lifting track

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by jonno w, May 25, 2004.

  1. jonno w

    jonno w New Member

    I have a railway I'm about to dismantle and I would prefer to re-use the track.
    It's ballasted with scale gravel secured with white glue in the established manner. can anyone suggest a suitable way of dissolving the glue and getting the track up without damage. the track is Peco narrow gauge.
  2. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Rubbing alcohol 70% works fast and easy. Poor it on, cover with plastic for 10 min. Wet water works too, but is slower. Wet water is water with a few drops of detergent per quart for a wetting agent. Welcome to the gauge. :)FRED
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    I go with what Dash said about the alcohol. Get you a thin blade putty knife to slide under the ties to break loose the ones that still stick.
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I've successfully removed track with alcohol as described above.
  5. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    Very good advice above Jonno and welcome to the Gauge :wave:
  6. jonno w

    jonno w New Member

    re track lifting

    Thanks Fred and all. I can get started. I'm not yet able to submit photos of my own project yet, not having a scanner among other things. Bulwara and Tudock is an Australian bush setting ,narrow gauge railway serving a mine and delivering the output to a river port, where small hoppers dump it into barges. It incorporates a lot of vernacular Australian buildings which compare with America's in some respects, but also have distinct local touches.
    I hope my handmade casuarina and eucalypt trees underline the environmental differences, since I'm using Spectrum Porter locos.
    Baldwin saddle tanks of a very similar style were used locally at a gravel mine down at Kiama at the turn of the century, so I can use that as an excuse.

    I particularly like your night shots, fred. I do hope those schoolchildren on the bus are not up to something-er-disreputable.
    Good health, gang, and thanks again.
  7. jonno w

    jonno w New Member

    track lifted!

    Dear Fred and the rest of you hoggers,
    Thanks for advice. While waiting for phone calls this morning I thought I'd try the wet-water on a section of track until the shops were open and I could track down the alcohol. Lo! the track lifted with minimum fuss and I completed the whole station yard in half an hour including the turnouts, All undamaged.
    It's still got some ballast attached, but clearly a bath and a gentle scrub should sort that out.
    The information is warmly appreciated. The layout was my first effort on which I made all my errors including the over ballasting of the track. I was expecting to spend about $80-90.00 Australian on new track and some ungodly amount more on turnouts. This has saved my much loot.

    Oh! I should send you a photo of my turnout lever system. I'm rather proud of it.
    I'm a child-care worker and part of my plan was to enable children to operate some areas of the system. I devised a turnout lever for direct mechanical control that is strong enough to be banged around by four year olds, while being subtle enough to gently tip the peco turnouts over by their own spring.
    Anyway, here's to the railway network! your good health all!

  8. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!


    Hey! Glad it worked!!!! Oh yes, please do post a pic of your turnout lever system. It sounds like something a lot of us would be interested in seeing!
  9. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Jonno,correct me if I'm wrong ,but aren't you modeling in 0n30?
  10. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I have the perfect method for doing just that. Firstly, go away for a week. You know, a good holiday somewhere.

    But for this method to work properly, you need to have your laundry upstairs, right above the layout.

    Now... while you are away, have the hose connecting to the washing machine burst. After a while, it will pour through the ceiling, all over the layout and then flow through the whole house, carpet included, and out the front door.

    Not only will it lift the track for you, but will lift everything else, and even wash the ballast, the ground cover and plaster, into the loungroom carpet for you, leaving you with nice clean track.

    How do I know this? One guess..... :curse: :cry:

    So..... I recommend water.

    Oh..... the layout was a rightoff, but it was covered under the household insurance.
  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Oh.... yes please. A recipe for casurinas and some gum trees would be real good. :cool: :D I am just hopless at trees. :cry:
  12. jonno w

    jonno w New Member

    G'day Catt,
    Yes, you're absolutely right. Sorry, sometimes I misss the right technical language. ON 30 is certainly it. I tried one in HOn 2.5 or HOe as it's called, but it was too smalland fiddly. I was absolutely delighted when the Spectrum Porter arrived at a managable price. I've had a great time banging up scruffy flat cars and odd four wheel stock to match. Good health, mate. Jonno
  13. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Welcome aboard, jonno!

