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clive_t

Resurrection of my Large Scale Garden Railway

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Not sure if the assembled aficionados would class such a thing as railway modelling - God knows I've doubted it myself down the years with all the soil, cement, breeze blocks I've shifted in the construction - but I do know @Sgt.Squarehead expressed an interest in seeing some pics of it in another thread. So this is the thread where I hope to show my progress in getting things back on track (see what I did there? :) )

 

Some background...

 

While I appreciate that endlessly plugging one's own You-Tube site, web site etc is not the done thing round here, the fact is that over the 15 years of its existence I have amassed an appreciable number of photos showing the development of the line, the buildings and of course the running stock. It follows, therefore, that rather than reproducing the whole photographic history here, I should simply direct your attention to the web-site I set up back in 2005:

 

https://scampington-chipside.co.uk/

 

Given that the last time I updated the site was 2011, it's likely that some features will not work very well - particularly on mobile/tablet devices - and quite a few of the 'useful links' are broken. It's another of those many 'to-do' items which at the moment is not anywhere near the top, pending the  introduction of a 48-hour day :).  Ironically, the way I've used the much vilified Photo Bucks to show the pics via slide shows means that they actually still work (at least they do on Win-10/Firefox).

 

The Y-T channel, albeit mostly covering visits to other people's lines, can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAttlLHn3pZsTFrQUt00rgQ

 

The line did fall into disuse from about 2012, due to various factors which I will not bore you with. However, back in the Summer of 2016 I found myself on an extended period of leave from work in order to care for my wife who was recovering from some major surgery. During the lulls in the caring activities, I decided to make a start on getting the line back to something approaching its former glory.

 

Pics of that will follow, if anyone is interested.

 

 

Edited by clive_t
changed link to https

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Clive,

Very impressive and some well taken pictures.

Thanks for sharing.

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Garden railways have always intrigued me, you have done some wonderful work there. One of my regrets is that to purchase my first motor transport I sold the 11ft x6 railway layout my dad had originally started for me. Never stopped being interested in trains though, I drive the Mrs mad when on holiday, not only do I drag her to museums and airfields but heritage railways as well😂 

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Thanks chaps, much appreciated. I guess the thing about garden railways is that not only is base board construction on a much larger scale (regardless of the actual scale of the models), but the need to maintain it is equally larger, and ongoing!

 

During the years from 2011 when I lost my mojo in a big way, Mother Nature really cracked on with reclaiming the land - aided, it must be said, by some poor planting choices on my part. However I will hopefully be able to show via this thread my progress in getting the line up and running which started back in 2016.

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I can see where your avatar came from now.

I not really that interested in trains, but like most small boys fully grown men, I'm fascinated buy train layouts – the world in miniature. Love it.

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Thanks Gorby :thumbsup2:

 

OK here goes with what happened next - apologies in advance for the somewhat lengthy thread...


By 2014 the ivy, which I had foolishly planted in the belief that it would enhance the natural setting for the line without overstepping its bounds, had all but completely engulfed the whole thing:

img%5D

 

In the Summer of 2015, there was another, somewhat half-hearted attempt at line clearance. As you can see, there was still the problem of the ivy over-running everything:

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Sadly, work got in the way, as it often has in the past, and so I had to abandon the resurrection plans once again.

Then, back in July 2016 I had to take some time out to look after my wife while she recovered from an operation. During that time I learned what a vacuum cleaner looked like, how to operate a washing machine too... I also found myself yet again returning to the garden to somehow try and tidy it up. The tipping point for me was spotting that the ivy had reached the decorative block walling separating my garden from my neighbour's, and was proceeding to grow through it! That was it for me - the ivy had to go:

28126803178_a880d709fe_b.jpg

Unfortunately this meant completely dismantling a Cotswold stone 'wall' as the ivy roots were pretty much intertwined with the stones.

It also meant that the Lonicera bushes, planted at the beginning of the line's development as tiny seedlings, had to come up too; their roots were all tangled up with the ivy. In truth they were getting too big and unwieldy, obscuring most of the line from normal view; another compelling reason to lose them:

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The rest of this side of the garden quickly followed suit:
 

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Next was a whole load of weeding, digging up clumps of grass etc. You will also notice black lumps scattered here and there - these are in fact strips cut from black plastic soil bags, an early and not-very-successful attempt at weed suppression. I imagine the weeds will have laughed long and heartily at that:

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I decided to keep the Hebe and the Lavender bush as they have proven to be comparatively slow-growing, and certainly not invasive. Plus, when cut back, they are very convincing G-scale trees.

 

The next step was to lay a more stable, weed-proof bed for the track to run on. I decided to use 'Celcon' blocks as these are light, and easily cut to required shape with a saw - preferably an old one of course!

