RT's garden railway

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by Arty, 1 August 2014.

  1. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    Having just carried out some refurbishment on my line outside, I thought I would start a thread.
    For a more complete story it made sense to start at the begining - 12yrs ago.

    My usable garden is approx 8x8mtrs, so it was a bit difficult to guess what my minimum radius could practically be, so it after playing about with Autocad, I produced a plan.
    The railway was always going to be a test track - ie a circuit around the perimeter, initially a single
    line for G1 using Peco track.


    After going out in the garden with my tape measure and my plan, I came to the conclusion it needed a more practical approach.
    so I chucked the plan away and played about with a big nail, a bit of string and some small sharpened stakes. Plotted out a route with what looked like the largest radius pushed as far as possible into the corners. Once it looked ok, I then set the levels of these stakes with a long piece of aluminium section and a spirit level.
    The garden slopes away from the house, and from "ground" level at the house end it falls about 300mm ( a foot) and suprisingly as I worked my way around the route and returned to the start, my levels looked pretty good.
    I decided that half of the trackbed from gound level to approx halfway around would be built from Celcon blocks, set in a cement bed. s the trackbed rose, it would be constructed with fence post stakes and tanalised timber.

    Carefully laid out !


    Stakes in the ground, short bits of fence posts inserted and longditudinal timbers fixed either side of the uprights. On the left you can see some block work.


    To be continued.....................................................

    40126, 3 LINK, Neil and 6 others like this.
  2. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    Having seen the end (if you see what I mean) it is absolutely fascinating to now see the beginning.

    Should be asleep, just watched "The World Is Not Enough" again.....

  3. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Blimey, it all looked a bit different then :)
    Great to see a 'retrospective' on the garden line, looking forward to seeing you catch up with the present time.
  4. queensquare

    queensquare Western Thunderer

    As someone who is just at the pegs in the ground stage of a garden line this is interesting and useful stuff. Looking forward to the next instalment.

  5. iploffy

    iploffy OC Blue Brigade

    Another garden line brilliant!!!!!!!!!!! looking forward to the next installment.
  6. lancer1027

    lancer1027 Western Thunderer

    Yeah , Garden railways rule:D:thumbs:
  7. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    A few more pics of the foundation work, you can see the spacing of the Metposts - about 3ft.


    On top of the longditudinal pairs of timbers between the fencepost stubs, I used treated exterior 3/4" ply, cut to follow my rough radius marking. The trackbed was wide enough to accommodate double G1 track, although I only laid a single line to start with.


    Here you can see the junction between the "raised" track and the ground level blockwork.

    I stepped the blockwork to line up with the approaching plywood trackbed.


    Rather than lay blocks across the grass in front of the house, I laid concrete gully sections, the idea was to fill the gully with stone chippings, laying the track loose on top. This then allowed me to cover the track with the metal covers to protect the track when not in use, great idea, but the concrete top edges clobbered the cylinders of the US narrow gauge locos I ran at the time.


    After the trackbed was complete, I built a circular deck in the rear LH corner, this was the "garden improvement" part of the deal :)


    It's worth noting in the background of the trackbed views, the rather large conifers, stupidly planted by me a few years before - bad idea, especially so close to the railway. Apart from the fact they sucked the garden dry of moisture and any goodness to grow much else.
  8. Phill Dyson

    Phill Dyson Western Thunderer

    Nice work Richard......are you sure the exterior ply is upto the job though?, a few here have had problems with it in the past.

    Phill :)
  9. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    Good point Phill, don't forget this was 12 yrs ago and the main reason I used the treated ply was that it was supplied as a favour from a friend in the timber business. If I was doing it now I would use Filcris.

    The effect over 12 yrs seems to be variable, I covered all the trackbed, both ply and celcon blocks with roofing felt, using a tar based paint as an adhesive, to protect and for a ballast substitute.

    I went out this afternoon and took a couple of photos of two board joints.


    The first one looks ok, the felt has become brittle and exposed the joint.


    The worst one I could find has suffered, but just at the edges of the join.
    The rest of the running surface seems ok under the felt, and I can still walk the line with no apparent movement anywhere.

    Simon, Phill Dyson and Steve Cook like this.
  10. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    I can't find any pics of actual tracklaying, although I 'm sure I had some ?
    Here's a few of US narrow gauge stock 1-20.3.


    Bachmann "Connie" with a few side tippers.


    You can see the concrete gully a bit too close to the cylinders and valve gear.


