Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is the track made of?
A:  The rails that Love on Rails installs are made from aluminum which is silver in color and does not rust. The ties are made from a thick, hardened, weather resistant plastic.  So there is no reason the track should not last for 50 years or more unless it is just plain worn down from so much use.  Even so, replacing worn rails here and there (from years of heavy use) is all that would be necessary.  The rail is referred to as “T” rail, and is shaped just like the prototype full-scale rail, and the ties have a wood grain finish with molded-in tie plates under the rails.  This is very realistic looking, especially if the simulated rust option is added.  Ballast uses a washed gravel that, like the track, is about 1/8 the scale of rock used on full-size railroads.  Bridges are made of treated 2×8 mostly, or 2×6 for shorter spans (6 feet or less) with 6”x6” supports where necessary (about every 8’).  These can be stained whatever color that you like, but we recommend black for a most prototypical look.

Q:  Once the track is built, then what?
A:  Well, for starters, you need some kind of propulsion vehicle.  This could be a handcar that is human-powered, or it could be a steam-, fuel-, or battery-powered locomotive of some sort.  Love on Rails can build a handcar for an extra cost ($2900), or you can purchase a new or used locomotive from a third party (these are often well more than $10,000).  Next, you can add unpowered rolling stock with or without the ability to carry passengers.  These can be pulled around by your propulsion vehicle, and are purchased from third-party sellers. See the Clinic page for a list of links to manufacturers.

Q:  How can I get an approximation of the cost for what I want to have built?
A: At least $7500, installed, for a basic circle, not including any equipment to ride on the rails.  But for more accuracy, you’ll need a free estimate, which is computed after laying out the track path, measuring the land slope, curve radius, number of bridge sections needed, and so on.  But you can see the description on the More Info page to put you in the ballpark. 

Q:  Why is the minimum radius 30 feet?
A:  Many rolling stock, handcars and locomotives will more easily derail in curves sharper than a 30-ft radius no matter how slow they go.  Also, more effort or power is needed to negotiate sharper curves. Love on Rails wants you to enjoy your railroad problem-free no matter what rolling equipment you end up with, so we strongly discourage a curve sharper than a 30-ft radius to avoid later headaches for you.  Be advised, however, that there are still some locomotives (particularly large steam engines) that need a larger radius than 30 feet. We will still build curves with radii less than 30ft if necessary, but will caution the customer prior to doing so.

Q:  What are the additional options that Love on Rails offers that I can purchase, in addition to the basic track?
A:  Lots!  Here is a list of the major ones:

  • Handcar
  • Trestle/Bridge(s)
  • Deck flush-mounted track
  • Driveway crossing
  • Yard or sidewalk crossing
  • Loading/unloading depot with cart
  • Pass-thru shed
  • Turnouts/switches
  • Railroad sign
  • Guardrails on any bridge/trestle track
  • Simulated rust to your whole railroad
  • Decrease tie spacing (more like the real thing)

Q: How long will it take?
A:  This is difficult to answer because there are so many variables. Size, number and length of trestles, options chosen, accessibility, and weather all play a big role in how long it takes. Generally, simple railroads take maybe 2 weeks, and larger or more complex routes can take a couple of months or more. We can give you a more specific time frame when we give you an on-site estimate and discuss which options you would like to add.