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shaung75

Leasingham Poacher

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Hello all

After lurking around for a while I thought I'd hop on and introduce myself. I'm Shaun, a web developer based near Sleaford who loaths train journeys but is fascinated by trains and model railways and has been since a kid. When I lived with my mum I fancied the idea of a garden railway as the 6x4 board up in the loft didn't really do it, but I had neither the money or the permission to do it.

Here I am at 32 with our own house, a little boy obsessed with "CHOO COO!", sorry, Thomas (he's not quite 2 yet), and a garden big enough to have a decent run. I decided to buy him Hornby's "Percy and the Mail Van" starter set to gauge his reaction and he loves it - he could sit there for ages watching him go round his little loop.

I turned to the wife and said as a bit of a joke how great it would be to set up a garden railway and have it go round the whole thing. "That's a good idea". You're joking right? I wasn't expecting that! So since then I've been in the planning stage...

Gauge - was always going to be OO. Never really liked the look of the bigger stuff and I like the idea of seeing a diesel trundling around with a massive rake.

Track - Open to suggestions, but from research it sounds like Peco SL100 would be a good choice?

Power - DCC. I've never used DCC before and although all I'm planning is basically two continuous loops which doesn't call for the additional functionality, I imaging voltage drop would be an issue giving poor performance at slow speeds. The thought of a constant voltage appeals to me. Plus it's the way the hobby is going anyway so why not follow suit?

Control - Open to suggestions on this one too. Having a look around I like the sound of Hornby Railmaster with eLink, I've seen that you can connect up a phone or tablet which'll give me a remote control wherever I am in the garden. The shed where the laptop will be has an ethernet connection and I've set up a wireless access point for the garden (did I mention I'm a bit of a geek too) so I'm not worried about the phone and laptop losing connection.

Layout - As I mentioned above I'm planning on just having a loop of double track going in and out of the shed where there'll be a fiddle yard, so nothing complicated. Where the straight diagonal is near the path/bins there'll be a station (hopefully long enough for 6/7 coaches) with a few buildings lit by solar LED's. I may in the future loop the track around more flush with the path for a quarry area - I can't describe how much limestone is underneath our lawn so it'll fit right in!

Construction - The baseboard will be mounted on posts quite low to the ground. This is something that I am worried about due to the rot/dirt, but it has been decided for two reasons; 1, the boss (wife) wan't it low enough that it won't hinder access to the veg patch or chickens, 2, I just prefer the look of garden railways that I have seen which are closer to the ground. The garden has a gentle slope to it so the track will be pretty much level near the patio (so about 4" off ground level), and will be at a guess 12"-18" by the time it enters the shed. That I don't have an issue with as I wanted it low in there anyway due to wanting a workbench as well. The baseboards were originally planned to be decking planks due to initially thinking they would be cheaper, but it ended up working out to be the same as 18mm ply (2400x1200) if I were to divide it up into straight pieces, but without being limited to just straights.

Just need to make sure these are the plans I want to stick to, then construction starts during next weeks week off.

It's quite sad how much I'm looking forward to having a project that doesn't involve the internet... :D

Thanks for reading

Shaun

plan.jpg

 

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Congratulations on your planning permission. Being near to the ground or higher up makes little difference to access, you can always have opening bridges. Once junior starts kicking balls around it might be better higher up. Also if you plan not to move then as you get older, higher up is definitely easier

If you can afford it, plastic decking Planks are better than any wood. Both ply and decking will need maintenance and both are liable to twist if you are just two tracks wide. There are other types of plasic board used. I have read of people using drainpipes ( as on the outside of your house) as supports. Easy to cut and easy to get.

As you are doing this for you and junior then code 100 is the most likely to keep the trains on the track, also if you visit a few model railway shows you can pick up second hand stock cheaply and not worry if it will run on your track.

There is Sleaford model railway club which meets at Osbournby they are on the net and I see they have a show on 25th June.

A good model railway show which i like to visit is Spalding but that's not till 12/13 November this year

I used to go to Sleaford regularly, as I used to do work at Coningsby three or four times a year, these days I just whistle past on the bypass on the way to Scotland. ( from deepest Norfolk)

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Welcome Shaun

I am just about to embark on construction of my 2nd garden railway and am doing much the same as yourself - posts and boards, fairly low to the ground. I am using recycled plastics - which should easily outlive me, with little maintenance required. Not the cheapest option, but as Duncan has proved with his Minnfordd Railway, a good one. I recently managed to get some very cheap Eco-board from Norfolk (off EBay) and posts from Cheshire (also advertised on EBay). Look forward to seeing how you get on.

