Grass covered track

 
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
Have just returned from a trip to north QLD, whilst driving on a couple of mainish roads through cane fields I noticed that a lot of the 2ft gauge track even in use  is grown over with the roadside grass.  When building the fixed part of my "Home track" I'm considering letting the grass grow over the track so it is not so obvious.  My track is 7 1/4 welded & galled steel (as per code) sitting on rec/plastic sleepers, plenty of blue metal for ballast & good drainage(added agdrain) the two locos on the track are both "Big" scale..... 3" to the foot 13 ton shay(Mapleton) and 4" to the foot fowler(Wee George Wood ?)

So any thoughts on the concealed track idea

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  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
I am thinking if doing the same at home. I have had a small test track for some time but it has been a simple out and back affair, about 50 metres in a 'U' shape around the back yard. We have a far longer line in the bush but the missus wants the garden line to be a complete oval so that visiting children can keep going in the same direction. To achieve this I shall have to cross two areas of what should be lawn. Unfortunately they are both high traffic areas near the house where the grass has worn out, and the natural level is between 50 and 100 mm lower than the rail top. I need to deal with trip hazards to people and mower damage to the rails.

Where we live grass grows through and over paved areas unless the blocks join perfectly, so my idea is to prepare the ground as if for a paved path. It will be about 640 mm wide with a rammed sand layer 75 mm below rail top. Thick brick pavers are 75 mm high, my sleepers are 50 mm treated pine and the rail is 25 mm high extrusion. The bricks will be along each side to ensure that the mower will not catch the rails. The space between the bricks will be filled with seeded topsoil. A complication is that both crossings are on a minimum radius curve so there will be wedge-shaped gaps between the bricks that might catch high heels or mower wheels. This part of the garden line will be level, other parts are 1 in 100 up or down.

My other comment concerns our main line in the bush. Here the track is either solid or hollow rectangular bar on the same sleepers with very little ballast, usually just the local hard soil. As the line runs under tree canopy not much grass grows on it. However in places where there is the right combination of soil type, moisture and light some grass does grow. In these places it does look like a cane line out of season. On the first run of a weekend there will often be loss of traction until the the rail head and wheel treads clear themselves. On this line the grade is 1 in 30.
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
Hi Tom
Thanks for the imput .
   We have just moved to our new home(on acreage) so I have somewhat of a clean slate to work with. I already have the sections of "test track"(fixed track) ready to lay, this is apx 30+ mts of straight with a reversing loop. Part of the straight butts up along the side of the front concrete apron of our industrial shed(workshop), this will allow easy movement of r/stock between shed and line. All of this I want to cover with grass except for the actual points as it is a high traffic area
 From the "shed line" I intend to run the line across the gravel drive as part of the cattle grid, then following the fence to what will end up as the "formal garden". here the line will loop back to itself, total length of this section is around 300-350 mts. like your self this formal garden section is under trees so at the moment the ground is a bare compacted wasteland. our intention is to build edged & raised garden beds with shade tolerant grass in-between. In these grass corridors is where the "buried track will also be. The only hazard  to the track would be from the ride-on, mine you the one we have has a low ground impact as we have some very soft areas elsewhere on the block.
I would have liked the track to run the outer edge of the House block but there are areas that a live steam track just can't be laid, the rest of the acreage has some sort of livestock on it  so that is out also.
At the other end of the test track I will be able to attach "Portable" sections(same as cane track) when friends come around, unfourntuatly these sections wont be able to join up to the garden section due to the excessive slope of the house block and part of that loop would also pass through a large section that gets covered in water every times it rains, even in the dry your foot sinks in.
Chris
  G41 Chief Commissioner

Location: Footplate of any K class
Just be mindful that if you do allow the grass to grow at track height, you will struggle for traction.
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
Hi G41
Good point, will take that on board. The shay weighs in around 300kg not inc driver(seat on tender), don't know the finished weight of the fowler, I know the shay will have no traction issues as the one built in the US has been tested on some very steep test track inclines, grass trapped/caught under the wheels may pose a different problem.
Chris
  R704 Chief Commissioner

Location: Who cares you ain't gonna visit!
You'd be surprised, a mate of mine has 12" locos weighing about 2 ton each.
Even fully loaded and  they slip on grass and oak tree leaves at a level station with little to no train behind them, at times almost impossible to get up the main grade unless the track is dry and weed free.

Also did i read that right, the track is galvanized?
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
R704 you did read right, I have 10x 2 mt sections, that a friend who owed me, had galvanized. These bolt together to form the "test track" and before someone comments , yes the top edge is lightly milled flat ( still retains the gal coating). Will have to see how this surface is for traction but since the gal work was for free i'm not complaining.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I've been on a 1:1 guage train stuck due to grass over rails. Crew and pax were out removing weeds

A couple of suggestions
- Embed the rail for about 50mm either side in concrete to prevent grass getting on rails, I think Box Hill tram line is like this
- Cut the grass day or two before running
- hills will be your biggest issue with grass, so if the loco doesn't need to power too hard you could be fine
- High heels, the gap will probably be too small for a stilletoe to fit, but if concerned (and remember women usually don't wear these on grass, but bonus points for thinking of them), you could add a bit of cement to your grouting between the pavers.
- Use fake grass
  Deeja9 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney, Au
Is it time to built a weed killer wagon to spray the unwanted foliage al-la full size?
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
Thanks everyone for the imput I will take your comments on board. Once we are fully settled in the new house I will post some photos of the private track.
  glennofootscray Junior Train Controller

Location: Footscray
Quote"- High heels, the gap will probably be too small for a stilletoe to fit, but if concerned (and remember women usually don't wear these on grass, but bonus points for thinking of them), you could add a bit of cement to your grouting between the pavers."

I would like a dollar for every woman I have seen go base over apex on the lawns of Flemington due to the heady combination of heels, lawn and champagne.

Maybe a sign "no open toed shoes and sensible shoes for the ladies, before riding the railway"

regards Glenn.
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
You have to admit a woman in a pair a strappy heals is a distraction.
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
There has been some progress on the grass covered track on our garden line.



I hope that eventually the lawn grass will grow over the bricks.

So far there has been no effect on traction. It is the lowest point, with 1 in 100 grades rising in both directions. Elsewhere the track passes through some weeds behind a flower bed on the same grade. In this case the broad soft leaves do cause slipping, particularly after rain or garden watering.
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
Been playing with videos again ... the start of this one shows some more back-to-nature track, this time not deliberately planted. If this grass gets wet then we lose traction until the wheels burn their way through after a couple of runs.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQSAHpxzbWM

@moaner; How's you gal and grass  project getting on?
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
Hi TomBTR it will be some months before I even think about the gal track, still haven't unpacked everything and every relo dropped in for extended periods from early Dec till last week. The wife & I  are taking some time out(cruse)  then I will get stuck into my shays frame then will think of the track.

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