Small Title

An Elevated Line -
Building a Curved Section


Diag: track bed 2

I surveyed the garden to decide how high to make the fence posts taking account of the highest and lowest points of the garden (it slopes from one end to the other) and to decide whether I could fit a continuous oval run. I found I had room for maximum 8 ft. and minimum 6 ft. radius curves. I would have prefered more generous radii but felt these would look reasonably realistic and provide reliable running. (I later learned the inevitable lesson that such curves are not suitable for a live steam loco running light at full regulator!!)

Diagram 2 shows how I constructed curves in the track bed. Here, the track deck sections are comparatively short - typically 8.5" on the outside and 8" on the inside. The ends of each section are cut at a slight angle so that when assembled end to end they form a gentle curve. If you're a whizz at geometry you'll be able to work out the required angles on paper, or you can mark out radii in the garden from the centre point of the curve using pegs and lengths of string (g) and use these to mark the angles. By placing track deck sections in position on the ground as you cut them you can check your progress along the arc of the curve and make any necessary adjustment when cutting the next section.

The deck sections were glued and nailed onto 2" by 1" underframes (h) making sure that joins in the inner and outer support pieces occured under alternate deck sections (as shown) to maintain strength and rigidity.

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This image shows a suggested arrangement for the 2" by 1" subframes at a point where straight and curved sections of track deck meet. The subframe joints are staggered to maintain strength and rigidity. Two of the galvanised round headed nails used can be seen in the lower joint of the cross piece.

Note that this cross piece is very short at just over three inches (the width of the post), and would soon split if extreme weather conditions gave rise to a substantial warping of the track deck. I'll describe my solution for this potential weakness on page 3.


The photograph, diagram and text on this page are copyright (c) Paul Backhouse 1999 and may not be reproduced or distributed without the owner's permission.

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