Many thanks for the compliments posted. In answer to your questions:-
1) No, all the builds only stay out side for the running that session!
2) Living in the south east of England we do have snow sometimes, but not that often, probably on average every fifth winter!
3) The station building is Backmann's Sheffield Park Station on the Bluebell Railway in I guess LBSCR colours (not southern green). This style of building is the closest I could get (ready made off the shelf) to the old East Grinstead station, as the architectural design at both stations was similar, apart for the fact that E.G. was double fronted and S.P. only single.
4) The railway's name "Snow Hill" is where I live and does not have any reference to any true Station locality!
5) When it comes to my layout, I'm not a purest, I just want to get the feel of the stations I like! It's not an exact copy but taken as a starting point for my designs.
As to the size of the layout, I'll try to give a brief description.
Brief Layout Description
The layout consists of a double track secondary main line (I say "secondary" because there are a number of tight bends, 3~5ft radius! This was un-avoidable due to the area available, so the line needs to have speed limits at various point to look authentic!). The line is a continuous circuit flattened into an "L" shape which measures approximately 57 feet X 18 feet, with a total lap being around 160 feet. The shorter side of the "L" is at ground level, but the longer side falls away by about 2 feet. There are two Main Stations, one at ground level at the top of the garden and the other is elevated on a raised flower bed, the double track line passes through both stations twice on its circuit. The station at the top has a platform layout based on that of Lewes station in Sussex. There is also a single track branch from this station approximately 22 feet in length down to the garden pond. The other station already pictured in my previous posting the other day is based on the old two level station at East Grinstead, Sussex (The Bluebell Line!) of which the upper level closed in 1967!
The History of the Line
My first attempt at building a garden railway was in the late eights as a teenager. It was constructed from old timber floor boards acquired from a Scrap Yard on concrete piers. In those days the domestic planning restrictions were very tight and the line could only follow the edge of the existing flower beds and no plants were to be moved. As I couldn't complete a continuous circuit, the train could only shunt up and down. Then over time the boards started to warp, I soon lost interest and the line was abandoned.
The second attempted was started in 1992 and this time I was working, so had money to build a concrete track bed at ground level (on the site of the previous line, although the top loop was re-designed to smooth out the curves). Again planning restrictions hadn't changed much and the overall length of the line couldn't be agreed, but I carried on regardless and got about 120 feet of double track working. The line now passed over three concrete bridges, a 5 arch viaduct and than through a rockery behind the pond via two tunnels built from 6 inch soil pipes with a re-moveable timber track bed inside!
Then came the line's first major obstacle!!!! Beyond the rockery the ground dropped sharply by 500mm. To bridged this gap two 14 arch viaducts side by side were built to take both main lines across to complete the circuit at the bottom loop. Construction of the viaducts was from 1995 to 1996. I was now so far down the garden that I was running out of space for a closing loop, though an agreement still couldn't be found on how achieve this!. I had hopes to build a garden shed at this point to house this loop, but talks broke down completely!!! All planning permission was flatly refused! "NO LOOP AND NO SHED WAS TO BE BUILT!". Now with nowhere for the line to go, my only option was for two terminus stations out side, this wasn't an option for me as it meant installing many points etc. So tracks were never laid across the viaducts and the only use it saw was by our cat who used it as a sundeck! The whole line fell into neglect owing to a design fault of the top loop being too tight! Then it was decided that a new larger pond was to be installed on the site of the existing pond and rockery and therefore cutting across the line! Both tunnels, bridge and viaduct had to be demolished to make way for the new pond along with a now disused station and 30 feet of track bed. The line was abandoned again for bout four years until 2001 when I started closing the gap in the track bed each side of the pond. A new timber & steel viaduct decking was then built across the pond. Finally in 2002 permission was finally granted for the closing loop at the bottom of the garden to be built on a raised flower bed with a brick retaining wall. Construction started straight away by the end of the year the track bed and track work was complete. However trains still couldn't complete a full circuit as the ground level loop at the top of the garden needed to be re-designed and re-built! Then in 2003 there was a death in the family and it was looking likely that the property would now be sold! For the next nine years the property was empty, then finally in 2012 it was decided the it was going to be kept in the family. I moved back in that year and after doing a lot of work on the house, in 2013 I turned my attention to re-building the top loop to finally complete the layout. This time being my third attempt at this section of the line, I increased the size of radius. This meant crossing the main garden path twice, previously the line was not allowed to cross any path, I got around this by lowering the track bed slightly and raising the path so that two tunnels could pass underneath. This was quite a major civil engineer design as it would require the shorter tunnel being 1.7 metres in length and the longer at 2.7m. I have achieved this with a cut and cover method plus casting in two aluminium inspection covers so that no section of the tunnel is longer than two arm lengths for track cleaning etc. So far this has been a complete success and if there is a major fault practically all the tunnel roof can be removed!
2015 has seen the railway has take a back seat yet again as other projects have taken my time (including re-building a Garage). There are still lots to be done on the railway to complete to both station areas and the viaduct over the pond needs detailing added, BUT I'm hoping that a 40 ft. extension of the bottom loop will see the line enter the new Garage and therefore make it possible to stable my rolling stock in the dry without the trauma of having to pack the trains up at the end of each running session! But that's another story!!!!
I think I have said enough for one posting!!