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The Heatherburn Garden Railway

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As we now have an outdoors section I thought that I had better post my garden railway. Some will be fimilar with the heatherburn from the old RMweb but to recap here's a link..


The railway has been in construction for over three years now and is still not fully operational mainly due to a couple of redundencys, etc. The railway has evolved into a big dog bone with trains running out from the indoor section in the garage out to the garden and then back to lower level storage yards under the garage sceneic section. From the storage sidings the trains return back via the garden to the upper level garage section. The length of a complete lap of the layout has been mesured and worked out to 4.7 scale miles and it takes nearly 3 minuits for a train to do a complete circuit. The railway is currently mothballed as I have been busy of late with other modelling projects. Work will recomence when time and funds allow. ;)

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  • 1 month later...

Where has this year gone ! The last time I ran a train round the garden was april 2009 and the last trains to run on the undercover section was my birthday last july !! Since then the line has been mothballed due to lack of time and funds and also the constant threat of having to sell up and move has not helped with my motivation on the project. Yesterday I decided that I had to pull myself out of depression and do somthing about the state of the back garden. Fortunatly the electric strimmer still works so armed with some new strimmer wire it was time for some weeding !!


















































Today im thinking of finishing off the render on the wall.

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I think that this will be the start of Heatherburn Mk2. The trackbed is still as sound as the day it was built and the track just needs a blooming good clean. The rails still have the coat of WD40 that was sprayed last year so there's not realy much to do to get the railway working again. This morning I have made a start on removing the soil from the back corner of the garden. I have an idea of building a low wall to create a raised flower bed that is well away from the railway line. The area between the railway and the wall will be graveled and will give me better access for maintaining the line. This is the area im working on..




The concrete bridge that I made three years ago has split where the deck joins the abutments so im thinking of rebuilding this bridge using foamex...




This is the origanal track base and as you can see its in pritty good shape considering that its nearly four years old..




You can clearly see the two part construction used as the mortar for the track bed had pushed the shuttering out slightly. The concrete base that it sits on is about a foot deep...

















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What a great set of pics, it must of been so disheartening to see all your work in such a state. Then there was all the clearing up to do after the strimmer had a go! There must of been a moment or two when you did not know what you would find. Looking after a garden railway takes a lot of doing, I had one for about 14 years. Keep up the good work and I hope it all comes together and you reap the rewards of watching trains run for hours on end in the glorious summer sun!


Have some inspiration from this, taken in 1988







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Been there mate, and know the daunting feeling of what it takes to get up and running again. Built an outdoor line in 1985 and each summer had to go through the same preparation, maintenance and repair that you're facing. Each year was a gradual improvement in electrics though, until I moved away for work and the railway was abandoned. Tracklifting was circa 1992.


As a student then I confess my funds were thin, so it was a decidedly non-mechanised process, reliant on mates and promises of bacon sarnies and ale! However, testimony to the robustness of the construction methods that were used, very similar to yours, is that - in the areas where it's still visible at least - the basic brick and concrete construction survives to this day in pretty good shape.


In the style popularised by the 'Then and Now' books, you could caption pictures of parts of my old garden railway 'it looks as though if the track was relaid it wouldn't take much to get trains running again.' Good luck with Heatherburn II buddy!

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This afternoon I decided to do somthing a bit more drastic and scrap the rockery! This was brought about for a couple of reasons one being that every time I switched on the pump for the waterfall the water dissapeared. After a bit of investergation I found the leak but to rectify the problem I needed to take the waterfall to bits. Consiquently this ment removing a lot of the plants so I figured that it would be a good time to start again.






I did take the opitunity to dig out the big dock leaf tree that kept sprouting in the middle of my alpines!






The damaged bridge that crossed the pond also went the journey




Today also saw some major work carried out on the viaduct as closer inspection of the damage caused by all that snow revieled that the mortar had come away from the concrete base. As I want to build a waterfall round the viaduct I thought that it would be a good idea to fix the trackbed using resin.




So first I removed the front cover and then all the mortar from the track








Note the rubber blocks embedded into the concrete




A clean up with a brush and an old vac cleaner






Then came the resin








There is still quite a bit of repair work to do to the viaduct but at least I have made a start.

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  • 3 months later...

Unfortunatly not. We are currently awaiting the outcome of the goverments latest spending cuts as my wife works for the council and may be looking at redundency. If that happens we will proberly have to sell up and move so not much point in progressing with the railway at present! :angry:

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After looking at wolf's 00 garden railway videos I thought I would post all mine in one place so here was the first taken after the first section was compleated. Apart from the test train at the end all the other trains were pushed by hand whilst I played with a miniature camera!



The plastic buildings held up well outdoors but the grass mat whilst covered with clear varnish still faded in the sun!

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This was the last video taken on my birthday back in 2009.



By now I was about 5 months in on building my exhibition layout Potters lane and the garden railway started to slip into decline. After an atempted effort earler this year to revive the railway it has once again dissapeared into the overgrown back garden. Still theres always next year ! :rolleyes:

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  • 6 months later...

With the good weather we had last weekend we decided to make a start on getting the rear garden sorted. The work concentrated on removing the large pond and using it to replace the small pond by Lakeside station. The rockery was also cleared of growth and leveled off so now I can get a better view of the railway. All of the waterfalls have also been relocated closer to the railway. Weather permitting this weekend im planning another working session outside with the intention of getting the rest of the hard landscaping dug out. Hopefully by the summer the Heatherburn should be operational again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

With the fine weather we are currently having I have managed to spend some time tidying up the back garden. Some progress piccys..

Leaves on the line




After a clear up




The new access being put in at the back of the layout































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  • 3 months later...

Well its offical the Heatherburn is no more. As mentioned elsewhere I am starting a new layout soon but to make way for it something has to go. Had things been different the Heatherburn would have now been finished and giving me the enjoyment of opperating my stock instead of being mothballed and overgrown for the past couple of years. The outside section is still intact and will be for a while yet but inside the garage is a different story. Thankfully I have managed to reclaim the pointwork by pouring boiling water over the points then easing them up gently once the balast had softened. I have taken pics of the distruction but I think that it would be better to remember the Heatherburn for its good bits like the canal area. So after almost 5 years its time to sign off with this project and move on to the new layout.

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