Iain

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Thanks for the replies. I must admit I have looked into recycled plastics and I particularly liked the Flicris system, the downside is that I just don't have the cash to do it unfortunately - I'd need about 10 of their ladder kits which at £40 a go prices me out.

I hadn't thought about downpipes though as a viable alternative though, thanks for the suggestion. How would you attach the board to them though? Would you put runners between the posts and attach the board to those?

Cheers

Shaun

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Hi Shaun,

Nice to see a new face on the forum and another layout to make me envious of garden space. Not sure about all the track cleaning though.

Good time to start as well with spring around the corner for you people over there (hopefully).

My last venture with foundations took me to concrete blocks and plastic type decking which I came across in one of our garden centres.

Touch wood!!!! Doing ok up to now. I know the temptation is there when you come across a decent piece of laminated ply but the elements will soon sort that out ,although I still have pieces down in the tunnels and one piece on the viaduct (which I know will need maintenance shortly).

PIC_2068.JPG.8eec8c3fd4d3c942b76ab0f9249cd75c.JPG

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It's a great time of the year to be thinking of a Garden Railway so welcome to the forum Shaun.

I prefer the look of a ground level layout too but of course it does leave things wide open to attack from the elements. I'm sure that with a bit of forward planning you can construct things so that sections are easily replaced should it prove necessary. Some people, myself included, actually enjoy the regular maintenance although I know many others aren't quite so keen. For what it's worth, my exterior plywood baseboards have got through 3 winters so far with only minimal problems. If you're planning to build slightly off the ground with the baseboards raised on posts then that should help keep trouble at bay a little while longer. Give the wood as much protection from the damp as you possibly can and consider a covering of roofing felt to keep the rain off. I coated my plywood with liberal coats of bitumen adhesive until they were almost encapsulated in the stuff.

If I were to offer any words of advice then I'd say make sure you include a suitable walking area alongside your track. The rails will need frequent cleaning so access alongside will be required. I find that grassed areas quickly deteriorate if used when the ground is sodden and muddy feet is something I would always try to avoid.

Choice of track for outdoors is easy - Peco code 100 with nickel silver rails.

I agree with your choice of DCC control but I've no experience of the Hornby eLink/Railmaster software combination although I've been thinking of using it in my 'proposed' loft layout.

shaung75 said:

.....Just need to make sure these are the plans I want to stick to, then construction starts during next weeks week off....

It's not always possible to plan so far ahead with a garden railway :) You'll soon discover that your plans are at the mercy of the weather. Be prepared for some frustrating times ahead on that score but don't worry too much - it's all part of the attraction of an outdoor layout.

Good luck with everything and keep us informed of your progress.

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On the system I saw round wooden "plugs" were cut to fit inside the top of the drainpipe and screwed horizontally through the drainpipe and then the top plastic planks were screwed down into the wood.

(Note the wooden plugs were treated with preservative before fitting)

You could of course cut the plugs from the same plastic as the top plank if you go that way.

Personally I will be following Micks carved Thermolite block system for 99% of my outdoor line, but this is a little large and permanent for many people. ( See Worsley Dale on this site).

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That's a great area to work with Shaun and I'm loving the chickens! We had a trio of bantams in our back garden when we were young and we had some fun times chasing them round the local estate trying to recapture them each time they escaped from their pen.

I can see how your plans will fit in to the available space but remember that it's hopefully going to be a permanent structure for a few years at least, so do make sure you're all going to be comfortable with stepping over the tracks to access areas of the garden. My first layout used my old garden in a similar way but admittedly was built slightly higher than you intend. I had to lift or carry everything across the tracks, even the lawnmower, and whilst manageable it did become a chore after a time. Can you build a short tunnel section in front of the patio area with perhaps a slabbed top so that you have something solid to cross easily? I'm just recalling the things I remember and wished I'd done myself. Could you run alongside the fence and behind the chicken run rather than across the garden to maintain an open aspect in the garden? If everyone is happy with the layout then you've got great scope for landscaping it in as part of the garden if that's what you wish to do.

Here's hoping the weather gives you an opportunity to make a start next week and I look forward to seeing things develop.

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Compared to my garden that's tidy!!

We've looked at getting chickens but we have a serious fox problem round here so I'd have to build fort Knox. And then also living in the middle of nowhere, we've got no one to look after them if we go away for a week.

I'd go with Micks idea of behind the chicken shed but have a lift out section in front of the patio for access.

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Hi Shawn and welcome. Great news to hear we have a new member. Don't be afraid to ask questions as you go mate. Chances are someone on here has had and indeed overcome any problems you're going to encounter. Don't forget to include lots of pictures as you go and check out other people's pictures for ideas to pinch ( lol )!!! Looking forward to seeing your progress. Mark

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There's some good advice to absorb in those replies, thanks chaps. Just spent a small fortune in Wickes in preparation for the week ahead, so now we just need the weather to be good.

mick said:

Can you build a short tunnel section in front of the patio area with perhaps a slabbed top so that you have something solid to cross easily?

