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    • July 12, 2020 12:46 PM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      Elevated track materials

      I decided to build my garden RR elevated and would like to know what products are the most flexible to bend around a 8-9' circle. I did watch a YouTube video on bending Trex decking which goes into heating the decking and bending on its flat side, I would like to cut the decking in strips, say 2-3" wide and install it on the sides, up and down not flat. What I'm thinking is the decking cut that way will probably bent much easier, anyone done this. Texas sun and weather is over 100 degrees these days so laying this material should heat it up to 140 degrees laying on concrete. Do note in the Trex video they heat the decking to around 225 degrees for bending, but they are bending it to lay the decking flat. I guess there is also PVC boards that could be used, or are there other material that are used that will flex, Hardiebacker strips would be great, but not sure of its flexibility. I've watched several YouTube videos on above ground RR, but most never tell what product they used for their flexible curves, I would rather not use wood here, but a man made product that will flex and withstand the elements is what I would like to use. 

      trainman 

    • July 12, 2020 1:05 PM EDT
      • Port Orchard, Washington
         
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      John, 

      I recently posted a similar question. 

       

      Ricky Marty uses OSB house trim. Jon Radder tested Hardiplank for me and it bends fine but nasty to cut. Ken just makes square boxes. I make mistakes... For this first section of my layout I think I'm going to just stick with 2x4 conatruction and miters. If/when I get to the next section I might try some sort of house siding product.

      http://www.largescalecentral.com/forums/topic/30732/raised-bench-work-amp-curves?page=1

       

       

    • July 12, 2020 2:52 PM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      The Trex planking is rather expensive, not that I ever let money stop me from doing what I want, LOL, but after looking at PVC 1x4's it might be a good option. Lowe's stock them here, so I will go there and check them out. I'm interest in sag when turned on edge and will have to determine how far my post can be set apart, I'm really excited about digging all those holes. I would think you could glue the X pieces in and them come back a put screws in later for rapid assembly. I want to use a fine mesh hardware cloth between the sides of the PVC 1x4 rails, about 12" apart on the mainline, father on sidings, etc. I will use the lightest weight ballast I can find. My engines will all be battery powered so I'm not worried about electrical connections in the track. I also want it where I can just take off the track and leave the ballast, this way if I'm not running my trains for months on end, I can just unhook each piece of track and put it up, along with building, etc. I may only want to play trains a couple times a year, this is why I'm thinking this way.

       

      trainman

    • July 12, 2020 10:51 PM EDT
      • NC
         
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      John,

      I am very new to this outdoor railroad hobby, and I have only started my little layout a few weeks ago.  I found the attached document about PVC materials, and have to admit I was hooked.

      https://familygardentrains.com/primer/roadbed/ladder1.htm

       

      I wasn't able to buy PVC 2X4's in my area so I used the 1X1.5 and 1X2.5 from Lowes.  I am very happy with how it is turning out and how easy it is to work with.

      I have done 4 10-12 X 20 decks with TREX decking in the last couple of years and I love it on my decks.  My opiniopn is great for my deck but too heavy, for my railroad.  In my opinion it also has no lateral rigidity.

      Aflyer

    • July 13, 2020 11:32 PM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      I have to say, that's what I want to do. As I said before in another post this PVC should work out well and now I see that someone has done it. I'm ready to give it a try, looks easier then wood and many sections can be made in the shop and then moved in place. I'm thinking build the sections, then lay then on the ground and mark where you want your risers to be, install your risers and then attach the sections to then. I guess you could do it the other way to, that is install all your risers and build the sections between them as you go along.

      trainman 

    • July 13, 2020 11:47 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      For PVC ladder either way is fine. There is no right or wrong way to build it. For me, I wanted sweeping curves that went exactly where I wanted the track. Laying out just one side with block on the ground first allowed me to get a good visual of the flow. Once happy, I installed the risers then followed with the second rail of the ladder to hold the curve. Risers were attached as the last step.  I will caution you to not use any wood product as the spacer block. I used pressure treated deck balusters (1.5x1.5) cut into short blocks. 6+ years later, the blocks are disintegrating. Just use your pvc scraps to make up blocks.

      ____________________________________

      www.cvsry.com www.cvsry.com

    • July 14, 2020 11:53 AM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      Jon Radder said:

      For PVC ladder either way is fine. There is no right or wrong way to build it. For me, I wanted sweeping curves that went exactly where I wanted the track. Laying out just one side with block on the ground first allowed me to get a good visual of the flow. Once happy, I installed the risers then followed with the second rail of the ladder to hold the curve. Risers were attached as the last step.  I will caution you to not use any wood product as the spacer block. I used pressure treated deck balusters (1.5x1.5) cut into short blocks. 6+ years later, the blocks are disintegrating. Just use your pvc scraps to make up blocks.

