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.
I used the ‘cut and cover’ method for tunnel building. It’s advisable for tunnels on garden railways to be less than two arm-lengths long, if you want to be able to recover your derailed train. That’s fine, my tunnels are mostly to hide the tight radius curves, as well as punch through the hedgerow.
With a wagon already, and even some track to run it on, I now needed some motive power.
I’ve already revealed my aspiration to run live steam… So I didn’t want any steam ‘outline’ locos that weren’t actually steam powered (I feel weirdly fundamentalist about this, not sure why). But I’d like to run a diesel too – and I was happy for that to be electrically powered. Continue reading Motive Power
With the Eastern ledge completed, I was ready to lay the first pieces of track. Continue reading Laying Track
The track will run in front of a dry wall made of old red sandstone – but at this point it is about 200mm above lawn level. I needed to build up a base for it – and, because I like the look of this rough and crumbling wall, I decided to build a low wall between track and lawn in the same manner – creating a ledge along which the railway would run.
I’m worried about badgers. Sure, lay track on soil or turf, and you’ll soon have problems even without any wildlife becoming involved. A couple of rainy or frosty nights later your trains will be rolling up and down newly emergent humps and hillocks. But badgers could really exacerbate the problem. I read plenty of advice that agreed the trackbed needs to be solid and stable, but also that there are several completely different ways of doing this, each with their pros and cons. I’ve not come across any confirmation of which is the most badger-proof.
I got me some wheels. I bought a wagon kit before I even began construction on the railway, because I wanted some track to play around with whilst planning. As it happens, Track Shack (who I’d recommend for their extremely prompt service – order before 3pm and it comes in next day’s post) give free P&P if you buy enough. Some kind of vehicle is essential for testing purposes, anyway, right?
At one level, planning the course of a garden railway is simply a question of: “how would I like to lay out my train set?”
But for an involving, operationally interesting and authentic railway, it’s worth thinking a bit about what the purpose of the line will be. Continue reading Purpose