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    • February 15, 2018 10:23 PM EST
    • Joseph Lupinski said:

      Like Eric I am up in New England as well and when I do get to my layout was thinking of just letting track free float on a good bed of well draining crusher fines.  What I have been wondering and considering is do I maybe concrete board or something under switched to help keep them level?  I was going to do some cross-overs and double cross overs and seems like be a good idea to ensure they are all on the same plane.

      Much the same feeling here.  I too am in the Northeast.  Here on our little farm we have fencing and structures of various materials set into the ground at different depths and I am very aware of the effects of frost heave and washout.  The proposed site has excellent drainage due to the fact the area was filled with sandy soil prior to building our home.  However, the soil is not of consistent density so I feel the need to "level" the track as well.  I plan on using PVC board ladder with PVC pipe stakes.

    • February 15, 2018 3:15 PM EST
    • Here in Gig Harbor Washington we will get down to the low 20's on rare occasions.  Mid 90's is usually tops in summer.  With that in mind it has not bothered my concrete at all. 

    • February 15, 2018 1:15 PM EST
    • I have significant temperature swings, here in beautiful Deer Park, -10F to 110F, plus occasional visits by Bambi, and his bigger cousins, Moose and Elk.  I have a raised roadbed for probably 1/2 the mainline, the rest is floated.

       

      Maintenance of Way is necessary, no matter where you live.  You just have to find what works for  you.

    • February 15, 2018 12:33 PM EST
    • The controversy over floating and solid underlayment has been going forever.

       

      One thing is for certain, having read every forum for about 17 years now, a poorly prepared concrete base (cross level, reinforcement, on expansive soil, etc.) will not only give you trouble, but is hell to rip up.

       

      Likewise free floating ballast where it get's washed away all the time is a pain.

       

      On the other hand, people like Paul and Marty Cozad have have very good success with the solid base. They both use rebar in the concrete and take care in the preparation. Mild climates are easy, ones with temperature extremes need more care and preparation.

       

      Greg

    • February 15, 2018 11:22 AM EST
    • Like Eric I am up in New England as well and when I do get to my layout was thinking of just letting track free float on a good bed of well draining crusher fines.  What I have been wondering and considering is do I maybe concrete board or something under switched to help keep them level?  I was going to do some cross-overs and double cross overs and seems like be a good idea to ensure they are all on the same plane.

    • February 15, 2018 10:58 AM EST
    • Greg, Eric,

      Greg,  I use concrete bonder that I get at Home Depot.  The stuff that looks like white glue.  It is dispensed into one of those condiment containers that are used for ketchup,etc.  Some brands will need to be thinned a little.   Just put down the ballast and give it a good wetting with the bonder.

      Eric, yes, the track is on concrete  roadbed.  I use cedar bender board for forms that have been ripped to about 2.5 inches.   Stakes are used to hold it with screws. Use a short level to make sure the side to side is level. That is really important for good running, especially with long wheel base locos and cars. It is really surprising how little the level can be off and cause problems.  There is a piece of 3/8 rebar down the middle.  Leave a piece sticking out the end to tie to the next pour.  Trowel the concrete smooth trying to make sure there are no humps or dips in it, especially humps.  Really pretty simple.

    • February 14, 2018 5:34 PM EST
    • Paul, do you have concrete under your track throughout the whole layout?  What is the structure like?

    • February 14, 2018 1:52 PM EST
    • Thanks Paul, your trackwork and presentation is just plain beautiful, and have always wanted to ask. In the few places you do glue the ballast, pray tell what do you use? Almost everyone I know that starts out in the hobby trys to glue ballast and it normally ends in disaster.

