Garden Railway Construction.

Discussion in 'A Work In Progress' started by Tony Bird, Sep 30, 2018.

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  1. Sep 30, 2018 #1

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

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    Hi,

    A lot of the models I make are for use on garden railways.

    About 8 years ago my wife who rules our garden said that the garden needed to be made easier to maintain! As I contribute little other than help move things around I could not but agree. She also suggested that we might like to lay a garden railway! She had already designed what she wanted done and it was found that with little modification a garden railway could indeed be fitted in. Contractors were consulted and given the design and early in April 2010 work was started. The work that should have taken about a week to do took three! The weather was appalling! Thankfully we were very happy with the soggy results.

    The original garden.
    001 Old Garden LR.jpg
    Surveying for the railway. 002 Start on Railway LR.jpg
    One of the contractors at work. 004 Garden Construction LR.jpg
    The finished results.
    005 New Garden LR.jpg
    Being of a sensible height so fairly close to the ground working on the garden railway shouldn’t have been a problem, but in recent years working close to the ground has been a problem, so it was decided to lay the track onto boards that could be worked on while standing. Then when complete the boards could be laid onto a prepared surface in the garden. The design of the track was to be a dumbbell shape. The track going around a raised flower bed at the top of the garden then with the help of two bridges cross a path and then run along the side of a wall to a removable circle of track just outside the house. The track which would be at ground level at the top of the garden would about 60cm (2’) off the ground at the house.

    The track that was to be laid was Tenmille brass bullhead rail held in plastic chairs on wooden sleepers. This track looks very good but is labour intensive to lay. By choice I would have used Peco SM 32 track but the track was a swap for an electric locomotive that I rarely used. So, with 90 yards of new track and 4 points thoughts were given to the designing and making the track bed. It was decided to use sections of 20 mm (3/4” ish) exterior plywood for the baseboards. After sealing the boards roofing mineral felt would be glued to their tops for the track to be laid on, their undersides would be painted and their edges protected with a plastic strip.

    At this point our son came into the act as he has access to CNC equipment; for my birthday he gave me the 8 baseboards needed to go on the raised flower bed along with the plastic plates that would connect them. So, the first six boards were assembled and placed on the raised bed.
    The gift.
    006 base boards LR.jpg
    With glue applied.
    007 mastic on board LR.jpg
    The covering. 008  Mineral felt. LR.jpg
    Held down with weights while glue set.
    009 Mineral felt on base boards which are held down with weights LR.jpg
    A finished board. 010 Mineral felt on base board LR.jpg
    The first six boards in place.
    012 Edged base boards in garden LR.jpg

    I will continue the Saga of the garden railway build in further posts.

    Regards Tony.
     
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  2. Oct 1, 2018 #2

    modeng2000

    modeng2000

    modeng2000

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    Great to see you're keeping busy Tony.
    Looks nice.

    John
     
  3. Oct 1, 2018 #3

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

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    Hi,

    It was now time to start laying track. This circle of track would have two roads the inner dual gauges ‘G1’ & ‘0’the outer just ‘0’ gauge. I run only ‘0’ gauge but occasionally repair ‘G1’ locomotives so the inner track would be used to test them. There was to be two sets of curved points to connect the inner ‘0’ gauge track to the outer track. Because on the inner track there was a common rail with the ‘G1’ track a special point was constructed. The problem with ‘G1’is the different scales that use it G scale, G1, LGB etc they all have slightly different wheel profiles and axle measurements which can give problems with the check rails on points. Our model club that runs most scales have used a special point, which is based on old tin plate track points such as used by Hornby, these points require no check rails. The adaptation of this type of point I saw used on a layout some years ago so I claim no credit for the idea, though I might have tweaked it a little.

    But first back to general track lying. The rails are curved using a home-made rail bender that uses a compound slide as its basis. Several track gauges both home-made and commercial we used along with a jig to keep the track parallel to the boards edge. After the track was held down on the boards a piercing saw with its blade fitted up side down was used to square the ends of the track.

    Type of track used.
    012 Sleeper chair & rail LR.jpg
    Rail Roller in use.
    013 Rail roller in use LR.jpg
    Track gauges used.
    014 Track gauges LR.jpg
    Board gauge in use.
    015 Track board edge gauge LR.jpg
    Cutting track, the saw blade is upside down so the track is being cut upwards away from the base board.
    016 Cutting track LR.jpg
    Finished track on the a board.
    018 Base boards with track LR.jpg

    I will put the photographs of the point construction in the next post.

    Regards Tony.
     
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  4. Oct 1, 2018 #4

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

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    Hi,

    Making the points, first a scale drawing was made on lining paper of the track layout; which produced the compound curves for the rail along with the angle for the frog. A jig was made to hold the rails that would make the frog while they were hard soldered. Note for the running track the plastic chairs have spigots, which fit into holes in the sleepers and for further security pins to hold them down were also used. The plastic chairs used on the points had their spigots removed and were held in place with pins only. First the frog was gauged into place with one of the running rails and then the other running rail was gauged to the frog. A template was used to position the rails of the switching section of the point which were held apart by strips of brass hard soldered to them. The swivel section was gauged into place and its pivot point fixed. There is a photograph of top to bottom a conventional hand-built point my RGR point and a Hornby tin plate point. The check rails on the RGR point have no use they are purely cosmetic. Because of the points design its point leaver works better towards the frog end.

    The last two boards were then added to the circuit, these boards had pull off’s where points were fitted to allow the track to cross the path. With these boards in place the first phase in the construction of the garden railway was completed. It was to be sometime before the second phase of construction would begin mostly due to the fact that I now had a continuous test track; gone the excitement of chasing hot locomotives across the workshop floor before a trip to the model engineering club’s garden railway.

