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Worsley Dale Garden Railway


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After what has seemed like an eternity I'm now almost ready to begin construction of a new garden railway. The Selby Garden Railway is long gone although hopefully many of the lessons learned back then will leave me in a much healthier position this time around. Plans for a new garden railway have been on hold for the last four months during which time we have been settling into our new home and having necessary alterations carried out. There remains a lot to do inside the home but the onset of Spring and some unseasonably warm weather of late means I have taken the decision to make the best of the weather outdoors and use those horrid rainy days to catch up with work indoors.

As with my previous layout, a wooden garden shed will provide an indoor stabling cum station area although unlike the SGR it is anticipated that there will be far fewer roads required within it. At the present time I intend to make Worsley Dale operate along the lines of a preserved railway with less ambitious plans than before. Whereas the SGR comprised double track running this new layout will be primarily single tracked with perhaps the odd passing place out in the open, perhaps in conjunction with a remote station.

The old 8ft by 6ft garden shed which was so old it almost had listed status, has now been demolished and removed from the site in readiness for a new 12ft by 8ft building to take its place. Fortunately the old shed had been placed on a paving flag base which will just require extending along part of one side to make it ready for the erection of the new shed. All being well I'll grab a photo of the vacant ground tomorrow so that you can see what I have to work with, where the shed will be located, and how it fits in with the rest of the garden.

If you've been following my previous Worsley Dale thread in the Planning Section, you'll be aware that the garden has a significant slope towards the bottom end. I had thought about erecting a shed at the lowest point so that the indoor section would be at a more manageable height but I've now decided to erect the new shed in the same spot that the old shed occupied, meaning that the indoor section will again be at low level.

Was it only 2 years ago? perhaps just a little more, when during a very cold spell with snow on the ground, I was erecting a shed for the SGR. That was about midway into the construction of the old layout when I had 2 operational tracks already running. This time I'm starting from the shed/indoor section and working outwards around the garden. Not sure whether that'll make any difference but I'm sure we'll soon find out.

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doublecee said:

very keen to see what you come up with Mick, especially considering that your first GR was the one that convinced me that "outside was the new "in"."


Well here's hoping that my plans for a new garden railway meet with a favourable response once I've finally decided on exactly what I want to do. I must say that I'm starting to get very excited about the new build now and I've never had any regrets about venturing outdoors with OO gauge.

As promised, although slightly later than anticipated, here's a view of the area where the old shed was situated and where the new shed will be erected.


Don't worry, I haven't begun levelling the base yet but I thought the photo would give an idea of what I have to work with and illustrate how the new shed will compare to the one I have just dismantled. The paving slabs in the above photo measure 2ft square and so you can see by the group of twelve light-coloured slabs where the original 8ft x 6ft shed once stood. I just need another 4 slabs down the left side so that the entire paving slab base seen above will be sufficient for the new 12ft x 8ft shed.

What's also evident in the photo is how much space I will have at the rear of the new shed and around the existing plastic shed. I'm planning to run out through the rear of the new shed and around the plastic shed - more of that later.

Clearly my first task is to make a level base for the new shed using the available materials. Although not visible in the photo, the pathway to the right has already been cut to lay an electrical feed from the garage consumer unit so things are moving, if only slowly.

I have been told today that the new shed won;t be delivered for another 2 weeks :( but at least that'll give me ample time to prepare the base and clear an area for access to the new shed door which will be right atop the little rockery in the foreground.

The photo below shows the garden looking towards the shed area.


More just as soon as I've done something else!

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willo said:

Hey mick Is that a nice big garage I see up the right hand side, a nice big window in that would be perfect :lol:

Dave, don't get me going on that one. Yes it is a garage and it's bigger than the shed I have ordered and what's more, it's not used for parking the car in. It is however full of a load of junk at the moment. I agree, a nice big window in the side overlooking the garden would be ideal for the railway and if it wasn't for the path and the need to keep it free for access to the house then I would seriously consider utilising the garage. As tempting as it might be I don't feel I can even begin to allow my thoughts to divert in that direction........at least not at this moment in time.

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I'm trying not to get carried away by making plans that are too ambitious and which might never reach completion. I could use the garage as a home for the indoor section but that would result in a delay, additional work and inconvenience. The garage roof needs replacing and that's not yet top of my list of priorities. If the garage was used then it would need bridging sections to span the pathway in order for the track to reach the remainder of the garden. These would have to be either removable (not ideal) or at very low level (not ideal).

The width of the new shed is 8 feet. The width of the existing garage is only slightly more than that. Admittedly, in overall length the garage comes out a clear winner.

