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Preliminaries

The Elevated Railway.

The elevated railway has lots of advantages in that very little earthworks are required for it and the track base can span the humps and lumps of the typical garden. The span distance between supports depends on your local geography but a typical distance is around 1.5m. there are several books that will give you ideas and plans for the pillars and track base that will form your railway. Avoid the early works of HG as he envisaged that the work would be contracted out to a local jobbing carpenter. The books of Freezer and Jones are very good as is the book by Garden Railway Specialists. The best book of all is the one supplied by The 16mm ngm Society(!)

The Ground Level Railway.

These look very nice but can be very difficult to produce, as again the problem is getting a level trackbed for the locos to run on. You may have to have a "pit" for working on steam locos or a suitably high part of a wall. Again there are several books that will give you the required information as above. Reading some of the older books on this subject can be very amusing as the book by Tustin recommends using coal ash and roofing slates for a cheap track bed...

The Sloping Ground Railway.

Here you may be forced to have an elevated railway at the lower end of your garden in order to avoid tunnelling at the higher end! This actually has some advantages, as things like footpath crossings and lawn mower access are most convenient across the ground level part, and access to the locos without bending your back can be made on the elevated section. In practice most gardens will have a little bit of slope, and there are many ways of accommodating this. The elevated sections can be of differing height above the ground, and/or incorporate a small gradient in your lines. I would suggest though that gradients are limited to about 100:1, or steamers without radio control may be inconvenienced. If you only intend to drive under R/C then possibly as steep as 50:1 could be tolerable.

The Next Question is, "What sort of loco do you want to run on it?"

The size of your loco dictates the size of your curves as a longer wheelbase is more inflexible that a short one. If you plan on running your tracks at a Get To Gether or simply having friends running then you will need to plan for the various locos that are around. A good working idea is to plan for an 0-6-0 or C0 loco chassis. This will allow the majority of locos to run. The tightest point curves sold by Garden Railway Specialist are 8 feet radius and (I assume) all their locomotive kits will take that curve. This would make a simple circuit 16 feet across. Thus this can be taken as the smallest layout possible. Most live steam locos are unhappy with curves tighter than 12 feet radius. It is advisable to use "Gauge Widening" on corners to make them easier to navigate. This means spreading the distance between the rails by 1mm.

The Next Question is, "What sort of track do I want to use?"

There are several suppliers of G3 track and with some levels of difficulty. The G3S supply white metal chairs that are nailed to wood sleepers and Bullhead 250 code rail is slid between the chairs. The resulting yard of track is about 2 hours work. The same yard and two yard long rail in Brass or Stainless Steel is sold by Cliff Barker. His sleepers are very easy to slide onto the rails and it is no harder than threading beads on a wire. Garden Railway Specialists sell their own sleeper packs which take the Tenmille 330 code flat bottomed rail which comes in 1.5m lengths. Normally it is advisable to stick to one type. Purists will note that Bullhead 250 rail is the one more common in early trackwork -whilst the flat bottomed is more commonly found at the start of the BR era. Other people have made their own track using steel strip and a mig welder. Others have used aluminium strip and wooden sleepers with slots.

The Next Question is, "What speed do I run at?"

The scale speed of a loco can be worked out at roughly 1metre per second for every 50mph (scale) thus a 100mph crack express is running at 2m per second. Most people opt for running at between 25mph to 50mph (scale).

The Next question is, "How big is my train?"

The answer quite simply is HUGE!!! A BR Diesel plus six Mk1 coaches is about 21 feet long. A simple branch line train of an 0-6-0 loco and three bogie coaches will be 10 feet long easily. This means that typical stations are normally built for two or three coaches only. An RCH1923 Wagon is circa 1 foot thus a small marshalling yard will have siding circa 10 feet long.

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Page last modified on January 20, 2018, at 05:39 AM