Bill Logan’s Garden Railroad Trackbed Method Modified

My son and I installed the first complete loop of garden railroad roadbed and track over the weekend. Bill Logan’s flexible trackbed method works great (see early construction picture above)! I am going to paint the white part of the trackbed a dark rust color in the coming week.

I made one significant change to Bill’s method. I could not find the recycled HDPE (high-density polyethelyne) material that he uses locally, so I searched Home Depot for a comparable product and found a product called “Never-Rot”. It is sold as a white, expanded PVC-based trim material for houses made by Royal Mouldings. It is sold in many profiles and sizes and the basic rectangle 1″x2″x12′ size is perfect for the side rails in Bill Logan’s system…no cutting required! I used pressure-treated pine porch-rail stakes for the middle blocks (also Home Depot). They are cut into 1.5″ lengths and screwed in place just as Bill did. I also used these stakes as the “stringers” that elevate the trackbed off of the ground.

Total cost is less than $2.00 per foot of finished trackbed (excluding the cost of track).

The whole system works great, and the rails can be flexed to any radius curve without cracking. Installs VERY quickly. I’d like to see someone try this method for an indoor “overhead” system. Maybe I will someday.

I will post more photos as I refine the installation.

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on July 10, 2005, in Garden Trains. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have been contemplating building an overhead track system for my house. Shortly after I got married my in-laws began the ‘get the daughter’s stuff out of our house’ phase, and they discovered her old Tyco HO train set. I have been pondering building an overhead track system in our living & dining room.
    This project has been in the developmental stages for the last six years. Part of the delay has been the birth of our three children.
    Tip: A local hobby shop recommended that for track runs over 40′ to run an electric line (two conductor) parallel to the track and about every six feet solder the conductors to the rails. Solder the same conductor to the same rail, please don’t cross them otherwise you will short out your transformer.
    The purpose is to reduce the resistance in the track.

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