Advice on Whether or not to fix track down before ballasting

Clive Tucker

Clive Tucker

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Thanks all for your comments, indeed there appears not to be a 'one solution fits all', so I think it remains for me to try some different techniques and see what happens in each case.

It occurs to me that if I can somehow allow for some longitudinal and lateral movement yet somehow prevent the track from heaving up, then I might be at least some way there. To that end, I had an idea to use modified cable fixing clips (for want of a better term!) thus:



In this form it's not quite tall enough, and it also would potentially restrict longitudinal movement. However, if I modify it slightly to this:



... and raise the height of it using the bit I cut off, I get this:



Hopefully if I can nail these into the block base where necessary, then the track will at least not ride up on top of the ballast but will be able to move in the other two planes.

I also have taken delivery of a sieve today, so with some luck I ought to at least try this fixing/ballasting method out tomorrow.

Thanks again all for your help, very much appreciated.
 
beavercreek

beavercreek

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That should work fine Clive.
Your method will allow that necessary movement longitudinally and laterally.
Screws instead of the nails might be better to use so that they can be backed off etc., if needs be.

I always make the holes in the track sleepers larger (but not bigger than the screw head!) before I use screws straight in, so that there is a little movement if necessary.
 
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stockers

stockers

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.................indeed there appears not to be a 'one solution fits all',...............

No indeed. As you move around the garden you may find that different methods suit different areas best - hard blocks, loose ballast and decking to suggest but three.
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
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Well, given that I am specifically mentioned in the orignal post, and then been informed that "COMPLETELY fixing track to a SOLID base does not work." I feel I should have the right to reply.

My track has been COMPLETELY fixed to a SOLID base for the past twelve years. The base on most of the railway is made of CONCRETE blocks, and on the raised section is made from WOODen fence rails both of which are deliberately SOLID. On both bases, my track is COMPLETELY fixed down with SCREWS.

All I can say is, that in my case IT DOES WORK!

Rails are joined with fishplates and expansion gaps were left between rail sections. Temperatures in this temperate zone of the NW of England have ranged from -10C to 32C over the past twelve years. I have had to sort out some small misalignments in that time but I would imagine these problems are no worse that those experienced by other methods of tracklaying.

When I contacted my house insurance company about whether my railway was covered by my policy, I was told that anything fixed down in the garden would be covered. That's not the reason I fixed my track down, but it is reassuring.

In my blog, I never argue that my approaches are the BEST or the only way. I simply share with others what I have done and let readers decide based on my experiences. There is no right or wrong way of solving problems in this hobby.

Rik
 
Adam1989

Adam1989

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11 Mar 2018
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Well, given that I am specifically mentioned in the orignal post, and then been informed that "COMPLETELY fixing track to a SOLID base does not work." I feel I should have the right to reply.

My track has been COMPLETELY fixed to a SOLID base for the past twelve years. The base on most of the railway is made of CONCRETE blocks, and on the raised section is made from WOODen fence rails both of which are deliberately SOLID. On both bases, my track is COMPLETELY fixed down with SCREWS.

All I can say is, that in my case IT DOES WORK!

Rails are joined with fishplates and expansion gaps were left between rail sections. Temperatures in this temperate zone of the NW of England have ranged from -10C to 32C over the past twelve years. I have had to sort out some small misalignments in that time but I would imagine these problems are no worse that those experienced by other methods of tracklaying.

When I contacted my house insurance company about whether my railway was covered by my policy, I was told that anything fixed down in the garden would be covered. That's not the reason I fixed my track down, but it is reassuring.

In my blog, I never argue that my approaches are the BEST or the only way. I simply share with others what I have done and let readers decide based on my experiences. There is no right or wrong way of solving problems in this hobby.

Rik
I will be starting to build my garden railway soon and water to fix my track down. do you use anything to measure the expansion gap like a feeler gauge or just leave a small gap by eye.
Thanks
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,576
123
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
Hi Adam
I just do it by eye and vary the gap dependent on the length of track being laid. Most of my track is flexi in 1.5m lengths and so needs a reasonable gap for expansion. It also depend on the temperature. Basically, if it's a hot day when I'm laying the track, I leave a small gap, a mm or so, if it's cold I might leave up to 4mm. Not very scientific, but then I'm more of a George Stephenson than a Humphrey Davy.

Rik
 
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Paul M

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I will be starting to build my garden railway soon and water to fix my track down. do you use anything to measure the expansion gap like a feeler gauge or just leave a small gap by eye.
Thanks
Don't use water, that really won't work! Plays havoc with electrics too!
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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27 Oct 2009
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Well, given that I am specifically mentioned in the orignal post, and then been informed that "COMPLETELY fixing track to a SOLID base does not work." I feel I should have the right to reply.

My track has been COMPLETELY fixed to a SOLID base for the past twelve years. The base on most of the railway is made of CONCRETE blocks, and on the raised section is made from WOODen fence rails both of which are deliberately SOLID. On both bases, my track is COMPLETELY fixed down with SCREWS.

All I can say is, that in my case IT DOES WORK!

Rails are joined with fishplates and expansion gaps were left between rail sections. Temperatures in this temperate zone of the NW of England have ranged from -10C to 32C over the past twelve years. I have had to sort out some small misalignments in that time but I would imagine these problems are no worse that those experienced by other methods of tracklaying.

When I contacted my house insurance company about whether my railway was covered by my policy, I was told that anything fixed down in the garden would be covered. That's not the reason I fixed my track down, but it is reassuring.

In my blog, I never argue that my approaches are the BEST or the only way. I simply share with others what I have done and let readers decide based on my experiences. There is no right or wrong way of solving problems in this hobby.

Rik
That's really interesting in that we've captured virtually the two extremes with a few places in between.

While my track is predominantly loose laid, I don't worry about expansion, but that's also because the track meanders, and the reverse curves take care of any movement.

So there's definitely a lesson, if you fix, you need to allow for expansion, if you don't you don't :oops::oops::oops:

So when you go for a halfway house, consider whether there is opportunity for expansion to occur, or do you need to make allowance? :think::think::think:

Cracked it in one :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
 
Handsomerob

Handsomerob

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9 Feb 2015
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Hey guys, my track jas been down since last summer, it is fixed in only one location and that is at the ends of my tunnel with some mortar. The rest is free floating in oversized ballast and as of this summer works perfectly. I'm in Ontario Canada were its been about 8 degrees in the am and 30 degrees in the mid after noon.

So far so good, heres a picture of the ballast.

100358_3cf14bf66b6114c0bafd3548a6c82e07.jpg
 
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Paul M

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25 Oct 2016
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Royston
Reading the Garden Rail Magazine, the layout featured was laid on loose laid house bricks drilled & rawlplugged and covered with a last material. Sounds as if all bases are covered there as the house bricks will move with the expansion and will hold the track steady
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,576
123
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
There's no way I would use rail clamps with my fixed-down track method. When I ran trains on track power I soldered jumper leads across each rail joint for electrical continuity. Interestingly, despite leaving gaps, there are some places where the gaps maybe weren't wide enough and so the track has heaved a little (particularly in the current heat wave). Though not enough to cause alignment problems.
100380_0ed0386af3d7fba375fae01447800121.jpg


As you can see, my ballasting is concrete-based and so fairly unyielding. In the station areas, where track is completely embedded in concrete and so it's hard to imagine it being any more permanently fixed, I've not detected any significant heaving or buckling - even though, as you can see, the gaps between rails have closed completely.
100382_0391b0d26bb4406f17ca061a2d3395ad.jpg


Rik