There is an area to the rear of the garage which would be sufficient for the new shed to stand on, being just over 8 feet in width and almost 30 feet in length. This can be seen below:


I had thought about standing the new shed on there to open up the main area of the garden since removal of the old shed has given a more spacious feel to the area.

It's nice outside today and so I'm going to have a sit out there and ponder all the possibilities. I do feel however, that I should keep to the original plan and avoid starting something that might never get near completion. Even using the new shed as planned, it's going to be a mammoth task and I really want something running this year!

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I'm not sure whether this can be classed as actual 'construction' but seeing as it's progress then I think it'll be okay to include it here.

I've got another 7 days to wait until my new shed is delivered but at least I've almost managed to level the area where the old shed was located. 19 of the 24 paving slabs required beneath the new shed have been bedded in place. 4 of the remaining 5 slabs are a bit trickier as the far end of the ground slopes away sharply meaning I'm going to need some extra foundation work. The final slab sits on top of where the electrics will enter the shed and this will need to be cut later.

I've done a lot of pondering over the track layout. I was initially thinking of just a large circular run around the perimeter of the lawned area but now I'm thinking I could also come across the center of the lawn, perhaps on a viaduct.

I've also realised just how many rocks I have available for use and they're going to be very useful for the scenics. I like seeing trains running in front of rock faces and I've got enough for quite a lengthy run.

There's rain forecast for this coming weekend but I should just about have the base finished by then - it's then just a matter of waiting until I can get the shed erected and am able to commence construction proper!

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I'm sure that any normal person would purchase building materials in bulk, have it all delivered to their door; hire a cement mixer and have the job done in no time. Me, I make several trips to the DIY store buying those handy bags of sand/gravel etc along with bags of cement, throw it all in the boot of the car, hump it all out again once I get home and then labouriously mix one bag at a time by hand (well, with a shovel - even I'm not that stupid) until several hours/days later it's finally job done.

Yesterday I hand mixed 6 bags, today 11 more. The good news is that I now have a completed base for the new shed to stand on but I had to go for a lie down afterwards!

The final row of paving slabs where the ground slopes away I decided to substitute for concrete, hence all that mixing. Likewise, the slab where the electrics will enter the shed has also been replaced by cast concrete leaving a space for the wiring. Everything's now covered up ready for the forecasted overnight rain.

Now where's that shed?

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Barring any problems, tonight should be my final 'shed-less' night and tomorrow the start of my new garden railway. I'm just about ready. I've spent the day clearing the area and preparing some lengths of timber saved from the old shed which I'm placing on top of the paved/concrete area to keep the new shed clear of direct contact with the ground. I've also had to move a large number of plants and bulbs which would otherwise prevent me from opening the new shed door, and clear away a mountain of soil to provide access. It's a good job that the weather has been so favourable and as it's forecast to continue dry for the foreseeable future I'm hoping it'll mean I can make some headway.

I can feel some photos coming on!

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Things haven't gone quite to plan. My shed duly arrived on time but as you've probably already determined, in order to save on the cost I had decided to erect it myself, having done the previous one in Selby without too much trouble. I've done as much as I can on my own, such as getting the base rested on timber bearers with pads of roofing felt to create a damp proof barrier between the timbers and the base itself, but now I need some assistance and everyone's (perhaps understandably) made themselves scarce. The sections are currently standing on the garden path and blocking access to the rear gate and have had to be left there overnight. I kept getting up just to have a quick check and make sure they were still there.

This is the shed base in situ with one roofing panel taking temporary residence on top.


It looks nothing surprising when laid on the ground but it looks a heck of a size when you see it standing on end. I thought they'd delivered the wrong one when it was lifted off the delivery lorry. I bet once it's finally ereceted I'll be wishing I'd ordered the next size up!

And here are the other sections all waiting patiently for some willing volunteer.


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Rossi said:

....Love the daffs trying to escape. Living over here, we forget about the signs of early spring...

Yes, poor things. You can sense them trembling and fearing the worst but let me assure you that no little daffs were harmed during the making of this shed! They are, however, going to need relocating very soon.

The photo below shows the almost completed shed. There's no rain forecast so the final touches to the roof can wait for now. There's a central void down the middle of the roof which I'm not happy about and so I'm looking for some timber to fill it before I get the felt out. Although the walls of the shed are extremely sturdy, I'm not quite so happy about the roof as it's only 12mm t&g. I'll sort it....


Now the major work is complete I really can get started on a model railway. Notice the windmill? That's the old decaying one from the other side of the garden after a spot of renovation and some paint on the sails. Looks much better.

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Mick, I wouldn't worry about the roof. It looks and sounds like the same construction as mine and I can walk aroudn on top of it no problem. The central cassam isn't an issue, once you've got your felt on it' be right.

Looking good :)

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