fix ballast in place.

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fix ballast in place.
Posted by andychandler on Sunday, May 3, 2020 3:03 PM

gang: building my first garden rairoad.  1. Do I need to fix ballast in place? 2.  the only spot I have slopes about 8 inches from highest to lowest side. Have made a cut on high side and fill on other side.  Using concrete paying bricks to elevate track on the fill side.  Do I use soil and ballast or soil, gravel then ballast on fill side?  3.  How do I fix the fill side in place?  Should I adhere the pavers to each other?  Thanks  Andy

Andrew D. Chandler
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 4, 2020 12:24 AM

Andy,

Any chance you could post a photo to better illustrate your issue? Absent that, we, too, have a short stretch of track that sits on hollowtile as it rises a short distance (~6"). To date, I have found the rails and ties serve to hold the ballast in place.

 

You can see the area in question below, shortly after we installed this grade:

My daughter and her friend disguised the hollowtile by using construction cement to glue rocks to the side facing the lower track.  The opposite side is all dirt, until it meets a rock and composite wood retaining wall on the other side.  Note that we do have to occassionally remound and replace ballast, but this has worked to date.

 

Eric

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Posted by andychandler on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 9:24 AM

thanks Eric will post a picture.  My impression is that the track floats on the ballast, just like the real thing, as long as it does not wash away.  Will post picutre

Andrew D. Chandler
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, May 7, 2020 1:23 AM

Andy,

I am no expert, but there seem to be as many opinions on how to lay track and emplace ballast as there are garden railroaders!  In my case, a miscommunication with my contractor left my entire garden filled about 6" deep with gravel, so, yes, my track "floats" on the ballast, which is effectively the whole garden, anyway!  Even as things settled, and I replaced rocks for dirt to allow planting, I am finding that at least for me, in my climate, that I only need to touch things up here and there monthly or so.  The touch up usually involves taking a plumbers level and shoveling gravel into low spots.The photo below from March of this year might give you a sense of things, as you can see where gravel has settled over the years and requires some mounding from time to time under the tracks:

I've made no attempt to fix the ballast in these areas, though, going forward, I have considered any of a number of ideas to affix more "scale" ballast stones under and around the tracks.  For now, this works for us.

The only exception to the "floating areas" are in the picture above, which I think approximates your track on paving stone approach.  The ties and rails seem to work OK in holding the ballast in place.

 

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 10:00 PM

Ballast is a universal subject.  I use balsat crusher fines from a facility about 20 miles from here.  I take my ATV trailer with a pickup bed liner and get about a ton or more each year.  Crusher fines are broken rock with lots of sharp edges.  I shovel it onto the rails and then drag the square shovel over the track to get a uniform depth over the ties.  I then water it down and then brush between the rails so the ties show.  Rail twists are common after a hard winter so I usually use a car with single axles to locate the rail twists (opposite corners will either be high or low and if higher than the flange then it will derail).

One year I tried mixing in diluted Tite Bond III once I had the twists out to see if that would keep the ballast from migrating.  It worked well the first year but not so much the next year so I do not recommend "gluing" your ballast.

Cribbing appears to be my approved solution for holding ballast on a slope.  It looks good, works for keeping the ballast from running off, and is not to hard to make.  I rip a cedar fence board to 3/8" and then cut 7" lengths.  I sharpen some and pound the donwhill firrst one into the ground level with the top of the rail.  Next I place a beam on the inside of the post and fix it in place with my staple gun.  I drive another 7" beam under the rail and staple it to the first beam near the post.  The next post is driven into the ground about 5" from the first so you have plenty of overlap.  Staple the first beam to the second post.  Add another cross anchor beam under the rails at the second post and continue driving posts, anchors, and laying beams stapling as you go.  Build height by stapling beams over the gaps.  Add your ballast once the cribbing is up to level with the top of the rails.  I don't worry about painting the wood as it turns gray by the end of the first season.  I have some cribbing that has lasted 9 years and another that I keep walking on that I have to repair each year.

Rex

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, June 18, 2020 2:12 AM

Hi Rex,

Thanks for the very detailed description.  I am still having a hard time visualizing your approach, though.  Are you able to post a picture?

 

Thanks,

Eric

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Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Friday, June 26, 2020 6:45 PM

Once upon a time I used Photobucket to post pictures to this forum.  They have since changed their rules.  First in order to have more than 250 stored pictures you have to upgrade to their paid plan.  I had 350 pictures dating back to 2007.  I spent hour deleting photos only to find out that if I want to host my pictures then I have to go to their paid plan.  So bottom line I can't post a picture right now.  

What sites do you all use to post pictures from and what do they cost?

Rex 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, June 27, 2020 1:09 AM
Rex, I subscribe to a Microsoft account for $10/month, more or less. This gives access to five separate accounts (we are a family of six), each with a truly massive on-line storage capacity as well as their office sweet. The cloud service is what i use to post photos. I believe Google has a similar service, and I'd bet that so does Apple. Eric
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Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, June 27, 2020 9:07 AM

Rex,

I use Shutterfly, it is free, you will need to make an account, and they will offer to sell you items with your pictures on them, but you don't have to buy. They do good work,though.

Flickr worked for me only one time, and could not get it to work again, possibly compatibility with my iPad.

Paul

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, June 27, 2020 10:39 AM

Another good photo hosting site is imgur.  Very easy to use.

York1 John       

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Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Saturday, June 27, 2020 11:56 PM

Okay now I have a shutterfly account that I managed to put some pictures in.  I went to "Share" and they gave me a link which i pasted into a new posting. but it doesn't give me a picture.  So what is the process?

Rex

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Sunday, June 28, 2020 10:04 PM

right click on the picture.

choose copy location

click the little picture icon in the forum editor (it has a mountain and a small circle in the upper right which is supposed to be the sun)

Past the URL there...

 

 

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

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Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Monday, June 29, 2020 3:16 PM

Eric,

Here are a couple of pictures of my cribbing that has been in place for more than 10 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I use a pin nailer to put the sticks together.  Rex

 

 

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, June 29, 2020 10:27 PM
Rex, thanks. Another reason to invest in a pin-nailer! Eric

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