While ‘between kits’ I have spent a fair amount of time browsing the live steam and garden railway threads. I came over all nostalgic and thought I would write an account of the ten years spent evolving my garden railway, now regrettably a distant memory. I must apologise for the quality of the photos, I didn’t own a digital camera, so all the photos have been scanned from my originals. My railway interest had always leant towards diesels, mostly hydraulics, but also the class 33/1. I had sold my previous 4mm scale layout in the 80’s to pay for photographic equipment, so had no model railway involvement for a few years. I moved house in 1990, and a couple of years later, met a chap at work who loathed diesels. Anyway, we got chatting about his recent visit to the Merstham steam show and I borrowed a couple of leaflets and resolved to attend the Kew narrow gauge steam event in November. In the mean time, I received Ian Pierce’s catalogue and fell for his radio controlled Beyer Peacock 0-6-0 Countess. My wife had agreed to me buying one of his cheaper models, but as this was the only live steam loco I was going to buy, the deal was done. While waiting for delivery, I built two of the original Welshpool coaches and some goods rolling stock, all of Brandbright origin. I really enjoyed building the wagons as they were made from wood, so ‘felt’ right. My loco was ready for collection in May, so we drove up to Church Stretton to pick it up. My first mistake was getting talked in to using 45mm gauge track by the chaps at GRS, as this was to have costly and time consuming consequences later on. My second was using a builder to lay the track bed from the plans I spent quite some time designing. The line was at or just above ground level, gradients were around 1-20, with some 4’ radius curves. The track bed was all shuttered concrete with the top 1” from mortar which made a very smooth and flat track base, and took rawlplugs easily. Unfortunately, the builder misinterpreted my drawings, and the layout ended up with several 2’ radius curves. All track was Peco G45 including their point work. I used scale size ballast held down with diluted PVA. Couldn't resist a quick play prior to track laying 2'radius revers curves on 1-20 gradient! Removable bridge, in reality it stayed put all the time. The Countess fired on butane, although I used a butane/propane mix during the winter for more stable firing. Piston valve cylinders and whistle were fitted and she ran at 20psi with radio control. Even with the steep gradients and tight radii she would pull every piece of stock I had, now also including a rake of Brandbright wooden 4 wheel coaches, finished in chocolate and cream. I happily ran my empire for a few years,, until around 1998ish I fell for the 2-6-2 Hunslet then running on the Welshpool line. The problem was that it could only negotiate curves down to 4’ radius, so I had to remove the pony trucks while I thought of a solution……a chance chat with Chris Tolhurst of TME sealed the solution, as I found myself ordering his VoR 2-6-2 coal fired loco with all the trimmings! this little baby needed 8’ radius curves on 45mm track.