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Beginning a first garden railway

5364 Views 50 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Christine Brooks
I hope this will be of interest to people. I have always wanted a garden railway and until recently haven't had the time, space or money. I thought it would be 0 gauge having had a quantity of Basset Lowke coarse scale stock in the past. I sold all this several years ago as it was deteriorating and I was unlikely to be able to make use of it.
A chance buy on ebay about 6 years ago was a Bachmann G gauge 4-6-0 in Durango and Silverton Bumblebee colour scheme. Another club member had some European outline G gauge items. We had a test track at the club for a while so I was able to run locos from time to time.

Being retired and haveing completed most of the projects in the garden I now had time to start. At the end of 2019 we had a sun room extension built and I asked the builders to dump the spoil where I wanted the railway. Last year I built a brick retaining wall using old reclaimed bricks, a lot found in the garden which came from an 18th Century house which stood on this site until about the 1930's. The wall is 2 feet high and the raised bed is approximately 27.5 feet by 13 feet which will be enough for a start. hopefully I will be able to extend further into the garden at a later date.
I spent the rest of the year filling it with soil and compost and left it over the winter to settle, I hope it has settled as much as it will by now.

The line will be US outline and also freelance UK narrow gauge. This is loosely based on the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. The US is mostly Denver and Rio Grande Western.


The picture shows the first track laid at the begining of June. I dug a foundation trench about 9 inches deep and filled this with building ballast ( sharp sand and stones mix) which was tamped down with a large block of wood. The track is a mix of Piko ( the point and 4 foot radius curved sections ) and Tenmille ( long length in fore ground ). I preformed teh 5 foot lenght of track and fastend it to treated tile batten which is embedded in the ballast. At present it is temporarily wired without sections just to test the track for reliable running.
More by accident than design I managed to get a small amount of superelevation on the curves whihc looks good. The station area in the background is laid in Thermalite blocks and the track will be screwed to them.

After a couple of weeks I found that some of the curved track had settled and caused a derailment of my Railcar in one direction only. On checking, I found the track changed from having a cant inwards to level or slightly outwards at on joint. This was enough to let the outside wheels lift over the outside rail due to centrifigal force. Repacking the track carefully cured to problem. AS Emily has a fixed wheelbase I can see that she will be a useful test vehicle. Being battery powered I aim to make a track cleaning van to be pulled behind to clean the track before a running session.

This pictue was taken last night and shows some of the planting now in place.
At the moment I am waiting for some more track from Tenmille and some adapter rail joiners before anymore track can be laid.

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lovely layout I always fancied a garden railway but as to the narrow gauge I content myself with OO9 so I very much like what you have, maybe when I do finally retire about 2525 I might get around to it.
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I do admit to being a bit jealous here, so I have a 1926 based OO9 railway and a 1962 based OO mainline railway but could I get away with a G scale or similar in the garden, looks a bit of a long shot really, but our garden is in 3 roughly equal sections the third back part houses the railway shed for the other two efforts, I have about 50 feet by say 15 feet which is I feel plenty enough but the daunting problem is the way everything grows here out of control as soon as you go and do anything else!
That said I enjoy the railway photos you have posted ........
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