Closing the Loop

With half the track laid, and one tunnel built, phase one was almost exactly half completed. But I hadn’t yet dug the second (more ambitious) tunnel or cut the turf for the line down the western side of the wall.

Constructing the southern tunnel, I used the same technique as for the northern tunnel.

Site of the southern tunnel
Digging out the tunnel and the cutting
The tunnel walls
The walls and the eastern portal

The reason this was a more ambitious tunnel is that on the western side, it emerges below ground level. I needed to dig and line a cutting for the line to run through.

The western portal and the finished cutting
Rhododendron in the foreground

On the western side of the wall, I dug a shallow trench to fill with a 100mm depth of sub-base.

The trench
Getting the level

Constructing the tunnel and cutting was awkward, but going underneath the rhododendron was an even greater challenge, since I wanted to disturb it as little as possible.

Under the rhododendron
The trench under the rhododendron

I also finally remembered the weed barrier I had bought to line the trackbed before the sub-base went in.

The weed barrier

Track laying was slightly more complicated than the first stretch, since closing the gap meant cutting the flex track to fit the gap exactly. I found this relatively easy – using the same xacto saw I use for 00 gauge track.

Track laid

On 17 May I had completed the circuit. I was ready to run trains. (I just hadn’t finished building the loco yet.)

Photos taken 7 – 25 May.

STOP PRESS: Test train run today! More soon…

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Simon Wood

E-learning officer, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See for more...

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