Cement ties

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Erskine Tramway
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Erskine Tramway » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:14 am

Hi Glenn...

As an aside, I ran on miles of concrete ties, with, admittedly, 20,000 ton +/- coal trains. The big ties have lots of 'pre-stress' wires in them, going the length of the ties. After a while, the ballast, which is harder than the concrete, wore the bottoms round. Any kind of derailment would, at least, tear the 'fixings' out of them. When that happened, if the tie wasn't also broken, they'd drill and epoxy in new attachment points for the Pandrol clip bases.

Having said that, the 15" gauge Fairbourne Railway in Wales was using concrete ties when I visited in 1969, and as far as I know, still is, now that it is regauged to 12".

Mike.
Former Locomotive Engineer and Designer, Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works, Inc. and Riverside & Great Northern Railway 1962-77
BN RR Locomotive Engineer 1977-2014, Retired

rkcarguy
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Re: Cement ties

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:03 am

My concrete tradesman friend says there is two kinds of concrete, "concrete that has cracked and concrete which will crack".
If you used the fiber reinforced concrete, and ran a rebar or two lengthwise, that would be the best bet. With steel prices going through the roof now though and concrete with fiber going for nearly $120/yard in our area, I think the cost AND work involved would far exceed the cost of just using a treated wood tie.

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Glenn Brooks » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:25 am

I should have mentioned the MLS has started using the concrete ties as replacements because their last batch of treated wood ties succumbed to termite damage after only 5 years service. The new wood treatment methods simply did not protect the wood from insect damage. So they experimented with concrete tie replacements for about a year now. I believe they have installed around 5000 ties now, with no reported problems.

I suspect one thing in their favor is the size of the casting and quality of cement. These are roughly 4x the volume of traditional 2”x2” scale wood ties. So thinking these are more properly sized for the properties of concrete.


Glenn
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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

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

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ChipsAhoy
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Re: Cement ties

Post by ChipsAhoy » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:40 am

We mix our own concrete on site.
While rebar does add strength, it's best quality is holding cracked concrete together.
Fiber reinforced concrete is easy to do, but I'm not sure the powers that be are ready for that discussion.... if you know what I mean.
Air entrained and added lime may make them more resilient also. But until failures start to show up it's difficult to justify the expense. We use a electric sander to vibrate the fresh poured ties. The escaping air starts immediately and is rediliy visible. It shouldn't be done for more that 5 to 10 seconds per. A vibrator for the whole table was used a couple of times, the hand held sander works much better and is more handy.
These ties are relatively close together, and are placed on a well prepared (manicured?) bed. We don't have much of a moisture problem, altho, flooding is always a potential here in AZ. Where they can, the "dirt" crew pays alot of attention to drainage and contouring. I don't think we have endured a "flood" since installing the concrete ties, so there is no track record yet.
Where the ties have been switched to concrete, the rail has been switched to steel. Several benefits there, eliminates corroding aliminum rails, hopefully is more forgiving of the span between ties, easy to field weld the rail, less inviting to the unauthorized nightime recycle crew.
We use plastic wedge type tie plates. I suppose an outfit could play a game of reversing the "inside" tie plate to increase the guage on curves or to play with super. We are not at that point yet either.
I think the theory on the use of the plastic wall anchors is that they can be replaced if necessary, where as if one were to embed nuts or metalic anchors, damage to the hole or splitting the tie may cause a premature need for replacement.... that ain't gonna be fun with these heavy guys.
I am not a educated pro on the use of concrete ties, I just offer this for the sake of discussion.
Scotty

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Glenn Brooks » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:52 am

Erskine Tramway wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:14 am
Hi Glenn...

Having said that, the 15" gauge Fairbourne Railway in Wales was using concrete ties when I visited in 1969, and as far as I know, still is, now that it is regauged to 12".

Mike.
Hey Mike, any idea what size fasteners the Fairbourne Rwy uses?

