Garden Railway Track Materials

Discussion in 'Gardeners World' started by JimG, 24 November 2014.

  1. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer

    I just got my latest copy of the model Engineer today - No.4496 - and there is the first of a two part article on using re-cycled plastic materials for exterior trackwork. The article is aimed at tracks for the larger scale, live steam tracks, but the writer has given some URLs of suppliers of materials which I thought might be useful to those with outdoor tracks.

    This company supplies track parts for larger scale railways, so maybe a bit too large for our smaller scales.

    This is a supplier of the materials as well as built up garden furniture, but there are no specific products for model railways. Unfortunately, no prices appear on the web site.

    This last site is probably the most appropriate, with a lot of materials aimed at the garden railway market, and all prices are shown.

    The second part of the article will probably appear in the next but one magazine in a month's time and I'll pass on any other references if there are any appropriate.

  2. unklian

    unklian Western Thunderer

    Our man Cookie is going to try Filcris .
  3. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Cheers for posting Jim, should make for interesting reading. As Ian says, I'm going down the Filcris route - in fact I ordered it today :)
    Sometime next week I have eleven 12' planks of the stuff turning up.
    My wallet is crying in the corner :'(
  4. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer


    I've just had a look at their website again and checked out the prices - I see what you mean. :) I made the decision to go with treated wood based on the calculation that the wood would last about the same time as me. :) Those of more tender years may find the Filcris a better, long term bet. :)

  5. taliesin

    taliesin Western Thunderer

    Having seen Filcris products in use I would not care to use them in direct sunlight. I have seen 2"square used effectively as sleepers on 7 1/4 gauge track effectively but the planks seem to get rippled rather easily, cheers Rob
  6. Mike W

    Mike W Western Thunderer

    I have read on another forum (Gauge 3) that Filcris is available as grey "Eco board" which is much more rigid than the brown (very flexible) stuff which Filcris sell in strips for garden railway use. I have no personal experience whatsoever, but the writer of this is still very happy with his grey board.

    Of course, in the case of Cookie (above) his boards are continuously supported full length, so I wouldn't have thought there would be a problem anyway?

  7. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    Over the summer I have built a simple garden railway on which to run my 1:20.3 live steam Denver & Rio Grande locos and rolling stock. The locos are nearly all by Accucraft and are gas fuelled running on 45 mm track.
    The trainset is set above ground by between 1 and 3 feet depending on the slope of the land. It is supported on 3 inch square treated wood fence posts set into metal post supports. The boards are constructed as a beam between the posts with the sides formed from UPVC sofit board, which is ideal for forming curves and cross pieces for the beams made of treated gravel board. This results in a very rigid and fairly economical structure. The width of the boards is 225mm and the depth 150mm. The sofit came in 5 metre lengths which made forming straight and curved sides pretty easy.
    I've then used the Fillchris dark grey board for the running surface. It is sold as an 8x4 sheet and they can machine it into strips of the desired radius for the curves and also straight lengths. My experience of their work and the material it is excellent. I've used the 10mm thick board which is rigid provided it has a support underneath it at about a 175mm spacing. It has been out in quite hot sun and has shown no signs of distortion.
    Unfortunately no photos as yet but if anybody is interested I will take and post some.
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  8. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Photos, photo's - sounds like a thread is in order my good man :)
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  9. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    So here we go; the first 4 pictures show the layout under construction with shots of either end. They help to illustrate the build method using met-posts, pieces of fence post and construction of the beams using sofit board and gravel board. The beam lying on the ground was my initial experiment to check the idea would work.
    The next pictures show the train-set as it is today waiting for ballasting and a bit of fettling to the track.
    S-Club-7, BrushType4, mickoo and 13 others like this.
  10. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    That's very informative, thank you. How, and to what are the Filcris sheets secured please? Are they screwed down into the gravel board cross pieces? Or are there some of brackets? Or something?
  11. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    yes the Filcris sheets are screwed to the cross-pieces with a 30mm screw. Holes need to be pre-drilled in the plastic sheet. Just to note this sheet is very easy to work, it can be drilled and planed as with wood.
  12. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    Got it. Thank you very much indeed.
  13. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Thanks for posting those photos up Tim, what a great place to have a run :)
    I like the idea of the soffit board too, gives a neat finish to the outside curve. Out of interest, how thick was the soffit board please, I've been having a quick surf around and see you can get thicknesses between 10 and 18mm?
    Many Thanks
  14. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    Steve ,
    I've used 10 mm, easy to curve and plenty strong enough. The 5 metre lengths are great for continuity but awkward to handle. Some clamps are essential to temporarily fix them to the posts and another pair of hands makes the job much easier.
  15. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Thanks Tim.
    I remember laminating 6' strips of ply on my last line and wishing I had at least one extra pair of hands - I used a bucket load of clamps too.
    Hope you get some good running in over the winter, I'm looking forward to doing the same (it just needs to stop raining long enough for me to get out and finish my line!).
  16. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    We had a steam day here last Tuesday, a nice day for weather and steam; cool air gives lovely steam plumes. I'm situated on the Essex/Suffolk border, if any one is in the area please contact me as you're welcome to come over and hopefully run a train or two.
  17. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    45mm track, Hmm, I'll need to get a radio control set up for the BR78 then ;) might be a bit small against your monsters though :cool:

    What track did you use? I'm looking for some semi decent Euro style outdoor track at the moment.
  18. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    I've used Accucraft American style narrow gauge track. I believe they do some European track plus there are other suppliers. I 'll have a look around and let you know what I find. It would be good to see the BR 78 running here.
  19. John Walker

    John Walker Active Member

    Just noticed this thread.

    My experience with Ecosheet is described here. The main problem is with expansion. I hope that my solution works as the boards for the triangular junction are complete as shown here. It will be next year before I know for sure. I still have to wire up some of the points.

    John Walker
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  20. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    The filcris sheet appears to be different to the Eco sheet: it is very dense and therefore heavy. I also worried about expansion so left a couple of pieces out in full sun over several days. It quite surprised me in that it hardly reacted to the heat, not becoming soft or showing any great expansion. Specifications say that it can expand by 3 mm per metre so when using it I left gaps of about 3 mm between boards. So far after a couple months it is fine although conditions have n't been very extreme. The greatest amount of expansion has been with the rail. It was mostly laid with the temperature around 21 C with small gaps between the rail ends, I used 6 feet lengths. The joints have widened as the weather has cooled but not excessively so as yet. Just to add that this is all with large scale ack components, I don't know if they be more tolerant than smaller scales.