track questions and ballast

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Harlock
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Post by Harlock » Thu May 08, 2008 11:08 am

charlie bill wrote:Harlock: I believe you best bet is to use steel rail on plastic ties, having laid a bit of this track, you will have less maintaince. Any other track is a real headache.
That seems to be the consensus. I really want to minimize the maintenance on this track.
charlie bill wrote:These are just suggestions. A 75' radius, will handle any engine.
The space is so small it cannot accomodate anything larger than 50', and due to obstructions one end of the loop will have two segments of 40' radius. So we will be living within those limitations. People will just not be able to bring super long rigid wheelbase engines. This is more in the class of a home track due to the space available. Blind drivers would help ;)
charlie bill wrote:If I may ask where are you located? I may be able to find out some prices which may be high and then there is the shipping.
Charlie
Mojave, CA. (90 miles NE of Los Angeles)

I will probably use the plastic tarp since, while it is in the desert, there may be some spill over from time to time from a landscaped area that is watered.

--Mike
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
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Fred_V
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Post by Fred_V » Thu May 08, 2008 12:15 pm

Curtis_F wrote:On a related topic, has anyone or any club experimented with anything a kin to ribbon rail?

I've seen guys to build track from Hot Rolled Bar or Tubing buy in 20' lengths to reduce the number of joints, but I haven't seen anyone weld the lengths together.


Cheers,

Curtis F.
we used 3/6 x 1" HRS for the rail in 20 ft. lengths with the joints off set 10 feet. we are now having to go back and cut in more expansion joints. this is located in South Alabama.
Fred V

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tsph6500
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Post by tsph6500 » Thu May 08, 2008 12:40 pm

Curtis_F wrote:On a related topic, has anyone or any club experimented with anything a kin to ribbon rail?

I've seen guys to build track from Hot Rolled Bar or Tubing buy in 20' lengths to reduce the number of joints, but I haven't seen anyone weld the lengths together.
Yes. We have lengths of 80-foot rail at Montreal. Ties are slotted 2" x 2" wood. Ballast is clean 3/4" crushed rock. We now use geotextile under the ballast.

Of note, in our experience, the geotextile under the ballast does not stop weeds from growing. It prevents the ballast from migrating down into the soil. You will need to use some sort of weed control because the seeds are dropped on top of the ballast by winds, birds and grass mowing.

There are weed barrier materials but they are used on the surface, sometimes with mulch on top to protect it from UV rays.
Best regards,
Jim Leggett

Montreal Live Steamers
www.montreallivesteamers.org

A Founding Member of the Tinkerbell Scale Society - Northern Division
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makinsmoke
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track questions and ballast

Post by makinsmoke » Thu May 08, 2008 12:44 pm

Mike,
Take a lesson from the little gauge guys. Design and build the track i.e., radius to the largest you can fit in, then be sure and build the track with really nice transitions from tangent to curve.

Don't bolt tangent or straight panels right to a 40 or 50 foot radius curve panel. Rather, fit one or more panels of track in between and transition very smoothly from straight to the curved section.

One can get away with less radius than one may think if the curve is linked to the tangent track with a smooth transition. You may not have the room, but it will really help.
Brian

Andrew Pugh
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Post by Andrew Pugh » Sat May 24, 2008 2:50 am

http://forums.railfan.net/forums.cgi?bo ... 81;start=0

Lots of track laying advise in this thread on the railfan forums; including some input from someone who makes a living working on 1:1 track laying projects.

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Bill Wilkins
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Track

Post by Bill Wilkins » Mon May 26, 2008 9:15 am

In this picture it appears that the rail is held down by roofing nails.

Don't see why this wouldn't work. Anybody have any experience with this.

Seems roofing nails would be much cheaper than SS screws.


Bill W.
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ccvstmr
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Post by ccvstmr » Mon May 26, 2008 9:52 am

Bill,
You can pretty much do whatever you want when it comes to building your track structure. Having said that...if you talk to 10 different live steamers from 10 different clubs, you're going to hear (maybe) 20 different ways of building track...each with merit based on the location and conditions where the track is installed.

Will roofing nails work? Yes they will. Will roofing nails work for a long time...probably not. When you drive the nail into the tie, you're going to cut the wood fibers. The wood fibers will hold the nail in place until climate and temperature changes start to "work" the nail up and down. At that time, the tie will no longer hold the nail in place and the heads will start to pop up.

