Author Topic: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.  (Read 278 times)

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Offline Bruce_L

Some will know that I had a small circular G3 layout which had to be dismantled when we moved house - to where there is a much longer garden and is ideal for replacing the old layout! There are a couple of pics on the Forum"Items Wanted"/ "wanted:-track" sections of the new situation. The lockdown and worse, the weather, stopped a lot of outside work. Besides the track of course, I brought as much built as I could from the old house - but as at least of half the layout was set onto garden walls so they were out of course. But I like to reuse things (well, I am from Yorkshire!) so as much as possible came with us. Some of it turned out to be very useful.
The Lockdown did provide a lot of time to think about the new railway (which is now named "BlakeMoor Railway") plan the layout, measure all sorts of things, and most of all, work out how the track would be elevated at the 'start' end and would be at ground level at the far end, as the garden slopes up (and sideways as well).So I could research all the Forum posts, and some YouTube videos that Ashley pointed me to to see how they did it. |Most were using the post/cross member/plank method, and looking at numerous pics often these were end ways and I kept looking at the geometry and one day I had  a huge brainstorm that they looked exactly like a ladder!
As it happened I had redundant 15 ft 2-piece slide ladder from my dad so I started thinking in how I might use it. I was so keen on this idea I started to collect ladders. The new house had left a 10 ft 2-piece ladder and I scrounged  some old 5 ft pieces that used to be loft ladder sections, plus some step ladders in both houses. I now had loads, for no cost so the method grew even more on me.
Now, I had to list the problems. Curves was the obvious one, and this technique can't do this, apart for very slight curves in the vicinity of a join between two ladders (especially if its the join between 2 pieces of the same ladder) as you can angle the two to create a short curve using the wooden track-bed on top. I was concerned about screwing into aluminium, but modern ladders use hollow tubes down the sides and it turns out that wood screws will cut through a drilled hole you put through one side, so not much different to wood. For the top surface I decided on plywood, after reading the pros and cons of wood and plastic for the track-bed. Again, easy to screw onto the top. Most big ladders are 15" wide, which is ample for straight double track and thick ply can overhang the sides a bit if necessary by a small amount.
I've now finished stage 1 of this and am ready for the plywood, when I can source it at 16-18mm, but the first ladder is in place, starting from the station at height to zero just before the semi-circle starts. The ladder has only 2 supports (which came from the previous layout) for 30 feet which has cost me Nill, it will never rot, never bend and will be invisible after gluing the roofing felt on top and down the sides, which is what I used before but its now no use (shame!).
I'll add some photos so you can see what I'm talking about.
Anyway, it wasn't a problem for me as my layout is largely straight - up the garden and back; in-between is a ground-level semi-circle at the far end so doesn't need much support.
I decided to do one straight side which comes off my station flat area from the old layout and see how it went. I attached one end of the ladder to the flat and used a long level I worked away towards the far semi-circle. I needed just two supports in 30 feet, so it cuts the work and cost to next to nothing, if you've got suitable ladders of course.
I'll add some photos so you can see what I'm talking about.









Hope they come out OK. These pics are before the supports had been finished.
I'll try and add things as days go by.
Note that its the ladder that's dead level all the way; it's the ground that is sloped!
Bruce
Bruce
729

Offline Bruce_L

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #1 on: Mar 23 2021 14:53 »
The ladder method is now complete and proven (just on one side of the oval of course). The Hard plywood has been acquired - B&Q cut a 8'x4' into 3 slices with ease, which was lucky as getting 8 foot lengths only just fit in the car!
These have been screwed onto the ladder and the shed felt glued on (using the 15 year-lasting felt as recommended).
 So, just about ready to lay some track so I can run for a change, albeit in almost a straight line.
Next step is to run off the end of the straight to curve round the top end before setting up the 20 foot ladder at the opposite side
I'll add a couple of pics.










Note the trackbed is absolutely level and its the ground that climbs to the right where the trackbed meets it. The last pics will still have weights all along it to make sure the felt is fully stuck down.

Bruce
729