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Evening all,

I'm Chris from sunny (well, sometimes) south Devon and I'm currently in the middle of building my first garden railway for my little lad who is 4 this year.

A quick bit about me I suppose. My father and I built a 00 gauge layout in my bedroom when I was about 8, we then moved to the loft and expanded. We moved to Devon and again started a project in the loft this time switching to DCC.

Years have flown by! We were just getting to the scenery part of the loft then I moved out, got married and had a little dude with another on the way. My son is MAD on trains and with permission from the chief we have been given the green light to get a garden railway setup.

It will be a single line loop which doubles back on itself giving the impression of a double line most of the way around and my dad is building us a nice bridge to add to the interest. We are using inside the garage as our main station and "Thomas style diesel works".

I've done a lot of research and went with 18mm ply supported by lengths of batten, treated fence posts, paint, 15yr roofing felt etc. There seems to be a million ways to do it and a lot of opinions on the right way so I've just gone with what works for me.

The layout will be DCC operated with point motors, signals etc and hopefully controlled by something like the Z21 system so I can tweak train speeds from the comfort of my chair in the garden using my phone or tablet.

I'll be having a go at building the platforms from scratch and also a dabble at weathering buildings etc for the first time.

Anyway, enough waffle, lets have some pictures :-)

Hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying the nice weather when it appears.

Cheers

 

P.S - I decided to call it the pickle line as that's our nickname for our son

 

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Edited by SwannyUK
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Been a while, hope you are all well. The Z21 arrived today so we can finally run a few trains around at the same time. Impressed with the system so far and I've managed to set up t

Some running today

One just sat on the track and happily watched as it ran in to him, daft as a brush

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Hi Chris, welcome to the forum

You're right, there's many ways to build a layout outdoors and I think if you take a look through the layout threads on here you'll find most of us have chosen to do it our own particular way. Elevated layouts like the one you're constructing are, in my opinion, less susceptible to the effects of the UK climate than layouts built close to or at ground level. I would think that you'll be fine with 18mm ply, a coating of preservative and a covering of roofing felt.

I use the Z21 system outdoors having transferred the Prodigy Advance system to the attic layout and I'm slowly getting used to it now. It seemed awkward at first because I was more used to having dials and buttons rather than sliding my fingers up and down a screen and I still find a traditional handset preferable and easier to use but Z21 does have its advantages. The drawback I find is that it's not easy to see a screen display outdoors, especially in bright sunshine, which is where I tend to be when operating my layout so I tend to use the WLANMAUS wireless handset when away from the shed section. 

I've made it my mission to avoid using point motors outdoors wherever I can and operate my layout with just a single motorised point in the garden section. I'd like to add signals to the ground level section but I doubt it's something that could be left out permanently and I don't want to get round to having to put things out and pack things away later.

2 hours ago, SwannyUK said:

....I'm currently in the middle of building my first garden railway for my little lad....

I don't believe the 'chief' fell for that one for one minute! 

So apart from 'Thomas' what else are we likely to see on the Pickle Line in the near future? Do you still have the stock from your previous layout?

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Cheers Mick. That's a good point regarding seeing a screen in the sunshine, the wireless handset might be the way to go. It would also be easier for my little lad to control a train.

Luckily I read a few posts regarding points outside before starting. All points, signals etc will be in the garage with nothing outside. I wanted to keep it nice and simple outside with the more complicated stuff inside for some shunting fun when the weather isn't great.

We are very lucky with our garden as the layout will mainly be around the corner out the way (This is why planning permission was obtained relatively easily from my wife haha)

As for stock, I'll be borrowing some of the trains from Dad's loft railway to start with. The era moddled there is mainly steam (no particular period) with the likes of the Scotsman, 3F, Pannier and a few diesels in the mix with a class 25 and 44.

In time it will be anything goes really. Probably mainly diesels, I might be able to sneak a few in that I want 👍

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Edited by SwannyUK
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Hi Chris,

I like the look of your work so far, that's some good quality construction which will stand you in good stead.

I think your track plan is a great idea. How long will the loop be? and how long will it take for a train to reappear at the station from the garden?

cheers

chris

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I think it's a wise move to keep everything 'electronic' under cover of the garage. It's quite possible to have motorised points out in the open as you'll have seen on several other layout threads but I would always recommend keeping things as simple as possible. The less there is to go wrong or cause problems the better the experience will be, especially for the youngster. Get the layout up and running well first and then you can add things at a later date should you feel the need to do so. I've been running my current layout since 2012 or so and rather than adding to it, I try to take away as many complications and sources of potential problems as possible. It's a sense you only gain after a few years of experiencing the frustrations that garden layouts can deliver.

The loft layout looks nice. Does you Dad still use it regularly? Is it still a work in progress?

