Chris's A-Z of a railway sleeper bed
Jerry, I bought some Russian bulkheads from yourself a couple of weeks back and have, as you suggested when I visited your yard, taken a few photo's of the raised bed construction process.
The first photo shows the area for the raised bed followed by a the 2nd photo of the gravel base which was compacted level for bedding of the sleepers.
The sleepers were stacked in a corner bond pattern and held together by screwing stakes (that had been knocked into the ground) to upper and lower sleepers depicted in photo three.


*SEE 6 PICTURES BELOW
This is how things looked before Chris got to work !

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In photo four, all four corners were drilled with an 8mm Auger bit which penetrated both sleepers.

Then a metal rod/bar of roughly the same size as the drill hole was hit home for added rigidity seen in photo five.

Finally the bed was filled with soil with the use of wheel barrow and scaffold planks, leading to a finished raised bed. Photo six
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The clearing, weeding and levelling of site took around 8 hours and the bed took about 2 hours to construct and fill. Moving sleepers advice:- I found these sleepers were ok to carry with a person at each end but it does mean someone walking backwards which can be dangerous as I found out when the front facing person trips, and in a dramatic 'tossing the caber' type move thrusts the sleeper into the other's midriff who then drops the sleeper down his ankle and has to rest for a day with a foot in the air. See Photo seven.The ankle was strapped for the following day and a new sleeper shifting method adopted. Two pieces of wood were put across a sturdy wheelbarrow and then the sleeper laid lengthways on the barrow with much of it between the two handles. The sleeper was positioned to give the right balance and then with a person each side with one hand on the sleeper and the other holding a handle the barrow could be lifted and pushed with ease and steering was a doddle. Hope this info proves to be of interest if only to laugh at my foot and call me a clown. cheers,
Chris G at Bradmore
Thankyou so much Chris. A brilliant set of photos, showing all the key stages, not to mention the gory details, of building an excellent raised railway sleeper bed. A real help to those planning to follow in your footsteps (apart from the accident). You've created a stylish and functional raised planting area in a minimum of time and fuss, that looks great, and will last decades.
Your injury is a timely reminder of how careful we need to be when moving 200 lb sleepers. Take special care of fingers, feet and back.

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