Building and maintaining a garden railway

My main interest is building locomotives and rolling stock but they are a bit useless without somewhere to run them. Over the years I have tried to build layouts in lofts, spare rooms, sheds . None have ever been finished and interest eventually fades and I give up. The garden railway on the other hand, I always enjoy. I can run it in the summer , build stock and maintain it during the winter. The line was described in the November 1998 Gauge 0 Guild Gazette and also featured in Garden Rail magazine. Basically it consists of four tracks. Two outer ones of 44 yards and two inner ones of 33 yards. The base is made from breeze blocks on a concrete bed topped off with a screed which has been arranged to give superelevation on the curves. Track is Peco Streamline which has been an excellent product. All the joints are bonded. At the time of writing the track is out of use while I have realigned it. Some of the wooden blocks to which the track is fixed have rotted away and been replaced with a sand/cement/peat mixture. The intention is get it fully operational by Easter. I can run four trains at once and its one of the few railways where a fast train can overtake a slower one. There is nothing nicer on a summers day than to just sit and watch the trains!

The black and white pictures show the line under construction. As you see it was pretty robustly built and was a lot of work. Saying that, in over ten years it has given very few problems and the running is excellent.

The next picture shows the builder enjoying running a few trains.


There is nothing nicer than having a few friends round as well!



Three trains pass at once. Its shows some of the scope of a garden railway line.


 ...... and now for something completely different. The model is of Furzebrook Tramway locomotive "Quintus" and train. Completely scratchbuilt by one of my garden railway visitors it is a very rare model in that it is exactly to scale.  Thirty two millimetre gauge track representing 32 inch gauge and consequently the models are built to a scale of 1mm to the inch.It looked lovely slowly trundling round with its rake of wagons all of which were different.


After many hours work the ballasting was completed on the 22nd July 2008. Altogether I used 50kgs of budgie grit, approximately 8 large tubes of waterproof PVA and four large tins of yacht varnish. The railway has had a test and I'm pleased to report runs as well as ever!

January 10th 2012 *Update*

The ballasting has proved to be an unmitigated disaster. After two or three severe winters it virtually all came away. As a result , I had to lift all the track and clean off the ballast. The track was then all fixed down again using silicone bath sealant. This is worked well in some places but not so well in others and some sections will have to be lifted and relaid. A programme of track re laying is scheduled for 2012 and then hopefully it will stay down for quite a while. Once it had been fixed down with bath sealant it ran again very well. Time will tell how effective this method is.






2012 was unmitigated disaster for garden railway owners as can be seen from the picture below. The water did go down eventually but the garden is still very muddy. Hopefully 2013 will be better.