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about time i built my SM32 layout




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#1 ossygobbin

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 10:58

after pondering for a few years its about time i got stuck in (isn't it owd bob) i was intending moving and getting the garden i really wanted but that's out of the question for the time being (oh well).

so here is a couple of pics showing the planning. i dont know if i should use sticks or blocks, both have advantages and disadvantages. the space is about 36ft x 13ft and slopes about 2ft 6in towards the house. comments advice etc welcome.

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#2 Andrew1974

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 12:02

I don’t know anything about SM32 but what is the other, clearly much bigger, railway I can see?

#3 ossygobbin

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 12:17

I don’t know anything about SM32 but what is the other, clearly much bigger, railway I can see?

5" narrow gauge

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#4 hayfield

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 12:37

5" narrow gauge

 

 

Now that's what I call a train set, looks really great.


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#5 44690

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 18:08

I wish I'd bought my house with a garden railway in mind. I've been thinking about a railway in my garden for over 10 years. I'm hoping to start this year, but at the moment it is just that. A hope!

 

Good luck with it.

 

Ian


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#6 The Oily Rag

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 07:57

Good to see you about again, ossy. Look forward to reading of your progress with the 16mm railway. Those Rustons in 5" gauge are great fun. I have run one at the Llanelli MES track in Pembrey Park in the past days when I could lift the things.

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#7 The Oily Rag

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 08:05

I'm on the move again shortly I hope to a level garden with some raised beds already in place. However its not too cheap but I did find a useful product called "WOODBLOCX" on the 'net for building things in the garden like raised beds etc. Its wood guaranteed for 15years and is a bit like a grown up LEGO set. I didn't think it was cheap but it is quick and I was planning to use it here as we have a compound slope in two directions  in an area 36ft by 30feet. 1foot down to the right and about 2 feet back towards the house.

Hopefully the worst of that will go away with the move but that was the direction I was going this year. The other thing I had looked at was some blocking from Marshalls which interlocks together without mortar. It looked good to me but you had to buy it by the pallet of about 90 blocks at a time. Must look up the name again.

 

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#8 Owd Bob

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 08:31

Nice to see you out of hibernation Ossy! :mosking: The 5" is looking grand in those pics' and the 32mm looks well sited where it is, and at least its fully off the ground most of the way around judging by the way you have it set up on those sticks. Those interlocking blocks of O.R.'s sound ideal for the raised bits Ossy, and should be easy to lay for you. :)


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#9 ossygobbin

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 06:45

well i have been checking the cost of a block walling to level the railway. for the blocks alone the cost would be about £1k for the 215mm wide lightweight type or about £400 for the standard heavy 4" wide. this plus digging footings, concrete for footings and actually building the walls is going to cost a fair amount. (even doing it myself)

 

time for a rethink.

 

another 5 years of analysis paralysis  :scratchhead:   :nono:   :lol:


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#10 The Oily Rag

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 19:31

Sorry to hear that ossy. However there are a number of railways out there that are built much cheaper. For example using decking boards and posts. These can then be replaced bit at a time with what you really want to do as time and cash allows. I had to do some work on my workshop shed here with new backing boards and facings for the pent roof. Our local family owned small builders merchants let me have decking boards at half price. It seems that a lot of folks building decking refuse to have boards with any knots in them and they build up a stock of these things they can sell off quite cheaply. The ones I had were 3 and 4metres long. To get up and running it might be worth a try or some thought.

regards

Ian



#11 hayfield

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 08:10

well i have been checking the cost of a block walling to level the railway. for the blocks alone the cost would be about £1k for the 215mm wide lightweight type or about £400 for the standard heavy 4" wide. this plus digging footings, concrete for footings and actually building the walls is going to cost a fair amount. (even doing it myself)

 

time for a rethink.

 

another 5 years of analysis paralysis  :scratchhead:   :nono:   :lol:

 

 

We have done some building work on the house and its surprising how much you can save by shopping around, we found local building merchants both cheaper and deliver free, plus its not going to be a weekends work so costs are spread over time. Also keep a lookout for unwanted building products on local exchange sites, this may cushion costs


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#12 ossygobbin

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 20:00

well i tried something else yesterday to reduce building works.

had a loop at the bottom of the garden with a branch to the station / steaming area.

 

 

today i did similar but had the loop at the top of the garden going down the garden to the station

this gave a better height for steaming. its about 3 blocks high.

 

i wrote a more comprehensive version of the above but it disappeared.

 

some low quality pics as i forgot to check the camera settings.

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#13 PatB

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 03:19

Can't you just lay a third rail on the 5" circuit ;)?



