Grades and Mountains

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Grades and Mountains
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, June 23, 2018 7:49 PM

Aloha,

Under the do the project supported by materials plan, we have decided improving the landscape will be our summer project.  I just spent two hours surveying, measuring, and thinking under a new company of policy of thinking it through before starting.

One area would benefit by a gentle rise to visually separate one loop from another.  I have as much as a 100" run, but that would require digging out a dwarf somthing or other tree that is doing very, very well (a rarity for us!), making a 70" run more realistic.  I figure a 1.5" rise would be the minimum for visual effectiveness, making t a 2% grade.  I understand that this would be acceptable for an LGB 0-4-0 and a string of shorties, 2x 2 axle cars, or 1x 4 axle cars.  Alternatively, being blessed with rocks for a change, I could "dam off" that tree and use the full 100" run.  Thoughts?  

With regards to plants, I am willing to risk my impatiens and oregano, how far around and below them should I dig when I move them to backfill in the new raised area?

One thing that confuses me is to how to keep even a gentle slope in place.  I can certainly make some tiers using larger rocks  I'd like to say groundcover will hold it in place, but groundcover and I have a bad track record.

As for the raised area itself, for reasons of space I plan to run the tracks on some salvaged hollow tile on the backside, texturing the exposed surfaces with tinctured concrete.  Once the track starts to curve into full view, I'd hoped to just dam the fill area with lava rocks.  I have sufficient hollowtile to run the track on it for the whole area, but that seems like overkill.  Again, I welcome thoughts.

Moving from that "grading" issue to another "rising" one, we are going to commit the rest of the rocks to our mountain range, connecting the tunnel complex of  "Dude Step Range" to "Hell's Mountain," at least visually, and offering a chance for trains to disappear from view, if even for a moment.  The tunnel complex was half hollow tile, capped with paving stones, and topped with lava rock and broken bits of concrete.  It worked, but it looks spindly, so I am again soliciting ideas.

Lava rock will be the main component.   The extension to the tunnel complex also needs to have a flat top for structures  and PLAYMOBIL as well as some capacity for planting.  Elephant trunk is not available, so that is out.  I can get sprinkler boxes and stack the rocks around and over them, but will they take the load?  Also, how would I backfill the intersticies between the lava rocks and the sprinkler boxes and, again, keep that fill in place?  I have lots of broken concrete bits, but I am not sure about that, and I'd like to try planting things in those intersticies.

I am looking at a late July start date, at least for the new mountain, so I have time to collect material.  A fence installation will provide the fill dirt by then.

 

The rain has passed, the thinking is done, I think I should get some trains on the track!

As ever, I appreciate your thoughts.

Eric

 

 

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Sunday, June 24, 2018 1:27 AM

I'm going to digest your intent for a day or two. BUT first DO NOT disturb you 'healthy tree' if at all possible. Second, the 2% grade will affect train size but not nearly to the extent you are concerned about. I've taken my LGB 0-4-0 pulling 1x 40ft combine, 1x 40ft coach and 2x 20ft coaches up the bridge to my chalet with no real problems. That is a 17% grade. Coming down is a different story, it wants to run away so I kill the power and it slides down.The 2% is not as big a deal as you fear. Are there any curves on this drade? That will have impact on train lenght.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, June 25, 2018 2:30 AM

Tom,

Thanks,  No rush.  This is purely an aesthetic change (for once!).

The track is rough "half dog bone" that will peak where it starts to curve back in on itself.  The radius is 4-5 ft, as I had to use a mix-match of track to get it to fit in the space.  Using the picture below, you can see the straight run coming up from behind the impatiens towards the viewer.  "Little Thomas" is heading back towards the tunnel complex in the direction of the RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) to your right.  The dwarf tree is just out of sight beyond the impatien "tree."

I will remove 1' of track to accomodate the "cliff" that will separate the inner loop where I posed Little Thomas and our outerloop mainline.

To help frame this conceptually, our inner loop represents a private or semi-private line serving our industries (In time, it'll be one of the private plantation railroads...sort of.).  The other loop represents our common carrier (Our version of the Oahu Rail & Land Co.). This means short trains, little locos, and little cars are all OK on the inner loop.

I have shots from this weekend I can upload later to help frame this part of the project.

 

Thanks as always!

