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mick

Worsley Dale Garden Railway

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I know how you feel when it comes to a plot of land with a slope as my highest part is 1.5m above ground level.

Roy.

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Using some plywood sheeting that I had salvaged from the rear of a set of disposed wardrobes, I've put up some shuttering around the previously marked out base. The plywood was cut into 4 inch wide strips and secured in place with offcuts of timber.

The photos below show the shuttering in place. Notice that in front of the windmill and around past the weather station, the base is just above ground level but the slope of the garden soon comes into play.

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The shuttering currently extends for approximately 35 feet and I intend to get this concreted and the 18mm plywood base in place before continuing on with construction towards the shed.

The area in front of the shed where the tracks will eventually enter is giving me some grief at the moment. I'm not exactly sure what to do here. I thought initially that I would build a low masonry wall but I think that would be difficult to disguise and blend into the garden being 15 or so inches high. And then I thought "what about a viaduct" to span the gap up to the shed? With a viaduct I wouldn't have to build up the ground. So, my present thoughts are for a viaduct and we'll just have to see how things go.

traingeekboy said:

....3. Once the layout is in place, will you be removing the small patches of grass between beds and track. Seems like a lot of hassle to keep trimmed.

Yes, the borders will require a complete make-over by the time I've finished.

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I nipped out to the DIY earlier and brought home some bags of all-in ballast and cement to start on the concreting but it's still a bit too warm outdoors for me to think about hand-mixing several loads of concrete. I'll have to check the weather forecast and see if I can leave it until the morning when it will hopefully be a bit cooler.

I've given a bit more thought as to how to connect up to the front end of the shed and I'm definitely leaning towards the construction of a concrete viaduct. I think I'll do a few trial mixes of various grades of sand, gravel and cement to see if I can find something that would be a suitable finish and sufficiently durable for the job. Who knows, if I can make a success of this then there's no reason why there couldn't be some more!

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Andrew said:

Speaking of track pins, does anyone have any tips for preventing Peco ones bending when hammering them into softwood?...

Andrew. In my opinion, the best way is to look for the thicker track pins. I had the same problem with the Peco ones bending and so I looked on eBay and found some thinker ones suitable for use even on plywood. They're still small enough not to be noticeable but much stronger than the standard Peco ones. I don't use eBay anymore so I'm unable to point you in the right direction but you should be able to locate them. Get hold of a small drill to drill through the sleeper first and the pins will then tap in easily.

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With the shuttering in place and with a large classical music collection. Whilst your pouring the concrete perhaps you could play Elgar's Land of Slope and Glory although if you change your mind you could play the Enigma Variations. :lol:

Roy.

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Pinning the track down is a nightmare outside. I have used anything from half inch panel pins to 1 inch long pins. Have to drill the holes out a little but worth it in the long run. Make sure that the pins you use have a nice round flat head on them as it makes it so much easier for removal as and when required to do so.

Ian

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I spent this morning hand-mixing a load of concrete in temperatures touching 27 degrees. It was warm work to say the least. As each batch was mixed, poured and leveled, it was covered with damp sheets to prevent it drying too quickly. I wasn't sorry to finish I can tell you. Anyway, the shuttered sections have now been concreted and I have a foundation ready to accept the plywood track base once everything has had time to dry thoroughly.

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Have you considered using Thermalite blocks as an alternative to plywood Mick? As for track pins I've used Atlas track pins which hammer easily through the 15mm plywood base of my railway. I bought them from my local model shop who recommended them as an alternative to Peco track pins. In the UK you maybe able to get them from Gauge Master in Sussex.

Roy.

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cleanerg6e said:

Have you considered using Thermalite blocks as an alternative to plywood Mick? ...

 

ba14eagle said:

...Looks like a job for "rubbercrete" to me ;) ......

The reason I've opted for using plywood upon which to fasten the track is my inability to be able to lay blocks perfectly level and my inability to plaster any other form of mixed materials to a perfectly smooth and level finish. I'll be honest, I don't really notice uneven track on other modeller's layouts and even on those occasions where something does immediately stand out it doesn't give me that same gut feeling that I get when I see it on my own layout. By choosing plywood I think I'm giving myself the best possible chance of laying level track, providing that I get it fastened down correctly in the first place and that it doesn't later start to twist or warp. It's also a good surface for accepting track pins.

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Don't be so modest Mick. You did that brick retaining wall outside the garden shed and after seeing that photo it made me think of thermalite blocks for the track base.

Roy.

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cleanerg6e said:

...You did that brick retaining wall outside the garden shed and after seeing that photo it made me think of thermalite blocks for the track base...

On a brick wall you're hardly going to notice when one brick is out of line with another or when they're not exactly vertical. At 4mm scale that deviation is going to be massive. I would certainly feel confident enough to use thermalite or similar type blocks in order to construct a base for the plywood tops but not in my ability to lay the blocks level enough to fix track directly to. I'm happy with my choice of plywood and let's face it, for the elevated sections I'll have to introduce later there's really no other choice.

