Phil S' RR

P

phils2um

Registered
11 Sep 2015
187
214
Ann Arbor, Michigan
#1
Hi Everybody,

I thought I'd finally post some pictures and comments about the GR I've been working on.

First, a couple of shots of the initial loop. I took the advice of others and put down this track in 2014 just to have something outside on which to run a few trains. It gave a start and incentive to continue.

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Outdoor electrical boxes are attached to the low wall on the left. I was wise enough to run two underground conduits from the house but not smart enough to use a larger size! Both are 1/2". If I had a "do over" I'd go with 1" minimum for the low voltage conduit supplying RR power. It would give room for a lot more wires. For now, I have one 4-conductor 12AWG stranded wire line in the low voltage conduit. Two of the conductors are used for power to the rails. The second pair are for a future booster.

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The wall in the background of the third photo is the beginning of my "mountain" and waterfall/river. The second electrical conduit is for 110V power for the waterfall pump. This is where things stood by the end of Fall 2015.

I finally settled on the type and maker of the water feature in Spring 2016 and the pieces arrived in late June. Summer and Fall 2016 were spent installing the waterfall.

The next two shots show upper filter/waterfall unit. The space between the two walls is for a tunnel through the mountain. Also visible is the trench for the 110V conduit for pump. This conduit was re-directed to move the outlet closer to the pump. (Yes, a permit was pulled and the electrical work was inspected and approved by the city.)
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The walls are made of concrete block wall stones that are available here in the States. They make construction easy. The key to using the concrete blocks is to make sure a good compacted stone base at least 6 inches deep is in place beneath the first course and then very carefully leveling the first course.

The next photos show the strainer unit and pump vault being buried. I added the 55 gal poly drum for additional water capacity. The intent was that all the water in system could be contained underground when the pump was shut off. More about that later!

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The second photo shows the pump vault plumbed to the filter/waterfall unit. I've also run a conduit with goosenecks on both ends from next to the 110V outlet to the pump vault. The pump's power cord fits through the conduit with its plug attached. This makes it easy to remove the pump for winter storage. The smaller gauge black hose in the first picture is an automatic water make-up line yet to be run.

The next four shots show the watercourse being dug, and finally the EPDM liner and rocks - almost 6 cubic yards of rocks - in place.

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This is where the RR was at the end of the 2016 construction season.

2017 pics yet to come.

Phil S.
 
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trammayo

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
20,397
3,212
70
Co. Mayo
#2
Hi Everybody,

I thought I'd finally post some pictures and comments about the GR I've been working on.

First, a couple of shots of the initial loop. I took the advice of others and put down this track in 2014 just to have something outside on which to run a few trains. It gave a start and incentive to continue.

View attachment 233084 View attachment 233086

Outdoor electrical boxes are attached to the low wall on the left. I was wise enough to run two underground conduits from the house but not smart enough to use a larger size! Both are 1/2". If I had a "do over" I'd go with 1" minimum for the low voltage conduit supplying RR power. It would give room for a lot more wires. For now, I have one 4-conductor 12AWG stranded wire line in the low voltage conduit. Two of the conductors are used for power to the rails. The second pair are for a future booster.

View attachment 233083

The wall in the background of the third photo is the beginning of my "mountain" and waterfall/river. The second electrical conduit is for 110V power for the waterfall pump. This is where things stood by the end of Fall 2015.

I finally settled on the type and maker of the water feature in Spring 2016 and the pieces arrived in late June. Summer and Fall 2016 were spent installing the waterfall.

The next two shots show upper filter/waterfall unit. The space between the two walls is for a tunnel through the mountain. Also visible is the trench for the 110V conduit for pump. This conduit was re-directed to move the outlet closer to the pump. (Yes, a permit was pulled and the electrical work was inspected and approved by the city.)
View attachment 233081 View attachment 233082

The walls are made of concrete block wall stones that are available here in the States. They make construction easy. The key to using the concrete blocks is to make sure a good compacted stone base at least 6 inches deep is in place beneath the first course and then very carefully leveling the first course.

