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Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 27/10/15
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   Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 27/10/15
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Boulder Creek
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Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 27/10/15
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« on: May 28th, 2010, 8:52pm »
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G'day All,
 
This thread is about the miniature railway that I am building around my property in Tasmania - Australia. It's called the "Boulder Creek Tramway" and has been under construction for around 12 months or so.
The Boulder Creek Tramway is a 7 1/4" gauge railway featuring a steep and winding track which will pass over a couple of bridges and through a tunnel by the time it is complete. At this stage the trackwork is about half built. The total track length will be about 800 metres when complete.
The Boulder Creek Tramway website has lots of pictures of the construction of the track and locos and also has a couple of "tech" articles on how I build my points (turnouts) and also how I use an alternator to power the traction motor in my loco. There is also a trackplan page and a bit of information on the ideas behind the railway so have a look at the website at: www.smex.net.au/bouldercreek
I will keep you informed of how the construction is progressing and also of website updates on this thread.
Hope you find it of interest.
 
Regards,
Dave.


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« Last Edit: Oct 26th, 2015, 5:28pm by Boulder Creek » Logged

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BobbyT
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway
 
« Reply #1 on: May 29th, 2010, 1:08am »
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Dave,
 
That is some beautiful right of way you have there. Very nice. Thank you for sharing it with us. Please keep us up to date on your progress. I am guessing that 800 meters will be more than 2400 feet.


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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway
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« Reply #2 on: Jun 17th, 2010, 6:32pm »
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G’day All,
 
Once again, its update time for the Boulder Creek Tramway website. We’ve been pretty busy since the last update with the bottom end of the tunnel cutting being excavated along with the track being laid through the tunnel, the track down to the loco storage shed being ballasted, the pit excavated for the turntable in front of the storage shed, and the second shipping container for the storage shed being delivered.
The initial plan was to build some more points for this area but I have since decided that there is not enough space to run points into the 3 tracks in each container. The plan is now to build a turntable which will access the 6 storage shed tracks as well as some steaming bays off the other side. This might also end up being the most suitable location for a loading/unloading facility for visiting locos.
We have also been madly working away on the bridge crossing Boulder Creek which has been quite some time in the planning stage. With the bridge now in place, the track around the top loop has finally been completed allowing a continuous run from the bottom end of the tunnel up the 1 in 30 grade around the workshop, across the bridge and around the top reversing loop and then back down again. This is a run of almost 1/2 a kilometre.  
The spring loaded points through the station area passing loop on the top side of the tunnel and the points leading into the top reversing loop are working perfectly allowing trains to pass through the station without need for someone to operate the points and also allowing trains to run around the top loop without needing the points to be reset.
We have also completed another 8 track panels which will be laid in the coming week or so completing the track out the bottom end of the tunnel cutting.  
Unfortunately, all of this track building has used up all of the steel that I had for building the track. This included 160 six metre lengths of 32mm x 10mm flat bar for the rail and 80 lengths of 20mm x 5mm for the ties! That would have been enough to build the entire track for the original plan that I set out some years ago but like all these things, the track plan seems to keep growing!!!
Anyway, have a look at the updated pictures which can be found in the “Phase 3 – Tunnel and Bridge” gallery page and let me know what you think.
 
Regards,
Dave.
www.smex.net.au/bouldercreek


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« Last Edit: Jul 6th, 2011, 9:20pm by Boulder Creek » Logged

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Henry
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 18/6/10
 
« Reply #3 on: Jun 18th, 2010, 11:35am »
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Congrats, it all looks great!
 
Henry


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moose_the_caboose
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 18/6/10
 
« Reply #4 on: Jun 18th, 2010, 7:16pm »
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hi all,
 
dave:  ditto what henry said!   gonna have ta visit with you.  hoping to convince swmbo to take a trip down-under, after all, we've friends there don't cha know!
 
keep up the good work!
 
moose


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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 18/6/10
 
« Reply #5 on: Jun 21st, 2010, 6:15am »
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Thanks Guys,
 
No problem. You're welcome to visit if you ever make it downunder!
 
Dave.


