Looking for ideas about ballasting and secure the track or not

justme igor

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As most of you are aware by now i like to experiment a lot before execution.

The experiment with vermiculite mixed with cement was a pretty good success, but also a failure.
When it was getting wet and the temperatures were getting below 0C it crumbles to dust, add some strong wind and it is everywhere except on the layout.

To solve this i thought it is going to be a good idea to use paint (coloured latex outside grade/use) as a binder and make it "semi" water proof.
Or go with the fine grain plaster that they put on buildings.
Or some 2 to 3mm gravel, that will bring there own problems.
Btw i dont use wooden sleepers anymore, all ABS.
The several buckets of wooden sleepers that i still have will be used for strait pieces, where there will be a steam engine stationary/warming up/cooling down or thrown away.

Brings me to my next "problem":
I use(d) sections of complete track in length of 1 meter 20 with aluminium strip 2mmx10mm,
When i secure the tracks with screws at the ends of a track, the track can not expand thus in the middle it is rising up, debris will find his way under the sleepers.
So now i am experimenting to only fixating them in the middle or one screw at the end, with of course give reliability problems due to false connections, that can occur over time.
Add solid ballast and the room for expansion is completely gone.
I think that fixating the tracks is not really needed and on long strait pieces (10m +)it is clever to mimic the real life tracks and put a small "s" into it so it can shift more?
1 meter of alu can shrink or expand 0.5mm in a 30C scale.(messing is 5% less btw)
ABS 6x more.

What are your experiences with fixating your tracks, or not fixed tracks?
Any idea's about ballast?

Thanks in advance, best.
 

Madman

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I have used screenings, crusher fines if you will. It consists of anything from stone dust to 1/8" pieces of crushed stone. Once it gets wet it stiffens and holds its form. But is easily reconfigured if need be.
 

Paul M

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As most of you are aware by now i like to experiment a lot before execution.
Igor I think you'll find execution is pretty final, you don't usually have more than a couple of goes
 

justme igor

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Igor I think you'll find execution is pretty final, you don't usually have more than a couple of goes
:blush::blush: uhmm yes i think the right words would be: before executing it?

Oke time for google translate:
Now i dont understand it anymore, this is what google told me:
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-30 185430.png
?
 

Paul M

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I'm sorry Igor, your translation is right. Execution can mean carrying out your tasks or plans, but it also means putting someone to death, ie hanging. Unfortunately, because your English is very good, I forgot its not your first language
 

dunnyrail

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Hm I think your tight wad choice of rail is going to haunt you ballast wise. I have today been fixing down 2-3mm granite with external pva 50/50 water and a few drops of washing up liquid. Makes the whole lot good and solid, but if I used ally rail well there would likely be an issue. I use LGB, Aristo Brass and Peco N/S plastic bought sleepers with few expansion issues.
 

justme igor

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No need to be sorry, I had a suspicion it was a joke, but you got me in a serious moment, usually i am much more relaxed.
There are more words that have double or even triple meanings, even three other words in a giving language.
This is a fine example.

With best regards Igor
 

Greg Elmassian

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Igor, no offense, but often your thread asks for opinions, but then you reject all of them. I remember the thread about you using vermiculite distinctly.

So, I will dry once again:

Do not try to fix your track, float it in coarse ballast, just smaller than the spaces between your ties, rough gravel, not smooth "pea gravel"... it will stay and require minimum maintenance.

Smaller ballast will wash away easier, adding concrete will cause issues, because physics will win, you cannot completely stop expansion and contraction

good ballast won't need any fixing of the track at any position.

If you try to lay ties on a surface, gravel will eventually work it's way between the ties and the surface, the physics are simple and proven over the millennia.

If you feel you need to fix the track to a surface, then no ballast.

Gre
 

LGeoB

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I agree with Greg on the size of ballast to use. I have just removed all my elevated layout (brick supports, metal and wood track base) as it was ugly and a health and safety hazard. I put the track on the ground and used 10 to 20 mm crushed red rock for ballast (red is common here in Aus.). I am impressed with how good it keeps the track stable - can walk on it and it is very quick to lay. All my track floats on the ballast and it is easy to maintain. It is also cheap.