Using screws in wood ties? This is better. Pre-drill a hole in the tie for the screw? Better yet (this minimizes wood splitting where the screw is driven in). Plastic ties? These work too...but you need to be careful about screw stress when driving the screw in the plastic...else, the heads are weakened and may break off. Once again, a small, pre-drilled pilot hole may be the way to go.

Other matters to take into consideration include the following criteria...
1) is this a public track?
2) does the track experience heavy traffic?
3) does the track experience narrow gauge (large) equipment?
4) is the track exposed to the sun? ...or drastic temperature changes?

If the answer to any of the above is "Yes"...you should probably stay away from roofing nails as a means of holding your rail in place.

Something to remember...everything has a trade-off. Any short cuts you take while building and installing the track to save time are going to come back and haunt you AFTER the track is up and running. How so? Continued attention to rail holding devices, rail joints, tamping, etc.

My opin...take the time to build and install the track properly from the start (including and more importantly the subgrade and sub-ballast) so you can spend more time enjoying the fruits of your labor and train operating. As we all get older, it gets harder and harder to get down on our knees and "pray to the track gods".

Just my 2 cents worth having installed a several thousand feet of track. Carl B.

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chiloquinruss
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Post by chiloquinruss » Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:01 pm

The space is so small it cannot accomodate anything larger than 50', and due to obstructions one end of the loop will have two segments of 40' radius.
You can also ease the curves by playing a little with the gauge. Most 7 1/2 track are actually 7 9/16 with 7 5/8 on the turns. This helps the longer wheelbase stuff work. Also making easements into the corners works wonders. Ease into the 40 ft turn with some 50/45/40 stuff first (same thing on exit). Have fun, sounds like a nice project. Russ

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Snowplowbob
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Post by Snowplowbob » Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:59 pm

Russ is right, go with the wide gauge and the easment. Just for the record, my ES-44 (Dash-9) 3 axle trucks will do a 20' radius curve. Just cannot couple anything to it.

Enjoy. Bob

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Rich_Carlstedt
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Post by Rich_Carlstedt » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:53 pm

Our (7 1/2") Red Banks and Niagra RR is Steel Rail (.375x 1.25 ) butt welded into lengths of up to 230 feet. The only expansion joints are between curve and straight sections, as they are only needed on straight sections.
The rails are butt welded and then 14 inch (1/4 x 1 ) ties are welded every 3 feet. Two seperate rails are dragged out and the ties interlaced, so the ties are 18" apart, and then wood ties that are slotted are inserted to get gauge, and then the ties are welded to the other rail.
This method gives beautiful transitions and a rigid track for our harsh winters.
It has been down on 3/4 rock for 7 years and no kinks/distortions etc.
Rich
Our Mainline is 1800 feet long with 90 foot radius's

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makinsmoke
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track questions and ballast

Post by makinsmoke » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:39 am

I buy #10 sheet metal screws from the local bolt dealer by the pound in bulk.

A whole lot cheaper than by the package at Lowe's. A hex head driver in my drill and a 50' extension cord makes assembly of both track panels and track itself a breeze.

Correct about the weed barrier. It's main purpose is to keep the ballast in place. Timely applications of Roundup take care of any unwanted growth. Also, one can pull stuff out of the ballast pretty easily.

A Texas railroad has a lot of track assembled a long time ago with aluminum roofing nails. They are slowly working their way out of the ties, and the tie replacement program is addressing both that thd the degraded ties. However, much of that track (the drier areas) has not been touched other than an occasional sprinkling of ballast for years. Other portions have required more maintenace, but moisture has been the culprit.

I am alos wondering if the track in the photo is assembled with roofing nails or aluminum spikes. I have some portions of a trestle built a long time ago with aluminum spikes. They look similar to the roofing nails except the heads are not round.

Brian

B&OBob
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track questions about ballast

Post by B&OBob » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:33 pm

Roofing nails were used on the first track built by PLS in 1946. The problem with roofing nails was not that they came out of the ties; the heads popped off after rusting at their joint with the shank! They had to be replaced frequently and eventually were all removed and replaced by spikes, which had to be hammered back every year.

Stainless ringed nails were not available then, but might be a possibility today. Even better are s/s washer-head sheet metal screws like we use now at PLS. Screws enable control of the force against the foot of the rail so it is held down, but only tight enough to still enable sliding on the tie with temperature changes. If they are screwed down with a battery-powered screw driver or adjustable hand drill, torque can be pre-set to automatically achieve the correct force against the foot. Prototype rails are not spiked own hard, except for continuously welded rail, which is tightly constrained against the terrific forces of expansion and contraction by the ballast.

Bob

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