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Wood Tie Replacement

Printed From: Southern California Live Steamers
Category: Railroad Tracks, Layouts and Rolling Stock
Forum Name: Track, Switch & Signal Construction Forum
Forum Discription: Discussion pertaining to track fabrication and techniques, installation methods and switch design as well as signal construction and control circuitry.
Printed Date: Sep 23 2023 at 11:36am

Topic: Wood Tie Replacement
Posted By: tom d
Subject: Wood Tie Replacement
Date Posted: Mar 10 2011 at 7:15pm
For the last few years Tim B, Joe and Kelly have been trying to get all of the old wood ties on the main line replaced with plastic ones. On Sunday 1-27-11 at about 1 in the afternoon Tim B talked to Steve C, Tom D and Shane H who were working on the track and asked if they had time to put in one new 15' panel of track by the yard switch as the wood ties had rotted away in a few spots causing Tim to derail at the end of the last run day.

Tim had to leave for some family stuff so he couldn't help but the boys through it wouldn't take to much to put in just one panel in. BUT as seems to always happen after looking over the track from the return  switch from Crenshaw to the yard switch, it was decided it was best to just replace all but 30 feet of the track in that stretch of the railroad as it had a mix of  both wood and plastic ties and had a lot of dirt mixed in with the ballast. So we looked, and Steve had just about enough track panels built to do the job. Steve built two more panels, the old track was removed and set by the red car for a future parking siding  and then Steve had to leave. So Tom, Phil and Shane finished one more panel and scraped away all the old dirt ballast and installed the new track panels.

On Saturday 3-5-11 Tom D, Howie, Shane, Phil and Shane Jr ballasted the new track and Tom D  tamped, aligned and leveled all 90 feet of it. The new track still needs time to settle in but it seemed to work well on the 3-6-11 Sunday run.     

Tom D.

Posted By: wingtip
Date Posted: Feb 11 2012 at 6:36pm
Which plastic ties are you using?  Ive been considering these -
of the ones youve already placed... how old is the oldest do you think?  And what kind of feedback do you have on them so far?

Posted By: Steve C
Date Posted: Feb 12 2012 at 12:12am
    We have done a few panels with the epstores ties and have not noticed and problems as of yet. But that section of track has only been on the groung for about a year. Before that we were using 2x2 plastic tiesand have not encountered any major issues with them. We usually order the higher grade of ties when we order.  I am not sure how old the oldest platic ties are that are in use but I will see if I can find out.

Posted By: wingtip
Date Posted: Feb 12 2012 at 6:23am
If you could take a pic of one of your plastic ties (epstores) right at the molded plate so i can see how you fastened your rail that would be great... so did you use their rail as well???

Posted By: Steve C
Date Posted: Feb 12 2012 at 6:24pm
We use 1 1/4" modified truss head screws to attach the track to the ties. I get them from a local bommercial building supply costs about $65 per box of 5000 if I remember right. I will take a pic next time I am down at the club. We also build our track on a jig and ley it in sections.

Posted By: wingtip
Date Posted: Feb 12 2012 at 6:56pm
Look forward to some pics and more info..thanks..

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Feb 13 2012 at 11:32am
    There is a pattern to how you put the screws that seems to help with letting the track bend a little easier when ajusting the track. Our freind, Bill at RMI showed us his track and how it works. There are four predrilled holes in the plates, two on each side of the rail. You only use one of the holes on each side with the installed screws maching on the left and right rails and alternating from side to side of the rail  tie to tie to form a w pattern on the ties, a photo of this will help you. The epstores ties are the way to go they cost the least and are very easy to use and have shipped. The next order of ties for S.C.L.S. will be for the epstores ties.
    We haven't used their rail, but I would think it as good as their ties. We use the rail joiners from train mountian, as they let the rail move alot better than the screws and plate type of joints. We have been putting spray lube on the joints latey to try to get the rail to not kink in the sun. There have been reports from other clubs that theese joiners will stick if installed dry. 
    We do use plate  joints for switchs and we use plastic 2x4s laid on their side under most of the joints to try to keep them from droping and getting low joints. We use a combination of 2x2's and 2x4's when building the switchs. I build lighter switches for yards out of 2x2's to try to save some cost, as the 2x4's are pricey. The tie spacing is 1 1/2 to 2 times the with of the tie but you can go more, but I would think 4" would be the most I would go on the spacing.

Posted By: Steve C
Date Posted: Feb 15 2012 at 4:18pm
Here is a picture of the epstores track and the screw pattern we use. The file is to be to upload into this post, so it is posted in our photo gallery -
The screws are #8 x 1 1/4" pointed modified truss head screws. If you are doing alot of track it is better to buy the screws at a local commercial builders supply. Here is a link from fastenal for the screws we use -
Steve Claude

Posted By: wingtip
Date Posted: Feb 15 2012 at 6:23pm
wow those ties look really good... and the maint will be minimal hopefully...  thanks for posting..  keep us informed if u have issues or other comments on these... i like these ties very much..

Posted By: Steve C
Date Posted: Feb 15 2012 at 7:10pm
The one other thing I have forgot to mention is that we use 7 5/8" spacing it sees to keep derailments down as it allows some margin of error in wheel spacing.
Are you a member of a club in your area or are you looking to build your own track at home/
Steve Claude

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Feb 15 2012 at 9:51pm
Thats not the screw pattern we have been using latly in the photo, I think I built this track panel before I talked to Bill and some guys back east in Ma. about the screw patten to use, and how its better in the long run. This may explain way we have some track movement. I'll see if I can take a photo this weekend. Do your home work and get lots of info on setting your track down or you will be working on your track all the time.
Tom Downing

Posted By: wingtip
Date Posted: Feb 16 2012 at 5:26am
right now im not a member of any club...  and the nearest club is a few hours away, however there is a nice private owned layout 30 minutes from me.   Im just researching things right now..

Posted By: tom d
Date Posted: Aug 15 2019 at 3:57pm
We are still working on replacing wood ties but we are making good headway on this project. all thats left to be replaced on the main line is two panels just before the return switch on the whipper table, two panels on the return lead for the whipper table, one and a half panels just past the in lead track to the whipper table, and theres maybe 20 tie just before the baseball crossing. There maybe a few more on the Crenshaw line but there not a big deal. The old Crenshaw passsing siding has a few panles and theres a few in the yard as well. There are also wood switch ties that need to be replaced: the two at the whipper and two are three in the yard. We have lone ties to do that but it just takes a good amount of time to do it as they have to be done on the ground one at a time so the switch doesn't get out of line.     

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