What should I use as a track bed?

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What should I use as a track bed?
Posted by Model Trains and Railfanning on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 12:00 AM

I am planing a garden railroad (in g scale) and was wondering what should I use as a track bed. I was thinking maybe Turface? Thanks! 

Sincerely, Model Trains And Railfanning 

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Posted by chocho willy on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:27 AM

Might be nice to know what area of the country you live it

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Posted by Model Trains and Railfanning on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:52 AM

Yes, sorry Washington State.

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 1:03 PM

What is your local microclimate? Desert with extreme heat? Snow country with frost heave? A 50 degree temp swing can cause 1/4 inch expansion on 100 ft of track.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by Model Trains and Railfanning on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:16 PM

between 80 and 90 degrees with the occasional rain.

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Posted by ttrigg on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 9:28 AM

Not familiar with Turface. I'm guessing it is a form of "plactic wood?" My limited experience with 'plastic wood' was in its early days. Back then it seemed to hold onto water when flat on the ground. Water and elec trains do not play well together. You seem to be in a mild climate area, I would suggest a crushed rock roadbed. Not a rounded pea gravel. Pea gravel will continue to roll for years, not a stable roadbed, crushed rock with its sharp edges will interlock giving a stable bed. Dig a trench wider than the planned track about 3~4 inches deep. Single track main line twice the width of track, multi track lines about 3 inches wider than all the tracks. Line the trench with garden fabric, stops the rocks from migraiting into the soil away from the roadbed. Fill the trench with 1/2 inch minus crushed rock to 1/4~1/2 inch above ground level. Wet it down with a misting nozel on garden hose. Walk on it, tamp it down. Add more 1/2 inch minus rock as needed to 1/2 inch above grond. Next day, cover the sub-roadbed with 1/4 inch minus crushed rock to about 3/4~1 inch above ground level, wet it down, tamp in place with the palm of your hand. Next day, lay your track, back fill with 1/4 inch minus as needed so track is level (side to side) and at your desired grade percentage. On curves you may want to have the inside rail 1/8 inch or less lower than the outside rail, helps engine pulling longer trains. Next day, balast with crusher fines. You now have a roadbed that will serve you well for 20~30+ years, barring any flash flooding. Yearly up keep, rebalast as needed. Track is not ancored to the ground, just like the 12 inch to the foot guys do in real life. Track 'floats on the roadbed' and will move ever so slow during heat and cold expansion.

My experience with wood, plastic wood, backer board (think sheet rock made with nylon mesh and cement used in shower walls) all required multiple rebalastings each year. I've even tried polymer binding agents in the crusher fines. It it ideal for light use driveways and walking paths. As it chips apart, just wet it down and tamp in place, it will rebond. Great for walkways, mixed with balast not so good. After 2~3 years it will crack and chunk which means lifting the track, shake the balast from the rails, pulverise and put everything back in place.

Which ever way you decide to go, have fun and enjoy the hobby. Remember, it is your empire, you do as you like, not as someone else tells you to do. Like I have said many times before, "Now get outside and play in the dirt."

Tom Trigg

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Posted by chocho willy on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 1:21 PM

   I mirror Tom's suggestion, but I will say I never thought Washington state had that kind of weather always thought of cold. Here in Florida we just lay them in the dirt or on kitty litter.  Out in that area of the country you should be able to find crushed granite if not from a rock place but at lease from farmers feed store as it is used for chicken grit , I use the smaller one for around buildings and it's called chick grit. Have fun and post pictures as you go along, Billchicken gritsmaller grit 

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Posted by ttrigg on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 3:37 PM

Bill

Love the look of your water tower(?) base. Way better looking than anything I've done before!

Tom Trigg

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Posted by chocho willy on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 4:47 PM

Windmill, who is counting rivets, not me? I found this one in the original silver fished box from 1980 something, had one out side before but wind kept blowing it over, blades had been bent back into shape many times, and this time I thought I have to secure it down. So I drilled holes in a paver and epoxied the tower in, it's not very to scale or original, but if kept lubed it spins like hell in a breeze. Then I had to hide the paver, hence the grit, wife, the one with the steady hand painted the "see coquina falls" on the tail fin for me. 48 years and still counting and still my best friend. Made her a house as I had done for all the kids, you can find  it on the forum under gramma's house which you already commented on. but I get a lot of comments on "did she really hit you", too funny, LOL, Stay brave, we are with you, thanks again Tom for all you have done, Bill 

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Posted by Neiler on Friday, July 20, 2018 11:45 AM

I put down a concrete roadbed and let the track float on top. The ballast holds the track in place but needs to be topped off once in a while. 

Here is a test area as I was trying some rusty rail paint  

Test Roadbed

I had recently mowed - er - lowered the level of “Green Lake”!

 

Neil

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Posted by Model Trains and Railfanning on Friday, July 20, 2018 4:55 PM

@Neiler What type of track do you use? It looks really realistic! 

-Model Trains And Railfanning 

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Posted by Neiler on Saturday, July 21, 2018 10:44 AM

Thanks for the compliment! I have a huge collection of Llagas Creek Code 250 & 215 Rail. This is painted as a test. The ballast is from Home Depot called  Basalt Sand. Lately I have been sifting sand used in concrete but haven’t been out to the garden for a couple weeks. Once I do, I post some pics for comments. 

 

Neil

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, July 21, 2018 4:01 PM

Do you have a track plan in mind? If not, have you considered flexibility (In our case, this means "mistake mitigation")?

We really had only the roughest concept of a track plan, and a contractor's interpretation of "fill with dirt, leave gravel for roadbed" was interpreted as "Fill mostly with dirt, then top off with 6" of gravel."  Being complete rookies, the upshot was that we could monkey at will with our track plan until we got something that looked right, saving work in the end.  I might also add 6" of gravel are a heck of a weed barrier, a key thing as we continue to experiment with plants!

As we've gone along, we've bored out planting "holes," filled those with soil, and moved the gravel to the tracks to level / raise / fix the mainlines.  

Oh, climate.  We are hot and dry until we are not (Daily to weekly).   Then we get a deluge.  In the wet season, the deluges come more frequently and last longer and the hot is not so hot.  

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by Neiler on Sunday, July 22, 2018 1:54 AM

Eric;

You are describing East Hawaii! 

 

Neil Erickson, Umauma, Hawai’i

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Sunday, July 22, 2018 8:14 PM

Neiler,

Windward coast, in fact.  Mokapu Peninsula and Lanikai effectively split the incoming weather systems, leaving us in a dry hole unless the system is heavy enough to back up on the Ko'olaus or strong enough to "steamroll" over the coast.  Weird to be dry on the "wet" side of an island!

 

Eric

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Posted by Neiler on Monday, July 23, 2018 12:11 AM

Eric;

As a cyclist it sounds like heaven. Working around the raindrops leaves a lot of time in the shop. I’ll have to start a thread here to share what’s going on over here. The South & North East Hawaii Railroad Company is nearly ready for revenue service. Lmk if you visit this way. 

 

Neil

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, July 23, 2018 12:58 AM

Mahalo!

I have a running thread hear "Progress on the Triple O" that covers my own issues and occasional triumphs.

 

Aloha,

Eric

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