Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

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Peter Butler
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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by Peter Butler » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:10 pm

Speaking as one who has done more than my share of model railway exhibitions and displays, I can easily answer you question.... because they are made of compatible (usually identical) materials and set up in controlled and stable environmental conditions.
You are asking for a variety of materials to react in the same way as each other, in an environment which is outside your control and will react differently to temperature and humidity.
I agree there should be a way and I would be interested to hear from you that you succeed, however, I doubt I will live that long!
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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by philipy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:22 am

I agree totally with Peter's comments about indoor vs outdoor layouts. Plus, with an indoor exhibition layout, the track is fixed to the boards and its the boards that largely do the alignment, at a reasonabley sensible height which allows access above, below, and probably from both sides. The idea of crawling around in the garden, trying to align all those ends, and without the geometry going to pot, is a nightmare I wouldn't want to think about, much less do.

I have two sections of plain track that cross paths, one straight and one on a curve and both have been down for about 7 or 8 years and get walked on daily, get the mower, wheel barrow and wheely bin, etc, pulled across. The only real problems I have are (a) bits of debris getting stuck between running rails and check rails and that is dealt with by a few mins work with a small screwdriver/scrape. (b) the sloping slabs on one side of one crossing have sunk a bit and the edge of the concrete has started to crumble as a result ( 2nd picture) - I've been thinking for a couple of years that I ought to do some repairs!

The track in both cases is screwed to a concrete base, check rails fitted and then the whole lot concreted solid. I guess there is no reason in principle why you couldn't do the same thing with a couple of turnouts included. but if there was ever a problem with the blade/tie-bar movement it would be next to impossible to repair.
DSC_0154 small.jpg
DSC_0155 small.jpg
I've looked again at your sketch plan and without an accurate drawing its difficult to be sure if it would work, but how about this for an idea?:

Could you move the top (RH) turnout to the right and the bottom (LH) T/o to the left, straighten both sections of track and join them by a short length of diagonal track. You would then have three lengths of plain track crossing the path which could be permanently fixed in some way similar to mine (above).
20190711_212918-01 - P.jpg

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by idlemarvel » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:32 am

I think the approach above described by Philip is the best yet if you can live with moving the points. Least obstrusive and least maintenance.
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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by FWLR » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:25 am

I also agree with Phillips suggestion. It would give you a lot more and you don't really need to be lifting anything...
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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by MRail » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:58 am

Here's my contribution.
I'm not telling anyone how to do it, but what I did and what works for me:-
[attachment=0]MR190712-001.jpg[/attachment]
The patio step is the main access for washing line (crucial!) and steam-up meetings etc.
[attachment=1]MR190712-002.jpg[/attachment]
Yes, it was raining this morning!
[attachment=2]MR190712-003.jpg[/attachment]
The astro turf shows there is no need to drag a mower over the track, but the wheelie bin makes the crossing for veggie bashing.
After 4 years, it's standing up well.
Best to move the points apart so the moving bits are clear of the concrete.
The fine detail around the frogs etc is "enhanced" with Isopon filler.
On the other side of the grass:-
[attachment=3]MR190712-004.jpg[/attachment]
This step was cast in situ, and the nearer track had to be lifted and re-levelled some time later.
It all seems to stand up to walking over it.

Looking at a preview, I can't tell if the pics are coming out in the correct order,but we'll see!
Attachments
MR190712-004.jpg
MR190712-003.jpg
MR190712-002.jpg
MR190712-001.jpg
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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by CSL » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:15 pm

Some great ideas and pictures coming through here - exactly why I posted - thanks.

Are there any pictures of pemanent track with temporary walkways laid over it, as has been suggested at least a couple of times? I can't quite picture it.
philipy wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:22 am
Could you move the top (RH) turnout to the right and the bottom (LH) T/o to the left, straighten both sections of track and join them by a short length of diagonal track. You would then have three lengths of plain track crossing the path which could be permanently fixed in some way similar to mine
Hmm. Not sure. It's a tight spot - I'll check.
MRail wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:58 am
Looking at a preview, I can't tell if the pics are coming out in the correct order,but we'll see!
I'm not sure either!
Also, it looks like you didn't use check rails - is that right?
philipy wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:22 am
The track in both cases is screwed to a concrete base, check rails fitted and then the whole lot concreted solid. I guess there is no reason in principle why you couldn't do the same thing with a couple of turnouts included. but if there was ever a problem with the blade/tie-bar movement it would be next to impossible to repair.
Thanks very much for this information. Two questions:
- what method is recommended for screwing track directly to concrete?
- how do you fit check rails, and can it be done with Peco track?
I really wouldn't want to encase pointwork in concrete!

