Trains in Windy locations
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Author:  paulrace [ Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Trains in Windy locations

A reader writes:

I have read through your material - but I would like to know - I live in a fairly windy area of Eastern Oregon - we live close to the Columbia River and so the wind comes through the Gorge - I was not sure how the ballasting would keep the track own on the gravel. Does this process really keep the track down on / in the base ?
Thank you for your reply


On real railroads, ballast holds the ties in place, and they hold the rails. On garden railroads, the ballast is mostly cosmetic. That said, brass track is heavy - it doesn't usually go very far from wherever you set it. Tornadoes and hurricanes notwithstanding. Where we live now, we get a lot of high straight-line winds. While my buildings have been blown off the railroad, the track hasn't moved at all as far as I can tell. And that's with no ballast at all, just track sitting on my lumber "roadbed."

If you're REALLY nervous about it, you can "stake it down," as long as you give it room to expand and contract. I usually put my track on 2"x6" ground-rated lumber. Back when I was nervous about it getting blown around or coming off a trestle or something, I would drill a hole in a board, loop a wire around a couple of ties, stick both ends through the board, and twist it like a bread tie, while leaving plenty of slack in the loop. DON'T screw your ties down to the board or do anything else that keeps the track from expanding and contracting as temperatures rise and falll - the ties will break or pull away from the screws the first really hot or really cold day.

Hope this helps - Paul

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