#14 Owd Bob

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 10:00

I still prefer the original layout with the sticks Ossy, how about hiring a mini-micro digger some are only a metre wide, and then dig out the top end and put any spoil/soil you dig out back down at the lower end, thus having say a foot to 18 inches deep cutting at the top and a raised built up and leveled line area at the lower bottom end, i'm not sure on any terminus line like your last idea, it could be a lot of fiddling shunting about and bending over especially if and when you just want to sit back with a brew and watch stuff run in circles in your old age.  :jester:


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#15 ossygobbin

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 16:46

I still prefer the original layout with the sticks Ossy, how about hiring a mini-micro digger some are only a metre wide, and then dig out the top end and put any spoil/soil you dig out back down at the lower end, thus having say a foot to 18 inches deep cutting at the top and a raised built up and leveled line area at the lower bottom end, i'm not sure on any terminus line like your last idea, it could be a lot of fiddling shunting about and bending over especially if and when you just want to sit back with a brew and watch stuff run in circles in your old age.  :jester:

hi bob

it still has a continuous run and a terminus.


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#16 Mike Storey

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 22:13

Any progress Ossy? If you are still thinking about it, I agree with Bob that the larger layout will give you more satisfaction in the end. I am using heavy concrete blocks to build mine, and it is taking far longer than planned, partly because of other priorities, but now because of the really bad weather. However, I need to do it that way because the earth moves a lot around here, so deep concrete foundations and a solid block laid on top is needed. You may not need all that.

 

If you do go for blocks, there is a much faster way of doing it, shown to me by a builder, than the way that most people describe it. If you want to know, just say.



#17 44690

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 19:26

Any progress Ossy? If you are still thinking about it, I agree with Bob that the larger layout will give you more satisfaction in the end. I am using heavy concrete blocks to build mine, and it is taking far longer than planned, partly because of other priorities, but now because of the really bad weather. However, I need to do it that way because the earth moves a lot around here, so deep concrete foundations and a solid block laid on top is needed. You may not need all that.

 

If you do go for blocks, there is a much faster way of doing it, shown to me by a builder, than the way that most people describe it. If you want to know, just say.

Mike,

 

I'd be interested in the faster method. I'm thinking of building a railway on blocks.

 

Ian



#18 Mike Storey

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 19:45

Mike,

 

I'd be interested in the faster method. I'm thinking of building a railway on blocks.

 

Ian

 

OK, simple version is: ignore all the advice you read about making a smooth, level concrete bed. Dig or identify a rough plan for your desired route to a rough level (or to any gradients you want), compact it if not already well solid, lay concrete in a dryish mix to about a four inch depth (so it just about supports itself - the sides need to remain nearly solid - you will need to experiment a little bit to get that right. Do NOT use any detergent or mortar treatment, that we would normally use to keep mortar or concrete workable for longer) and plonk your blocks on to the mix - the key part is getting the blocks level when setting on to the concrete. With this method, no need to use formers, and no need to get a perfect level for the base layer of concrete, which saves days and days of effort. It has all set just as I wanted.

 

I also put some metal strengthening into the concrete - old scaffold poles or other similar lengths of metal trim or grids - but that is because the earth here moves a lot. You may not need to worry about that. In England, I used lightweight blocks for the most part, and had no problems (paint them first to make them more resistant to frost damage) but I dare not use them here, as the strength of the heavyweight blocks is part of the resistance to earth shrinkage and expansion.

 

Then if you need further height, just lay further blocks on top of the base layer, using normal mortar, after the concrete has gone off in a few days.

 

Mind you, I have used a concrete bed alone (with no blocks) as the base in a certain part of the garden, where old tree roots and some very large rocks would have made proper prep a nightmare. Time will tell if I have made the right decision!!

 

EDIT - PS - I forgot to say that a metre long (or longer) good quality spirit level is absolutely essential to get this right! You need to constantly check your levels across three blocks, not just the adjacent ones. That will ensure you are not accidently over-compensating for one rogue block.....


Edited by Mike Storey, 14 June 2018 - 19:47 .

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#19 44690

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 20:24

OK, simple version is: ignore all the advice you read about making a smooth, level concrete bed. Dig or identify a rough plan for your desired route to a rough level (or to any gradients you want), compact it if not already well solid, lay concrete in a dryish mix to about a four inch depth (so it just about supports itself - the sides need to remain nearly solid - you will need to experiment a little bit to get that right. Do NOT use any detergent or mortar treatment, that we would normally use to keep mortar or concrete workable for longer) and plonk your blocks on to the mix - the key part is getting the blocks level when setting on to the concrete. With this method, no need to use formers, and no need to get a perfect level for the base layer of concrete, which saves days and days of effort. It has all set just as I wanted.

 

I also put some metal strengthening into the concrete - old scaffold poles or other similar lengths of metal trim or grids - but that is because the earth here moves a lot. You may not need to worry about that. In England, I used lightweight blocks for the most part, and had no problems (paint them first to make them more resistant to frost damage) but I dare not use them here, as the strength of the heavyweight blocks is part of the resistance to earth shrinkage and expansion.

 

Then if you need further height, just lay further blocks on top of the base layer, using normal mortar, after the concrete has gone off in a few days.

