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My old garden layout

1722 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  trainman
I was up at my parents house a few days ago and i was rummaging through some old pictures and found some pictures of the garden layout we had in my Gloucester home.

I was first built some 20 years ago when we first moved into that home. it always followed the same basic layout with a loop at either end of a long stretch of twin track. this made it look double track in the middle but it wasn't.

in its first incarnation we made the mistake of following the contours of the land. which was fine until i got a hornby tender drive mallard for Christmas one year and it wouldn't go up the hill!
This caused a major rebuild!

The top loop was inside the shed and this was moved from waist height to ankle height. inside the loop was a small terminus station.
this is what you can see in these next couple of pictures.

In this picture you can see the loop running through the tunnel at the top of the picture. the small black square in the far right is the other tunnel mouth.

for the first few years the top loop was in the shed (as above and the bottom loop was around a small raised garden and over a suspension bridge over a pond.
the stretch in between was raised up on some roofing timbers. despite the way it looks in this picture they worked very well except that i had to turn them over each year because of the sagging.

To start with the bottom loop was quite an elaborate affair with a station with 4 platforms. 2 on either side of the loop.
After a few years this was replaced with a much smaller raised garden and the railway gave way. after this the bottom loop was never quite big enough and i was forever rerailing stock on the tight bend.
Over the years i tried several variations. i built a station half way along the middle section that lasted a couple of years. i tried improving the bottom loop with a larger freestanding structure which lasted a summer.

When a compost heap was put halfway along the garden the top loop was moved out of the shed and circled the compost heap instead. this made it a much larger loop and it ran much better.

This is a picture of the first incarnation of the bottom loop and station.

Sadly i don't know of any other photographs that exist of the railway. i would particularly like a picture of the viaduct that my father made going over the fish pond.

The railway was taken up when i moved out of that house and left for university. i still have some of the track.

Generally the garden railway was fine. the only real problems we had were the sleepers going brittle after a few years out in the sun. near the end of the railways life the middle section was in a pretty poor state.

This railway kept me entertained and out of trouble throughout my summer holidays for nearly 10 years. i think there was only one year when it didn't get used and the last 3 or so summers it was very well used. i live in London now and there are times when i would love to be back out in that garden just watching the trains go buy. it was very peaceful, a quality i have come to appreciate more and more in life.
building the railway was also great fun. the times i spent on it with my father are among the happiest of my life. one year i got a toy tool kit for Christmas. after that i was always getting in the way!!

The railway existed mostly through the wilderness years of poor quality British rolling stock and i was converted to American stock by a good friend Rod Pickering. he provided reliable rolling stock that was happy on the sometimes less than reliable trackwork!

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It's much more like a real railway outdoors isn't it? Heavy locos with many wheels picking up are best for reliability. Traction tyres don't work well, and are useless if it is wet. You need to do some small scale civil engineering to devise a route with gradients and curves easy enough for the locos and stock. There is ongoing maintenance to structure and track to combat what nature throws at it, and winter 'works overhaul' becomes a necessity if the stock is well used. But it is so much fun operating through the seasons, and having to do things like attach extra power to make progress against a headwind. Had some trucks blown off the tracks once and only found them during the spring tidy up. They were fine once the rather rusty wheelsets had been replaced.

I would be back outside like a shot except that the wildlife seems too destructive in our present home. Why would squirrels want to chew up Peco sleepers?Woodpeckers doing what their name suggests, and a badger that accidentally undermined some fence posts I can live with as that is occasional stuff. Haven't given up all hope, I am going to try another lot of code 100 off the old layout outdoors, as the replacement indoor layout gets going. Part of the temptation is DCC. The constant and higher track voltage should assist reliability, and the ultra simple wiring and ready access to wireless walkaround control has huge appeal over the greater distances outside.
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Interesting pic's Peter - is that a Fleischmann "Black Anna" I see lurking ?
Sounds like you had a lot of good times with it Peter. Maybe once you are older and have more money you will be in a position to move to the country and have a garden to make another garden layout in.
QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 15 Jul 2008, 18:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Interesting pic's Peter - is that a Fleischmann "Black Anna" I see lurking ?

Yep it sure is. we had 2 of them.
Unfortunatly after having done countless miles around the garden layout they are a little the worse for wear. i am keeping an eye out for a replacement.
i also have a betty that could really do with a new body. or alternativly a replacement loco!

They are good engines but are just physically worn out. they have done sterling service for many many years.


I hope one day i can affors a place of my own. let alone a garden! i'm sure it will happen one day.

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 16 Jul 2008, 18:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Neil

I hope one day i can affors a place of my own. let alone a garden! i'm sure it will happen one day.

Living in London doesn't make it easy. I was never able to afford my own place in London. I always rented. It wasn't till I came here that I was in a position to buy a place.

Good luck mate

With respect, if you'd like to see a current garden layout, then go to the 'G Gauge' pages on and read what was achieved and where.
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