       

      Regards, Greg

    • February 13, 2018 7:00 PM EST
    • Greg,

      Now you want me to confess proprietary information.  My methods are a little out of the norm, just like me. The track is glued down to smooth concrete roadbed.  Most all the ballast is loose.  It's a product called bridge topping that is sold by Manufacturers Minerals here in Washington. I believe it is crushed granite, not sure.  I sometimes mix some #1 chicken grit in with it.  I do glue down some ballast on the outer edges of the ties where some of the concrete is exposed.  That works well.  What won't work is gluing it where it is over dirt. The first freeze will destroy it.  I refresh the ballast once a year about the end of February when the weather gets better coming out of winter.  Some is brushed back into place with a broom and new added where needed.  We had a mild winter so maybe one day of work in a week or two and all will be well this year.   I run battery power so electrical continuity is not a concern. With that in mind I need to pay special care to allow gaps for expansion.  The rail joiners are spread just a little so the rail can slide. The six foot rail sections are spray painted with Rustoleum before assembly.  Stacked up between long nails on a board,  about eight are sprayed at a time.  The track is aluminum. Turnouts are all SVRR, #6,#8 and even one #10.  Brass, nickel silver and Stainless.  I bought where I could get deals, so that is why the mix.  When I buy a new one my preference is nickel silver.  Being too fussy with the looks when installing track outdoors, in my opinion,  is not worth it.  Mother nature will even everything out in short order.  LAYING GOOD SOUND SMOOTH TRACK IS THE IMPORTANT THING.  Some of the track has been down since 2005.  If for some reason a section comes loose, usually do to a really hot day, I just remove it, clean it up or replace the ties and reset it.  Doesn't happen very often.

    • February 13, 2018 5:35 PM EST
    • Paul, is that ballast glued in place?

       

      Greg

    • February 13, 2018 3:39 PM EST
    • Paul Burch said:

      Tom,

      If the center spline were cut out there would be nothing to keep the ties separated.   I think the talk about the center spline might be getting overblown.  I have lots of SVRR track and if the proper size ballast is used it is not really a problem.  I tried to post some photos but can't get it to work.  What used to work for me doesn't want to anymore. Well, got it to kind of work.  The front track in the first  photo is SVRR rail in Accucraft tie strip.  The second track is SVRR.  The last two photos are pure SVRR including turnouts.

       

       

    • February 12, 2018 12:31 PM EST
    • I've had SVRR track/ties for over 20 years and like it a lot. Center spline does not bother me. I use grit from the feed store for ballast, good for a year or so.   I've used both tie strips and tend to prefer the SVRR.

    • February 11, 2018 3:45 PM EST
    • Hah, Paul is able to use more scale-appearing ballast, so Eric, you need his secrets!

       

      Greg

    • February 11, 2018 3:35 PM EST
    • Tom,

      If the center spline were cut out there would be nothing to keep the ties separated.   I think the talk about the center spline might be getting overblown.  I have lots of SVRR track and if the proper size ballast is used it is not really a problem.  I tried to post some photos but can't get it to work.  What used to work for me doesn't want to anymore. Well, got it to kind of work.  The front track in the first  photo is SVRR rail in Accucraft tie strip.  The second track is SVRR.  The last two photos are pure SVRR including turnouts.

       

       

    • February 11, 2018 2:14 PM EST
    • Eric

      Does the center spine serve a purpose after the track is installed?

      Cut it just be cut out?

      Tom

       

       

    • February 11, 2018 1:42 PM EST
    • Eric,

      You can still spray paint the rail for outdoors.  Very easy to do.  I usually do about eight at a time, stacked on a flat board and weaved between four long nails.  

    • February 11, 2018 7:58 AM EST
    • Paul: I'm using brass.  

      This is a test section that I weathered and ballasted indoors, but obviously this isn't practical outdoors.

       

       

    • February 11, 2018 1:19 AM EST
    • I always thought that center spline was weird looking and too close to the tie top to hide with ballast easily. I use a pretty coarse ballast, not scale but works very well for me, and I could not cover that spline.

       

      Greg

    • February 11, 2018 12:37 AM EST
    • Greg,

      Most of my track is SVRR with SVRR ties.   Anything I do new or repair is with the Accucraft tie strip.   I have not had any problems with either but do like the looks of the Accucraft tie strip better than the SVRR with the center spline.,

      Eric,

      Maybe I missed it, but what type of rail are you going to use?   SVRR has aluminum, brass, nickel silver and Stainless. 

       

       

       

       

       

    • February 10, 2018 11:37 PM EST
    • Are you able to keep ballast between the ties and conceal the center spine?