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The excavated soil was used to back-fill the stones as the wall - more shallow this time - was rebuilt:

 

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41284433104_26da6f46af_b.jpg

 

Eventually I would fill the gaps between the blocks with mortar - but that was for a later time.

 

Thanks for looking!  :)

 

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I admire your perseverance Clive!   Interesting how nature intrudes whenever one looks the other way.

 

Have you made much progress past the above pictures?

 

Frank

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Hi Frank, thanks for your most kind comments. Yes, I've had my shoulder to the wheel on this for most of my spare time since the beginning of May, because of the exceptionally dry weather - very much to the detriment of my indoor modelling activity! I promise I will post an update soon :whistle:

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As promised, here's a brief photo story board of where I've got to with this area. Since about the end of April I have been mixing and applying large quantities of cement mortar to try and make a permanent, totally weed-proof track bed:

 

40191941500_80b0d8c10b_b.jpg

 

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I also amended the track plan slightly (using some spare track I found in the shed), allowing greater opportunity for shunting operations without obstructing the main through line:

 

42823207711_9f8a77152f_b.jpg

 

 

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Coming on well id say!! Great work, looking forward to seeing the progress :like:

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On 7/27/2018 at 7:07 PM, jonf45 said:

Coming on well id say!! Great work, looking forward to seeing the progress :like:

Thanks for the comments, much appreciated. More progress was made during July, on the other side of the garden (the line is basically a continuous loop that hugs the outer boundary of the garden, doubling back on itself and passing over/under itself in several places).

 

Before clearance:

 

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After clearance:

 

42478097704_903dd8af77_b.jpg

 

I then made a start on laying the new, bomb-proof track bed courtesy of some edging stones liberated from my neighbour's skip back in June:

 

42478093314_571d52e28c_b.jpg

 

All very slow, difficult work due to the heat and the very dry hard ground:

 

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With the track reinstated, it only remained for some rigorous "testing" to ensure all was well:

 

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Yep, looks ok!

 

Finally for now, here's a quick vid clip of part of the test:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUf-di0q4yQ

 

Another update soon!

 

Thanks for looking in :)

 

Edited by clive_t
Fixed video clip link

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Only just discovered this, must have missed the tag notification.....What a splendid project, will be following along now I've found you.  :coolio:

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The new trackbed looks very robust, and I love the videos, they're so relaxing! Do you use on-board power for the locos?

 

I've done various small scale things and admired a friend's garden railway, but never taking the plunge myself. At some point this summer I'll get the Lego train track out on the deck and see how that goes :)

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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On 7/31/2018 at 8:30 AM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Only just discovered this, must have missed the tag notification.....What a splendid project, will be following along now I've found you.  :coolio:

Welcome Sarge, glad to have you aboard! :)

7 hours ago, Will Vale said:

The new trackbed looks very robust, and I love the videos, they're so relaxing! Do you use on-board power for the locos?

 

I've done various small scale things and admired a friend's garden railway, but never taking the plunge myself. At some point this summer I'll get the Lego train track out on the deck and see how that goes :)

 

Cheers,

 

Will

Thanks Will, much appreciated. It's really a whole set of new disciplines, including civil engineering, horticulture etc but there are obvious parallels to the modelling of smaller scale stuff, particularly weathering of stock, customising figures etc. But even with all the trials and tribulations often presented by Ms Nature, it can be a lot of fun, and a big sense of achievement when things are running nicely - particularly on a warm Summer's day with a speed controller in one hand and a modest glass of something fizzy in the other :D

 

Until very recently the locos were almost exclusively powered from the track (apart from a few 'live steam' models). However, one of the big bugbears with getting things running was always getting the track clean, sorting out the many electrical continuity problems - sometimes requiring several hours of work. It's certainly a significant reason why the line fell into disuse all those years ago. So, anxious to avoid getting into that situation this time round, I decided to convert one of my locos to battery power - the result is the little Schoema diesel you can see in the previous video clip. No actual speed control in it at present, as I am feeling my way forward with this new 2.4GHz RC stuff, but I will get around to that in due course. It now works off 6 AA-sized NiCd batteries, and whilst it won't be smashing any speed records any time soon, it does allow for a near-prototypical sedate 'lumbering along' look, as seen in this first full circuit test performed back in June:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIyDuZivwRc

 

Please excuse the somewhat rubbish-strewn garden, there was loads going on with house renovations at the time :(

 

 

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Lower level track bed cemented in, and with the track back in place:

 

42565902915_c555dd5795_b.jpg

 

No chance of weeds getting in the way here now!

