The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

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IrishPeter
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The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by IrishPeter » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:31 pm

I have been clearing the site for a couple of weeks now, and have developed a fairly keen eye for how much ivy I can wedge in the wheelie bin and still get the week's rubbish in there! The final stage this morning was removing a well rotted tree stump, which must have belonged to a far sized tree as it looked a good foot in diameter as I pried the remains out of the ground. I had had a brain wave in the night that it was probably better to put the raise section there between the patio and the path than up against the house, and certainly, when I suggested it to SWMBO it got a very favourable reception. With the tree stump gone I could then take the level from the edge of the grass (calling it lawn would be an exaggeration) to where I need the decking for the raised section to end.
IMG_4317.JPG
Site at a very early stage of clearance
The above picture is a view of the site after I had cleared off the brick patio a while ago, but before I got into the tangle of ivy around the old tree stump.

I had intended to finish at that point, but a quick look at the clock showed it to be 11:30am, which left an hour until lunchtime. Armed with that knowledge I decided to dig a couple of holes and concrete in the first support piers. The concrete is now happily drying, and I am inside trying to convince my back that it really was not that strenuous a workout! If I get chance the other two piers for the first section of raised track will go in this afternoon, and I may even get a photo or two.

Cheers,
Peter in VA
Last edited by IrishPeter on Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by Peter Butler » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:43 pm

Good start Peter, well done and thanks for the update. The exercise will be good for you and the end product make it all worthwhile.
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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by philipy » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:38 pm

Making a start is usually the hardest part, so well done on that.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by IrishPeter » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:20 am

I did indeed get a little further.
March 22 C U O me a peony.JPG
Construction 3
This was close of play today. The ivy covered area has been cleared and the first four posts are in. They are a lot more lined up than the look in the photo, it seems to be a trick of the camera angle because every thing measures about right.
March 22 B.JPG
Looking from the site of the buffer stops
This photo is taken about where the end of the passenger station will me facing the hill. Where the edge of the construction area is in the near distance the line will turn right and start climbing.
March 22 A.JPG
Looking west
This should be roughly the view from the 'back' platform when the station is built.

That's it for now.

Peter in VA
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by Dwayne » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:43 pm

:thumbright:

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by Soar Valley Light » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:24 pm

Great start Peter. You're clearly engineering this to a good standard. :thumbright:

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by IrishPeter » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:06 am

I try and make things substantial, Andrew, but I really don't want to have to lay masonry unless I have to. My main thing is to avoid using inappropriate materials. For example, softwood posts are a non-starter here because of the wet and the termites - hence going for either PVC or concrete.

I got the first of the horizontal rails and some decking boards on Saturday morning before we left to go down to North Carolina, but did not get pictures before I left. The rails are fairly light (3" x 2") but with supports at 3' intervals, and the fact it is not intended to be walked on there is still plenty of structural strength there. The decking board are 1" actual thickness and pressure treated so with regular treatment they should last at least 10 and probably 15 years. If I renew then I may well use composite, but at the moment I am having to watch the budget a bit because even though the money supply is better than last year, I have still taken an appreciable cut in stipend compared to 2015/6.

I have to admit that I am somewhat concerned about the lack of ground clearance at the far (west) end of the site, and I will have to consider whether composite decking boards might be wiser there despite the costs. It really depends if I can get them cut in store so I can get them home in the car. I am also concerned by their relatively high expansion rates in hot weather, which to my mind makes it preferable to lay them at a right angle to the track.

Cheers,
Peter in VA
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by GTB » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:12 pm

IrishPeter wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:06 am

I have to admit that I am somewhat concerned about the lack of ground clearance at the far (west) end of the site, and I will have to consider whether composite decking boards might be wiser there despite the costs. It really depends if I can get them cut in store so I can get them home in the car. I am also concerned by their relatively high expansion rates in hot weather, which to my mind makes it preferable to lay them at a right angle to the track.
As far as I can discover, the Filcris used in the UK is just recycled HDPE. The composite decking materials such as 'Trex' used in the US and 'modwood' here in Oz are a mixture of plastic and wood fibre (sawdust?) and are more stable. The data I have on the Aust 'Modwood' is that it expands with temperature at about the same rate as steel and much less than recycled HDPE. The same technical data sheet also gives guidance on laying it in hot weather and leaving expansion gaps between boards.

Real wood expands more across the grain than along it, but these recycled plastic and composite boards are homogenous and expand the same in any direction, like metals.

If as you say, you lay composite decking across the framing, you can leave a small gap between pieces and there would be no issues. Using it for longitudinal framing would seem to be OK as well, as the expansion rate is much the same as the metal rails........

Graeme

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by ge_rik » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:38 pm

Looks like you're making a good start, Peter.
Now the real fun begins! :?

