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Author Topic: ACW railway question  (Read 17989 times)

Offline shandy

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ACW railway question
« on: April 26, 2016, 08:06:25 PM »
Hi!

Here's a question for ACW/19th century US railroad experts: How do I best make trackbeds? On many photos, it looks like there weren't any, but a friend convinced me that it is impossible to lay railway tracks without bedding. However, the gravel beds normally seen on model railway layouts look somehow out of place to my eyes… but then I haven't seen enough images to be sure.

What do you think? This is not going to be a working layout, just some tt gauge tracks for the 15mm Peter Pig train...

Thanks for your help!

Offline jon_1066

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2016, 09:11:20 PM »
I am no expert but would say you were right.  They definitely didnt seem to use gravel/ballast.  Everything I have seen has tamped earth surrounding the closely spaced sleepers.

These would have been quickly constructed and weren't high speed.

Offline Cory

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2016, 09:43:36 PM »
Remind your friend that just because it is rarely wise to do so it is always possible to lay track without a bed beneath the ties. As has been pointed out though, low speeds, lighter cars, available materials, and exigencies of the circumstances sometimes made the optimum method the worst choice.

Also never underestimate how cheap and inexperienced folks were. I have seen lines that were laid in the 1880's without sufficient or even any bed material because the fellows controlling the purse strings were not the same as the ones carrying out the directions.
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Offline shandy

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2016, 12:28:40 PM »
Thanks guys, that's very interesting. Do you know where I could find more information or even images?

Also, how would you model it? Make some trackbeds with MDF covered in sand or structural paint? Or stop worrying and just plunk the tracks on the table?

Offline Ramirez Noname

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 12:49:40 PM »
Hi Shandy,

I'm no expert on ACW railroads, but if you do a quick google image search for "american civil war railroads" it brings up a mass of pictures.

As for modelling the tracks, I've used commercially available track and over ballasted with dried sharp sand as can be seen in this thread ...

http://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=25642.msg311653#msg311653

The track is mounted on Forex board (a sort of mounting board) with the dried sand held in place with watered down PVA  glue. The track is Peco 016.5 ready to run stuff.


Hope this helps.

RMZ

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 01:11:19 PM »
I have to say I'm somewhat in the same boat as you. I got the PP RCW armoured train and some Wild West railroad wagons, together with some TT track. Both the TransSiberian and TransCaspian railways used flat bottomed rail and lots of sleeper/ties almost directly onto a flattened ground with little or no ballast. You can see it here in this old photo...

If you want to keep it simple and are more of a wargamer than a railroader, you could use the TT flexi track as is... I've also tried creating a straight raised trackbed onto which I laid the TT track which at least allows for the possibility of also modelling bridges...


And even reusing some ditch/dyke sections I'd modelled onto hardboard with expanded poly and polyfilla as a trackbed...

However, if you want to model curves, points etc., rather than just an on-off straight track, you're going to need to cut up the flexible TT track into manageable sections. You end up with a toy train set assortment of curves etc. And for the greatest flexibility you need to be consistent with track lengths and geometry. TSS also make pretty good resin railway sections, and being resin they come with a base and slightly raised trackbed premodelled...
http://totalsystemscenic.com/product-category/resin-buildings-walls-scenics/resin-by-range-railway/
I started down the cheapskate road and tried cutting down some 00 track my father had left over to TT gauge. That involved cutting down the length of the track on one side next to the chairs, cutting the sleepers down and gluing onto a sturdy base. The joins were camouflaged by liberal applications of polyfilla and dressing with fine sand/gravel. It also works making curves. You have to be a bit clever with the sleeper spacings which requires cutting the plastic ties underneath the rails. You can see the w.i.p. version here...


I even attempted doing the same to some points making static models, but to be perfectly honest you are far better buying those pre made for all the hassle involved. Plus the radius of curve TSS uses is far more wargaming friendly.
You can easily model buffer stops from scraps etc.

Depends how much accuracy and detail you want and how modular the track arrangement you want to achieve...
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 02:44:17 PM by sukhe_bator »
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Offline Michi

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 01:11:54 PM »
Low speed and weight do not necessarily need tracks to be ballasted. However it´s always better to do so. I would expect northern lines which transported bulk coal and ores to be more durable and built to higher standards than such that mainly ran light cargoes.

