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Fellow MLS'ers,

Perhaps you've seen the message I posted in the Public Forum about deconstructing my Lost Hollow Railway:
www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/4/postid/16694/view/topic/Default.aspx

Things that I learned in building my first garden railroad:

1) The hardiplank roadbed system I used worked great for the soil here in Houston.  Everything was rock solid and I had no problems with track alignment.  Thanks to John Frank for his advice in this area. Details on the hardiplank roadbed system are available here: www.flickr.com/photos/stationstudios/sets/1502827/

2) I put ground zero too low.  I should have raised it about 1-2" more than I did.  I had some problems with the lowest level train getting filled in with earth from higher points of the layout.

3) I should have used a retaining wall between the the upper and lower mainlines.  Through the center section of the layout, the upper and lower mainlines were separated by 3 inches in vertical height and about 9-12 inches horizontally.  I had difficulties keeping the earth on the upper mainline from running down onto the lower mainline.  A retaining wall or crib system would have helped.

4) Switches were mostly unnecessary for this live steam layout.  The small radius Aristocraft ones that I used were probably too small anyways.

5) We should have put down a weed/plant barrier in the loop sections of the layout to get a handle on the weeds.  The layout got very weedy in the last couple of years.

6) I'm glad I built it; had a lot of fun with it and it was very relaxing to steam up on a summer Saturday evening just before dinner, beer in hand.
Take care,
Barry
 

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Posted By bjcott on 03/08/2008 4:07 PM

Things that I learned in building my first garden railroad:

1) The hardiplank roadbed system I used worked great for the soil here in Houston.  Everything was rock solid and I had no problems with track alignment.  Thanks to John Frank for his advice in this area. Details on the hardiplank roadbed system are available here: www.flickr.com/photos/stationstudios/sets/1502827/

2) I put ground zero too low.  I should have raised it about 1-2" more than I did.  I had some problems with the lowest level train getting filled in with earth from higher points of the layout.

3) I should have used a retaining wall between the the upper and lower mainlines.  Through the center section of the layout, the upper and lower mainlines were separated by 3 inches in vertical height and about 9-12 inches horizontally.  I had difficulties keeping the earth on the upper mainline from running down onto the lower mainline.  A retaining wall or crib system would have helped.

4) Switches were mostly unnecessary for this live steam layout.  The small radius Aristocraft ones that I used were probably too small anyways.

5) We should have put down a weed/plant barrier in the loop sections of the layout to get a handle on the weeds.  The layout got very weedy in the last couple of years.

6) I'm glad I built it; had a lot of fun with it and it was very relaxing to steam up on a summer Saturday evening just before dinner, beer in hand.
Take care,
Barry
Great advice. Were I running a true on-the-ground garden railroad (next year, maybe), I'd be paying even more careful attention to this advice. The need for retaining walls and the weed barrier definitely got my attention.

Hardiplank? Hmmm. I wonder if I can get that product up here in AK. Sounds really useful. 
 

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At a friends layout I was standing over an area looking at a "model" of a cribbing retaining wall and commented that it looked so "real"... and it did (does!).  Several square posts in a line, with planks between, forming a wall to hold back the dirt.  It has a marvelous dogleg bend in it and it looks like I am viewing a real retaining wall from a distance of several hundred feet, not just 5'11".

I asked what inspired him to put this model of a retaining wall at this particular place and he said he did it to keep the dirt in place as it was washing out too often.

It looks so real that it never dawned on me that it was actually functional.
 

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Weeds? Poor man's landscaping... :)
 

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I'm suprised that Hardi type products or some similar variant are not widely available in the AK area.... given the weather extremes it seems it would be a fairly common material to offset the the rot and warp of many wood materials in AK.

mark


 
 

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I did use weed barrier, no difference whatsoever in # weeds compared to none barriered areas. Only proven weed block is poured concrete.
 

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Weed block does nothing for the weeds, however, weed block does keep the gravel from mixing with the dirt.

I find no need for reballasting in the spring due to the weed block i used. Weed block allows water to pass through so I have excellent drainage.
 
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