 

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 8:26 PM

Moving plants to different location. The following has worked well for me. Flowering plants like your impatiens, dig about 1 1/2 to 2 iches around the plant and 2~3 inches deep. Set the root ball on a paper towel and lightly tie the towel to the main trunk. Raid your recycle bin for a tub or bowl like a butter tub. Mix up a batch of Mirical Grow, put an inch in the bowl before the plant and let it soak. If the new location is immediately available leave the plant in the Mirical Grow for 10~15 minutes before replanting. If needed you can keep the plant in the bowl for about 3 days. When the transplant is finished, leave the towel in place and trim at ground level. It will keep the soil intact around the fine hairlike roots. The dwarf tree can be transplanted the same way, just double the dimensions. For two weeks after the move give another drink of Mirical Grow every third day. About 1/4 cup each time. 

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 10:21 PM

Tom

Thanks.   I have collected a bunch of coffee "cans" against an unseen need.  The need is now seen!  We will move out on this part of the project once we have a start date for fence, as that will determine dirt availability!

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 1:04 AM

Are you planning on elevating just the track or will you also elevate the 'plateau' inside the loop as well? You can use a 'tray' for the ground cover. I've used the 'plate' from micro wave dinners many times.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 10:04 PM

The plan is to elevate the plateau, too.  I want to set this area apart visually a bit by elevating it, and I hope it'll mask some of the tunnel complex's spindliness.

I've never thought about the tray.  Our usual mode of operations is to bore into the gravel (the top 6" of the whole RR bed), fill the hole with soil, and plant.  It has worked for impatiens, rosemary, that dwarf tree, and some flowers.  Ground cover has been a struggle.  I'll try it!

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 1:15 AM

Update:

The project is a go, with a start date to follow after a fencing project provides the dirt.

We will leave the dwarf tree in place and accept a steeper grade.  That tree actually grows and seems bug and rot resistant, so why risk a good thing? In fact, a recent attack all but destroyed the impatiens.  Miracle Grow is on hand should they survive.

I will have to remove 2x 12" pieces of track to accomodate the curved portion, but that will hardly matter in terms of how things work.  The visual impact of using lava rocks here instead of scored concrete should make this nominal loss of trackage more than acceptable.  We will reserve the scored concrete on the straight portion that faces our fence, where horizontal clearance will be a factor.  The plan is still to sink those hollow tiles into the garden bed to serve as both retaining wall and roadbed.  We have plent of concrete chucnks we can glue on, too, to texture that up.  We found a good wash of red-brown latex goes a long way to turning concrete bits into lava rocks!

 

And now we wait for the permitting office to finish the paperwork for the 1:1 fence...

 

Eric

 

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by chocho willy on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 2:41 PM

sounds like it's going to be another railroad empire, BB

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, August 12, 2018 6:38 PM

Update:

 

1:1 fence goes in place this week.  We will stage the hollow tile and stones for a "go for broke" project this weekend.

Quick question, which will guide stone selection and thus the final grade.  How deeply must I countersink them?  If, for instance, I want this "peninsula" to rise 2" about "level," how much of the stone work must be underground?  This is  working / playing RR, so foot traffic up to, over, and through the new rise is as assumed as the donward acceleration of gravity on earth of 32.2 ft/sec(squared).

All hands to the shovels!

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 10:47 PM

Dirt on site...Naturally dumped right on top of my spare ballast pile. Super Angry  

I am not sure if this weekend will be the start of the big dig or not, but we shall see!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, August 19, 2018 1:58 AM
Update: I took the inner loop out of service today when shortened it by 1'. Beyond the obvious clearance checks, this freed a 4' section for use elsewhere and obviated the need for a 1" spacer track, which can only help electrical continuity. A couple plants went into pots, and I began preliminary rock selection. Professional obligations will preclude progress this week. Oh, and an unsuccessful effort last week to transplant a rosemary "tree" dictates that the rise will begin AFTER the dwarf whats-it-called tree. Have a great week! - Eric
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, August 27, 2018 1:39 AM

Today, to recover from 72 hrs waiting for a hurricane that fortunately gave us the pass, Oldest Daughter and I turned to on this project.

 

We started at the picture below, removing 2x impatiens and the farm and laying down a tarp to catch the gravel:

Next, we trenched out the back (out of view) side to place the cinder blocks that take the inner loop up about two inches above level.  We strung some twine to serve as guide, and Oldest Daugther used a level to make sure the tracks would sit level as they rose.  