The next photos show the strainer unit and pump vault being buried. I added the 55 gal poly drum for additional water capacity. The intent was that all the water in system could be contained underground when the pump was shut off. More about that later!

View attachment 233087 View attachment 233088

The second photo shows the pump vault plumbed to the filter/waterfall unit. I've also run a conduit with goosenecks on both ends from next to the 110V outlet to the pump vault. The pump's power cord fits through the conduit with its plug attached. This makes it easy to remove the pump for winter storage. The smaller gauge black hose in the first picture is an automatic water make-up line yet to be run.

The next four shots show the watercourse being dug, and finally the EPDM liner and rocks - almost 6 cubic yards of rocks - in place.

View attachment 233090 View attachment 233091 View attachment 233089 View attachment 233092

This is where the RR was at the end of the 2016 construction season.

2017 pics yet to come.

Phil S.
Wow - that's going to be a great water feature and railroad.
 
mike

mike

Moderator
Staff member
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24 Oct 2009
49,259
3,408
Rossendale
www.lazygrangebay.co.uk
#3
Wow . You have been busy..all power to your elbow...
 
P

phils2um

Registered
11 Sep 2015
187
214
Ann Arbor, Michigan
#4
Continuing on into 2017 ---

Here are a couple of pics of how the RR looked in early May 2017.
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I've added more rocks along the banks of the watercourse completely hiding the liner. There is one temporary switch installed that can just be seen this side of the electric boxes on the back wall. It is operated by a DCC single channel point decoder. (I was experimenting with the CS3 central staton and decoders at the same time.) The straight leads up the ramp to the tunnel behind the waterfall. The large rock by the patio in the right side of the photo is destined to become a bridge support on the far side of the "river". I also decided that more space was needed for tracks beyond the wall segment seen in the background. The back wall will be extended to make more room. The Crok in the picture is the LGB 2040 I updated with an ESU LokPilot V.4 decoder.

Here is another shot taken from the other direction.
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The end of the spur can be seen poking out of the tunnel. This is destined to continue across the "river" using three LGB bridges. Overall I'm quite pleased how the water feature turned out.

The tunnel is not finished but the following are a few earlier photos (2016) detailing what I did there.

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Pieces of 3/16 inch steel "T" section bar were let into the blocks on either side of the tunnel. Grooves for the steel were cut using an inexpensive 7-1/4" dry cutting diamond blade bought at Harbor Freight. The blade was mounted on an old Skilsaw. The saw worked great but this was a very messy job. I ended up wearing a full face respirator to deal with the concrete dust! The steel sections support composite deck boards cut to length. The tunnel width (gap between the walls) is slightly wider than three deck boards side-by-side. The tunnel has a total length of about 16 feet or around 5m. The removable deck boards will give me access for the inevitable derailments to come. Also visible in this photo are the yellow fiberglass pins that interlock each layer of the concrete wall blocks. The blocks are drystacked making wall construction very fast once the initial course is set.

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The photo above shows the composite deck boards mostly in place. Three sections of second-hand Aristocraft SS flex track that I've mentioned in one of my other posts can be seen on the ramp leading to the tunnel. One of these sections was bent for the curve in the tunnel. The radius is somewhat bigger than the LGB R3 radius. I wanted to have the fewest number of joints and rail sections in the tunnel I could get away with. I figured that would help minimize the chance of derailments.

Spring 2017 construction began with adding another 110 gallon storage tank to the water feature. Turns out the 55 gal drum I originally put in was not only too small but also buried too deep. Once the water feature was "full" and no more make-up water was needed the 55 gal. drum was also almost full. There was hardly any room for the water in the stream when the pump was turned off. Standing water was in the last 10 feet or so of the streambed when the pump was off. So much for "quick and dirty" planning - I'm an engineer and should have known better! The next few photos show installation of the new 110 gal. tank. All but about the bottom inch of the new tank is above the level set for the automatic makeup valve. Therefore, almost the entire volume is available for water storage when the pump is turned off.