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by IrishPeter » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:27 pm

GTB wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:12 pm
As far as I can discover, the Filcris used in the UK is just recycled HDPE. The composite decking materials such as 'Trex' used in the US and 'modwood' here in Oz are a mixture of plastic and wood fibre (sawdust?) and are more stable. The data I have on the Aust 'Modwood' is that it expands with temperature at about the same rate as steel and much less than recycled HDPE. The same technical data sheet also gives guidance on laying it in hot weather and leaving expansion gaps between boards.

Real wood expands more across the grain than along it, but these recycled plastic and composite boards are homogenous and expand the same in any direction, like metals.

If as you say, you lay composite decking across the framing, you can leave a small gap between pieces and there would be no issues. Using it for longitudinal framing would seem to be OK as well, as the expansion rate is much the same as the metal rails........

Graeme
Well, that is good news about Trex. The end piece closest to the grass is more or less ground level so it is going to have to be built of that or something similar, with concrete foundation, or I am looking at it only having a three to five year life span. Even at that I am going to have to lower the ground level a little. The posts I banging in this morning were only 24" for the first set and 18" for the second compared to the 30" for the originals. The ground in that part of the garden seems to rise at about 1 in 6! After that the slope eases to about 1 in 10 to 1 in 12. I suspect the steep bit was generated by the excavations undertaken 125 years ago when the house was built!

Cheers,
Peter in VA
Last edited by IrishPeter on Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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It has grown a bit!

Post by IrishPeter » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:50 am

The construction work on the 'table' for the main station has proceeded quite rapidly. I had the first 6' panel more or less complete on Saturday morning, and this was joined today by a second.

I would describe the construction as 'orthodox' - PVC legs embedded in, and partly filled with, concrete; 3" x 2' stringers, and 1.25" x 6" decking boards on top. The timber dimensions are nominal, so a 6" board is actually about 5.5" wide, which is why I need to add another two boards to complete the 12' length of the wooden area. However that may well prove to be a handy overlap between wooden, and composite construction. I have yet to start the low level composite (Trex) extension, but once that is added the total area will be about 16' by 4'.
27 MarchC.JPG
Side view
This is view from the approximate site of the main platform buffer stop looking uphill.
27 MarchD.JPG
Looking uphill
I reckon this is about where the curve of the mainline into the station will start. In all likelihood it will be about 5 foot radius.
27 MarchA.JPG
From the grass
This gap will probably be closed using composite decking boards with the stringers - also of composite - being tied to a concrete block foundation. There is not enough ground clearance to allow for timber construction without rot becoming an issue rather earlier than one would like.
27 MarchB.JPG
The Gap
This shot shows the whole of the station area with the transition from benchwork to ground level track is at the very bottom of the shot. The loco shed will be bottom right. The station will cover most of the boarded area, with the goods facilities top left on the bench work as I envision things at the moment.
27 MarchF.JPG
The "aerial" view
Once I have the benchwork complete the next job will be to stain or paint the wooden sections grey or brown. Then I will be ready to start laying track. After today's effort the PW superintendent (the dog) is 'cream crackered' and is fast asleep in his bed by the piano. He is certainly better at digging holes than I am - or so he says!

That's it for now.

Peter in Va
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by BorisSpencer » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:33 pm

Looks nice and substantial.
I may have been tempted to make a bit taller, closer to table height, but I'm old and have to consider my knees and back.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by IrishPeter » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:40 pm

Hi, Boris,

I can vouch for it being substantial as I sat down rather heavy on the first section yesterday when digging a hole for the first post for the second section. The height was determined by the fact that I am going to ground as the slope rises so 20" was about the maximum, but that will at least give my back half a chance compared to my old railway which was ground level throughout. However, as I have a certain amount of sciatica bending and stretching help me to some degree. I think when it comes due for rebuilding in about 12-15 years I will be close enough to Medicare to think about raising it to table top height, but so far so good. The inside layout - the Skebawn and Castleknox - is pitched at about 3'3" which is rather nice for viewing trains, but operationally is a bit high.

Peter in Va
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by Andrew » Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:02 pm

This is looking excellent - it's great to see a new line emerging, and you seem to be working at quite a pace too!

It certainly looks substantial, which you'll be glad of when shunting etc. I've certainly been grateful that my raised terminus baseboard (essentially a table made from decking board etc) can take my weight, even if it's just as I lean on it when I'm uncoupling or whatever.

Looking forward to more pics in due course,

Andrew.

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Re: The Far End Tramway - Construction starts!

Post by Peter Butler » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:34 pm

That is certainly progress and substantial construction too! I know we are separated by a small pond but perhaps descriptions of materials are different in our own countries? When you mention 'decking board' I presumed you refer to pressure treated timber which has an extended life expectancy and is usually sold in unfinished (rough-sawn) planks. The ones in your pictures appear to be planed softwood, which is usually untreated against rot and intended for indoor use only.
Perhaps it is available in a different form where you are?
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