You Are Here.
Jump to other pages.
Adding Raised Roadbed to the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek RR, Part 1 Garden Railroading  Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden Railroading
Large Scale Starter Sets: Begin with a train you'll be proud to run Best Choices for Beginning Garden Railroaders: a short list of things you're  most likely to need when starting out
Large Scale Track order Form Sturdy buildings for your garden railroad.
Large Scale Christmas Trains: Trains with a holiday theme for garden or professional display railroads.Free Large Scale  Signs and Graphics: Bring your railroad to life with street signs, business signs, and railroad signs
Garden Railroading Books, Magazines, and Videos: Where to go to learn even more
Collectible Trains and Villages: On30 Trains and accessories  designed by Thomas Kinkade and others

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 2

If 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.

Click to see our first article on this topic.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.

The top layer's roadbed with the corners trimmed. Click for bigger photo.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:

  • Sixteen 8'-diameter curved pieces

  • Two 4' straightaways

  • One 2' straightaway
The curves come first. The photo below is borrowed from a previous article and shows me using the template for 30 degree curves to mark the first cut. For this project, though, I had to use the template for 22.5 degree curves.

Marking the first cut using the template for track that comes 12 to a circle. Click for bigger photo.

Installing the Roadbed on the Middle Layer

The roadbed laid out on the east edge of the middle layer. Click for bigger photo.Like 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.

What's Next?

This year's plans still include:

  • Other Trim Bits - Some additional wood bits that will keep the dirt in its place.

  • Dirt, Plants, and Trees

  • Starting the Waterfall - It won't be finished entirely until I build the lower, outer layer, but I want to get the upper part going.

  • Shed Floor - Even though I'm not building the shed right away, I want to build the floor part to give me a better place to stand when getting trains on and off the track.

Conclusion

As 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.

Paul

Click to see our second article on 'dirtscaping' the NEW New Boston and Donnels CreekProceed 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.

Click to see our first article on adding 2x6 roadbed to the NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek.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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to articleReturn 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

Click to go to home page of the New Boston and Donnels' Creek RR, Paul Race's home railroad. 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 the Family Garden Trains Home PageReturn 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.



























































Visit our Garden Train Store? Starter Set Buyer's Guide





























































Click to see buildings for your garden railroad



















Click to see exclusive, licensed train collections in your favorite NFL  colors!

To read more, or to look at recommended Garden Railroading and Display Railroad products, you may click on the index pages below.


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

Click to see new and vintage-style Lionel trains.
Click to see new and vintage-style Lionel trains

Visit related pages and affiliated sites:
- Trains and Hobbies -
Return to Family Garden Trains Home page
Return to Big Indoor Trains Home page
Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Big Indoor Trains Primer Articles: All about setting up and displaying indoor display trains and towns. Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingBig Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads
Visit Lionel Trains. Click to see Thomas Kinkaded-inspired Holiday Trains and Villages. Big Christmas Train Primer: Choosing and using model trains with holiday themes Free Large Scale Signs and Graphics: Bring your railroad to life with street signs, business signs, and railroad signs Click to see HO scale trains with your favorite team's colors.
- Christmas Memories and Collectibles -
Visit the FamilyChristmasOnline site. Visit Howard Lamey's glitterhouse gallery, with free project plans, graphics, and instructions. Click to return to the Old Christmas Tree Lights Table of Contents Page Click to sign up for Maria Cudequest's craft and collectibles blog.
Click to visit Fred's Noel-Kat store.
Visit the largest and most complete cardboard Christmas 'Putz' house resource on the Internet.
- Family Activities and Crafts -
Click to see reviews of our favorite family-friendly Christmas movies. Free, Family-Friendly Christmas Stories Decorate your tree the old-fashioned way with these kid-friendly projects. Free plans and instructions for starting a hobby building vintage-style cardboard Christmas houses. Click to find free, family-friendly Christmas poems and - in some cases - their stories. Traditional Home-Made Ornaments
- Music -
Heartland-inspired music, history, and acoustic instrument tips.
Best-loved railroad songs and the stories behind them.
Visit musings about music on our sister site, School of the Rock With a few tools and an hour or two of work, you can make your guitar, banjo, or mandolin much more responsive.  Instruments with movable bridges can have better-than-new intonation as well. Acoustic-based, traditional, singer-songwriter, and folk music with a Western focus. Check out our article on finding good used guitars.
Carols of many countries, including music, lyrics, and the story behind the songs. X and Y-generation Christians take Contemporary Christian music, including worship, for granted, but the first generation of Contemporary Christian musicians faced strong, and often bitter resistance. Different kinds of music call for different kinds of banjos.  Just trying to steer you in the right direction. New, used, or vintage - tips for whatever your needs and preferences. Wax recordings from the early 1900s, mostly collected by George Nelson.  Download them all for a 'period' album. Explains the various kinds of acoustic guitar and what to look for in each.
Look to Riverboat Music buyers' guide for descriptions of musical instruments by people who play musical instruments. Learn 5-string banjo at your own speed, with many examples and user-friendly explanations. Explains the various kinds of banjos and what each is good for. Learn more about our newsletter for roots-based and acoustic music. Folks with Bb or Eb instruments can contribute to worship services, but the WAY they do depends on the way the worship leader approaches the music. A page devoted to some of Paul's own music endeavors.