I'm currently making my own trestles and bridges around my layout as the original Lionel FasTrack elevated trestles aren't cutting it for me in size and looks (I'm a little picky with things...) but I can't figure out a way to make the FasTrack system look good up in the air due to the gravel base plate it is on. I know, I can always buy different track but I would rather use what I already have. I'm thinking about taking the rails off the base plate for the sections the track is "up in the air" and making my own railroad ties so it actually will fit in with the bridge/trestles system I am making. Has anyone attempted this before? How should I go about securing the track to the ties so they don't fall in on themselves or derail my trains. I know I'll have to keep them spaced correctly. I just can't think of a way to secure them. Any help/pics/other ideas would be great!
You have a few of options. One is to make a cookie cutter sub-roadbed following the track run and build piers from wood.(see this build)
Another is to use a FasTrack to O tubular transition section and elevate a track like Atlas, Gargraves or even Lionel O.
While there were some areas the railroads actually used elevated roadbeds with ballast, they were usually short sections. Elevating FasTrack definitely loses a prototypical look.
I like those ideas, my issue is the trestles Im currently building are more of an older style wooden look to go along with my scenery. If I can get my phone to post pictures it would help, but basically they are much alike the original fastrack trestles, just made piece by piece of real wood. I was hoping to do more of a wooden, open ties below the track type of deal. I wonder if notching pieces of the wood and pressing the fastrack rails (since they are a "U" shape and hollow) would work? Maybe using some adhesive to make them stay put? And a template to keep check that the track is the right distance apart if any of this makes any sense.
I do like the idea of transitioning into a different type of track but I also want to stay with what I currently have just for the fact that I already have exactly how much I'll need.
Much to think of here, I may have to do some trial and error and post pics of (hopefully) a finished product. What I have is a 11x8 foot table which I will be running 6 trains off of simultaneously. 3 are on the ground with the exception of some girder bridges I made, 2 will be on a second level and the last will be on a third level higher up in the mountains. The majority of the back of the layout is mountains and tunnels. The 2 trains on the second level come out of the mountains onto said "bridges" I'm attempting to make, and the third is the same. I'm trying to obtain as much operating trains as possible while keeping scenery and such not crowded. Also requiring me to make custom trestles and bridges for all due to me being picky about everything lol. Hopefully that helps kind of explain my goal a little better until I can start posting some pics
I have spent a lot of time custom-cutting and fiddling around with Fastrack, and I would offer that the Fastrack rails are quite strong when removed from the plastic base. The plastic actually fills the rail (not continuously) and provides additional strength. I suppose you could devise an elaborate molding head type scheme to cut individual ties that would fit into the bottom of the Fastrack rails, but I am not sure how strong such tiny wooden detail would be.
I agree, my main concern would be fastening the rails. Standard Lionel-style rail has the flange at the bottom but Fastrack has only the tabs, which seem to be too short to use except through a thin plastic section.
The roadbed on Fastrack also holds the pins. I think you are looking at a logistics nightmare. You say you have the Fastrack, but you have to ruin it and still make ties. It is easy to transition to Gargraves either with a transition section or Gargraves' adapter pins.
Just thinking some more, in one section of my layout I have some elevated Fastrack that had a strength/length problem. I got around that by filling the base of the Fastrack with concrete-patching epoxy. Works perfectly. Strong and rigid beyond my wildest expectations.
Just thinking out loud, if you were a glutton for punishment, you could take a Fastrack section, remove the rails, fill the base solidly with epoxy, and then cut it along the existing ties. This would give you ties with ribs that fit into the bottom of the rails. Would of course need to paint the epoxy to look like wood, and trim of the ends.
Sounds dumb, but with a good setup on a small table saw it might not be bad at all.
Just my $.02 worth. NO refunds.
I wonder if I was to use the tabs through the wood as they are through the plastic, if it would work. The wood I was planning on using 1/4 and 1/2 sections and it would all be connected together as one, then the tracks will be installed. Thanks for the insight on how they rails are! I was honestly thinking they going to be flimsy
That idea actually may work well. I was really wanting to have an open tie system under the rails like real bridges would have but if all else fails I may go with that idea
Build the bents, run the stringers and transition to Gargraves 5 rail trestle track.
otherwise, create an elevated subway or elevated train steel looking structures.
Wanna stay inexpensive, use Lionel tubular.
FasTrack is not going to look the way you want it to look, not matter how much time you spend.
I'm not a fan of Fastrack, but I'd suggest finding or making your own transition pieces and using 0-27 or the higher tubular track profile for your bridges or elevated sections. Then you can add ties for the open look.
I think I'm going to go with the gargraves track for the elevated sections. I really do like the look of that. Many don't like the way fastrack looks but I found if you take some really watered down black paint, and kind of go along the bed of the track it gives it a much better look! Along with adding some ballast up the sides to the rails, doesn't look bad anymore! Although I would agree there are other tracks that look much better. If your using fastrack this is an alternative to switching everything out.
If you look at the elevated line in this thread, you will see what you can do with a cookie cutter roadbed, some homemade trestle supports and some type of material for steel girder sideplates. These guys have a CNC router, but you can make this look with home tools.
You could cut the roadbed off with a razor saw and groove the wood to except the track sections. Similar to what I did for this gantry crane track, only you need a thinner base.
I have used the MTH graduated piers designed for Fastrack and they look a lot better to me and work great on carpet, but installing them on curved track is a pain. It's very difficult to slide them in place since the tolerances are tight for straight pieces which they should be, but extremely tight going around a curve.
I dread adjusting them after I already fought with it getting them on each piece in their approximate location.