|Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)
and New Boston and Donnels Creek:
Adding Raised Roadbed to the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 2If you've been following my articles, you know that we moved in late 2016 and I spent much of 2017 trying to get an impressive, but low-maintenance garden railway started.
Though the raised decking I laid for the track and accessories to sit on was pretty flat, I realized that gravel, dirt, and eventually weeds were still going to be working its way under the tracks. I decided to install a "raised roadbed" under the track. This would basically involve cutting a few straight pieces of lumber to lay under the straightaways, and several trapezoid-shaped pieces to lay under the curves.
I accomplished most of this for the top layer back in March, then bad weather and other projects delayed the middle layer until May.
I did get a chance to set my circular saw to 1.5 inches and carve off the pointed parts of the outside edges. The photo to the right shows one corner of the top layer with the points carved off of the 2"x6" roadbed. No, it's not fancy, but once the gravel is backfilled, you won't notice the unneven parts that are still there.
Cutting Roadbed for the Middle Layer
I would need about 40 linear feet of 2"x 6" boards to make this roadbed.
As you know, I like using 2"x6"x12' boards because they generally have a better price per foot than shorter lengths. Also, you tend to get less waste when you use longer boards.
The down side is that they're heavy. So I try NOT to buy more than nine or so at one time to avoid blowing the rear shocks out of my minivan.
Between the March project and this one came a few other projects, but I did eventually get another load of lumber so I could finish this project and start the next one.
8'-Diameter Track Concerns - The track I used on the middle layer is an anomaly. Unlike all other standard Large Scale curves, which take 12 to a circle, the 8'-diameter curves take 16 to a circle. This won't cause you any problems unless you start mixing and matching different curves on the same right-of-way (like I do in some circumstances). but it means you need to use the template for 22.5 degree curves.
That loop of track includes:
Installing the Roadbed on the Middle LayerLike the top layer, my track was already in place and screwed together. So I did NOT want to take everything apart. Instead I slid the stringers under the curves, but I didn't nail them down right away, because I was working on other things like the waterfall and I wanted to leave some flex in case I needed to make adjustments.
After all, I've been telling people for months that "this is where the waterfall will go." In fact, some of the pieces left over from cutting the stringers will be used to help install the waterfall, and then the bridge would go back into place.
When I'm sure the stringers are aligned where they needed to be, I'll use 3" deck screws to screw them down on top of the vinyl. Then I'll cut the long straight pieces I needed.
There's not a problem with screwing through the vinyl, since that has drainage holes anyway.
The last step for this process will be to smooth off the corners that are sticking out. As I did on the top layer, I'll skootch the track aside, set my circular saw to 1.5" depth and carved off the points.
When I am done, I will be able to put dirt and gravel around my track without worrying about things growing up through it or gravel working its way under the ties and making the track uneven, as it did before. Even with gravel and dirt "backfilled" around the roadbed, it might not be quite as pretty as having the track look like it's sitting in gravel and or dirt, but I've reached the stage where low-maintenance trumps pretty.
This year's plans still include:
ConclusionAs crazy as this may sound, having the extra lumber under the track makes the whole railroad feel that much more "substantial." It pretty much guarantees a level, weed-free roadbed for longer than I'll be running trains, and goes a long way toward me being able to go outside and run trains whenever I feel like it (which never happened on my previous railroad).
I sort of took a break in the middle of this project because I wanted to get the waterfall started before I fastened everything down, in case I needed to make any adjustments. That said, I won't be posting a "part three" of this series, because I've already said everything I need to. Now on to the waterfall.
That will be another article. And maybe another year. . . .
As always, if I've helped you get any ideas at all for your next garden railroad construction, I will consider the time it took to document all of this time well spent.
Best of luck, all,
Enjoy your hobbies, and especially enjoy any time you can spend with your family in the coming season.
Proceed to "Dirtscaping the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR - Part 2" - Deciding where the dirt should go and starting to put dirt, rocks, and plants in their place. Includes installing barriers and places for the buildings to go.
Click to see our progress as of May 31, 2018.
Return to "Adding Raised Roadbed to the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 1" - Fastening 2"x6" pressure-treated roadbed to the top layer of the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek, to make it far more weed-resistant and stable.
Click on the photo to see our progress as of March, 2018
Return to "2018: Springing into Spring on the NEW New Boston & Donnels Creek RR." - Sorting out our priorities for the spring and summer of 2018. There a lot of little chores we really should get done before we start on the next big addition. Click to see our plans as of February 27, 2018.
Click on the photo to see our status as of February 20, 2018
Return to "Dirtscaping the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 1. - Putting edging around the existing "layers" of the new railroad, and beginning to add gravel and rocks. There were a few test runs, but we got stopped early by bad weather before we could dump the rest of the rocks, gravel, and dirt, much less plant the plants we hoped to get in before snowfall.
Click on the photo to see our status as of November 21, 2017
Return to "Decking the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR - Decking the 'middle layer' of our proposed three-tier outdoor railroad. Prepping more track, laying out track and decking to make certain we have measurements correct, installing most of the remaining decking for this layer.