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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 18/6/10
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 28th, 2010, 3:41am »
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G'day All,
 
Not much happening here on the Boulder Creek Tramway of late as I have run out of steel for the rails and money to buy more!
The lack of work on the track itself has given me a chance to get a bit done on my new loco though and it is almost finished. I spent the weekend stripping it down, painting, and reassembling it and it looks to have come up reasonably well although I think the yellow is a bit on the bright side. I'll put some more progress pictures up on the Boulder Creek website soon but here is a picture of it with most of the parts back in place.
The loco is a 1/3rd scale version of the original which was an Australian built 2 foot gauge loco used on the sugar cane railways in Queensland. It is powered buy a 13 hp electric start engine driving an alternator which in turn powers a large 24 volt traction motor which drives all three axles. I have given it a test run before painting it and it is very impressive. Hauling 15 - 20 people up the 1 in 30 grade here on my railway will be no problem at all. Keep an eye on the Boulder Creek website for more pictures.
 
Regards,
Dave.


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ErieAtlantic7597
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 18/6/10
 
« Reply #7 on: Oct 28th, 2010, 6:51am »
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   Hey Dave,
 
   Good to see the progress. Man, I sure know what it is to be a little busy. Yet still get things done on the RR. The locomotive sure looks husky in this latest pic. Please keep the updates comeing.
 
   Bruce (ErieAtlantic7597)


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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 18/6/10
 
« Reply #8 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 5:04pm »
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G’day All,
 
Once again the Boulder Creek Tramway website has been updated. Not much to report on as far as the track construction goes this time around as we have used up all of the steel that I had initially bought a few years back. This was enough to lay 480 meters of track which has completed the upper half of the railway. The formation work for the lower section has now commenced and enough steel to lay another 480 meters should be delivered by Christmas if I can manage to scrape the funds together! This should be enough to complete the track on my current intended track plan which has already been extended a little from the track plan shown on the website! This of course, is subject to change again at any stage!
 
With the lack of track work going on the past few months, I have had time to work on the Jenbach locos with the first of three now all but finished. There are some new pictures in the gallery of the loco while under various stages of construction and a few of it on the track as well. Trial runs have proved very successful and the loco was ready just in time for a days running at ELRSS for the Tassie Two Tracks weekend.
Most of the parts for the next two locos were made while I was making the parts for the first loco and with any luck they will be ready to go before too long. These will be sold on completion to help fund the construction of the railway.
 
There have also been a couple of minor updates and some new photos in the “about” page bringing things up to date somewhat.  
 
So check out the updates at: www.smex.net.au/bouldercreek
 
By the way, feel free to add the “Boulder Creek Tramway” to your club website links page.  
 
Regards,
Dave.
 
 
 


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pockets
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #9 on: Nov 24th, 2010, 8:27am »
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Dave,
Thanks for the update. I visited your site and thouroughly enjoyed it. One of my projects is a ride in critter, so I shamelessly downloaded many of the Jenbach construction photos. They solved a couple of headscratchers for me.
 
One question, though..... What springs are you using in your suspension?
 
Thanks,
Greg B.


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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #10 on: Nov 24th, 2010, 4:30pm »
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No problem Pockets,
 
The springs I have used are valve springs, from memory from a Ford V8 engine. I use valve springs because they are a good size and are easy to obtain.
 
Regards,
Dave.
 


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moose_the_caboose
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #11 on: Nov 24th, 2010, 7:51pm »
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hi all,
 
dave:  droolin' over the site!  keep it comin'!  have a great weekend.
 
moose
 
on Nov 24th, 2010, 4:30pm, Boulder Creek wrote:       (Click here for original message)
No problem Pockets,
 
The springs I have used are valve springs, from memory from a Ford V8 engine. I use valve springs because they are a good size and are easy to obtain.
 
Regards,
Dave.
 



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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #12 on: Nov 27th, 2010, 3:27am »
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I keep an eye on your website, hoping to learn from your articles. Today I was busy with the green paint prior to turning the first sod (well hitting it with a Dott) with a big circle balloon with a house in the middle. If you can spare a few moments could you give a few pointers on your tracklaying one rail at a time. How do you prevent heat distortion etc.
Pete


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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #13 on: Nov 28th, 2010, 6:10pm »
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hi all,
 
pete: sorry not to have answered before this, but it's the holidays here in the u.s.  while i will not presume to have all the answers about tracklaying, my friends at the bcrr allow me to keep my hands into it.  i am by no means an expert, but by helping those that continue to have some of the finest rails in the country, maybe i can get you started until the others are back on the board.
 
