The design goal was to fit as much right-of-way as possible into the backyard of our ¾ acre property, while keeping the minimum radius curves as wide as possible. The useable portion of the backyard was 160’ wide by 80’ deep. Our design ultimately included a rough dog-bone shape with a passing track and the ability to change direction of travel. The diagram below shows the design chosen.
Major track and right-of-way characteristics:
Minimum radius curve is 25’
Maximum grade is less than 0.5%.
#6 Switch frogs
Four ground throw switch stands (two are motorized/remote control)
Two harp switch stands
One 3-track stub switch
The yard is relatively flat, thus keeping grades to a minimum was not difficult. Another goal was to excavate 12” below grade along the planned right-of-way and fill the trench with 1-1/2” crushed stone to provide a solid base for the track and for water run-off.
The track panels were laid on top of the 1-1/2" crushed stone and 3/4" crushed stone was used as fill between and along the ends of the cross ties.
An ample amount of ballast was especially important for drainage in the spring when the snow cover melts. However, the existence of the septic system’s fields occupying the southern end of the property created a minor issue and we had to limit the below-grade trench to 6” in a few areas. After a few winters’ experience, this limitation has proven not to be a problem.