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So I think I've settled on a final track plan for my small garden. I deliberately chose to have a smaller garden, I had a big garden before and it was too much work alongside a full time job etc.

It is a compromise with a small garden when it comes to curve radius, so I've gone for 40" where I can and 36" where I can't (or metric equivalents). I'd like to have larger radius curves but I think it wouldn't work in this size garden, these are much greater radius than setrack though and enough that I could close couple coaches if I wanted.

I have gone for a single track as I like that and the passing loop through island station is quite West Highlandish. I'm on holiday this coming week half way up the Far North Line and we're going to have a trip over to Kyle of Lochalsh during the week too, so I might get different inspiration by then. I didn't want it to reflect any one line or area, just reflect a generic single line.

Starting at the top left, I thought that a station and siding on a removable board over the decking (which isn't that high). The triangle is a solution to turning locos and trains without taking them off. Most of my locos are set up with a coupling at one end and the other end having snow ploughs and vacuum pipes etc. fitted. I'm aware of what I need wiring wise to do this. The passing line would be left on more permanent board.
Going clockwise, I'll have to do some gardening to keep the bushes in check and at that lowish level I can get around the camillia and rose but I think I'll need some form of covering over the track to keep it clean and from new growth affecting it.

On the right I'll put my longish "Tomatin style" viaduct then around to the passing loop station. The Hornby station platform sections there are just to signify a platform, I'd make a custom platform to fit. The station platforms having to be long enough for my longest trains to stop. Past the station there would be a removable metal bridge over the path and then back up to the beginning.

That is my thoughts. Next posts will be on how I plan to achieve it.

Barry.

back garden stage 4.jpg

Edited by Clay Mills Junction
Passing loops changed to station platform
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I've split the project into four stages, each stage being a summer.
The first stage will be temporary boards along the bottom and right hand sides of the garden. This initial structure won't be intended to last forever or stay out all of the time. I Intend to build it out of reclaimed pallets and other timber I have spare with birch ply tops. The main point of it is to get something running and also to set the height for the permanent tracks to be built in Stage 2. When I get to stages 3 and 4 then the tracks from stage 1 will be removed and permanent structures for the final track plan will replace them.
I don't see that as a waste as I'm not going to be spending much on materials and it will help to start off Stage 2 and be easier to adjust the height if I get things wrong. The garden isn't sloped but it isn't billiard table flat and level either.

back garden stage 1.jpg

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All looks promising, Barry.  A couple of thoughts. 

The temporary can tend to become permanent, so you might want to make some allowance for that from the outset rather than committing to replace everything as part of the plan.

The sidings at your terminus don't look as long as the passing loop.  If there was scope to have the station parallel to the front edge of the decking you might have more length available.  If you could get the line to run behind that variegated green patch so that the curve starts from up against the boundary, there might be more length available for the main station.

As for the main station, does it need to be a terminus?   One of the characteristics of a garden railway is that operators (and your visitors) enjoy watching trains running round a continuous circuit, rather than doing detailed shunting which is better performed indoors.  Some people (i.e. me) start with a continuous circuit and find that gives so much of what they wanted that anything further is a bit of an afterthought...

Edited by Andrew
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10 hours ago, Andrew said:

All looks promising, Barry.  A couple of thoughts. 

The temporary can tend to become permanent, so you might want to make some allowance for that from the outset rather than committing to replace everything as part of the plan.

The sidings at your terminus don't look as long as the passing loop.  If there was scope to have the station parallel to the front edge of the decking you might have more length available.  If you could get the line to run behind that variegated green patch so that the curve starts from up against the boundary, there might be more length available for the main station.

As for the main station, does it need to be a terminus?   One of the characteristics of a garden railway is that operators (and your visitors) enjoy watching trains running round a continuous circuit, rather than doing detailed shunting which is better performed indoors.  Some people (i.e. me) start with a continuous circuit and find that gives so much of what they wanted that anything further is a bit of an afterthought...

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the feedback. I should point out that the area where the terminus is in the plan is a corner of the decking behind where the door opens and is a bit of a wasted area currently, it is also sheltered and in an area it wouldn't get kicked or be in the way. As much as I called it a Station, I was as much thinking of it as a storage / staging area but with something to make it not look like such. I've added a line to bypass the station to make a continuous circuit.

My current longest train is a Hornby blue grey HST set (2+4) at a total of 175cm long, it would just fit in the terminus as it is. More regular passenger stock would be LL Blue 37s with 3 Mk2s, a 47/7 with a couple of Mk3s & DBSO or 156/158 DMUs. Freight would be Class 20 or 37 hauling OTAs / OBAs/ VDAs of which I've only got small rakes.

The major downside of this plan is the lack of storage so that I can only really have maybe 3 trains out at any one time, but I can live with that.

Oh, and I'd hope to copy Mick's trick with the passing loop station points to make them automatic.

back garden stage 4.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

I should add plans for control.

It will be DCC controlled using a SPROG3 through my laptop running JMRI. I believe I can set up a throttle control on my phone and possibly a second on an old phone. So the Sprog3 and laptop could stay inside the door and just the phones and two wires need to come outdoors.

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I run with JMRI, but with a NCE PowerCab as the command station. Old phones as throttles and an old iPad as the signal box. I run it on it's own wifi network provided by a retired broadband router now living in the shed. No problems with signal range or interference from traffic on the home wifi. It all works well and friends can join the network with their phones and get driving. Handy in these COVID times when you don't want to be handing things around.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I roughly laid some blocks to work out the route up the side and the change in ground level.
I also got a load of turf from bee and queue as it was reduced that I am going to lay properly but want to get the blocks figured out first.
I also cut the base for the tunnel around the back of the camellia, chopped some of the lower bits of the camillia and confirmed there is more than enough space to get around the back of the main stem of the plant.

laying blocks.jpg

Edited by Clay Mills Junction
later update
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Which reminds me, I have taken on-board Andrew's suggestion about the temporary becoming permanent and started with the other side of the garden to my original plan. Also partly out of practicality of setting the height from the point above the decking. So the new 1st stage is going to be on the blocks up the side and then along in-front of the back fence.
The plywood base of the tunnel is cut so I can set the blocks in place. I'll wait until winter to build the tunnel properly and put a roof on it.
I'll set up a journal once I have actually broken ground rather than just laying things out.

back garden on blocks st1.jpg

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