I hadn't thought of doing that for the section of track in front of the patio as the track will be at patio height so I'm not sure about the need for a bridge there, but it's exactly what I'm planning to do for easy access to the chickens and maybe a second for access to the veg plot. Was thinking a wooden footbridge for the second, but I'll decide on that later once I see how high the track will be at that point.

I intent to slate/gravel everything to the left of the track down that side so I don't have to worry about the mower - it's only a small petrol thing but it's heavier than it looks!

mick said:

Could you run alongside the fence and behind the chicken run rather than across the garden to maintain an open aspect in the garden?

That in all honesty was my initial plan and even had planning permission for the line to go around the outside of the wife's veg patch so that it entered the shed from the back left rather than the front left. Having the lines run along the fence minimises the opportunity to have a long sweeping bend and I really don't want to re-site the chickens - I'm genuinely surprised at how destructive they are!

mick said:

Some people, myself included, actually enjoy the regular maintenance although I know many others aren't quite so keen. For what it's worth, my exterior plywood baseboards have got through 3 winters so far with only minimal problems.

Good to know about the plywood, I've opted to go down that route using 18mm treated with a covering of roofing felt. I'm actually looking forward to the maintenance side of things. I'm employed full time as a web developer and I also get a fair amount of freelance work too which keeps me stuck indoors all day (and sometimes night), so having a reason to get outside can only be a good thing. When things are up and running I'm going to try out making a maintenance train using a combination of wagons on the market (Dapol, Hornby etc) and maybe a bit optimistic but see if I can come up with a track sweeping wagon using some old Lego Tecnic and a bottle brush. Ambitious but it's going to be fun giving it a go :)

Speak soon

Shaun

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Hi Shaun, just looking through your post, sounds a like a good plan, you have plenty of room to play with and best of all you seem to have planning permission from SWMBO! :D" Please be careful though when taking photo's from high places, as" Baimor" fell off his ladder while doing that very thing! He got some very good shots on the way down though. :lol::lol::lol:

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Haha I'll keep that in mind! Although I have experience falling (I don't think a parachute will deploy safely from that height though), the picture was taken from the comfort of the bathroom :D

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I will follow your progress with interest, we are hoping to do quite a lot to our layout this year (weather permitting). My son has had a new camera for Christmas and is itching to do some videos so when he does I will try to post them. :)

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Just going to throw out this idea, looking at the foot traffic patterns in your garden - http://imgur.com/XetBDk1.jpg

Here is my idea for a track plan - http://imgur.com/RmETNoA.jpg

if the loop is not large enough, you can expand the loop

With an out to a loop and back there are a few benefits. This keeps easy access to chickens, shed and bins (boss will be happier) with no body having to go over the track, as well as keeping the left side of the garden a garden. Friends can visit with out walking on the track - its going to happen, and children can play away from the model train layout, only 2 now, but it will be a 5 year old with overly adventurous friends soons.

With no paths stepping overs you can then raise the track slightly (10cm to 50cm) for better wet weather protection (think about your rot concern), better landscaping opportunities, better viewing as train watches can get their eyes down to track level and easier to work on inside the shed. Also, out the shed can be a realistic main line 4 track wide section, then splitting into a double loop, more track for your base board money on the out section! I made a mistake on my layout of not having enough straight track, which I think looks realistic.

http://i.imgur.com/06fC5LC.jpg - plan with stations. All that green stuff are miniature plants (think bekonscot), the grey stuff at the sides a rockery with moss etc. The fence can have the bottom painted light blue for a backdrop.

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pppp said:

Just going to throw out this idea, looking at the foot traffic patterns in your garden - http://imgur.com/XetBDk1.jpg

Here is my idea for a track plan - http://imgur.com/RmETNoA.jpg .......

I think that's an idea worthy of some consideration and it's a plan that might fit in elsewhere in the garden if desired.

Out of curiosity I just had a quick check on the BBC weather site and it's looking pretty decent in the Sleaford area this week. If Shaun doesn't see the above suggestion in time then there's a good chance he'll have boards set in place around the garden already! Just hope he doesn't forget to take the obligatory photographic break at frequent intervals :)

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Thanks pppp, I like that idea of having a loop there and will probably go for that as Phase 1 to get something up and running quickly, and then extend it to the original plan as time and money allow.

That 'path' from the chickens to the brown bin is actually caused by the dog and changes everytime the lawn is mown :)

Cheers

Shaun

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