ecmo47

Tie Spacing for Lego track

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Hi! I'm in the process of revamping my layout. One thing I wanted to change was to make the track bed look as realistic as possible. Namely, I wanted single spaced railroad ties instead of the Lego double spaced tie. Single spaced ties are easy to do on the straight sections but the curves present more of a challenge. I looked around the forum for design ideas and didn't see anything specific so set about to figure out the problem myself. Seeing some of the great layouts on here (Texas LUG, PennLUG) I knew it could be done which makes the battle a little easier. Here is what I came up with.

20623924154_6158309cb6_c.jpgDSC01329

by Scott Roys, on Flickr

21236113102_ef87d52af3_c.jpgDSC01331 by Scott Roys, on Flickr

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Here is the parts list for ONE section of curve track:

4x#4477: 1x10 DBG plate

4x#50304: 8x3 DBG Right Wedge plate

4x#41769: 4x2 DBG Right wedge plate

4x#41770: 4x2 DBG Left wedge plate

4x#3023: 1x2 DBG plate

4x#3024: 1x1 DBG plate

4x#3623: 1x3 DBG plate (these are optional but do add stability when attached to the inside curve)

8x#3070b: 1x1 Reddish Brown (or Black) tile

8x#2431: 1x4 Reddish Brown (or Black) tile

22x#3068: DBG 2x2 tile (this is approximate and you can use any color for 1/3 of the them)

Most of these parts a pretty cheap but the numbers add up quick. One section has about 62 pieces. A full 360 degree circle will have 992 parts! I would like to use Dark Brown but Lego does not produce the 1x1 tile in that color yet.

I might have to take the reddish brown pieces off for a better shot of construction from above.

Edited by ecmo47

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21059743739_cb22104daa_c.jpgDSC01330 by Scott Roys, on Flickr

21246615675_bf9de120b8_c.jpgDSC01328 by Scott Roys, on Flickr

As stated, straight track isn't hard to figure out. Here are the parts needed for ONE 16 stud length:

4x#3020: 2x4 DBG plate

8x#3023: 1x2 DBG plate

4x#3030: 4x10 DBG plate

3x#4282: 2x16 DBG plate (These are expensive! Any 2xXX plate will work but I found the 2x12's to be most economical)

8x#3070b: 1x1 Reddish Brown (or Black) tile

8x#2431: 1x4 Reddish Brown (or Black) tile

I build in 4 track sections. I stagger the 4x10's so that they overlap the track joints. The biggest plate available is 6x10 but they are, by stud, more expensive than 4x10's. As stated the 2x16's are expensive so, to do a 4 track length section, use twelve 2x12's and three 2x16's to cover the 64 stud length.

Next up, the switches and some ME track curves.

If anybody has a better (cheaper/less parts) option please post! Thanks.

Also a quick plug for Railbricks e-zine. Issue #1 had an article on ballasting options. Check it out!

Edited by ecmo47

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I looked around the forum for design ideas and didn't see anything specific so set about to figure out the problem myself. Seeing some of the great layouts on here (Texas LUG, PennLUG) I knew it could be done which makes the battle a little easier.

Loos like a pretty sweet job of ballasting those. Before you fight with the switches and ME models track you may want to check out this link with ballast instructions compiled by Michael Gale.

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As stated, straight track isn't hard to figure out. Here are the parts needed for ONE 16 stud length:

4x#3020: 2x4 DBG plate

8x#3023: 1x2 DBG plate

4x#3030: 4x10 DBG plate

3x#4282: 2x16 DBG plate (These are expensive! Any 2xXX plate will work but I found the 2x12's to be most economical)

8x#3070b: 1x1 Reddish Brown (or Black) tile

8x#2431: 1x4 Reddish Brown (or Black) tile

I build in 4 track sections. I stagger the 4x10's so that they overlap the trail joints. The biggest plate available is 6x10 but they are, by stud, more expensive than 4x10's. As stated the 2x16's are expensive so, to do a 4 track length section, use twelve 2x12's and three 2x16's to cover the 64 stud length.

Next up, the switches and some ME track curves.

If anybody has a better (cheaper/less parts) option please post! Thanks.

Also a quick plug for Railbricks e-zine. Issue #1 had an article on ballasting options. Check it out!

I almost exclusively use 2x8 and 2x4 plates to ballast my straight sections and provide the underside support. While using some larger or longer plates my prove slightly more economical, going to just two parts really simplifies my ordering and inventory management.

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Thanks for the links! That Micheal Gale link is exactly what I was looking for.

One a side note, I just noticed that my parts list didn't included one very important part - the track!

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Very nice, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) I have far far too much track to make this any kind of realistic option.

How much is far too much? If you buy in bulk on Bricklink it can be relatively cheap.

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As an aside, nice ballast technique for corners. I use the Brickish technique (see this PDF of Brick Issue magazine, issue 10) but it seems fairly weak for transporting, whereas yours looks sturdier; wonder if their corner ballasting technique uses fewer pieces than the above?

Alright! More resources! I did not know about the Brickish organization but maybe that's because I'm on the wrong side of the pond.

My curve design is fairly study, especially if you add the 1x3's on the inside of the curve which ties the 2x4 wedge to the end of the 1x10.

One thing is that my design is just the track bed and ties. Adding the ballast will up the part count dramatically! The Birckish design is probably a lot less pieces but looks like it may sacrificing durability and doesn't account for the ties.

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I have my whole layout done in ballast it is not cheap and takes a long time, I think i have about 100 bends and 170 straights done and about 10 switches.

In the end it looks really nice, but would only recommend if u are really keen to finish the job, I think i have more bricks on my track than i do all the building on my layout.

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...but would only recommend if u are really keen to finish the job, I think i have more bricks on my track than i do all the building on my layout.

Agree with this, I started and gave in for now, would rather build something more exciting!

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It is an all or nothing deal. Once you start, you cant really quit due to uneven road bed height.

Edited by ecmo47

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These all look great and I've always been taken by the 1 stud ties. If I were setting out to ballast track, I'd think seriously about getting a bunch of ME track and for straights just use 1x 8 plates in alternating colors on top of a layer of plates that was 10 wide. Or to be a real perfectionist, for the ties I'd use two 1x1 tiles, two 1x1 plates and one 1x4 tile. Of course the ME silver rails on top of the dark brown ties are very sharp too, a cheaper way of getting nicer looking rails, but not nearly as nice as the 1x ties.

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