Geoff
 

Martino

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I use poultry grit bonded with a 50/50 concrete bond and water mix. It hold s the track yet allows for replacement and expansion/contraction. I don’t screw the track down except where it may be dislodged by rampaging Collies.
 

dunnyrail

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I use poultry grit bonded with a 50/50 concrete bond and water mix. It hold s the track yet allows for replacement and expansion/contraction. I don’t screw the track down except where it may be dislodged by rampaging Collies.
Not sure how things are Stateside but in UK one has to be very careful when selecting “Chicken Grit” as much of it is made from or has a high content of crunched up aquatic shell in its content. In UK one needs to hunt for “Flint Chicken Grit” which has no Shell content.

Oh Martini, I was looking through an old folder the other day where I had a phone number with a certain Martino listed as a loco repairer, based in I think the Southampton/Portsmouth area. Was that you prior to moving out to the Panhandle?
 

Martino

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Not sure how things are Stateside but in UK one has to be very careful when selecting “Chicken Grit” as much of it is made from or has a high content of crunched up aquatic shell in its content. In UK one needs to hunt for “Flint Chicken Grit” which has no Shell content.

Oh Martini, I was looking through an old folder the other day where I had a phone number with a certain Martino listed as a loco repairer, based in I think the Southampton/Portsmouth area. Was that you prior to moving out to the Panhandle?
You need to be careful in the US too, as some poultry grit is oyster shells, which may be the wrong color. I use granite poultry grit.

No, the repairer in Southampton area wasn’t me!
 

Paradise

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How can you experiment alot prior to execution when you only get to choose one meal? :think:
 

justme igor

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justme igor

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I have today been fixing down 2-3mm granite with external pva 50/50 water and a few drops of washing up liquid.
I did some experiments with exterior pva and it was far from satirising, connected wood against wood outside.
I will give it a try.
What does "tight wad" means?
 

justme igor

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Igor, no offense,
No offence taking......as long as you are serious
but often your thread asks for opinions,
Yes
but then you reject all of them.
Big no.
I remember the thread about you using vermiculite distinctly.
Yes with one big difference, i changed to ABS sleepers.
The experiment was a fail, but worth to try, i was even thinking of a follow up with epoxy.
But the expansion/contraction will make this impossible.
So, I will dry once again:
?
Do not try to fix your track,
Nope that is almost not possible, not in scale nor in real life
float it in coarse ballast, just smaller than the spaces between your ties, rough gravel, not smooth "pea gravel"...
The hunt for prototypical, I think you can call me a purist
it will stay and require minimum maintenance.
It is what i want, but then i must make concessions
Smaller ballast will wash away easier,
And this is something i would like to prevent, with concrete or cement or portland, in our wheater first it is wet then it freezes, thaen wind......

adding concrete will cause issues, because physics will win, you cannot completely stop expansion and contraction.
I am fully aware of this fact, i am running out of ideas and options, i would like to have the best concession.
Prototypical is for a outside layout almost impossible, i figured that one out, but i like to experiment also.
If all of us would follow just one idea, there would be no improvement and we are all standing still, go back in time......
There are a lot of ways and ideas and solutions, now my material knowledge is pretty big, but i know nothing, the more you learn...
Maybe i will put some far away idiotic thoughts from several people together and make it work.
Or a big fail,
good ballast won't need any fixing of the track at any position.
That is what i am looking for, preferably without compromise and good looking in scale
If you try to lay ties on a surface, gravel will eventually work it's way between the ties and the surface, the physics are simple and proven over the millennia.
To speed up this process in the real world they use big vibrators/trembling machines.
Sorry that they are called vibrators, was not joking or joshing around.
If you feel you need to fix the track to a surface, then no ballast.
The need for fixing the track due to a lot of obvious reasons is out of the question, some times you need some else as a fighting partner to cut the chase for you
With best regards Igor
 

justme igor

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justme igor

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Not sure how things are Stateside but in UK one has to be very careful when selecting “Chicken Grit”
I live in a "farmers village/country side" They have a lot, but now the right one.....witch one...
Thanks
 

Greg Elmassian

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Igor, the heating and cooling of ballast will cause it to eventually work between ties and a flat board below, it's just physics, but anyone who has laid track directly on a board and then added ballast will know this, the track slowly lifts to about one layer of gravel..

This is one of the points I was making... when this happens often a new person will then try to fix the track solidly to the baseboard, and now you have new issues of expansion and contraction being different between the baseboard, ties, and rails... again a fight with physics you will lose.

Just an explanation and clarification of what I said, it does not seem you will "Don Quixote" this!

Greg