 

Mind you, I have used a concrete bed alone (with no blocks) as the base in a certain part of the garden, where old tree roots and some very large rocks would have made proper prep a nightmare. Time will tell if I have made the right decision!!

 

EDIT - PS - I forgot to say that a metre long (or longer) good quality spirit level is absolutely essential to get this right! You need to constantly check your levels across three blocks, not just the adjacent ones. That will ensure you are not accidently over-compensating for one rogue block.....

Thanks for the prompt reply Mike,

 

That method is similar to one I had worked out for myself. I didn't fancy mixing comcrete so had thought of using a dry mix and letting the good old british wet weather do the hardening/setting of the concrete. I won't be building quickly so it can take its time.

 

My thoughts were to dig a trench. compact the soil at the bottom. Add 3-6 inches of hardcore (I was thinking of using ash from the railway where I volunteer) a concrete mix of approx 6 inches, then the blocks.

 

I will be using lightweight blocks, but hadn't thought of painting them. What paint do you use?

 

Ian


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#20 Mike Storey

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 08:11

Thanks for the prompt reply Mike,

 

That method is similar to one I had worked out for myself. I didn't fancy mixing comcrete so had thought of using a dry mix and letting the good old british wet weather do the hardening/setting of the concrete. I won't be building quickly so it can take its time.

 

My thoughts were to dig a trench. compact the soil at the bottom. Add 3-6 inches of hardcore (I was thinking of using ash from the railway where I volunteer) a concrete mix of approx 6 inches, then the blocks.

 

I will be using lightweight blocks, but hadn't thought of painting them. What paint do you use?

 

Ian

 

Ok Ian

 

I am not sure if what you are proposing will work, but good luck! I have a feeling that the concrete will not set the way you hope, in such a thick, dry layer, and you may not have much control over its level as the rain hits it as powder. Remember that for concrete to have strength, you need to pummel it to get as many bubbles out as possible (which is also achieved by laying blocks directly onto it when wet). However, nothing ventured......why not lay a short stretch as an experiment and see how it goes, before you commit to the rest?

 

If you are only laying blocks to one or two layers, a four inch layer of concrete as foundation is pretty adequate. A hardcore base is always a good idea, but frankly, for your lightweight proposal, this is really Rolls-Royce stuff. You could build a house on top of what you are proposing!

 

For the thermalite or similar blocks, I found any old exterior stone paint left over from other jobs, or exterior grade undercoat (vinyl is fine, so long as it is exterior), did the trick. When I had to clear it some five years or so later, when the house was sold, the paint was intact and the blocks solid. The main problems had been exposed corners on the upper surfaces, which were easily damaged (by cats, birds, foxes etc. digging up the ballast). Don't paint the sides which will have mortar applied, just those exposed to either soil or the weather.

 

Best wishes

Mike


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#21 44690

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 08:35

Thanks Mike. I did wonder if concrete would harden properly. It always seems to in bags that get opened but not used! I'm a fan of testing before committing to anything so I may have a go first. My garden is largely clay, which is why I'm going for good foundations. The blocks will only be one high. 

 

Ian


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#22 doilum

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:39

I was out ordering timber yesterday and noticed an ad for synthetic decking planks. Thought: must have a railway application.............

#23 Mike Storey

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 15:14

I was out ordering timber yesterday and noticed an ad for synthetic decking planks. Thought: must have a railway application.............

 

They do, as several have advocated them, but at one hell of a price, and of course, some complications or difficulty on curves.



#24 The Oily Rag

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 15:38

Definitely agree there Mike. However I think the product maybe something from "FILCRIS". They have quite a website on this interweb thingy. Apparently it is all recycled plastic that is used to make the basic materials. It is claimed to ONLY be twice the price of timber but without all the inherent treatment/preservation problems. I thought it worked out quite a bit more than that for what I wanted to do. However they do have a system of having the planks on edge providing ability for curves and then arrays of crosspieces like sleepers (ties) to carry the track.

 

With our move pending, I am back to thinking of raised beds again edged with those mortar less blocks from Marshalls or even the WOODBLOCX product, filling with coarse ballast most of the way, some soil parts for alpines and then almost scale ballast for the track. Our ground I know to be pretty stable and will taking another look next week hopefully. Madame wants to take another look at the house, gives me an excuse to get outside with a tape measure. There are really important matters to be looked at like size and siting of the railway workshops, survey for the alignment of the new railway etc. The critical matters of life itself. :whistle:


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#25 77philg

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 08:43

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This garden falls away from the house quickly .So a combo of treated wood, plywood wrapped in roofing felt, concrete viaduct and a shallow concrete brick trench at the house to support the track. Its only a small garden. Ive been going about 15 years + and its always good running.

I wouldn't use the lightweight blocks water penetration and frost damage is inevitable imho. My advice would be to use the largest radius curves that will fit in your garden and if you plan open days a few sidings where you can park your visiting locos when they are not running .A steaming bay that will not interfere with trains running on the main line, and on visiting day plenty of tea. :sungum:  phil


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