Ballast for RR Work.

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Ballast for RR Work.

Post by RONALD » Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:02 pm

Our RR work is progressing, here is the latest:

We had run out of track ballast in May, and as it turned out, the gravel pit in Algonquin, Illinois, was not making any Grade 9 Road Gravel; probably a consequence of the virus lockdown.

I called again in June, no luck, but when I called Wednesday, 22 July, they were making it.

In our gauge/model size,1/8th full size, we found nothing works better than the stuff made by the Algonquin Pit of what is now called Lafarge North America Corp.

It is called "CM6 VIRGIN GRADE 9", and really compacts to keep the track in place. It is used in roadwork and other applications.

It’s main component is crushed stone, of larger stones taken out of the alluvial deposits laid down by the glaciers, with sand and other secret ingredients added; works much better than the crushed limestone that may also be called Grade 9. ... acial-ride

For 70 tons it was just over $19 per ton.

Way back when, 1965, when we first laid track as an experiment, it was with pea gravel as ballast, might as well have been “Ball bearings”, pea gravel does not compact or stay in place.

In that 1965 photo, you see we are using 1x1, "somewhat treated", ties, a big mistake. Another mistake was miniature spikes we purchased made out of ordinary steel.

About 30 feet was put down, and lay there for decades.

When, in 1998, we got to the point were we could lay track, only the aluminum rail itself was left, ties, spikes, and pea gravel had blended into the ground of that 1965 trial; it did not matter, we were now using steel rail, stainless steel screws, full 2x4 treated ties, and we had found a Grade 9 gravel that we liked!

Later, 2012,we tried one load of much cheaper reground concrete, big mistake; it also never stayed in place.

The last photo is of the current work, the guy working on the track, Rick, I actually pay.

I have to have knee work done before I could do such work today; it was easy to sit on the ground in 1965, if I tried to today it would be painful, and I would need a lift to get up!

I can sit on a stool without bothering my knees, so I’m assembling another #8 switch needed for that current work.
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Glenn Brooks
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Re: Ballast for RR Work.

Post by Glenn Brooks » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:18 pm

Ron, thanks for posting. I've been considering using crushed cement, due to its' low cost. ($2/ton last I looked, v> $40/ton for crushed and washed stone) Glad to hear that it does not work well for the purpose. good info to share!

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Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

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Re: Ballast for RR Work.

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:35 pm

I've done quite a bit of research on ballast for scale RR use. I liked the idea of using 3/8" clear, but the island pond RR's owner said he had trouble with it migrating under heavy rain, and the finer stones retain more water. If you research ballast for real RR's, they use a large clear stone to keep water off the ties so they last much longer.
Glenn, if you only need a few yards I can understand the price being that high. I was just quoted $22.50/Ton for a full transfer (~35 tons) of 3/4" minus clear down to $11.50/Ton for pit run.
The recycled concrete I got was pretty bad, the chunks varied from 4-5" all the way down to fines, I would only use it if you've got a big soft spot or hole to fill in and then go over it with something else.

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