in our past conversations, we found that our friends in the southern hemisphere use bar stock for rails.  while the overall construction methods may differ, they are essentially the same.  so, borrowing some of bruce r's posts from the 'building a live steam railroad!' thread, i can show you some of the basics of a system that has served them long and well.
 
in the photo below, you see a slice of just about everything in a rail installment system.  look first in the foreground, the immediate right of way is trenched deep enough to allow the total rail system to be built out to something close to grade-level and still be slightly proud.  the second thing you should notice in the foreground is the plastic sheeting laying in the trench before anything else.  why?  wet sand is the enemy of sound(as in good shape) rail systems.  it holds moisture next to the ties (this leads to rot and eventual tie failure)  and fills in the air spaces between the ballast rocks. why is that air space needed?  well, it's not really the air space, but the ability of the ballast rock to move with vibration while allowing the sharp edges of the rock to catch and hold the rail system in a steady embrace.  the air space in the ballast rock also allows the water to run through and drain out.  which brings us to the problems of vibration and liquifaction.  if you have not barrier or if it fails, the sand will work its way up through the ballast rock.  just think, sand is lighter, rock is heavier, and water/vibration is a lubricant.  the failure of your right of way is inevitable.  wood ties are damaged by this wicking action.   proper and frequent maintenance keeps the right of way in tip-top shape.  in short, it will become your second hobby.
 

 
you specifically asked about laying individaul rails on the ground.  the photo above shows panels being installed.  by and large, the bcrr does individual rails, however, when re-using track from older installations or other railroads, they do use panels.  
 

 
here's another look at the process.  while the photos are older in terms of the development of the bcrr, they are very instructive.  in the photo above, you can see the installation of some aluminum rail.  personally, i've learned to love the sound of cast iron or cast steel wheels on iron rail, but you sometimes have to build with what's available.  to borrow pocket's word, every so often, certain materials become 'unobtaineum'.  however, installation process remains nearly the same for aluminum or steel rail.  just about all metals have 'memory', that is that they want to hold their original shape.  that is especially true of steel.  for your bar stock rails, you'll want to invest in or build a set of steel rollers.  by pre-bending your rails to a curvature close to what you need, you won't be wrestling with the 'green-eyed' monster.  
 

 
you also asked about the effects of heat on the expansion  of the rail.  it's hard for me to give you specifics due to all the variables, so i'm going to leave that question for others.  my suggestion is for you to take an average piece of bar stock that you are going to use a rail and measure the effects of your summer temps on it.  your december is your summer, so may be now might just do the trick.  create a guided pathway and lay your rail on it.  measure the total length of the piece when it is cold and again at mid-day.  do that for the hottest week(s) and by recording your findings, you'll come out with the expansion rate for that piece of steel.  to keep sun kinks at bay, you will need to create slip-joints in places that can best deal with the expansion.  this is an area best tackled by bruce r, george h and others on the board.  my other suggestion would be to contact others in australia that have a climate similar to yours....like dave!
 
hope this helps a little...
 
moose
 
on Nov 27th, 2010, 3:27am, fred_55 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I keep an eye on your website, hoping to learn from your articles. Today I was busy with the green paint prior to turning the first sod (well hitting it with a Dott) with a big circle balloon with a house in the middle. If you can spare a few moments could you give a few pointers on your tracklaying one rail at a time. How do you prevent heat distortion etc.
Pete



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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #14 on: Nov 29th, 2010, 5:37am »
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Once again, Moose, the help comes in bucketfulls! Only problem is you'll have to smuggle some ally rail in your luggage when you come over. Then I can use your methods Meanwhile Daves method of track suits the local materials so I was hoping he could expand more on his methods.
Love your "bum" car, just the right height for trackwork. Hope you moved the hatchet before you sat down
Pete


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ErieAtlantic7597
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #15 on: Nov 29th, 2010, 6:29am »
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   Hi Pete,
   
   As much as I don't want to be the local "curmudgeon" here, we have a very complete thread already quite established on track building. Unlike other live steam web sites that have all to many threads on the same topic, I think we should continue to keep ours here at railfan.net consolidated as we already have. It makes for finding information a lot easier. We also have been very lucky with this thread. We have had a prototype railroad ROW builder involved in the thread. Some really good info imparted by this poster.
 