      Thanks Jon, I wanted to stay away from wood completely, I was going to use PVC scrap 1x4's as blocks, could purchase 2x4" PVC and cut them to fit. What spacing did you space the blocks in the ladder, I'm thinking I want about 12" wide ladders. What risers did you use, 4x4" treated post, PVC pipe, or something else, what spacing did you use between the post to prevent sag of the ladder's, remember I'm in Texas heat and some of the layout will get full Texas sun. I'm thinking of installing all my risers (post) first, then building the ladders on the ground and only attaching the blocks to one side of the 1x4" boards, them attaching them to the risers, I will put the others 1x4" boards on after the other side of the ladder is installed, thus I will just be following the flow of the others side of the ladder. Does any of this make sense, your thoughts.

      trainman

      This post was edited by John Lenheiser at July 14, 2020 12:27 PM EDT
    • July 14, 2020 5:42 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      12" wide ladders confuse me, as does use of 4x4 risers. Are you sure you are not wanting to build bench work?  That is a whole different animal.

       

      Ladder roadbed is usually one track width wide, about 1.75" on center using 1.5" x 4" blocks. The material I used was PVC 1x2 which is actually .75" x1.5". You could use the 1x4 as-is, or  rip it in two.

       

      I used a jig designed by Bruce Chandler for block spacing - just checked it and the blocks are 19" on center.

       

      Most of my ladder is on or near the ground, then back filled. I've experimented with a number of riser materials. I have some thick wall aluminum conduit that I have tried, I don't like it because it won't take a self-taping screw. I have used Pressure Treated 1x2 driven down between the ladder, which works well, but now I am concerned that they are probably getting rotten being fully buried. In my case PVC 1x2 would work, but it can't be driven into hard soil and it will flex if it extends more than a few inches above the soil. If you use PVC Pipe, I would stay with Schedule 40. The regular water pipe is too flexible.  In all cases I find that the roadbed gets pushed up each winter from frost heave. It's easy to push back down if you time it right. You probably won't have that problem in Texas.

       

      Why don't you give us a better idea of your overall plan and I'm sure one of us has done something similar.

      This post was edited by Jon Radder at July 14, 2020 5:47 PM EDT
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    • July 15, 2020 12:13 AM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      Jon Radder said:

      12" wide ladders confuse me, as does use of 4x4 risers. Are you sure you are not wanting to build bench work?  That is a whole different animal.

       

      Ladder roadbed is usually one track width wide, about 1.75" on center using 1.5" x 4" blocks. The material I used was PVC 1x2 which is actually .75" x1.5". You could use the 1x4 as-is, or  rip it in two.

       

      I used a jig designed by Bruce Chandler for block spacing - just checked it and the blocks are 19" on center.

       

      Most of my ladder is on or near the ground, then back filled. I've experimented with a number of riser materials. I have some thick wall aluminum conduit that I have tried, I don't like it because it won't take a self-taping screw. I have used Pressure Treated 1x2 driven down between the ladder, which works well, but now I am concerned that they are probably getting rotten being fully buried. In my case PVC 1x2 would work, but it can't be driven into hard soil and it will flex if it extends more than a few inches above the soil. If you use PVC Pipe, I would stay with Schedule 40. The regular water pipe is too flexible.  In all cases I find that the roadbed gets pushed up each winter from frost heave. It's easy to push back down if you time it right. You probably won't have that problem in Texas.

       

      Why don't you give us a better idea of your overall plan and I'm sure one of us has done something similar.

      Diagram of construction and build, this should answer your questions, trainman

    • August 3, 2020 11:03 PM EDT
      • Fort Mohave, AZ
         
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      I am interested in trying the PVC method, too. Conceptually, I will have cinder blocks half-buried that form the base of the roadbed. Once the curves are set, perhaps I can use some construction adhesive to stick the spline to the blocks. I'm in NW AZ so no frost issues. I'm intend to use stacked blocks sort of Minecraft style to rough out the topography, then back-fill with interesting rocks, stone, and gravel mortared into place.

      So how is the track attached to the ladder /spline, again?

       

      WES

    • August 4, 2020 9:27 AM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      If you are going to use concrete blocks and want to attach the ladders with construction adhesive I would pre-bend my ladders off the layout when I build them, this way the PVC will have already been stressed from the bending. I do like my ladders and post to have some adjustment for expansion and contraction, but then you live in AZ where there is probably little of that. I was going to put all my post in the ground and then use the PVC lumber run with the post and mounting brackets, sort of free flow as I go, this way I don't have to build all my ladders in the shop and deal with fitting, etc. I probably wouldn't use construction adhesive here in Texas as I will need some adjustment through time, everything move here. 

      trainman

    • August 4, 2020 4:46 PM EDT
      • Fort Mohave, AZ
         
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      Lived in Fate, TX for near 20 years. that gumbo soil will move just about anything. Constant fight to keep a shed level.

      Yes, pre build sections in the shop sounds like an excellent idea.

      WES

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