Click on the photo to see our status as of October 25, 2017
Return to "Framing the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 6" - Modifying and finishing the framing on the second layer, cantilevering, using R3 track versus all other pre-curved track formats, finalizing the track plan, why painting the track makes old and new track blend better, and more. This will be the last bit of "framing" in 2017, and it worked out well, considering.
Click on the photo to see our status as of October 15, 2017
Return to "Framing the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 5" - Spreading the billboard-sourced vinyl underlayment on the top layer. Prepping used Aristo track for (hopefully) many more years of service. Laying the first loop of track, attaching power wires with spade terminals, and testing conductivity with a Bachmann streetcar.
Click on the photo to see our status as of October, 10, 2017
Return to "Framing the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 4" - Planning and running the decking for the top layer, testing the track plan, checking clearances, prepping used track with new railjoiners, examining the vinyl I ordered to go over the decking, and more.
Click on the photo to see our status as of September 26, 2017
Return to "Framing the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 3" - Getting the frame finished on the top layer, ordering other things I'd need eventually, deciding on materials for the decking on the top layer (at least).
Click on the photo to see our status as of September 17, 2017
Return to "Framing the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 2" - Once I had the overall frame relatively solid, I hooked up the underground power lines to two GFI plugs that should be in easy reach once everything is finished. I also decided to frame out the top railroad layer while I could still access the center of the railroad easily. Because I was running out of vertical space, I reconfigured that layer. Then after I got the "core" pieces on, I changed my plan again. But the whole thing is getting easier and easier to visualize, and is getting closer to complete with every board I cut and fasten on.
Click on the photo to see our status as of September 7, 2017
Return to "Framing the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 1" - Once I started dropping posts in the holes and screwing things together, I didn't want to stop before I had the basic frame built (for one thing, the wood warps less once it's fastened in place). Now the folks driving down the street past our house (we're on a corner lot) probably wonder if I'm building an elaborate chicken coop, but that's fine with me. I still need to make a few more lumber runs and do a lot more cutting and sawing, but having the basic frame in place should make the next bits a lot easier.
Click on the photo to see our status as of August 10, 2017
Return to "Breaking Ground on the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek" - Okay, in case you wondered if we'd ever get started on the thing, we broke ground in July, using a manual post-hole digger. Well two manual post-hole diggers. But by the end of this article, we're ready for the posts to start going in.
Click on the photo to see our status as of the end of July, 2017
Return to "Planning the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek, Part 4" - Well, the rented post-hole digger fell through, so we dug our vegetable garden with a manual post-hole digger (the scissors kind). In addition, I stake out where the railroad was going to be. Twice. And tweaked the plans again. Sorry about the redo's, but sometimes just walking around the yard trying to visualize things makes me reconsider something that seemed "settled" only a few days before.
Click on the photo to see what we were considering as of late May, 2017
Return to "Planning the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek, Part 3" - We have still not broken ground. In part because we plan to rent a post-hole digger and dig the post holes for our raised vegetable garden and the first phase of the garden railroad at the same time, and we don't have enough lumber on hand yet. (If we didn't break it down into multiple trips, we'd be blowing out the shocks on our minivan.) In the meantime, we used a line level to see if the slope of the back yard was as bad as we thought it was (it's worse), and we did other site preparation, including planting a whole bunch of spruce tree seedlings to eventually give us some privacy in our side and back yard. Plus, I'm still wavering a little on the "where-to-start-first" issue.
Click on the photo to see what we were considering as of late April, 2017
Return to "Planning the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek, Part 2" - More plans. We've moved on from the 2"x6" roadbed-on-posts to a sort of "train-table-outside" plan. Our goals include low-maintenance, high interest, and high reliability. We're also trying to get around having a thousand dollars' worth of dirt hauled into the back yard. If you want to get some idea of what our planning process looks like, reading these through in sequence may help. Or it may drive you crazy.
Click on the photo to see what we were considering in early April, 2017
Return to "Planning the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek, Part 1" - If you're subscribed to our newsletter, you know that we moved just after Thanksgiving in 2016, leaving behind most of the track, a few of the bird feeders, and one Bachmann train set for the new owners. We also left behind a high-maintenance garden that we do not intend to replicate at the new place. This is the first chapter of a new chapter in our lives, which we hope will include a lot of "lessons learned." But first, some serious landscaping had to take place.
Click on the photo to see what we were considering in March, 2017
Return to the New Boston and Donnels Creek RR Page - This is the page describing Paul Race's progress and frequent rework on his own garden railroad, started on a shoe-string budget in 1998, later expanded, and later refurbished several times as issues arose. Issues that Paul hopes to avoid by building the next iteration above ground.
Click on the photo to see the home page of Paul's railroad.
Return to Family Garden Trains' Home Page - The home page with links to all the other stuff, including design guidelines, construction techniques, structure tips, free graphics, and more.
Note: Family Garden Trains™, Garden Train Store™, Big Christmas Trains™, BIG Indoor Trains™, and BIG Train Store™ are trademarks of
Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are
Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by
Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
Family Garden Trains is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising
fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
For more information, please contact us
|Visit related pages and affiliated sites:|
|- Trains and Hobbies -|
|- Christmas Memories and Collectibles -|
|- Family Activities and Crafts -|
|- Music -|