As for progress with the layout, well I have now removed the wooden shuttering to expose the concrete base. As expected, there are areas that aren't level but that shouldn't be too much of a problem and will be addressed when the plywood is installed later.

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I too wasn't confident of my ability to build what is in effect a wall of blocks, nor did I want a wall all around my garden, it would fill with water as I have a thick plastic membrane under the gravel. My solution was to build piers around 1 metre apart. It gives more opportunity for bridges and viaducts (I think there is no better sight than a train going over a viaduct), and the gaps fill very easily with plants and dwarf conifers.

Now that I have the deck boards laid they are very strong and will easily support the weight of an adult. I like the idea of pouring a concrete wall, the route is more organic looking than the angular look of blocks.

Just my two pennorth.

George

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Yes piers are a good idea George and I'll be considering them and standard wooden posts for the necessary elevated sections of the garden to see which is most suitable for the situation.

I've dragged a full sheet of plywood out of the garage and up the garden path this morning and cut the first full length to go on top of the concrete. With that section in place it was clear that in order to allow sufficient width to be able to chamfer the edges of the plywood they were going to have to be as wide as the footings so I've reduced the first length to leave it with square edges and just a narrow overhang alongside the sleeper ends. I'll have to look at how to blend the top edge of the plywood down to the concrete footings once they are in place.

I've just come inside for a break because I'm getting a bit agitated with my glasses. It seems no matter which pair I wear I don't feel comfortable and without them I can't see what I'm doing. One minute they're on, next they're off and then I'm looking for them because they've gone missing!

I'm going to try to cut all the sections of plywood needed to cover the recently laid concrete and then see about getting some preservative on them before I'm able to fasten them in place. Even with no beginning and no end at least then I'll be able to solder on a couple of wires to some track and run something up and down!

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The up and down test track does help. You need glasses holders like old ladies wear; that's what Sara tells me at least, because I refuse to wear bifocals.

Lots of good progress on new layouts this year. It's what keeps me coming here. :)

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Griff, it is what I joined the forum for. The advice and encouragement is second to none. A membership of this forum is like having a toolbox full of tools and an encyclopaedia under your arm.

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traingeekboy said:

....Lots of good progress on new layouts this year. It's what keeps me coming here. :)

Agreed. Hopefully I can keep a contribution going and I'm looking forward to keeping up to date with everyone else.

I hadn't realised how difficult it would be to transfer the shape of the concrete footings onto an 8x4 sheet of plywood. I ended up doing it bit by bit starting with the approximate shape slightly oversize and then cutting back. I've managed most of it without wasting too much. I've been trying to cut the wood just slightly larger than the footprint of the track but until the track's permanently laid it's not easy to work out exactly where it will be. I've done my best with some track temporarily pinned down so I hope everything's okay.

Not much preventing me getting these first few sections finished now. Plywood still needs sealing and then it can be fastened down permanently and some lengths of track laid. I'm looking forward to that - it's been a long time.

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george356 said:

A membership of this forum is like having a toolbox full of tools and an encyclopaedia under your arm.

I've never thought of myself or others on this forum as "tools" although I can be quite "plier-able" although I'd never "hammer" a point home. :lol:

But yes this forum is great for information and finding ways of doing things that may not occur to me.

On that Garden Railway DVD, that Mark Found said "I can't pretend to do this on my own, that would just be stupid". Doing it on your own is half of the satisfaction. Joining a forum like this with other like minded people is pure joy in building and operating a garden railway. So much of what happens today is what we're TOLD MUST BE DONE a certain way. To construct a garden railway in the first place you have to have an interest in trains and using a little common sense it is a totally rewarding experience. This forum makes it even more so. :D

Roy.

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Not too much to report but I know how much additional interest a few photos bring and so here's a trio that show where things currently stand.

I've been and purchased half a dozen aerated blocks to continue the base down towards the shed from where the concrete foundation ends. Five or six of these blocks will be sufficient to reach the point where I'd like to construct a viaduct to span the last few feet to the shed entrance. I've just poured some concrete as foundations for the blocks so it'll be tomorrow at the earliest before I can think of going any further there.

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I've decided that rather than purchase some wood preservative I might just as well make do with what I've got and so I've diluted some black bitumen with white spirits and began giving the wood a good coating on all sides and edges. I can't think that anything can give much better protection than a few coats of bitumen and so I'm sure this will suffice. That's one of the curved sections in the photo resting on bricks whilst it dries.

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Finally, this is me standing in front of the shed where the tracks will enter looking up towards the curve in front of the house and the location for the aerated blockwork. The proposed viaduct will go in the shuttered off area in the foreground.

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