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  • RMweb Gold

Having a reasonable length garden and only a micro layout indoors (plus Roco ballasted track for the living room floor) i don't have anywhere to run the many full length consists and trains I have accumulated in recent years e.g. Wrexham and Shropshire DVT set, Arriva Trains Wales DVT set, and an awful lot of Railroad MGR wagons!

 

i have the good fortune to have a long garden but until the children had grown out of kicking balls around etc it was not possible to have a garden railway. The thought had always been to run a double track line up the side of the fence to where our decking is. Prior to COVID our timber decking had become rotten and people were falling through it at the end of last summer so it was time to get it replaced! Suffice to say getting quotes for this proved strangely problematic, with only one outfit providng a quote, and then when we went to go ahead (having sent detailed measurements and photos) the quote went up by nearly £1000 as they'd "miscalculated"!

 

Anyhow, the quotes required us to remove the old decking, so I spent a weekend dismantling/smashing up the old decking (and my my ankle) with a hammer. In doing so I recovered quite a few lengths of unrotten timber and decking screws. Suddenly there were materials for a railway. A decking plank is ideal for a double track mainline. Screws and nails were removed from the wood, then it was pressure washed to get the grime and muck off. The "killer" nozzle on the Karcher (the one that strips paint, cuts into metal and concrete) was then used to blast out the rotten wood. Once dry Ronseal fence paint has been applied to both sides. The decking will be used upside down as the grooves on the top side are too big for OO track to sit on. The underside grooves are much smaller and the track pins nicely into it.

 

This railway is to be a quick and effectively temporary build, so decking will just sit on wood that just sits on the lawn for now. Post-Covid I can think about composite posts and a more permanent solution. The basic plan is to have a double track line up the garden with a loop so trains go up and come back. The goal is to be able to run trains ASAP rather than something that looks good or is designed to last. It is designed to recycle/reuse as much as possible and save money. I had screws, fence paint and other stuff in the garage already so could get started.

 

The only major expense is 50 yards of Peco Concrete Sleepered flexi track. My local model shop. John Dutfield of Chelmsford. still operates a mail order service and shipped the track via Parcelforce.

Construction started by laying out the straight bits.

 

IMGP0243.JPG.c190a3d4fafeca929424c5cab1777794.JPG

 

Then actual construction started with the loop. I won't bore you with the details beyond it is decking cut to create a loop. It was supposed use standard Bachmann trainset curves to form the loop. For various reasons relating to a lack of attention to detail etc it ended up a different shape. Fortunately my box of spare track had enough other types of curves to fit the odd shaped loop.

 

Original plan at layout stage:

 

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The end result:

 

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The track was cleaned and a W&S 67 used for a successful test run. The following day the track was removed to paint  the wood with Ronseal fence treatment, a nice 'rust' colour.

 

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Bits of cut up decking used as supports and joiners underneath

 

IMGP0248.JPG

Edited by ruggedpeak
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  • RMweb Gold

Taking advantage of the good weather the railway became operational today (Sunday).

 

Saturday saw the treated boards laid out and connected and the straight track being laid. Putting rail joiners on around 45 lengths of flexi takes longer than expected, so only about 2/3 of one side was laid.

 

Sunday morning saw the remaining track laid and the first train run the entire length and back. A few wonky bits of track were tidied up to give a reasonable ride. After the track was checked by a single Hornby 67, it was then followed by the 67 with a DVT. However when 3 Mk3's were added they didn't like being propelled - this is an existing problem with the 67 and Mk3's couplings not liking each other. However the S curve on the loop meant that propelled trains were pushing coaches through opposing curves. Unsurprisingly with iffy couplings the 67 and first Mk3 became entangled and the coach derailed. 

 

Some additional carpentry to the loop straightened out the S curve which improved things, but on this consist new coupling are still required between 67 and coach. Other garden duties took over so not much other running took place. I did get Thomas and Percy out to show the next door kids, although they preferred the Wrexham & Shropshire set as it was much faster!

 

All of this is run by a Gaugemaster Combi, initially only connected at one end. Longer term proper electrical connections will be required rather than just the rail joiners.

 

Photos to follow. Except for the cats using it as a dry way to get down to the bottom of the garden in the early morning...

 

 

IMG_6620[1762].jpg

Edited by ruggedpeak
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  • RMweb Gold

So track is laid and trains have been running.IMGP0267.JPG.84cd9d21f857fcbda9c69db8e0ae0fbe.JPG

 

The end loop had to redesigned to try to alleviate derailment issues when trains were being propelled on the return. An extra bit of decking was added to straighten the curve. This has helped but not overcome basic coupling issues on longer trains.