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On 13/05/2018 at 08:11, Head in the clouds. said:

not only do I drag her to museums and airfields but heritage railways as well😂 

 

That sounds like our holiday, only there's no dragging :)

 

On 13/05/2018 at 10:21, Gorby said:

I'm fascinated buy train layouts

 

A very dangerous typo! :frantic:

 

A mammoth operation Clive, and nice to see the Trains area getting some attention for a change.  Keep up the good work :yes:

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1 minute ago, Mike said:

A very dangerous typo! :frantic:

Ah yes, there's a typical Freudian slip.

Knowing how much these things cost, it should definitely have been 'by'. 

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Impressive work indeed. How do the tracks hold out on  hot day?

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Thanks @Mike @Gorby and @Darby.

 

The track is rigid, fairly thick gauge brass and the plastic is completely resilient against the sun. Extremes of temperature haven't been a problem thus far, as it's not fixed so can move about a small amount to cope with expansion and contraction. Added to which, the track sections are laid with nominal gaps between them so most of the expansion is taken up with that. I am in the process of ballasting some sections with a cement/grit mixture, I am monitoring it to see how it takes to being constantly heated and cooled before I commit to doing the rest of the line. That's going to be a major undertaking in itself!

 

Thanks for watching :)

 

 

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Thoroughly enjoyed catching this thread and looking forward to more and seeing the whole line back in action.

 

Liked the YouTube clip.  The birds got me wondering about whether, if we have scale size, scale colour, scale speed in rc models if we can get scale bird song 😁 as well.

 

 

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18 hours ago, JohnT said:

Thoroughly enjoyed catching this thread and looking forward to more and seeing the whole line back in action.

 

Liked the YouTube clip.  The birds got me wondering about whether, if we have scale size, scale colour, scale speed in rc models if we can get scale bird song 😁 as well.

 

 

Thanks for your kind comment, John. Interesting idea about 'scaling' of sound amplitudes and frequencies - I am not about to start modelling sparrows in 1:22.5 scale though!

 

Sod's Law it is, that there is always a small amount of cement left over when completing such an undertaking. Rather than just ditching it, I used it to add a sloping ramp on the recently rebuilt goods platform:

 

41661135060_82f8b44425_b.jpg

 

I recovered my DR (Deutsche Reichbahn) van from the other side of the garden, and gave it a clean up, and served eviction notices on about 40 snails and assorted arachnids which had taken up unauthorised residence over the previous 8 years or so. It now stands patiently at the end dock line:

 

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Then another small bit of work in this area in preparation for ballasting - I decided I needed a buffer to go in the end dock, but I couldn't afford the space needed for the standard LGB rail-type buffer track piece. So I cut a spare one down to the absolute bare basics:

 

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I then drilled a couple of holes in the track bed adjacent to the end dock, and the buffer slotted right in:

 

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It fitted the buffer height on the van perfectly:

 

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All ready for ballasting!

 

Thanks as ever for watching, and all your comments :)

 

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Superb stuff.....The natural weathering on that van's just great, you could spend hours with pigments trying to get that look!  ;)

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It just so fascinating . . .  I have seen vehicles and 'people' all combined in this large scale and it can look really a thing of beauty and wonder.

 

keep up the good work Clive, it will be worth it in the end . . ..

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22 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Superb stuff.....The natural weathering on that van's just great, you could spend hours with pigments trying to get that look!  ;)

Thanks Sarge, although to be fair this van has had its share of artificial weathering too - the replacement (different coloured) planks on the van body were one of my first attempts at customisation/weathering, closely followed by a wash of rust colour to the wheels and underframes. Still looking good, despite being outside all these years :)

21 hours ago, Mancunian airman said:

It just so fascinating . . .  I have seen vehicles and 'people' all combined in this large scale and it can look really a thing of beauty and wonder.

 

keep up the good work Clive, it will be worth it in the end . . ..

Thanks, it's proving a real challenge in this heat!

 

A bit more progress... I bit the bullet and prepared a small area for ballasting. I've actually avoided the goods area for the time being, as I have some other work to do in that area which I can't start yet. Instead, I turned my attention to the station bay platform; it is fairly stable now so it seemed a better place to start my ballasting activity. For this small section I figured a couple of screws to hold the track in place would suffice:

 

43589404811_bc69f5b444_b.jpg

 

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Then I mixed up some sieved potting grit with some cement (roughly 3:1) and brushed it in along that section of track. For the area around the buffer stop, I added some finely sieved very dry soil into the mix, and similarly brushed that in. The hope is that this small area will eventually (when at last we are blessed with some rain) take on a greener tinge than the rest of it. Only time will tell, of course. Here's how it looked when finally laid, anyway:

 

43589399161_63cc296d08_b.jpg

 

Thanks  for looking in! :thumbsup2:

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