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Track Laying Advice on Concrete Base

Rob Walker

Joined: 25-10-10

Topics: 6

Replies: 12

Posted: Wed 9th Mar 2011, 4:51pm
Track Laying Advice on Concrete Base

we are looking to find a more permanant way to keep our track level which is a big problem and low maintenance our railway is located next to the river don so moisture is an issue, we have come up with something we think would work well but maybe someone out there could help, the idea is to lay a 4" concrete pad in which to set the elevation for the corners in which we would then set the rail and wooden sleepers on this and bolt down through the sleepers into the concrete at a given distance and then in areas were it is seen ballast ontop of the concrete to hide it. which means when re-sleepering there would be no relevelling to do which is the hardest and longest part of the job, just remove the section, re-sleeper and shovel the ballast off the concrete wash it, re-lay the track and spread the ballast back over.

could anyone offer any help or advice, by the way the reason to use sleepers still is to loose some of the noise you get with running track straight onto concrete.

any help most appreciated

Wortley Top Forge Model Engineers

Replies To This Post


Joined: 1-01-92

Topics: 25

Replies: 318

Posted: Wed 9th Mar 2011, 5:17pm

Rob, if you used plastic sleepers you wouldn't need to replace them, and you'd still kill the noise. I'm not sure about bolting the sleepers down though, you would need to allow for expansion and contraction, and corners are where a lot of that is disapated. I do appreciate your "damp" problem, having visited in the past.

Rob Walker

Joined: 25-10-10

Topics: 6

Replies: 12

Posted: Wed 9th Mar 2011, 9:40pm

we have looked into plastic sleepers but sheffield club use plastic and are prone to melting from ash from the steam loco's for bolting down, maybe not on the corners but along the straight sections, and we would be bolting sections together and allowing maybe an 1/8" for expansion its mainly because nobody is getting any younger so its something to make future maintenance a whole lot easier.



Joined: 1-01-70

Topics: 0

Replies: 21

Posted: Sat 12th Mar 2011, 10:11am

At Grenade-sur-Garonne we run on a well-laid 10cm pad, with expansion gaps and so on, and with 6kg/metre flat-bottomed rail, fishplated with appropriate gaps for expansion. The sleepers are U-section mild steel. I think it is awful. Apart from noise, it seems to me that even such heavy-duty track, laid to good standards, still moves and twists (welded sleepers?). Our 0-4-4 TINKER often complains..... and occasionally derails for no apparent reason, other than perhaps a tiny identifiable "dip" or "hump" in one running rail. So we pack the U-section.... Just a few comments about experience with rock-solid bases...

Malcolm the Frog


Joined: 1-01-89

Topics: 9

Replies: 169

Posted: Sat 12th Mar 2011, 7:12pm

First of all I wish to correct the quite inaccurate and potentially damaging comment that at the Sheffield track the plastic sleepers 'are prone to melting'. It is true that where the locos stand in the station awaiting departure and fires are raked and hot ash dropped there is some superficial damage to the sleepers but after four seasons running they are nowhere near needing replacement. These sleepers are recycled fireproof plastic from Cromar White and carry their 27mm steel flat bottom rails. I was involved with Tony Martin in testing this material before they were put on the market so can vouch for its resilience. This track performs so well that at Sheffield we have just replaced our entire elevated track (which has 7¼" gauge as well as the usual smaller gauges) with it.

As far as bolting track to concrete is concerned Cromar White have experience of bolting track to concrete on a commercial railway when we relaid the Picky Puffer line in Bangor, Co. Down. That 27mm steel rail and recycled plastic sleeper track is bolted down to prevent vandals lifting it. We fixed the plastic sleepers at 1 metre intervals, drilling straight through the sleeper into the concrete and following with steel screws designed to cut directly into the concrete - i.e. no plugs needed. No problems since this was done three years ago. The company also fixed the same type of track to a concrete track bed on the roof of the Grace Building at Nottingham University for a groundbreaking GPS research programme and again no problems ensued.
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