Hey guys i am sure this has been ask 1000 times but here it is again. I am about to start laying track I need to know what you all are useing in the ground to hold the track in place. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif
Just finished mine this past saturday. I dug a 4" - 5" deep trench filled it with Pavestone rock part 2. Then compacted all in the the trenches with a tamper. I then layed the track on top covered the track with crusher fines for ballast. But since I could not afford rail clams I used wire ties to secure each section of track to itself. Also to comesate for expansion and contrattion I pulled the wire tires not totaly tight. With all of this the track dosn't move an all even with 2 golden retrievers walking all over it.
My track is also "floating" in the ballast. I started with a fill of topsoil to within a few inches of my final height, tamped down and compacted into place. I then finished it with crusher fines, again tamped down and leveled. The track was then layed in place on top. More crusher fines were then poured in around the ties and lightly tamped down and the excess brushed off. I find the fines lock in place real nice, especially after they've been wetted down and allowed to try. It's not so that you can't pull it out, but well enough that I'm not afraid of it moving around. As long as the ballast is supported well on the edges, I've not had any trouble with it washing away.
Edit: You can also try searching this forum for "ballast" or "track support" -- I'm sure you'll come up with (quite a) number of earlier threads!
I'll agree with the other opinions about laying track. Let it float on crusher fines or screenings, whatever term you would like to use. This is how it's done on the prototype. I've had my track laid in this manner for many years without any problems. I will say this; If you are laying LGB track the original equipment railjoiners will hold up fine. AristoCraft joiners don't hold up too long. A couple of years and I've seen them splitting. Also, if you are running with track power, solder jumper wires across each rail joint. It's alittle painfull to do, but will more than be worth the effort, BIG TIME.
Just to leaven the loaf so to speak, I will present a different view.
I lay my track on a firm roadbed made either in a ladder method or as solid pressure treated 2x6. The track is firmly fastened to this roadbed so it cannot move.
A few explanatory notes and reasons. I use battery power or live steam so am unconcerned with electrical continuity. I also use aluminum code 215 Llagas Creek track - this is light enough to hand bend curves without difficulty. The rail expansion in the heat is taken up by leaving a small space at the end of each piece of flextrack and by spiking each twelfth tie through the tie ends, the rail slides easily on expansion without twisting the ties.
The advantages of this method are obvious - the best looking smoothest track at the lowest cost ... combined with an almost maintenance free life once installed. I can lay this track exactly the same as I lay HO track inside even to the point of using my railnippers to easily and quickly cut the rails. Lastly, no back breaking labour to dig trenches or spread heavy crusher fines.
George, your profile doesn't show where you are located so it ishard to definately say which is best for your climate. Here in southern Texas we have a slight problem with a hot sun and track expansion. I've tried several methods over the years but all my track now floats in the ballast. I have a couple of tall and heavy narrow gauge engines that are very sensitive to the quality of the track work and they definately like the free floating ballast the best.
I dug a 4-5 inch trench and then put crusher fines down. then I tamped it down real good. Once it is packed I put the track on top and used more crusher fines. I brushed it around and then wet it real good. It holds very well. It even held up to some heavy rains. I use the aristo with the joiners privided and have had no problems. Instead of soldering jumper wires, (I can not soder for anything) I took copper wire and at the bottom of the aristo tracks there are screws that hold the ties to the rails. I formed a small loop on either end of the copper wire. I took the screws from under the track and put the screw back in but through the loop on the copper wire. Do this for each section. It works great no soldering and once the balast is down you cant see the wire under the track.
My first loop was done half raised on lumber, with ties screwed down. The rest floats on the ballast. I love the realistic look on the ground with ballast, but its a lot more work. We have a number of flowering "weeds" that have naturalized and taken over. I'm constantly pulling them out. As long as I keep replacing ballast each year the track can be walked on without moving.
I am now doing raised track on 2x6 boards. The first one I completed has been backfilled on some parts up to track level. Other sections are up to 18" above ground. I have been debating for about 6 months wether to add ballast to the track. I know it will look better, but I'm afraid I will just have to keep replacing ballest on the raised sections after rain erosion. The previously mentioned loop uses siding to keep the ballast in on the raised sections.
My track has been in for two years now. It just floats on my ballast which is course granite sand. I haven't had a problem yet and I get alot of direct sun until late afternoon.
If I remember correctly you are from the Columbus, Georgia area. Since we are so close I don't believe you will have any problems.
Tallapoosa and Southern RR
Mine RR is at ground level. I can still bend and kneel down and get up again (just about) /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
The only place the track is secured is on the approach to a bridge - don't want the locos colliding with the parapets - everywhere else it is loose laid and rests, prototypically, on the ballast. For the most part the ballast is restrained by the terrain or timber. It has been down two years and apart from a little replacement ballast little maintenance has been needed.
Well guys i am going with the floating system. I live in GA and the heat here is something to die from. I have got to build up one side of my layout as the place i am putting it is on uneven ground. So i am working on that this weekend if it don't rain here. Thanks for all the reply and help. I will be back with more Q in need of answers.
I tried floating it for two years. The first year I thought it was great. The second year I needed a lot of ballast work to keep the track level. This year I again have to rework most of the layout due to uneven ballast causing uneven track. OK for small locos but not for the bigger ones.
I don't buy the idea that the real RRs float there track so we G guys can float ours. My dog can't move the tracks down the street but she sure can move mine!
I tried floating it for two years. The first year I thought it was great. The second year I needed a lot of ballast work to keep the track level. This year I again have to rework most of the layout due to uneven ballast causing uneven track. OK for small locos but not for the bigger ones. I don't buy the idea that the real RRs float there track so we G guys can float ours.[/b] My dog can't move the tracks down the street but she sure can move mind!
I have to agree. The logic isn't there. The relative weight and massive size of real track practically guarantees it won't go anywhere except in the event of a major flood or earthquake. But even the heaviest large-scale track cannot stand up to what man or nature is capable of inflicting upon it. It will move over time--and most likely not all that long a time.
Because all of my track is elevated, I have it screwed down onto 2 X 6 treated wood (I see I am hardly alone in this) and spaced for expansion. It is the flexible aluminum Llagas track of the type Doug is using. But even when I eventually build my ground-level layout I plan to attach it in place in a similar fashion.