By the way:
There were still major (double track) railroads in Russia bedded in sand or plain earth in the 1940s found out by the Germans during operation Barbarossa. German railway authorities allowed an axle pressure of 16 tons and limited the use of German locomotives that could be used to pre-war (Royal Prussian Railways) engines (series 38, 55, 56 and 57) and the Kriegslokomotive series 52.

Offline jon_1066

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2016, 02:27:59 PM »
Thanks guys, that's very interesting. Do you know where I could find more information or even images?

Also, how would you model it? Make some trackbeds with MDF covered in sand or structural paint? Or stop worrying and just plunk the tracks on the table?

What purpose does the track serve game wise?  If you make a "shoulder" out of mdf for it to sit on then you can use it for cover and as an obstacle.  You often see it raised above the general terrain level.

The way railway modellers usually do it is to lightly glue or tack the track down then ballast it.  If you use mdf you won't be able to pin it so just use PVA.  You could use sand for the "ballast"or something similar for tamped earth.  Use your finger or a brush to get this between the sleepers and make the shoulders.  You then get a dropper bottle with diluted PVA (about 50:50 with a drop of meths or washing up liquid to break the surface tension) then liberally apply this to the sand.  The sand will soak up the PVA and voila.  Remember to seal the MDF first or it may expand (basically paint both sides I think)

Offline shandy

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2016, 04:16:00 PM »
Thanks for the answers! I don't see myself ballasting the tracks, to be honest… I like the raised trackbed of sukhe_bator, I might do something like this. Or I might buy the TSS tracks, they look quite nice.

Basically, the tracks are just there to look cool… There are one or two historical scenarios I want to play which demand tracks, and I've already played a fictitious one revolving around a train being ambushed. I don't think I want them to provide too much cover, light cover at the max.

Offline Heisler

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2016, 04:46:37 PM »
Model Railroads go to War by Kalmbach publishing might be worth looking at.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/12483
It's NOT denial. I'm just very selective about the reality I accept. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)
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Offline Heisler

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2016, 04:30:40 PM »
I was thinking about this a little more and I remembered one of the blogs that I follow is based on the US Military Railway system during the ACW: http://usmrr.blogspot.com/

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2018, 02:51:56 PM »
Revisited this post, because it struck me that the track itself would not provide much cover, while any ballast and the wooden sleepers/ties would just contribute splinters and shrapnel if struck by enemy fire. Not a healthy place to be.
If you go down the modular track sections route, the shoulders of the resin / scratchbuilt track sections would provide enough of a raised track bed bearing in mind 15mm is 3mm to the foot, so even a modest 5mm high basing is nearly 2 feet higher than its surroundings...

Offline Heisler

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2018, 05:48:11 PM »
There is a book out there that you might try. "Model Railroads Go to War" by Bernard Kempinski. Here is the blurb:
Model Railroads Go to War is the only book that covers a large scope of model railroading wartime scenes. Written by veteran author Bernard Kempinski, it spans the American Civil War through Operation Iraqi Freedom. This guide provides detailed modeling information and historical insight, making it ideal an ideal choice for both modelers and history buffs.

I would go on to say that Bernard is pretty much a specialist on the matter of ACW railroads and it might be worth trying to contact him with your question through his blog:http://usmrr.blogspot.com/

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2018, 11:18:46 AM »
I've posted some wip pics of my trackwork on my 15mm armoured train thread. I've just used filler and diluted PVA with liberal applications of fine sand and some scatter material with a spray undercoat of dark brown and tan... I will be highlighting in acrylics. In 15mm this combo seems to work just fine.

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: ACW railway question
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2018, 01:05:28 PM »
I’m not sure that it answers your question but I simply cut OO track to widen it, and covered the missing centre of each sleeper  in gravel

From here: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=105278.285

Quote
1.2m of railroad on 30x15 tiles and showing the telegraph poles at 20cm spacing (clearly, I have more 60x60 tiles to make,)



Close up of the track:

(I copied the partially covered sleepers from a Black Hills railroad; the Hornby OO track is split and widened to 25mm so using coverage avoided recreating the centre of every sleeper)



Train on the track with an Artizan mini for scale:





Post-apoc survivors are now at http://www.ScavengeSkirmishSurvive.uk

My LAF Gallery is HERE

 

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