Author Topic: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.  (Read 1780 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

Offline Bruce_L

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #2 on: May 10 2021 15:04 »
The track has now been laid on the ladder/plywood/roofing-ballast (in that order), but not yet fastened down to allow me to make adjustments.
It's nice to be able to run some rolling stock on test though. The straight and level part has gone well, but the transfer on to ground level has not been as good especially as there is a curve here which also rises slightly at the same time. The rough ground will have to be smoothed better.













The pics will give you an idea of where I have got to now. (don't worry about the curve of the two tracks running off the side!, that's where the circuit will carry on, avoiding the end which carries straight on to the station-to be.).
Bruce
729

Offline Bruce_L

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #3 on: May 24 2021 14:31 »
The end of the ladder section reached the ground and I started on the curve off to the right as this first part of the return section but using wood on skids for the trackbed turns out to be unsuitable. Ashley had pointed to another method which is to dig a cutting and then fill it with breezeblocks set in at the correct height, basically. So that's what is going on now. Hopefully the full half circle will be built soon using this method, so I can work on the shorter ladder to build the return track.
This will show the current situation.



The end of the first ladder is at the top left.
Bruce
729

Offline joewatt

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #4 on: May 27 2021 15:46 »
Hi Bruce - after your and Ashley's visit, I decided my top curve needed rework. I've now developed my ultimate method for reliable level curves. As per before, it requires 'Filcris' recycled plastic board, jig-sawed to the required profile; then, edged with flexible alloy tile edging. Works a treat.








Offline AshleyW

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #5 on: May 27 2021 19:00 »
it looks a treat too and very good inspiration for those wanting ground level track. ash

Offline Bruce_L

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #6 on: Aug 04 2021 14:36 »
Thanks Joe, I'll be using your method on the inside track instead of using a cutting which was very hard work.
Recently, the outside track was laid on the level blocks which has been fitted in the cutting for a whole half-circle so the oval is now a half of the circuit. A bridge follows next.
Meanwhile a couple of pics of this end of the layout.










The side edging isn't yet fitted on these pics and the geometry is still to be improved, but making good progress.
Bruce
729

Offline Peaky 556

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #7 on: Aug 04 2021 23:13 »
That’s great progress you’re making in a short time Bruce. Getting it installed early before the landscape gardeners come in is definitely something I should have done 20 years ago!
It’s good to see your progress unfold,
Best wishes
Tim
Thank you,
Tim
Facebook.com/AppleTreeRailway/

Offline Bruce_L

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #8 on: Sep 10 2021 13:16 »
Hi. Blakemoor railway is moving quite quickly at the mo.
The bridge removed from my previous layout has been position at the end of the working semi-circle and lifts the track a foot or so above ground level. The empty end of the bridge has now been linked to the return ladders and 20 feet of track has been laid on them. I can now run about 80% from start to the current end. I have to go back then as the second semi-circle is not yet built. This will be the highest section above ground so requires more attendance. Still, I hope to finish the full oval in less than a month (only one-way track of course at this stage).

It's a pity I can't include some pics as my phone has started not allowing sending pics to my PC, neither by cable or wifi so I can only try and explain how the layout is getting along .

Right, back to the work while it's dry outside (there was a heavy downfall and thunder yesterday).
Bruce
729

Offline AshleyW


Offline Bruce_L

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #10 on: Oct 04 2021 11:49 »
Thanks to Ashley providing a short video of the track built so far in use. About 80% of the oval is now run-able.
I can now transfer pics so here are a few.








These should give you a better indication of what is built so far and possibly what comes next too.
Bruce
729

Offline Bruce_L

Re: Replaced elevated track using an innovative method.
« Reply #11 on: Oct 04 2021 12:05 »
I should have included a picture of the earlier building of the return track on it's new (free) ladder system.









Note that the first long run had plywood screwed to the top edges of the ladder, whereas the return plywood had B&Q sliced into 12" wide pieces from the 8 x 4 sheets and these just dropped into the ladder sides.

Hmm, I should have inserted these at the bottom of this story but I don't think it does that.
Back to the working!
Bruce
729