 

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A long container train on Hornby, Dapol and Bachmann wagons had various issues, as did the Bachmann 66 pulling it - popping one wheel off the track on the curves - so it is going into the workshop. The track is certainly highlighting those items with problems. For other items like a 3 car 158 it runs absolutely fine.

 

More work is need to improve the alignment of track on the straights, and I think a loop at the house end would be good so trains don't have to stop. The loops really need to be much bigger with gentler curves. Ironically the loop has the most level track but suffers bogie derailments and uncouplings.

 

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Overall the track is an excellent test of locos and rolling stock as it is showing up any issues. Had the Flying Banana out the other night, looks good running up and down, but again doesn't like propelling round the loop :(

 

A lot of coupling changes to be made. But DMU's and short loco hauled trains are working well.

 

Decking boards are quite flexible and need a lot of supports, so will need to add more to each board. Overall it is working well, just some careful train selection is required.

Edited by ruggedpeak
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Have started to take some video and need to edit them into something watchable. However with the sudden temperature drop and wind speed increase its been a good time to make my own charcoal rather than play outside with trains :)

 

Also acquired a Gaugemaster HF1 electronic track cleaner - however when connected it up it was showing a short somewhere on the line. This is a bit odd as it is one single 40m length of track and no visible issues or damage. Separated the track at the start of the loop and the short disappeared, so it is not on the first length of track. Need some investigations to locate the issue when its a bit warmer!! The HF1 was busy on the working stretchcleaning it with an old Hornby 47 doing the work.

 

 

 

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The HF1 issue was resolved - a Hornby R8206 power track had been used in the loop and shorted out the HF1. No idea why, but replicated on another power track. Replacing it with a normal straight and all was fine and track cleaning in progress.

 

Got the tape measure out and found the total length of track is 38.45m, which translates into 2.92km of track in 1:1. A decent run for the trains.

 

UPDATE - Hroth advises the non-DCC Hornby power track has a suppressor inside it, hence the 'short'.

Edited by ruggedpeak
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Couplings wise, the W&S 67 and DVT have NEM pockets so put Hornby/Roco close couplers on and it is fine now. This is probably not news for many on RMWeb but just in case....the W&S Mk3's have the old Dapol/Airfix type couplings. Several options to be tried:

 

  1. Remove 1 coupling hook from each connection (thanks Ken)
  2. Have bought replacement Hornby/Roco couplers from John Dutfield
  3. The new fangled Hunt Couplings from West Hill Wagon Works have fittings for these in their HST sets

Will try these options when I can. If anyone has a solution beyond cutting and gluing for putting NEM pockets onto older Hornby Mk3 coaches do let me know.

 

Sunny again today and a lot warmer, so if I can get off the PC later I will do some more trains....

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Like the return loop you have done. Hoping there is enough timber in the shed for me to do something similar as a quick outdoor test track.

Edited by john new
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Thanks John.

 

Weather has been too good to be sat on PC editing video and need to work on better footage, so TBC.

 

Now working up plans for the other loop. This will be wider than the return loop to hopefully alleviate some of the problems with propelled trains. Working through various coupling options at present, not helped by the mix of NEM and non-NEM couplings on the same consists. About to order a Hunt Coupling HST set for the W&S 67 & DVT to give that a go.

 

The HF-1 "Relco" unit is proving invaluable as a labour saving device in respect of track and wheel cleaning duties.

 

The loop is based upon track I have in stock, being 8 lengths of Peco flex and lots of ex-train set Hornby R609 curves (forming the outer loop, and several Peco points. Have measured up and plenty of decking left, but has been too windy to lay out the 1:1 Anyrail printout to set out the boards and track. The grid squares are 5.5" which is the width of the decking planks. Apparently it is less windy on Wednesday......

 

1734705240_Gardenloop.jpg.91206714c353768e5af8d7a05912e7b4.jpg

 

Also designing a small box to put my Gaugemster GMC Combi and HF-1 in a single box as it gets moved between the garden, lounge floor (Roco Line ballasted track on the carpet!) and my micro layout upstairs. The box will have switches to isolate the HF-1 so it doesn't run all th time.

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Work under way. Still windy so Anyrail 1:1 printouts blowing around. Some of the boards are cut and treated, more to do tomorrow. Loop is greater radius than the other end and the updated design has straights between each quarter arc to lengthen it.

New Loop.JPG

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Blazing sun and no wind today, so fitting around other things the loop has been constructed. Found another tin of timber treatment buried in the garage as the other lot had run out, hence the brown colour. Track laying tomorrow.