That’s the big followup question for grand scale - what is the engineering requirement to hold down 12# rail? (And what does it cost)

Glenn
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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

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:58 pm

Take the gauge of the trains, in inches, and square it. That will give you a pretty good price comparison from one gauge to the next for track, bridges, infrastructure, etc... :D

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Glenn Brooks » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:08 pm

Yep, except most live steamers I know are experts at master scrounging and the re using of old, odd recycled metal bits and things. so I think you have to factor in a significant reduction for resource utilization...
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

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

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

jscarmozza
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Re: Cement ties

Post by jscarmozza » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:35 pm

About 10 years ago I was thinking about extending a track from my backyard test circle and I tried making pre-cast ties, it didn't work out very well and I've been mulling the method of making ties ever since. This thread inspired me to get back at it and here's a photo of my concrete form, it looks similar to a gear rack, with the teeth being the ties which are integral with the underlying slab. If it turns out I'll make a few and ask if my club will let me install them and see if they hold up. Each slab is 2' long X 9" wide X 4-1/2" thick, this will be for 4-3/4" gauge track.
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rkcarguy
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Re: Cement ties

Post by rkcarguy » Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:36 pm

Glenn Brooks wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:25 am
I should have mentioned the MLS has started using the concrete ties as replacements because their last batch of treated wood ties succumbed to termite damage after only 5 years service. The new wood treatment methods simply did not protect the wood from insect damage. So they experimented with concrete tie replacements for about a year now. I believe they have installed around 5000 ties now, with no reported problems.

I suspect one thing in their favor is the size of the casting and quality of cement. These are roughly 4x the volume of traditional 2”x2” scale wood ties. So thinking these are more properly sized for the properties of concrete.

Glenn
It sounds like it works with the club being able to afford the costs, and obviously the volunteer workforce that comes with that:)
I would think the extra weight may make the track prone to settling more from flooding type events, but it's easily fixable by tamping.
I like the solid "chunk of ties" concept for 4-3/4", will be interesting to see how that works.

Kimball McGinley
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Kimball McGinley » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:05 pm

I remember an article about making concrete ties by Bill Fitt in Modeltec many moons ago. All I recall is use of an orbital sander to vibrate out bubbles. Sorry, don't have the magazine anymore.

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Erskine Tramway
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Erskine Tramway » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:53 am

Glenn Brooks wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:52 am

Hey Mike, any idea what size fasteners the Fairbourne Rwy uses?

That’s the big followup question for grand scale - what is the engineering requirement to hold down 12# rail? (And what does it cost)

Glenn
Hi Glenn...

I don't know, but I can ask on the FB fan group.

As a practical matter, gravity holds the rail down, the clips, spikes, screws, whatever, are mostly there to keep it in gauge. Though, they also help keep it from turning over. We used 3/8x3-1/2 spikes on the R&GN Ry. on our 12 pound rail, and after a few years, they would be loose in the ties, but even then, the rail stayed where it was. Even on the mainline, spikes don't stay tight.

Mike
Former Locomotive Engineer and Designer, Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works, Inc. and Riverside & Great Northern Railway 1962-77
BN RR Locomotive Engineer 1977-2014, Retired

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Erskine Tramway
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Re: Cement ties

Post by Erskine Tramway » Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:22 pm

Hi Glenn...

Here's the answer I got to the concrete tie question at Fairbourne:

"Yes, the railway used concrete sleepers. By the mid-1970s, all of the track as far as the loop was been laid on concrete. There is a photograph in this group of some of the concrete sleepers, posted by Rob Mackey on Feb 17th.
Each concrete sleeper had two half-inch holes either inside or outside the rail. A six-inch bolt was fitted through each hole and a shaped spacer was used to clamp the rail to the sleeper when the nut was fastened onto the bolt. Alternate sleepers had the bolts inside or outside the rails.
We found that the concrete sleepers held the alignment very well, and most of them lasted a long time.
There were a few problems though. They were narrower and shallower than the ex-BR timber sleepers they replaced so they should have been placed closer together. Some sleepers failed after a few years because of cracking underneath the rail. It was also impossible to adjust the clips once the bolts had picked up a slight coating of rust. Any attempt to slacken off the nut would just cause the bolt to turn around. When John Ellerton regauged the railway, he drilled new holes and used coach screws and large rawlplugs instead of bolts. With hindsight, this was the better option."

Coach bolts translate as Lag Screws, and Rawlplugs are like sheetrock anchors.

Mike
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Former Locomotive Engineer and Designer, Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works, Inc. and Riverside & Great Northern Railway 1962-77
BN RR Locomotive Engineer 1977-2014, Retired

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