pressure treated, dug 24" down and just filled in. My area is mostly sand so digging was easy. The decking and 2X6, all pressure treated, that join the posts hold every thing steady. Been 13 years now and only had to replace 1 piece of deck planking.
 

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I agree with Trainman that the T posts are not the way to go. I have used them for temporary fencing and the whip at the top of the post, even with 2 feet driven in the ground is more than I would consider acceptable. Trainman comments on using fence pipe for this purpose. I have some questions as his description of his method is only partial. What material is he using for stringers? How is he securing the 'U' clamp to the post so it does not slide on it's own? How is he compensating for ground shift? How is he compensating for rusting out of the pipe filling with rain water with no cover on the top of the pipe? Not short changing his method, just unanswered questions.

Six foot post spacing is likely acceptable with a wood product for stringers (real wood, not TREX or equivalent). From personal club experience, any of the PVC type materials used for stringers will sag at that post spacing. We used four foot spacing and still had sag issues with 1/2 x 1 1/2 double stringers. We used 2" schedule 40 PVC pipe for posts, set in concrete 2 feet deep. The stringers were applied on each side of the post attached with SS sheet metal screws. Every 12" +/- we put spacer blocks between the stringers to maintain spacing and add strength by making the stringers act in unison. We are located in the panhandle of Florida and we still experienced ground shift of the posts. The stringer attachment method proved to be difficult to make minor vertical adjustments. Even at four foot spacing we experienced some sagging in the stringers.

I have developed a method (still untested) that I believe by all engineering logic should improve the issues experienced. My posts will be both 3" and 2" schedule 40 pipe. The 3" will be cut square on the end and buried two feet in the ground (well below frost line). The small area of the cut end of the pipe will give little purchase or vertical ground movement. On top of the 3" pipe will be a modified 3" x 2" reducing coupling. The coupling will have the 2" side of the coupling (2 3/8" ID) drilled out with a hole saw so the 2" pipe can pass completely through the coupling and down in to the 3" pipe. The hub of the 2" coupling will be saw cut perpendicular to the end of the coupling so a SS hose clamp or 'U' bolt can compress the hub about the 2" pipe allowing for easy vertical adjustability. The remaining methodology will be the same 1/2 x 1 1/2 PVC stringers and blocking.

Good luck with your railroad Tyler
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter #5
First I wouldn't use T-post, they are hard to work with, one they would be hard to drive into the ground straight, plus they are thick metal and you would have to drill holes the mount the cross brackets, and I think you would get some wobble out of them. I looked at every way to do this and after much deliberation using the chain link corner post 2 5/8" 12' post cut to 4' lengths, one foot in the ground in concrete deep holes 2' deep. I used only one post every 6' and the fence rail brackets that slide on the post and mounted the cross brackets. Yes the cost is going to be higher and you will have to dig those holes, buy concrete, but very sturdy and looks nice.

trainman
My plan was not to drill through the posts.
I would drill holes in the cross pieces to accept the u bolts. The u bolts would clamp the wood to the post with the numbs on post biting into the wood. Making it vertically adjustable. Loosen bolts, slide up or down, tighten, sip preferred beverage. Finish adjusting track before I finish my first drink.

That was my thinking, other comments have me looking to other post materials.

Thanks for the ideas on how yours went, the cross piece fitted to a slip over pipe with a set screw could do the same thing.

Tyler
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter #6
I used 4x4 pressure treated, dug 24" down and just filled in. My area is mostly sand so digging was easy. The decking and 2X6, all pressure treated, that join the posts hold every thing steady. Been 13 years now and only had to replace 1 piece of deck planking.
I live with similar soil, early digging once I'm through the top 6 inches, getting from 6 inches to 3 feet takes less than a minute with a manual post hole digger.

What's your water table like? Any concerns with ground water contact? At 4 feet I may hit water. 3 in the spring with snow melt. I worry about rotting wood if it is "in water" vs just moisture in the soil.
Contemplating 3 inch pvc for that reason.

Tyler
 

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One thing that I have used T posts for with decent success is for 7-1/2 inch gauge rails. Of course, that's not the subject of this post, but I thought I would point it out...
 

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Tyler, I understand your concern, and your water table is much higher than mine, I've never hit just water. Sounds like PVC is your answer.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter #9
Can anyone tell me if there is a structural difference in cellular core pvc vs solid core pvc pipe when using it for my elevated track?
 

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Absolutely, it's less rigid... For the amount of time invested, and a one time expense, I would not sacrifice strength for a few bucks.

Greg
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter #11
Absolutely, it's less rigid... For the amount of time invested, and a one time expense, I would not sacrifice strength for a few bucks.

Greg
Thanks,
I was looking online and was seeing various price per foot depending on length.
2 five foot solid core pieces is cheaper than one 10 foot cellular core. And the 10 foot solid is 50% more than two 5 footers....

I just wanted it clear which I wanted because I can jockey the length purchased to get the $per foot down.

I'm thinking I'll do lumber decking above ground so I can have more rigid structure and fewer posts. Fewer post= fewer elevation corrections.

What fasteners/ methods do people use to attach 2x6 stringers to 3 inch pvc posts?

Tyler
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter #12
After researching how to attach the lumber to the PVC. I came across railroad ties available at my local Menards. I'm thinking about using them for the elevated railroad I'm planning, posts and stringers. Then just put the track on top of the ties.
Depending on the condition of individual ties, I might run them across a planer to make a true flat surface I can level up.

Anybody know if railroad ties will bow under their own weight if spanned 8 feet. They are treated 7x9 timbers. I imagine they would be pretty good.

Tyler
 

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After researching how to attach the lumber to the PVC. I came across railroad ties available at my local Menards. I'm thinking about using them for the elevated railroad I'm planning, posts and stringers. Then just put the track on top of the ties.
Depending on the condition of individual ties, I might run them across a planer to make a true flat surface I can level up.

Anybody know if railroad ties will bow under their own weight if spanned 8 feet. They are treated 7x9 timbers. I imagine they would be pretty good.

Tyler
Railroad Ties, seriously railroad ties.

trainman
 

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These will be the cheapest and strongest route I think. Unless someone has experience to tell me otherwise.

Tyler
I've never done anything cheap and if I did I got to re-due it later to make things as they should have been in the first place. My personal feeling on going the cheapest route would be either 4x4 treated post, or 4" PVC in concrete. This way you can use 2x4 for the cross T's and 1x4 for stringers. Much of the cost depends on how well you work with materials and skill levels, I can say I've looked into this and dollar for dollar this is probably the least expensive way and a way that will give you good service for sometime. I'm sure there are other way that could cost less, but walking around Home Depot and putting the pencil to it, this was the least expensive way for me to go. If I decide on an outside layout it will be galvanized steel post set in concrete and HardieBacker runners, I only want to do it once and it won't be cheap.

trainman
 
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