I'm currently working on a 7.5 in model railroad. This has been a dream of mine for a while. Currently approx 250 ft of track has been layed and I am done the first loop (phase 1). This loop has curves of approx 25-30 ft radius. Phase 2 is a loop to the front of the property. Phase 3 will be a long siding from the station to the line which goes to the reversing loop. I have built 3 locomotive bodies and have only 1 wheel set, no cars yet. All of my derailing issues have been fixed, they were caused by the track wasn't level as well as as the gauge wasn't prefect everywhere, this is due to the handmade ties that I was doing before I got a better saw.
This was the momentus last spike, it is golden as per the tradition:
Here is a picture of making the ties and the 2nd is bridge construction:
Here are the construction pictures of my wooden steam engine (electric)
Building the railroad: Specs
- 1/8 scale railway using "grovey track" groves are dadoed into the top side - 7 5/8 gauge (distance between the rails inside) - Groves loose fit approx 1/2 of the 1/4" flat bar - Joins are custom made: bolt on 4 hole angle these get screwed to the joint ties - Joint ties are made from 2/4 pressure treated cut to approx 16" long (they lay wide side down) - Some ties are made from 2/4 pressure treated cut to approx 16" long and are placed short side down - Most ties are made from 2x2 pressure treated Railing Baluster (cheaper than 2x2x8) 36" cut in half to make 2 - Ballast is road crush, with a top layer of screened crush will be added to look nicer than the road crush. (not to use the rounded rock, only crush) - Ties are spaced approx 3-5" apart - Rails are made from 1" by 1/4" flat bar (hot rolled) in sections of approx 10ft to make transportation easier.
Building the railroad: Track sections
The railroad is constructed in place, not as prefab sections. I started by cutting the grass really short where the track is going and/or killing the grass. If the ground was really unlevel or needed some grade, I hand dug it to make it level in the dirt (or mostly clay here). The next step was to cut and lay landscaping fabric, I used wide stuff that had to be cut lengthwise. Then a thin layer of road crush is placed and roughly leveled packed by hand with a small shovel. Track building really begins now with spacing out the precut and dadoed ties using a spacer (chunk of wood) heading straight out from the last section (even if there is a curve). Insert the flat bar into the ties (try to offset the connections) and you can now bend the track section to fit your curve and sit it on top of the roadbed. Finally i cover upto the top of the ties with more roadcrush
Building the railroad: Finishing
Track joiners are bolted to the 2 sides of each rail at a join, these are also screwed down to the ties. Occationally rails are drilled at an angle and screwed to it's tie. The gauge is checked using a homemade tool that fits between the rails. If it doesn't fit or is too loose, you will probably have derailment issues here (I have fixed these issues cutting out more of a knotch in the wood, or replacing a tie). Finally you need to level the section using levels and lifting the ties and tapping with a hammer the crush to settle it. I plan on trying a air hammer for some of this work.