The railway consists of two beds, each 4m long x 2m wide (I have to use Peco set track or my railway would be very boring. Once the old railway had been cleared away and as much of the old garden had been torn up I started to measure out the new brick beds (Remember I said my gardern wall had fallen down, I had 4000 bricks to use up now. Foundations are about 2" deep concrete, all of my railways are designed to be lifted if we move,, (If)
Jumping forward a week or so and the first bed nears completion and using stakes and string is surprisingly level, A long plank laid over the loose bricks and tapped with a mallet helped to. I sprayed the track plan on the floor with marker paint and laid brick pillars every two feet on the straight and 18" on the curves.
Jumping forward a bit and the second bed was made in the same way as the first, here you can see the supporting pillars being assembled, amidst what frankly looks likes a car crash,
Proof that I'm not a brickie if you needed it. In order for the track bed (which ws going to be decking) not to rot I made the pillars the same height as the walls, so the track bed should be higher than the soil and stay relatively dry. It sounds technical but it was all a bit Heath Robinson and I hadn't planned to do it until I'd laid the first pillars,.
Building the Chibanxi Light Railway
The Chibanxi Light Railway is the third railway in the garden, The first was the Chidham Light Railway which was an experiment to see if I liked it, and if I could afford it (I can't then and I still can't now). It was built at ground level on old pallets from work and lasted 7 years until my son got older and walked over the tracks, and the pallets rotted away.
The Wendover Light Railway was supposed to be my last railway, it was built around the gardenon raised beds on breeze blocks with a wooden surround, the only thing I hadn't bargained for was our garden wall basically collapsing when I checked out the mortar joints... Oops.
So, here we are in sunny China, in my back garden, A 25' x 25' typical garden, I wish it was bigger, but then I see all these huge layouts where preparation takes hours before hand and I think mine is just right. If I want to run a train, I run a train, takes minutes, no maintenance, no hassle. And below is the story of how I built it.
So, when you're considering building your first garden railway, is there anything you should bear in mind?
You don't need massive foundations, you are building a tiny raised wall, not a house! If you are building a railway at ground level, remember things rot when they touch the soil.
If you sell your house in the future, how hard will it be to remove the railway, and is this important to you. A lot of house buyers AREN'T into garden railways,.
Make sure your railway is as flat as possible, or if you want gradients, that they are as long and shallow as possible. Or accept that you need to have RC. Stakes in the ground, string between two known points, water filled hosepipes, all these methods work,
Remember that your sidings will never be long enough.
Make sure your track clearances as are big as the most common engine on the market. Get a friend to run his loco on your track to make sure your clearances mean you can hold open days if you want to,.
Things derail, will fall off, or otherwise get damaged, accept the inevitable.
Jumping forward to August 2012 and this was the state of play of the track to give some idea on how quickly the bare bones are covered by the planting, Pictures of the railways development can be seen in the Gallery section.
This is the right hand bed nearly complete. Unfortunately despite my best efforts the second bed is six inches higher than the first bed, so engines have a steep incline to go from one bed to the next, I haven't laid the decking for the passing loop which will eventually form the basis of a station,
This was the historical day when an engine coiuld travel from one bed to the next without falling off, hitting anything or getting stuck. The rear joining section was going to be single track on a large suspension bridge with options to go round and round or pass over the bridge but on trials it caused no end of operational problems so the points were removed and the track became a continous loop.
Talk about daunting, just as one bed is complete you take a sneaky peek to the other side of the garden to see what was referred to as Mount Kittylitter and realise there is still a LONG way to go.
The Second Bed Nears Completion
As can be seen the track sits about the soil in-fill in an attempt to stop it rotting or being eaten, Although this gap has taken several years to mature to cover the wood, new pictures should show that the "foundations" of the track are no longer obvious!! In fact, the planting is due to be thinned!
The latest update is the removal of the pond due to blanket weed issues. Mental note to place the next pond in the SHADE nitwit. The expond will become a new mountain and there will be a new town appearing in 2018 which should denote a Chinese village on market day. Watch for new links when it stops raining and I can build something!