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The first pic is the hole for the new storage tank. A bung adaptor let me plumb the bottom outlet of new tank into the 55 gal. tank which is shown in the second photo. The yardsticks give some idea of the tank's physical size. The new tank with its vent and lid in place are shown in photo 3 above. The tank is quite close to the surface. Not shown are two short sections of 3 inch PVC pipe with toilet flanges on each end that I put inside the tank. These keep the tank from collapsing when walked on. The fourth shot shows another precaution I took. The backfilled tank was covered with 1/8 inch zinc coated expanded metal. This will help keep me or some other equally careless person from puncturing the tank with a shovel or some other tool.

In the mean time I was also working on the track. I decided to use wall blocks as a base for much of the trackwork as seen in the next few photos.

This photo shows a trench prepared for the block. Also seen is the make-up water line which terminates at a hose quick-connect seen by the downspout.
Also visible is the tentative position of one bridge section over the "river".
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The next photo shows the compacted base and some of the blocks in position.

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This switch is controlled by a DCC single channel point decoder. The black and white wires are stranded 12 awg track power bus wires. Track power leads were soldered to the bus wires about every 2m. One set of track leads can be seen coming through the second block from the bottom. One thing to note is that I've tried best I could to keep a functioning track loop throughout construction. That gives me something to look forward to after a hard day's labor!

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One major reason I decided to use block as a base for some of the track was to minimize future maintenance. Grass likes growing into my ground laid right-of-way.

Here's another view of the new stream side track. The tentative position of the bridges can be seen.

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By mid-June I was beginning to lay out the spiral approach to the bridge. I should note that most of my curves are constructed from LGB R3 and R5 sectional track. The back wall has been extended resulting in a "cut" that adds interest to the route. The roadbed from part of my first loop of track that went inside the original wall and has been abandoned can be clearly seen here.

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Here's a view with some more block for the approach laid.

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Another view looking up the "Cut" toward the tunnel.

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Construction continued through the Summer although I failed to take photos like I should have!

The next few shots show the RR in its current state (end of 2017). Here's Ge 2/4 No.205 exiting the tunnel toward the cut.

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ABe 4/4 No. 34 crossing the river. The view downstream from the back wall. The bridges and piers have been painted. A short section of catenary has been installed on the bridge. I like running electric locomotives with pantographs up. (Virtual catenary). The first time I smacked a pantograph into the bridge I realized something had to give!

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Another view of the bridge looking toward the back wall at twilight. The Wye in the forground has been completed. A LGB Reverse loop unit controls polarity in the spur. A DCC 4-channel point decoder controls the three switches. Both the points decoder and reverse loop unit are inside the Pola Crossing Keepers Hut to protect them from the weather. A few dwarf trees have been planted.

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Here we are on the Bernina in Winter!

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Last edited:
P

phils2um

Registered
11 Sep 2015
187
214
Ann Arbor, Michigan
#5
Three more winter shots from this January's brief warm spell.

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This year I intend to add another loop to the line coming off the wye, add a two track station with some sidings , and add a passing siding to the existing line.
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,270
482
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
#6
That is a nicely engineered line. Love the water feature. Max
 
trammayo

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
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Co. Mayo
#7
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
13,680
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
#8
Superbly engineered line with much potential already showing. The Tunnel may come back to haunt you though. As your Blocks are free standing may I suggest that you consider a revision for the Rear of it. Perhaps making it like an Avalanche Shelter using Concrete Gravel Boards to suport upper Blocks thus not effecting the scene that you have created but allowing access for Cleaning and possible derailments. Would also possibly deter critters taking up residence as well.