Little Thomas, being non-functional and thus economically if not emotionally expendable, provided service doing clearance checks.   We may have to do some chisel work later if our mainline engines cannot pass on the lower loop:

  

Next came the fun part...picking salvaged lava stones to serve as the retaining wall on the visible portions!  I had intended to use some flatter ones and orient them veritically.  Oldest Daughter hit upon a far superior idea.  She found stones with unsightly chunks of concrete and suggested we lay these flat, using the concrete as the anchor.  Brilliant!  She did have to use a small pick to chisel off some areas, as you can see:

Less refined chisel work went to yours truly!

Here we are about half way through the project:

You'll note that two pieces of shattered paving stones serve just under the track over the pond.  These are, naturally, just too low to support the track and too thick to allow for another couple slabs of concrete.  I found some wood-brown plastic decking material I may stack under the track then score like a retaining wall.  I'd use wood as I did in another section, but this area is mostly dirt, not gravel (a novelty!), so plastic may work out better...Anyway, that is a different project.

The next step was replacing siding, farm, and plants.  Most of the Triple O "floats" on 4-6" of gravel.  We really want to green this area, so we used dirt from the fencing project to fill this.  We also learned about settling over the years, so Oldest Daughter set-to pouding the dirt down as I shoveled successive wheelbarrows into the hole.  Since the rest of the horde was off sacrificing vegetable seeds to the graveyard of plants (a.k.a. Their "garden."  They take after me with their horticultural skills, unfortunately!), Oldest Daughter got to replace the buildings and plants.  I trenched out an area for gravel to lay the siding upon, the only area on the Triple O where we have to do this! With a final soaking to help settle things, the heavy work of this project was "pau!"  Clearly, my chief engineer is pleased, and, yes, so am I!

We have to rewire power to the inner loop, but this is simple.  We also have to blend the exposed concrete into the scenery with some construction cement, concrete shards, and earth colored washes.  As mentioned, I also have to address that area near the pond.  With luck, the oregano, our simulated straweberries, and / or the sedum will quickly spread, too.  Overally, I think we accomplished what I wanted, which was to add visual separation and add a bit of mass to the tunnel complex.  Now let's see what this downpour does to our dirt...

Aloha,

Eric

 

 

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Posted by chocho willy on Monday, August 27, 2018 3:41 PM

Wonderful as always, moving that track higher sure changes the look of things but I think I'm getting a nose bleed from the height, LOL, Bill

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 12:15 AM

Thanks, Bill!

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 24, 2018 12:58 AM

Aloha All!

I felt a need to put a coda on this thread to bring it to a close.  Of course, it isn't really closed until it is green, but that will be a while!

First, Oldest Daughter and I addressed and unsightly aread that needed raising using a material I found at a big box store called "Fiberon."  It camed pre-tinted and pre-scored to look like wood.  I broke out my new table saw (Yay!), cut it to shape, and let Oldest Daughter score it and stain it with India Ink to make it look like timbers.  This is not an area subject to close scrutiny, so the lack of difference in shading should'nt be an issue.  It was more important to have a firm, rot=proof material to support the tracks. The photos are in sequence below:

1. The trouble spot:

1. Test fitting the "Fiberon" former fence picket (straight cuts will need some practice!):  

3. Turning planks into timbers:

  

4.  The results!

  

I think it looks better!  Also, for the cost, I think I have found my "go-to" material when I need relatively durable, wood-like stuff. It also fits in a compact car's hatchback!  In fact, I pressed the remants into service as an expedient on my trestle deck to raise the tracks (not yet scored), and I will probably use it to make the trestle usng the techniques Mr. Richard Davis described in the August 2018 GR to replace my tired truss bridge.  I still have to evaluate it for glue...and finish  a mountain!

We also had to deal with some exposed cinder block.  Oldest Daughter, on her own initiative, drafted Neighbor Girl Who Thinks She Lives Here scoured the yard for appropriately sized and colord stones, used construction cement to hold them in place, the press gravel into the gaps.  The results are below:

I need to back out of more projects based upon those results!

This is the last project I began under the tutelage of Tom Trigg, and I am happy to bring it to what I found a satisfying close!

Have a great week!

 

Eric

 

 

 

 

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Posted by chocho willy on Monday, September 24, 2018 9:10 AM

Time for a new project, looking forward to it, Bill

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