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Author Topic: Starting An Outdoor Railroad  (Read 14176 times)
Mark Oles

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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2016, 11:07:20 AM »

I'm late to this party, but I can offer some advice on the temporary style railroad you're planning. 

I built a railroad using brick pavers as the base.  At that time, all I had were 8' diameter and some 10' diameter curves, a 3 Amp power supply, and 2' straight sections.  The railroad worked fine the first few times I used it.  However, the bricks settle a bit, and really don't offer a great base for the trains. I did not screw the joints together, and it took about 20-30 minutes of work to get a train to run.  Another time, I used pieces of wood screwed to the bottom of one section of track.  I'd slide the other section in to make the connection.  This arrangement worked better as it kept the joint firmly together. I think I was using 1 x 6" wide pine.  I didn't treat it, and after a while, I discarded it. The nice thing about that arrangement was I could verify the joints were together and the track was above the grass.

I have constructed a few garden railroads over the years.  My latest efforts follow the advice of the others here: get the widest curves you can, and the longest straight sections to reduce the number of joints!! Unless you decide to go battery power, in which case, the options for track open up quite a bit.

Have fun!

Mark
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foureyes

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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2016, 11:33:51 AM »

I have a thought, based on what the previous writer said.  I use code 250 AL track.  It is not as robust at code 332 brass, and is quite flexible (in every direction).  I too replaced slip joiners very early in construction, but was troubled by flexing connectors, causing the joints to fail.  I had (still have) a supply of short pieces of trex, left over from a deck project.  I cut them into about six inch sections and placed them under the joints, then screwing the track sections to the trex.  Now my track joints don't move and the entire RR where I did this is much more reliable.  I didn't put trex under the entire layout, since some is elevated on bridges and trestles, and trex is expensive for this kind of use.

But trex won't rot, drills and paints like wood, and will be there long after the RR is a dim memory.
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armorsmith


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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2016, 02:11:33 PM »

Your closing statement about Trex is only partially true. Trex (and others like it) are an extrusion of a blend of saw dust and recycled plastic grocery bags. The extrusion seals the exterior from rain and to a degree, UV. However, once you cut/drill through the exterior all bets are off. Once cut, you expose the interior wood product to moisture, therefore defeating the purpose of the seal. I don't remember which other garden railroad forum I read it on but someone cut Trex into strips to make ladder road bed and it only lasted one season before totally deteriorating to it's base materials. You CAN reseal by coating any cut/drilled area with a PVC pipe cement and allowing to dry before assembling, or assembling wet for a physical connection of the two pieces (not considered a structural joint).

It has also been recommended on another forum to paint the Trex for additional UV protection.

FWIW

Bob C.
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foureyes

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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2016, 06:34:50 PM »

Never hear that before, Bob.  Perhaps in standing water or torrential rains.  We don't have either here.  I've had Trex buried in the ground with both ends cut for at least six years with no sign of deterioration.  But, to quote Ronald Reagan (something I seldom do) "Trust and verify."  I trust you, and I'll be trying to verify your results.  Wink
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2016, 07:37:07 PM »

Hi Guy's,

I used Trex, or one of the other brands on my outdoor layout, on bare ground often wet with rain, snow and occasionally flooded for a short time. It was also subject to the horrific humidity in Missouri summers and was wet all winter long.  I never had it fail and it was in the ground for 19 years.  When pulled it up for revisions of the line it was just as good as the day it went in.  I also used treated wood rated for ground contact, but it only lasted for about 9 years. I used sharp fine ballast after that and did not repeat using the Trex  or treated wood, I used the ballast because I liked the look of it(more realistic), and because I learned from experience to make the drainage better.

Bill
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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
Plow_Bender


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« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2016, 01:16:32 PM »

Good afternoon,
I've been reading through the posts lately and following up on this thread.

To answer Chuck's question, I live in the western part of Pennsylvania.  I couldn't really tell you what the weather is like here, but usually in the summer the temperature usually doesn't even get up past 100 degrees.  Word has it though that we're supposed to be experiencing another 88 this year, so that might change things a bit.

-Rusty
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"If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success..."
Chuck N

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« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2016, 04:50:55 PM »

Rusty

If I lived there I wouldn't worry about fading, under normal use.  If you lived in central or southern Arizona, or at high altitude, such a Colorado and northern Arizona (Flagstaff) it could be a problem if cars and engines were left out for extended periods of time.

Your picture shows trees,  if they are positioned to provide some shade to the layout, that is a plus.

Chuck
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Plow_Bender


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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2016, 11:01:44 PM »


Your picture shows trees,  if they are positioned to provide some shade to the layout, that is a plus.

Chuck

The trees keep the area in shade until around 2 in the afternoon, then at about 5 the area starts to go back into shade from a shed on the opposite side of the yard.  That's about 3 hours of sunlight, given that there's even anything out there besides the track.

Speaking of which, how will the track hold up to the weather I've discussed in my previous posts?

-Rusty
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"If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success..."
Chuck N

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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2016, 02:21:47 PM »

Rusty

Three hours of mid to late afternoon sun shouldn't be a problem.

I've read comments here that LGB ties have the best UV protection.  Most of my track is LGB with the exception of my main line curves.  They are AristoCraft 10' diameter sectional track.  I put my track down in 1994 and it is still fine.  I have heard that there was a batch of their track where the ties didn't have UV protection.  They exchanged sun damaged tie strips with ones made of better plastic.  That would have been a major PITA.  I think that they corrected the problem and newer track should be OK.  I think, with that exception, you would be fine with any of the current track manufacturers: LGB, USAT, Train-Li, Piko, and Aristo (recently made).   Accucraft, LLagas Creek, and Sierra Valley also make track, but except of switches, I believe that it is all FLEX track so you would need a rail bender for your curves.

Chuck
« Last Edit: May 18, 2016, 03:43:48 PM by Chuck N » Logged
Plow_Bender


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« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2016, 07:40:19 PM »

Hello everyone,
First off Happy 4th of July for anyone on here living in the US.  Second, I apologize for the long absence.  Been very busy with work the last couple weeks and just recently my computer stopped working and I've been doing everything on my phone.  Good thing we have another computer in the house, eh?

Now, on to the main reason I'm making this post.  About a week ago I just finished putting in part of my temporary garden railroad for the summer.  As it stands right now it's not very large and there are no switches on it yet.  I'm also only running it with a 7amp power supply, but it works alright when not running sound, smoke, or lights.

For the last week I have taken the time to run some trains and troubleshoot problem areas.  I do have a few improvements I want to make soon as my switches and more track get here, but everything is working great for now.  Here's a photo of my Bachmann D&S 4-6-0 running with it's passenger stock on the railroad.



One of the biggest reasons I was looking to get this garden railroad up and running soon was the holiday weekend.  Sadly I didn't have much time to run any trains over the weekend, but I did get the chance earlier today.  Here are some photos.






Unfortunately the rain moved in as you might be able to tell in the last photo, so the day was cut a little short.  Either way I'm quite happy with what I have, but again I look forward to expanding once I get more track.  Hopefully I'll have more time to work on things in the upcoming weeks.  That's it for now folks.  Happy 4th of July and Happy Railroading!

-Rusty
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"If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success..."
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