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5 hours ago, chris said:

Hi Chris,

I like the look of your work so far, that's some good quality construction which will stand you in good stead.

I think your track plan is a great idea. How long will the loop be? and how long will it take for a train to reappear at the station from the garden?

cheers

chris

Thanks, I've made sure no corners were cut so hopefully should stand up to the weather.

Not sure how long in total but I'd imagine a good 4-5 minute run.

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4 hours ago, mick said:

I think it's a wise move to keep everything 'electronic' under cover of the garage. It's quite possible to have motorised points out in the open as you'll have seen on several other layout threads but I would always recommend keeping things as simple as possible. The less there is to go wrong or cause problems the better the experience will be, especially for the youngster. Get the layout up and running well first and then you can add things at a later date should you feel the need to do so. I've been running my current layout since 2012 or so and rather than adding to it, I try to take away as many complications and sources of potential problems as possible. It's a sense you only gain after a few years of experiencing the frustrations that garden layouts can deliver.

The loft layout looks nice. Does you Dad still use it regularly? Is it still a work in progress?

Still a work in progress but gets used regularly especially now my little lad knows it's up there haha.

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I had a brief window of sunshine yesterday afternoon so got the felt on, just needs wrapping around and tidying up today then we can hopefully get some track down.

The next section will be moving from the slabs in to the garden and over the 1m bridge currently under construction

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Looking good Chris.

I was wondering about the bridge after your mention of it in your opening post, trying to figure out where it would be going, and never realised the line was to be extended further along into the garden. How much additional space have you been granted? I take it the line will loop back on itself out there after crossing over the bridge? 

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3 hours ago, mick said:

Looking good Chris.

I was wondering about the bridge after your mention of it in your opening post, trying to figure out where it would be going, and never realised the line was to be extended further along into the garden. How much additional space have you been granted? I take it the line will loop back on itself out there after crossing over the bridge? 

I'll have to do a short video to show the space but this might give you an idea. About another 3m to where the fence joins from the left (in the process of painting) then around to the bush where the loop will be. For anyone wondering what the mesh fencing is, we have 2 house cats who have the back garden to roam around. The system is really good as they can't get out and other cats can't get in 👍

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Edited by SwannyUK
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Posted (edited)

Track spacing - i've set widths to streamline in the garage as no two trains will pass on curves. Outside we will have a couple of curves that trains will pass on, I take it set track spacing is the safe bet here? In which case have folks been running streamline then moving out to set tracks for curves or left it all at set track spacing?

The two sections where we will have track running side by side through a bend won't be anything less than 3rd radius.

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Edited by SwannyUK
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1 hour ago, SwannyUK said:

Track spacing - i've set widths to streamline in the garage as no two trains will pass on curves. Outside we will have a couple of curves that trains will pass on, I take it set track spacing is the safe bet here? In which case have folks been running streamline then moving out to set tracks for curves or left it all at set track spacing?

The two sections where we will have track running side by side through a bend won't be anything less than 3rd radius.

It depends what the actual radii you are using are. If you are using setrack radius curves then best to use setrack track centres.

Also depends on rolling stock. 0-6-0s and 4 wheel wagons will probably pass at streamline centres even at setrack radii. The Hornby 800 / Azuma / IET set might be unlikely to pass another 800 set at Streamline spacing below 1200mm radius.

 

Edited by Clay Mills Junction
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I went with just a few mm wider than streamline in the end. My sweeping curves are actually a lot wider than 3rd radius than I first thought so should be fine.

More progress today and a few pics of the garden to give you an idea.

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Hi Chris

Nice to see someone else in the ‘construction’ stage. Looking forward to seeing you get a bit more done if the weather holds up for you.  Looking great so far.

Mike

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That's coming along nicely now Chris.

I laid the adjacent track round the curves using a couple of Mk3 coaches to ensure there was sufficient clearance. Just try it with two of the longest vehicles you are likely to use and I'm sure it will be okay.

Can you continue building forward from the point you've reached while the bridge is under construction?

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19 hours ago, scoobyra said:

Hi Chris

Nice to see someone else in the ‘construction’ stage. Looking forward to seeing you get a bit more done if the weather holds up for you.  Looking great so far.

Mike

Cheers Mike!

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1 hour ago, mick said:

That's coming along nicely now Chris.

I laid the adjacent track round the curves using a couple of Mk3 coaches to ensure there was sufficient clearance. Just try it with two of the longest vehicles you are likely to use and I'm sure it will be okay.

Can you continue building forward from the point you've reached while the bridge is under construction?

Thanks Mick. I actually popped out today and moved a few coaches around and all seems well. I'm now waiting on some post spikes to arrive so I can construct the next section which will attach to the bridge. With a bit of luck the bridge will be ready to trial fit in the next week or so.

 

During the on and off weather I've made more progress inside and laid about 80% of the track for the stations and depot.

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