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New railway

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Joined this forum what I thought was a couple of years ago, and when I checked my email yesterday I couldn't believe it was actually 5 years ago. 

Have been having a look for ideas etc and have managed to convert a hidden corner of the garden into an outdoor layout. 

There were various challenges along the way, the land ran at a gradient so some deep digging was required at one section and then elevated supports at the other, so all in all its taken about 2 years to build. 


It's still a work in progress, I have work to do to try and raise the ground to make it look less high, all garden cuttings etc have been put in last few years, and it's still ongoing. I'm planning to build a rockery and plant flowers to bring it just below track level, and had a first attempt at soldering the track yesterday but a bit to learn on that front still. 

My father in law helped with the cement work, and he also blowtorched the roof felt on to give it a great finish. 

First trains ran July 2019, after a good track clean it's running again no problem so far. 

It's still a work in progress with a few imperfections so I'll try upload some pics below. 



























































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I think you've done extremely well to build all that in 2 years - it looks like you've had some real work on your hands!

I think everyone on here will vouch for the fact that a garden railway takes several years to get anywhere near completion - in fact I'm not sure any ever reach that stage. Mine is in an operable state but there's still lots of work to do on it and I've been at this one on and off for 9 years now.

I'm particularly drawn to your Caledonian Sleeper as it's also a favourite of mine. I've been trying to build up rakes to cover different periods but the Mk3 sleepers attract silly prices on the pre-owned market and as attractive as they are they certainly aren't worth the kind of prices people seem willing to pay to get their hands on them.

I assume from the photos that the layout is entirely in the open with no under-cover storage? Is that something you're happy with or do you have plans for extending into an outbuilding at some point?

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I'm still considering what to do at the moment whether to extend it or not. 

At the moment it's a bit of a pain taking the trains in and out but needs must at the minute. I'd be scared to leave them in a shed with the value of them aswell but I'm trying to find a way to store them quickly indoors where they can be taken out soon. 

The Caledonian sleepers are ridiculously expensive I've noticed, I gradually bought them all up over time, the majority of them were bargains in comparison to going rate now. My dad models military stuff to a very good standard so weathered them all for me too. I find the coaches a bit light, they were a nightmare with points on a small indoor track I had set up.  The camera on my phone is a bit damaged so the pics of the trains look a bit blurry, videos seem to work better. 

Regards expansion, the picture below shows we've got plenty of space to extend, but I was reluctant to do anything that would spoil the back garden incase it turned into a disaster. Need to not upset the wife too much. 

Thanks for the reply, hopefully get more stuff uploaded over coming weeks of lockdown, not so easy with a 3 month old and a 2 year old, but I'll tinker with it whenever I can. 



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That's a wonderful space you've got in the garden and I can understand your desire not to spoil it, especially with a young family who will make full use of it in their early years. If it were mine I'd be seeing tunnels and viaducts already....!

If you've got storage boxes or trays for your stock, rather than having to put them back into their own individual boxes all the time, then I suppose that makes it easier to get them out in the first place. I try to keep mine in storage boxes as I really detest opening the single boxes - the only problem being that you double the amount of storage required unless you dispose of the original ones.

I find many of the wagons and coaches are too light and all of them benefit from a little additional weight. It gives much better running qualities but it's not always easy to find a suitable space to add the weight.

Looking forward to further updates.

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That's a really impressive layout, Stephen.  Thanks for posting all those photos.  I hope you feel that the superb sight of full length trains running around makes all the effort worthwhile.  It looks as though you've built the layout without any points so far, and that will make setting up and looking after it much easier.  Still, you may eventually want to take the plunge, just in terms of operational interest.

As for storing rolling stock accessibly, I'm often surprised that many people keep things in their individual boxes - which as Mick says makes setting up and putting away much harder.  I find large boxes and bubblewrap are a good way of keeping matching sets together.

Anyway, keep up the good work, and enjoy giving your trains the sunshine, fresh air and long runs that they deserve!

Furthermore, this obviously isn't a "layout in the planning stage" any more, so Mick may be able to graduate the thread to the Members Garden Railways section...

Edited by Andrew
second afterthought
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You may want to reconsider using bubblewrap for protecting stock - some of the constituent chemicals can affect paint finishes.

I have the same problem with having to take stock outside each time i run, but its made easier using storage boxes from Jon Burman - JB's Modelworld. He also supplies some other regular stallholders at shows.


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Thanks for the replies, the above storage looks great and is something I'll definitely look into over next few weeks. 

I decided against putting points on the the layout , still a relative novice at it and it was my first time using flexi track, so felt I had enough on my plate without adding points. Theres still a few wee parts of track that cause the odd problem with certain coaches and locos but hopefully I'll get them sorted over time. 

As I want my kids and nephew to be able to enjoy it I'm using hornby select controllers too, I find they offer enough dcc control without being overly complicated, so trying to keep things relatively simple for the moment. 

We had a metal gazebo in the garden that took a hammering from the Scottish weather, so when cutting it up I managed to salvage some curved metal parts with which I'm planning on making a Tyne style bridge aswell, we'll see how that ends up. 

Finally, a wee pic from today, Percy got an outing for my daughter! IMG_20200412_163010.thumb.jpg.6a0aa8483e32ee9a5c5a90558b02a185.jpg


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  • 4 months later...

Here's a few more updated pics, I've been trying to work away over lockdown on the landscaping, 30 bags of soil went in to the main section to bring it up to a higher level, I had a garden gazebo that had been wrecked by high winds so I cut the patterned  curves from it and painted them with hammerite to make the bridges. They probably aren't perfect scale wise but I think they look quite good. Been plodding away all summer when I get a moment,  planted a few plants in the rockery so it's getting there.. 





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  • 2 months later...
4 hours ago, traingeekboy said:

Sure could use an update. This looks amazing. I need more photos! 

To be honest, the last two months in Britain have been really wet and windy.

And now the nights have drawn in its getting too dark to be working outside past about 4:30. We may have wonderfully late summer evenings but we have to pay that back in winter unfortunately. 

Edited by Clay Mills Junction
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Here's a few more pics, mostly screenshots from videos. My camera on phone isn't the best, has dirt stuck in it so not as clear as it could be. They are from various stages over the summer and autumn. 

Went out the other day to find the local deer have been eating my plants... 









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  • 4 months later...

I've been busy of late trying to get this project finished.

Been getting an extension built on the house so I managed to recycle a lot of the rock that was dug up and use it to make the track look less suspended. 


Furthermore I've managed to convert the area next to the railway into a wee play area for the kids,  and hopefully weather permitting can get track cleaned and trains running in next few weeks.


Here's a few pics of how it's looking.  Next job to clear out the greenhouse! 







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  • 2 weeks later...
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