Building a Backyard Railroad -- page 3

So how do you store these massive track panels waiting to be laid?

You need a temporary shelter, such as a camping tent.

This 10'x12' camping tent will hold any and all track
panels you want to build, as well as the entire line's rail.

So how do you keep the bugs at bay? One way is with this
homemade beekeeper's hat and a combination of mosquito
repellant. The veil really confuses them, and they don't
come back. The hatchet also helps scare them off.

And for a more down to earth view...

My Comments about "Groovy Track"

I don't know what motivates folks to use groovy track. That's steel bar stock set on end in grooves in the ties and used as rails. (Unless, of course, you have an unlimited abundant free supply of it.) For one thing, it is heavy, it is generally not cheap, and it just plain looks bad. Plus it is really hard on cast iron wheels. The grooves in the ties give you no adjustment for gauge, and there is no positive means to keep the barstock in the grooves. Here's a photo I found on the internet. Notice how nice this guy's aluminum rail looks compared to the steel bar stock. Just log onto Union Pacific or BNSF's website and see what they use. But as always, do what you like. July 3rd. Rail arrives. First task is to paint it. Next task is to fasten it down. I have been asked what the fan and the cardboard are for. It's hot here in the summer. Plus, the fan is the best mosquito repellant I've ever found. The cardboard protects the track gang from the deer ticks and poison ivy.

Nails or Screws?

I use 3.5d x 1 1/4" zinc plated or hot galvanized roofing nails to hold the rail down. Some people will tell you, "You gotta use screws" or "Most people use screws". They will say things like "Nails will pull out" or "Screws are easier to install". I have over 7500 nails. None of them have ever pulled out. Some readers have noticed I only nail every 3rd tie, to give you some idea how well nails work. Nails are much less expensive and much faster and easier to install once you get the hang of it. Plus, screws just don't look good, and on my railroad, appearance is second only to safety. Just log onto Union Pacific or BNSF's website and see what they use. But as always, do what you like. Screws do have one major advantage. They are much easier to remove. If you ever had to move a section of track you would discover how you can't get under the heads, and when you do the heads just come off (because the nail refuses to pull out). You will notice I use screws in my switches, anywhere I've had to remove part of the rail foot. Did you notice my track gauges in the previous photo? You need at least two sets. One set is for straight track and is 1/16" over gauge. The other is for curves under a radius of 60 feet and is 1/8" over gauge. Also notice, I use an inside gauge and an inside-outside gauge. Also new on the property -- two brand new hopper cars. Together, they form a real work train. They carry and store tools and eventually will carry ballast once enough rail is layed. Do I need a rail bender? That's a question I hear alot. I have curves down to 38 foot radius, and I never once needed one. But That is one of the advantages of using stringers. The ties hold the rail in place. Just like in real railroading. I have one switch that needed a prebent rail. I used two trees as a bender. On to Next Page Back to Previous Page