After ignoring the garden railway for far too long it was time to make a decision, either refurbish the track or take it up. Boats have taken over the modelling time I have but the onset of warmer weather means garden tidying time. To be fair the track laid in the garden has survived a couple of winters well with little or no maintenance, but the lack of care has taken its toll.
The sections of track that are fixed on thicker depths of concrete have faired the best. The extra support underneath has protected it, in particular in areas where people walk, under the washing line, near the trampoline etc.
Also I had always had problems along the long straight where the track was laid onto flags as it was never really level enough which caused unexpected uncoupling.
These next three pictures are of the loop outside the shed, they show the poor condition of the thin concrete used as ballast. They also show how the track has lifted in some sections as its not held down.
After a lot of thought, I decided the track will stay and this week I have embarked on a Network Rail scale refurbishment program, that will see all the track lifted and relaid.
The first step was to screw 26' of timber onto the flagstones to level out the bumps, this also creates the new higher track level. By raising the level more concrete can go under it. The next picture shows the timber fitted and the long straight of track screwed to it. The start of the curve in the left of the picture is at the original height so the change can be seen.
My next session was to relay the turning loop nearest the house. The track was chipped up with a chisel which was quite easy. The concrete then tapped of. The Playmobil track is incredibly resilient ! Not a single piece is damaged.
The next step is to re-bed the track onto "postfix" which I find is fast setting and fine enough to work with. This time I have ensured a minimum of 1" under the track on the flag stones and about 2" on the other areas. I have also made the concrete section wider to keep the plants a bit further back. With the track being higher it is nearer to the level of the lawn. Hopefully not being in a cutting any more will stop garden debris blowing in and getting trapped.
The next picture shows the transition from the timber bed onto the postfix bed. Prior to putting the postfix down I partly put some screws into the side of the timber, this should help the postfix and timber stay together.
The only other section to be done so far, is the first half of the under trampoline bit. This meant crawling around to get to it, which wasn't ideal. The first picture is the newly laid track on the timber bed and the original track bed on the right.
Next up the track raised and a good 2" of concrete underneath it.
So that leaves about 1/3 of the track to be re-done, updates to follow.