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by philipy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:11 pm

CSL wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:15 pm

Thanks very much for this information. Two questions:
- what method is recommended for screwing track directly to concrete?
- how do you fit check rails, and can it be done with Peco track?
I really wouldn't want to encase pointwork in concrete!
I embedded some short pieces of 1" x1" treated timber when I cast the concrete base to allow me some leeway for track positioning, but alternatively you could simply drill the concrete and use plastic plugs, but its a bit more fiddly and depending on how much ballast you have in the mix, it plays havoc with drill bits! I used small brass ( not brass plated) screws.

Once everything was in satisfactory alignment I then fitted the check rails. Peco sell packets of individual chairs so its just a case of threading them on to a length of rail, drilling sleepers with a suitable size drill and popping them in with a drop of glue for a temporaray fix, then top it all off with a fairly strong mortar mix. Just make sure you leave the rail head a couple of mm proud of the surface.

For what it's worth, check rails are not strictly necessary, IMO, but they do look right and more importantly, give something to finish the embedding mortar up to, to get the levels. Otherwise there is a chance of the mortar slumping before it sets and fouling the flangeways.

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by CSL » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:15 pm

I used embedded treated timber for fixing track in my original build (not crossing any paths), so I think I'll carry on with that then. I was wondering if it was seen as a shortcut method, but if you use it...!

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by philipy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:36 pm

CSL wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:15 pm
I used embedded treated timber for fixing track in my original build (not crossing any paths), so I think I'll carry on with that then. I was wondering if it was seen as a shortcut method, but if you use it...!
I used it as a short cut AFTER I found I couldn't drill some concrete with a lot of ballast in it! :roll: :lol:
I worked on the principle that, yes it will rot eventually, but if everything is encased in concrete it shouldn't much matter after the first few days.

Actually, I had occasion to realign a short section of plain curved track recently, and found that the embedded wood was still solid enough to take screws only a few mm from their original position, after about 7 years.

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by CSL » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:47 pm

philipy wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:11 pm
[Just make sure you leave the rail head a couple of mm proud of the surface.
I can't help thinking that this sounds risky for embedded track which is subjected to wheeled garden equipment (and children...) The rail obviously cannot be supported by concrete on the flangeway side, and as it protrudes above the top surface it will receive sideways forces at the railhead which will surely be way above what it's designed to resist - I'm particularly thinking of fully-loaded garden waste wheely bins and skidding ride-on toys. I know that more than one person has stated on this thread that it works in practice, but...

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by philipy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:57 pm

Its your decision obviously, but it works for me. My garden waste wheely bin gets so heavy that I have trouble shifting it even just on the patio, but its never caused any problems on the track. The diameter of the wheels is massive compared to the tiny protrusion of the railhead so effectively the weight acts more or less straight down and with the checkrail a couple of mm away the two piees effectively protect each other against sideways forces. Plus the wheels are a slightly flexible plastic, of course so there is a tiny bit of 'give'.
The other thing is that you can work thin mortar under the rail, to give contiunuous support, if it really worries you.

I said a couple of mm protrusion but it only needs to be high enough to ensure that the wheel treads don't run on the concrete on the outside of the running rail. I made that mistake as well, and ended up having to grind it down. If you look at my picture of the curved crossing, you can make out slightly lighter strips either side of the track!

I'm not trying to convince you that this is the "right" way to do it and it's certainly not the only way, but as I said, it works for me.

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by Tom the blacksmith » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:13 pm

Hi CSL, just to confuse matters further, could you cut a hole in the brick wall and situate the points there (above the 'ground level railway' on your drawing or there abouts). That way you wouldn't have to worry about concrete and point work, which I agree with you, probably not the best bed fellows.

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by MRail » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:07 pm

I didn't add check rails, just those integral wth the points.
The crossing is scratch built with minimal check rails.

Track is loose laid on concrete, then flooded with mortar, and flangeways carved out while still "green".
The edges do gradually erode.

Adding check rails to Peco track...
I've repaired Peco broken checks by soldering rail to the edge of a length of brass strip, then srewing down to the sleepers.
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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by philipy » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:16 am

philipy wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:57 pm


I said a couple of mm protrusion but it only needs to be high enough to ensure that the wheel treads don't run on the concrete on the outside of the running rail. I made that mistake as well, and ended up having to grind it down.
I don't know if this overblown and slightly cruel close-up helps to show what I mean?
DSC_0154 close.jpg

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Re: Suggestions please: removable ground-level section

Post by FWLR » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:27 am

If you do has suggested by Phillipy and MRail, you will have solved your issue.
Leaving 2mm protruding will not cause any problem with tripping or getting any wheels damaging your track. I have been to countless lines where they have track in concrete for 20-30 years and they have had no problems with anyone or anything causing any damage.

Go ahead and give it a go with a sample box with a bit of track and you will find it works brilliantly....
Rod

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