    What you say about your turnout levers sounds very interesting. I'm just on the brink to decide for some sort of a hand activated system, so I'll soak up any information concerning turnout levers like a sponge.

    Could you describe it in a little bit more detail?

  14. jonno w

    jonno w New Member

    As regards gum trees. I use twisted copper wire to make the branch structures. I've seen it explained in a couple of places but I could give a more detailed description if desired.{ since I wrote an extended post, I decided to do so further down}
    I then melt solder into them and clean off the flux. this makes a much stronger structure. I then coat the branches with one of a number of gap-filling acrylics.
    I use something called "No more gaps."
    I can add tube acrylic paint to it and texture materials which make the tree more knobbly. while eucalypt trunks range in colour, one really useful shade I discovered was transparent red oxide. this gave me a fine representation of the resin flows and stains that typify the old gum tree. An old tooth brush does a good job of scratching bark texture into the gap filler,

    I then find a suitable, fairly heavy twig, carve off the bark and drill holes in appropriate places. I'll often glue in a thin bit of twig with a broken end to represent a wind broken branch. Once the branches are attached to the trunk, I use "No-more gaps" to blend and refine the joinery. The aim is to stop the twig from looking like a twig.
    I found my Dremel motor tool handy for hollowing the trunk to give the impression of age and fire damage.

    One trick I discovered in an English book. Go to a theatre shop and get a plait of theatrical hair. tease a small amount into a light, transparent ball.
    Spray one of your fixed branches with a suitable glue and drape the fake hair onto the branches. Spray this hair with glue and dust on one of the Woodland Scenic's range of non-greens. I used "Burnt Grass" and I think the other was "Dry earth". the point was that they produced a subdued, olive green with a dry quality, rather than the brilliant greens usually associated with the temperate North. The fake hair has sufficient colour to suggest twigs and small branches and gives a wonderfully light and open sense to the branch structure. Since it comes in a range of browns and greys, this adds more variation possibilities than the foliage net you usually buy.

    I generally cut the head off a long woodscrew and superglue it to the base of the trunk, thread outwards, so I can screw the tree into the baseboard and turn it a bit while I judge it's suitability. I don't like having such useful things permanently fixed.

    There used to be a railway called "Beyond Bulliac" who put an excellent article in the Australian Model Railway Magazine a few years back. They made excellent trees and I used many of their ideas. They may still be floating about.

    When I'm up to speed with the technology I'll put a photo of my grand old red gum in.

    Ok! the wire. That yellow and green striped copper wire has seven strands under the insulation. I get it at seventy cents or so per metre, so it's cheap and does lots of branches. strip it, twist about 150 mm or so as the main branch. divide the strands so that you have four in one group, three in another and twist into two branches. subdivide again until you reach the end, one strand.

    You can also loop single strands at varous points and cut the loops giving forked branches. Once it's all soldered nothing moves.
    I don't know whether you twisted paper clips to destruction at school. I did, and I noticed the similarity- once metal fatigue set in and the metal formed those tight little twists- to those wildly twisted branches. twist up the single ends and leave some exposed without foliage. Those twisty, dead branches are another eucalypt trade mark. a light iron grey, drybrushed lighter grey really brings up the grain you get with the twisting.

    That's all I can think of at present. I'll see what I can do to get some photos onto the thread. Good health! jonno.:thumb:
  15. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Looks good, Jonno. I trust that "no more gaps" is the white Selleys stuff in th elong tube. Just make a big pile of it, and wipe it on, and shape with a wet brush?
  16. jonno w

    jonno w New Member


    Yes, mate, Selleys it is. I've found a variety that comes in a range of basic colours. I've been using the grey one as a foundation for certain rock formations.
  17. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Oh... and Jonno, this bit too. :confused: Drill holes in what and where? Can I assume you mean the copper and solder "trunk"? And then slot the "twigs" into those holes?

  18. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr Member

    Jonno: If you would kindly share your manual turnout control lever I would appreciate it. I have a large number of PECO turnouts that are a bit far for most folks to reach. Any info or photographs would be greatly appreciated.


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