Track work continues

All of the bridges scratch built and exhibited at the NMRA AZ division meet in June have been installed. The track is now connected all around the layout.

On 9/25/15 I graded the yard - the last task in rough track work.

Now comes the ballasting.

Also on 9/25, I ballasted the yard and leveled the entire area. Once the ballast settles, it will be walkable, allowing for train make up and break down.

I’m using the same methods the prototypes did, except somewhat in reverse. 

The ground level was established by the landscapers I hired to build up the area and bring in topsoil.

The track was laid on that base and the track plan verified.

Next, I shim the track to the desired height and grades. Most shimming was done with 1 x 2 garden stakes. Occasionally more or less shimming was needed and smaller sticks and rocks were used. This was shown in a prior post - CLICK HERE to see it.

I used several levels to establish level and grade sections. The level used to establish grade is 48 inches long and has a ¾ inch copper pipe coupling zip tied to the end. This provides 1 inch in 48 worth of rise for a 2% grade.

Once an area was shimmed,  landscape decomposed granite was tamped under the rails. Here I used a tool of my own design - a truck with a bubble level attached. It helped me to maintain grade and to establish the desired right-to-left level.

Once the granite was under the track the area was ballasted. I used what landscapers call ¼ minus rock. This is what comes through a ¼ inch screen. When it gets wet, it sets up almost as if it had concrete mixed with it. However, it can be broken loose if desired.

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