   BTW, most of the rail used at the BCRR is not aluminum. just happened that the pics that George posted has a small area where we did have it on hand so we used it. But all the rest of the RR is in, as we call it here in the US, is west coast profile, steel rail. Oh, the little flat car was in use yesterday. That is one of a few Florida live steam heritage cars. Built around 1969 or so. Was owned by an oriignal Fl. live steamer Stan Parker. It is now owned by Mike K. of San Fran. and kept at the BCRR.
 
   Thanks ahead of time for your cooporation.
 
   Bruce


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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #16 on: Nov 30th, 2010, 8:11pm »
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G'day Pete,
 
I have added some info to the track laying thread (here) which shows a bit about my track laying method.
I do things a little differently that the way Moose has described above but of course everyone has a different approach.
I prepare the formation first and get all the levels correct and then lay the single rail panel on the ground. Several single rail panels are bolted together and positioned or aligned in place which is easy to do while the panel has only one rail welded in place. Once the correct alignment is formed the second rail is clamped and welded in place using my track gauge clamps which are described and shown in the above link. Once the second rail is in place the track can not be moved or bent around to move the alignment so it is important to get it in the correct position before welding.
Once welded, the track is packed up off the ground a bit to allow for some ballast underneath as well as being levelled and having the correct "cant" (the angle the track lays over in a curve) set. The track is then ballasted and I have found that it tends to run in under the sleepers quite well.  
Because my railway is almost all curves I have found that expansion joints are not really needed. During the hotter days the curves just push out a little (up to about 1/2 an inch) and then pull back as the temperature cools off. This has the added bonus of working the ballast in under the sleepers very well which saves me having to do it!!!
If you have long sections of track without any curves you will need expansion joints as straight track tends to lift when it expands rather than push out like a curve.  
My minimum radius is 14 metres and it is quite easy to bend the panels into place with only one rail so I don't bother rolling the rails at all. If you’re minimum radius is much tighter than this it would be worthwhile rolling the rail before welding onto the ties. I have never found heat distortion to be an issue when welding the track and even if it did distort a little, I think the weight of the track would settle it into place anyway.
I Hope that has been of some help and if you haven’t already had a look at the points construction article on my website, it would be well worth a read.
 
Regards,
Dave.


« Last Edit: Nov 30th, 2010, 8:12pm by Boulder Creek » Logged

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fred_55
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #17 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 6:32am »
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Thanks for the link and help Dave

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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #18 on: Feb 16th, 2011, 12:12am »
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G'day All,  
 
After taking delivery of another load of steel for the track, construction work has been progressing well. We are certianly getting the hang of building the panels now and between 4 of us, can usually manage to build 16 panels in a day. The past 2 track building days have seen another 32 six metre track panels built and are stacked up ready to be laid. I have also started on 5 new sets of points and the earthworks for the next section is almost complete.  
Until now, we have been running one lap forwards, up around the top reversing loop and then back down again before having to reverse the full track again which is becoming a bit frustrating considering that at this is a distance of just over 500 metres now.  
With the next section to be laid adding another 200 metres or so it was decided that a reversing wye was needed to avoid having to reverse the entire track every second lap.  
The next section to be laid is from the first curve on the lower end of the tunnel (left hand side on the track plan) through the the next passing loop where the reversing wye will be located. There are no new photos on the website yet but the track plan has been updated to show the new yard/passing loop/reversing wye and the extended track down to the bottom reversing loop. This will most likely be the final track plan for the foreseeable future and will end up being a total run of approximately 1350 metres.  
The new section should be complete before the end of next month all going to plan and then work will commence on the final section which includes a curved trestle bridge of about 20 metres in length.  
I have also started thinking about signalling for the railway and am considering some sort of wireless system so I don't have to run cabling everywhere! Any suggestions on a simple system that can handle bi-directional running appreciated.
 
Regards,  
Dave.  


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Boulder Creek
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Re: Boulder Creek Tramway - Updated 24/11/10
 
« Reply #19 on: Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:47am »
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G'day guys,
 
We had another day on the track yesterday and managed to get a further 90 metres laid. I have put together a high speed movie and posted it in the "Phase 2 gallery" on the Boulder Creek website of us building the panels in the workshop and also doing some track laying. Ignore the silly music, it seemed fitting to the high speed movie! Have a look at it at here: http://www.smex.net.au/bouldercreek/BldrCrk-Video_HiSpeedTrackBuild.php
 
Regards,  
Dave.  
 


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