    Point plan.
    020 Point plan LR.jpg Soldering frog.
    024 soldering frog LR.jpg
    Track gauges in use.
    026 track gauges LR.jpg
    Rails for the moving section of the point.
    028 rails for moving section LR.jpg
    Using track gauge to line up moving section of the point.
    029 using track gauge to line up moving section LR.jpg
    Soldering moving section of point.
    030 moving section soldering jig LR.jpg
    Fixing running rail chairs with jig.
    032 Fixing running rail chairs with track jig LR.jpg
    Final sections of track fitted.
    058 Last two circular boards LR.jpg
    Finished circles of track.
    059 Second stage circle 002 LR.jpg

    Regards Tony.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  5. Oct 2, 2018 #5

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

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    Hi,

    We now have to move forward a year or so as no more had been done to the garden railway in this time, it was used as a test track. My wife in her pottery class had made some house shaped tiles to use in the garden and the railway had gone through its first winter.

    With spring it was decided to get a bricklayer to construct the next stage of the garden railway; he was to build a wall and several piers to hold some more baseboards for the rails after they had crossed the path.

    First some foliage had to be removed which my wife did, then bricks were laid. This done another year went by before a start was made on the baseboards to fit on the top of the walls. First templates were made from 12” wide hard board. to check lengths and fits. As each of the five boards was different they were cut by hand not by a CNC machine. Instead of plastic connecting pieces that had been bolted into recesses in the original boards these new boards used aluminium strips 1” x ¼” bolted to their underside with stainless steel bolts which held them together. These boards were placed on the brick work to see how well they lined up; the track was then laid on these boards in the same way that it had been done on the original boards. A pair of removable bridges to take the track over the path were constructed so the railway could be used in an out and back form. This is how the railway stayed until recently.

    The walls and piers built.
    060 GR extension boards with track LR.jpg
    The hand cut base boards.
    061 GR cutting extension boards LR.jpg
    The new base boards in place.
    062 Extension base boards LR.jpg
    063 Extension base boards LR.jpg
    Track laying.
    065 GR extension boards with trackLR.jpg
    Track in place.
    066Second stage track laid 003 LR.jpg
    The bridges.
    IMG_6144 LR.jpg
    My wife's ceramic tile houses.
    IMG_6146 LR.jpg
    Models of relatives that regularly use our garden.
    IMG_6147 LR.jpg

    That brings the construction of our garden railway almost up to date I will continue with progress reports.

    Regards Tony.
     
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  6. Oct 11, 2018 #6

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

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    Hi,


    The original circles of track has now been in place for eight years and the wooden sleepers are rotten. So, instead of replacing them it was decided to replace the track with Peco SM32 track which has plastic sleepers. It had been suggested by SWMBO that wouldn’t it be a good idea to finish the railway? Though the original circle of tracks base boards were still in good condition the later boards that were out of the sun and were almost permanently damp had started to rot as well. So, it would be quite a long job.

    So before replacing the track used as a test track which was still just about runnable; a start was made on the raised circular section next to the house.

    I have made two portable exhibition layouts for my own use and been involved in making three garden railways at the Cardiff Model Engineering Society.

    My second layout is modular so can be erected in several sizes up to 25 feet by 15 feet. All its base boards are bolted together and have folding legs which help reduce its size for storage. It was intended that the boards next to the house would also have folding legs so they could be stored in the garage over winter. On the portable layout it was found impossible two fit two folding legs to the curved corner boards so only one leg was used and the same system was used for the garden railway curved boards. The single leg was placed at the centre of balance of the curved boards. Its position was found by balancing the board length wise on a broom handle placed on the floor and marking the point of balance.

    All the bolts and screws are stainless steel and aluminium tube is used as a bushes where the bolts go through the wood. The boards are constructed with 9 mm exterior plywood tops screwed to 2” by 1” baton edges, the boards and their edges are covered by roofing felt and the edges have a plastic strip screwed to them over the roofing felt. The boards are held together using 1” by ¼” aluminium strips which are bolted to them on their top. The track is laid so its joints are over those of the boards. The track outside the house has a main line with a passing loop for steaming up. There will also be a lifting bridge to give access to inside the track.

    Except for the access bridge the garden railway at its house end is finished. I am writing this while return home to South Wales from the last exhibition of the year for our model railway layout which was in the North of England. When home and the layout in its winter storage I hope to continue working on the garden railway and if the weather is kind I hope to finish it for Christmas. The photographs that follow is the progress to date.

    Rotten sleepers.
    000 Rotting track. LR.jpg

    Portable layout at full size.
    001 Rhydypenderyn Layout LR.jpg

    Portable layout folding legs.
    002 Rhydypenderyn folding legs LR.jpg

    Garden railway boards legs retracted.
    003 Legs retraccted LR.jpg

    Legs erected.
    004 Legs up LR.jpg

    Stainless steel fittings.
    005 Stainless steel fittings LR.jpg

    Aluminium tube bushes.
    006 Aluminium tube used as bushes LR.jpg

    First three boards erected.
    007 First 3 boards erected LR.jpg

    View from house test track in back ground.
    008 View from dining room LR.jpg

    Checking levels between base boards.
    009 Checking levels LR.jpg
    A few more photographs to follow.

    Regards Tony.
     
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  7. Oct 11, 2018 #7

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

    Tony Bird

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    Hi,

    Further photographs.

    Last board to be made outside the house.
    010 Last board LR.jpg

    Just needs a bridge.
    011 Just needs a bridge LR.jpg

    Track laying.
    012 Track laying LR.jpg

    Progress to date.
    013 Raised track finished LR.jpg

    Regards Tony.
     
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