 

 

IMGP0322.JPG

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  • RMweb Gold
On 05/01/2021 at 19:03, Mel_H said:

Any updates from the summer/autumn?

 

Hi Mel

 

Sorry, missed your post. Have been flat out at work with COVID etc since the summer, and in the autumn things were so damp and/or windy all the time that I didn't want to bring the trains out.

 

Want to get my 56 and a full length MGR out again, had it out for a day during the autumn but the near constant wind plus gusts meant that the Hornby Railroad MGR wagons would keep blowing over due to the microclimate in our garden. Very annoying when 10+ wagons of a 26 wagon rake tip over repeatedly! :banghead:  I guess the Cavalex versions with diecast chassis will be better suited but not sure i can afford a new  rake......

 

Hopefully the spring will be dryer and less windy and we can get out again. I have a video of the 56 MGR but need to crop it, however can't find a [free] tool to crop the video without losing definition. IF anyone knows of a simple and effective tool for cropping basic mpg's do let me know.

 

ATB

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Did get the snowplough out, but the drifts are a scale 5 metres high so we had to abandon the plough!

 

 

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IMG_20210208_1616290[4902].jpg

Edited by ruggedpeak
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  • RMweb Gold

A week is a long time in lockdown world. Last week there was still some snow about, this week it is all gone and it is so mild I have been working in the garden in just a t shirt. With the milder weather I took the opportunity to prepare the railway for the 2021 season.

 

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Despite being blasted with sun last summer, sitting through the wettest winter ever (that has seen our fences and a live willow tree develop green mould) and snow, the railway was fine. Preparation comprises the following:

 

  1. Cleaning the track with a Gaugemaster track cleaning block. Nice and chunky and effective.
  2. Hammering in any track pins that have come up
  3. I also took the opportunity to use a Tracksetta (I didn't have one when I built it) to straighten the track out, did the whole length. Looks a lot better. Ideally there would be a 2 metre long Tracksetta for the very long straights I have!
  4. Using trusty Hornby Ringfield motored locos (including an original Hornby Class 58 58001 which is nearly 40 years old!) I run them with a Gaugemaster HF-1 electronic track cleaner. This helps clear any bits I've missed and the loco provides a check before I put anything more expensive on the line. The flashing on the HF-1 highlights problem areas for more cleaning.

Further running showed that the freshly aligned track had some intermittent dead sections of track where rail joiners were not transmitting power (due to the expansion gaps as the track gets blasted with sun in summer). A few bits of wire later and power across the entire route.

 

IMGP1590.JPG.5181cf17d6395edcfdf477d31f77bf45.JPG

 

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Once I was happy there was safe and reliable running I brought out my latest acquisition from Derails, a DRS 68. It confirmed the track was good for normal operation.

 

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As I move controllers between the garden. living room carpet (using Roco ballasted track) and a micro layout I have 2 Gaugemaster Combi's handheld controllers. Each is connected through the Gaugemaster HF-1 Electronic Track Cleaner to reduce cleaning. After much faffing with wires connected the Combi to the HF-1, and various plans for making a controller box, I took the much simpler option of velcro'ing the HF-1 to the back of the controller. The velcro is just some spare number plate velcro I had lying about. Makes a single controller/track cleaner unit that is easy to move between layouts, using crocodile clips to connect to the track (using wires attached to the track). Simple way of getting flexibility between layouts.

IMGP1604.JPG.5d31d1714608c22ac76a30d7593788f0.JPG

 

Old and new!

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Edited by ruggedpeak
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  • RMweb Gold

Re a long straight tracksetta - latteral thinking suggests using something like a long shelf support fitting pushed against one or other rail. Interestingly, just out of curiosity I have put my digital callipers over my spare one - 27.75mm.

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  • RMweb Gold

I did try that with a 1 metre metal rule but struggled to get a straight line, however it was slightly wider than the gauge. Didn't have anything narrow enough to fit between the rails.

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1 minute ago, ruggedpeak said:

I did try that with a 1 metre metal rule but struggled to get a straight line, however it was slightly wider than the gauge. Didn't have anything narrow enough to fit between the rails.

As you have not used roofing felt the shelf strut should allow use of a temporary screw through two of the mounting holes then push the track against the edge and then fix the track. 

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  • RMweb Gold
Posted (edited)

Sunny Easter Sunday and some garden running 20's and a 56 on a fast MGR and a Colas Test Train, plus running in a Peckett

 

 

IMGP1636.JPG.a3102a38d8ce3da505906b6008bfa57a.JPG

 

 

 

IMGP1688.JPG.a77af8c43ddae1385d9fd5f2fc183c2e.JPG

Edited by ruggedpeak
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