A garden railroad newbie.

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  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 8 posts
A garden railroad newbie.
Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Friday, June 26, 2020 1:04 AM

Hi everybody ! My name is Giuseppe and I am a brand new perspective garden railroader ! I live now in South Florida ( Pompano Beach, Broward County) in a SFH with a decent-sized backyard which is ALL sandy ( typical of this area )  and I would like to start again a model railroad after almost forty years of "hiatus ", so to say( I used to have a rather large collection of HO trains and track during my teenage in Italy ). I am gathering as much info as possible through Youtube channels and forums like this one. Due to the coronavirus I could not meet yet  in person with train modelers at local clubs nor go to the world-famous Ready To Roll store down  in Miami ; therefore I am here asking you guys a few questions, in order to get started "in the right track " ( MUCH pun intended ,lol !). First , what's the best type ( brass , steele or nickelsilver ?) and brand of track to be laid down on a sandy backyard just less than three miles from the ocean with temperatures of 80+ for nine months a year ; also are tracks from different brands compatible ? 2. I am planning to run multiple trains with at least three locos : DCC or radio controlled  trains ? 3. SHould I lay the tracks over wood or plastic  rather than the ground itself ?

Thanks you in advance for your help and tips :)

P.S. If some of you guys lives in South Florida I would love to meet in person !

  • Member since
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  • From: Great Plains
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Posted by York1 on Friday, June 26, 2020 10:29 AM

Welcome to the forum!  Welcome

Your first several posts are moderated, so they may not appear immediately.  After you have posted several times, things will work immediately.

Keep us informed on how your railroad progresses.  Speaking for myself, I love pictures of a railroad's progress!

York1 John       

  • Member since
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  • From: Arizona (high country 7k ft) USA
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Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Friday, June 26, 2020 3:26 PM

Hi and welcome to the forum.  I'm "Rex in Pinetop".  I'm in the high country in AZ at 7,000 ft.  We started our layout in 2006.  We run on a combination of brass and SS track mostly with LGB or Aristo ties.  I've done about a quarter of our track in hand spiked cedar and/or cyprus.  We're battery powered with CVPUSA's AirWire system which is basically wireless DCC.  We went this direction so as not to have to clean/polish track all the time (we have about 1,000 ft  of mainline).

Sandy soil means you're going to need add some firmness to your roadbed.  Are you going to be on the ground or raised?  If on the ground then I'd recommend the PVC method.  

Rex

  • Member since
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, June 27, 2020 1:14 AM

Giuseppe,

Aloha!  I live a litte over a mile from the tropical Pacific, and my brass rails are holding up fine!  i am told my plastic ties may suffer in time, but, after 5 years in the sun, they seem to be OK.  I also have really sandy soil. We used a raised bed and had the fill packed.  It did settle, but it got us over the hump!

I blogged our efforts here in thread entitled "Progress on the Triple O." Given our similar climate and location relative to the sea, you may find thins of value there.  Also, forum member Bill B., who posts as Chochowilly, lives in your neck of the woods.    I have been mining him for data for years since he reached out to me!

 

In the words of the late, great Tom Trigg, "Get  outside and get dirty!"

 

Eric

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    November 2011
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Posted by Postwar Paul on Saturday, June 27, 2020 9:02 AM

Hello Giuseppe!

 every yard and situation is different, and that's what makes it challenging. We had rock hard clay soil at the old house, at our new house, the garden railway sits on an area that seems to have concrete 2 inches down. I do not know what to recommend for sandy soil, and it may take some experimentation.

But anyway,

Welcome!

Paul

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ormond Beach, FL
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Posted by chocho willy on Saturday, June 27, 2020 1:54 PM

Hi and welcome, I also live in Florida Ormond beach to be exact and my yard is nothing but sand, when I started I mixed kitty litter (oil dry) with the sand and after it got wet a couple of times it got real hard, places that were too low I used bricks, good luck with your venture and remember to post pictures, Bill

falls

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Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Monday, June 29, 2020 8:13 AM

HI Rex,

thanks for your contribution ! I am also leaning towards battery -packs and wireless DCC to avoid a regular track cleaning. As you may know , most if not all of Florida was underwater at one time so my sandy backyard used to be the bottom of the ocean ( that's why I keep finding  clam shells since day one I moved in !). I prefer laying the tracks on the round and I would use some plastic bedding underneath.

G.

P.S. Are you the guy of that impressive video of the Big Boy pulling 152 cars ??? If I am not mistaken , that layout is in AZ !

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Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Monday, June 29, 2020 8:15 AM
HI Kanaka, thanks for your contribution! I will keep you posted and definitely use your tips ;)
  • Member since
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Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Monday, June 29, 2020 8:18 AM
Hi Paul, thanks for your contribution ! Some of the guys here had to go through the same soil situation so I am going to take advantage of their own experience and tips. Regards ! G.
  • Member since
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Posted by Giuseppe1963 on Monday, June 29, 2020 8:39 AM

HI Chocho Willy ,

 

Thanks for your contribution ! You and I live off the same FEC line ( my house lays literally less than a quarter of a mile off Dixie Hwy where the railroad runs !) . I like your layout and ,if I am not mistaken, I might have seen it on some yotube videos in the past since it looks familiar! I passed by ORmond BEach a couple of times on my way to St.Augustine, it's a very beautiful area !

I have extra concrete blocks that I could use as a track  bed but your idea on how to make the sand hard is a very good one : thanks for sharing !

G.

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ormond Beach, FL
  • 373 posts
Posted by chocho willy on Monday, June 29, 2020 9:31 AM

Giuseppe, the only thing left of my layout is memories, Hurrican took it out and bad back prevents me from restarting but still active in the hobby by building stuff from broken junk, keeps me busy, good luck with you venture, post pictures as you move along, Bill

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  • Member since
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  • From: Arizona (high country 7k ft) USA
  • 650 posts
Posted by Rex in Pinetop on Monday, June 29, 2020 3:23 PM

G,

Sorry I don't have the Big Boy.  I'm too tight to line up 152 cars.  That sounds like the guy down in Mesa, AZ with the 7,000 ft of mainline.  I only have 1,000.

Don't forget to allow for drainage when surveying in your layout.  Flooding is the major cause of ballast creep.

Rex

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