    Ugly diesel, Bachmann again.

  11. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    I though the next step was to make a more scenic route around the garden, along the front of the circular deck and amongst the plants (hoping for future growth )
    The plan was to make a trench - about 6" deep, lined with fabric membrane and filled with limestone chippings to track level and then drive 2" x 1" x 8-10" stakes, spaced for 2 per yd length of track.



    The timber for the stakes was Iroko, supplied by my "woody" friend. After pre-bending the track to line up the stakes, brass screws fixed the permanent way in place.



    All the track, including the first circuit was electrically bonded at each joint using tinned copper wire with a loop included to account for expansion. I was suprised how much the gaps did close up when the sun shone.

    I also found it interesting that when looking at the best way to feed the track, I did some experiments regarding voltage drop using just a single feed point.
    The motors in the G scale Bachmann 2-8-0 for example, would draw 350-400 mA with 12 tippers in tow. Monitoring the current and voltage, I couldn't notice anything worth the effort of multiple feeds, so it was always single fed and had no problems whatever I was running.
    The biggest chore was cleaning the track top before running, not an oxidiation problem, but bird guano, leaves, twigs and hedgehogs.


  12. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    No wonder that hedgehog's eyes are watering... :confused: :D ;)
    Arty likes this.
  13. marsa69

    marsa69 Western Thunderer

    Yours would too if you caught a cow catcher up the aris! :eek::'(
    Arty likes this.
  14. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    He ran away.....................

    Steve Cook likes this.
  15. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    Conifers are the devils work, look what they did to my trackbed.


    They had to go , and apart from their increasing height, the roots were more of an issue. There were 9 large conifers, all started as tiny little saplings, ended up 25ft tall. A friend with a chainsaw and quite a few days put paid to them, we could at last see the sun.




    Trying to grow anything in the shadow of them was a waste of time.

    Simon and Steve Cook like this.
  16. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    Tree roots are definitely interesting(!)

    My line goes quite close to a large horse chestnut, actually sited on a neighbour's land, and a few weeks ago I noticed one of my GW chequer blocks apparently "levitating". Inspection revealed a thundering great root muscling up from below, it was like something out of the BBC special effects department! Smaller roots have spread upwards into my embankment work too - nature is indeed a wonderful thing......

    In the meantime it's great to see history repeating itself on this thread!!

    Arty likes this.
  17. Phill Dyson

    Phill Dyson Western Thunderer

    I have 3 Leylandii :eek::eek::eek:.........horrible things!. But I keep them in check by cutting them to 6 feet every year & they have not created any problems so far.

    I also have a bush that I allowed to grow into a tree that drops leaves onto the line all year round (PITA):rolleyes:. I will probably remove it altogether this autumn

    Phill :)
    Arty likes this.
  18. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    Now the conifers had gone, and the second loop nearly complete, the gap was to be filled with a bridge.



    But no water to cross, a pond on its own seemed a bit boring, so I thought a stream would be nice :)
    I did a bit of landscaping to have a downward run for the water and did a few experiment - my wife thought I was mad ( and still does I suspect ) insisting it wouldnt work.




    With a pump in the "pond" and a mixture of flexible pipe and pvc waste pipe up to the source of the stream, it worked very well.
    The company I used to work for was located in a disused granite quarry, converted into an industrial estate.
    Unfortunately the original quarry sides would shed lumps of granite regularly, so I would fill my car boot with the result, just the job to decorate the raging torrent.

  19. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    After some more lanscaping, and a bridge, it all looked pretty good.



    Biggest pain in the neck was always cleaning the track, not particularly for electrical continuity, but just general "stuff" leaves, twigs, things that garden wildlife leave behind. So just before I lost interest in US narrow gauge I started to play about with R/C battery control.


    Ugly diesel, but plenty of room for NiMh power, sound unit, r/c reciever, speed controller and some switching to select rail pickup or r/c operation.

  20. Arty

    Arty Western Thunderer

    After ignoring the poor old railway for a year or two, I had a flash of enthusiasm with 16mm n/g.
    I'd been building some n/g stock for a small indoor layout, but as usual I found end to end running somewhat un-inspiring.
    After returning from a garden railway show earlier in the year with some boxes of SM32 track, the garden beckoned.
    The trackbed across the grass needed a bit of TLC, so out came the jackhammer.


    It didn't take toolong to prepare the ground.


    And in went some new foundations.


    I might add, it didn't quite happen that quickly :)