Building where the Frost Line is extreme
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Author:  paulrace [ Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Building where the Frost Line is extreme

A reader writes:

I have a 10 ft x 30 ft space identified, I am dealing with Michigan winters Andy a wife not crazy about the idea.
question: Looking to learn about base so freezing and thaw do not
require annual rebuilding.

If I am reading the charts right, you have a frost line that is something like 42" deep. I live near Springfield, OH, about 250 miles south of you, and I'm used to digging post holes, but I only have to go down about 24". So what works for me may not work for you.

The roadbed described in our "simple wooden" article consists of 2"x6" pieces cut to match the curves you want to use, which you can attach in a way that keeps them straight even if the ground or your supports rise and fall unevenly below them. ... oadbed.htm

A friend in Ottawa built his railroad with a similar roadbed, but placed it on cement blocks and such. The roadbed would rise and fall with the frost heave, and it wouldn't always rise and fall the same amount in different places, but it would stay very robust and smooth. Every spring, he would shim up any places that were lower than the rest. Lately, he has added platforms to hold stations, etc., and they rise and fall with the rest.

An alternative if you wanted your RR raised to an easier operating height would be to build a sort of table structure on top of the ground that was cross-braced to keep its structure stable in spite of frost heave. Some live steamer users have done this for decades.

Hope these give you some ideas!

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