Crude sketch below shows the concept with Blocks suporting the supporting Gravel Board in Red and Blocks above giving access.
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Capt. Jack

Capt. Jack

Registered
12 Mar 2017
544
654
Florida
#9
Looking great. Thanks for sharing with us. It's coming along nicely...
 
JRinTawa

JRinTawa

Member of the Wellington Garden Railway Group
25 Oct 2009
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Tawa
www.gscalecentral.net
#10
A great railway developing, nice, very nice.
 
Riograndad

Riograndad

Model Railroading, boats and oil painting,
6 Jul 2013
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498
64
Northampton UK
#11
yes agreed,great railroad;););)
 
stockers

stockers

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Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
#12
Great work. Well engineered. Should provide loads of easy days running.
 
AustrianNG

AustrianNG

Director of my railway
16 Sep 2015
878
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North Wales
#13
Echo all the above - it's good to see a well thought out substantial railway empire in the making.

More please.
 
P

phils2um

Registered
11 Sep 2015
187
214
Ann Arbor, Michigan
#14
It was nice afternoon today - temps in the high 30's F (2 to 4 C). I shoveled off the rails and ran Ge 6/6 No. 413 around a while. A few pics follow.

No. 413 at the Wye.

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Southbound on the spiral bridge ramp.

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Southbound on the Bridge at twilight. I put some strings of inexpensive battery operated led lights on the bridge for the Holidays. They've got multiple lighting options. Timed operation for 6 hours is selected. They turn on at dusk and off around midnight. The batteries last a bit over six weeks. I put the third set in today. The lights are held in place temporarily with green florist's wire. And, they're not really noticeable from a distance of five to six feet during the day.

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413 eastbound under the bridge headed toward the Wye. Its getting dark now. Temperature has dropped. Frost setting in on the rails is affecting operations and the turnouts are freezing. Time to call it a day.

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P

phils2um

Registered
11 Sep 2015
187
214
Ann Arbor, Michigan
#15
Rockslides aren't just a problem in the 1:1 world!

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Late last Fall I decided to extend my water feature. There will be a second waterfall and stream flowing under the grey bridge shown above. The re-work will also eliminate future rock/mudslides here.

Construction began in late February when we had a few nice days strung together. I dug down to the main 2 inch water line feeding the original stream. A 1.25 inch line with a gate valve was plumbed in. The valve is in a sprinkler valve box that gives easy access.

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Here's a shot of the completed valve tie-in.

The outfall will be just inside the low wall with the mason's hammer and wisk broom.
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Here's a shot showing tentative placement of the waterfall filter unit and a second photo with the waterfall filter sitting on its compacted base.
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Here's an overhead view looking back toward the pump vault and isolation valve.

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The string line that can be seen running diagonally through the shot is a level line even with the outfall of the original waterfall filter in the upper right of the photo. The outfall of the new waterfall filter will be a few inches below the level of the first one. This should assure water will not only flow (due to a lower static head pressure) but can also be throttled with the gate valve. I intend to divert only about a quarter of the pump's flow to the new stream.

This is where things stand at the moment. It's supposed to rain later today Tuesday so not much is planned for the morning. Note: it's about 2:20 am right now. Off to get some sack time.
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

Learning; but slowly!
23 Feb 2018
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433
64
Weston-super-Mare
#16
This water feature looks very similar to what I "need" to build
 
KentKeith

KentKeith

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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SouthEast Kent
#17
Fantastic, what else can I say!!
 
stockers

stockers

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Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
#18
agreed. Food for thought Keith.
 
BakerJohn

BakerJohn

Model Railroader, Farmer, Pastry Cook
#19
Very nice railway! It gives me more motivation to go out and get mine started! (It was snowing 10 minutes ago... now it's sunny and there's no snow to be seen....)
 
royale

royale

G scale and driving my Royale Sabre kit car
26 Oct 2009
1,538
45
Long Eaton
#20
Brilliant - you've really been busy.