Jump to content

Choosing a track base for my garden railway.


Recommended Posts

Hi all, I'm in the process of constructing our first garden railway. My wife and I have decided on a patch of ground behind our garage, it measures 6m X 5m. We want it to be a rural type sleepy branch line/freight based scene in G Scale. A feature of the layout will be to use real plants for landscaping, a water feature, and a few buildings. The base for this is undecided, we've thought about laying a patio on the entire area, to provide a base for everything, either that or decking, butnim wondering if it would be better to dig trenches and fill with gravel in the traditional manner for the track, and leave the rest of the lawn uncovered for planting purposes. I've watched a few videos and methods for track laying are very varied, any advice about this would be very welcome.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it depends on several factors, such as soil type, ground levels operating heights etc.

 

If you require real planting, water features then patios and decking will be limited to the central area, I for one would be going for the track bed to be raised and like the real thing going through an undulating ground, and the pond would need digging out. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it depends on several factors, such as soil type, ground levels operating heights etc.

 

If you require real planting, water features then patios and decking will be limited to the central area, I for one would be going for the track bed to be raised and like the real thing going through an undulating ground, and the pond would need digging out.

 

Thanks, I too like the idea of a raised track bed, it would give more scope for bridges, ponds etc. Also we are of "a certain age" :) and bending down is someting to consider these days!

The site is part of our lawn at the moment, very soft soil, no problem for digging.

Edited by rustybranch
Link to post
Share on other sites

Have a look at the Filcris website. This uses recycled plastic material - posts, stretchers & bearers. Will last indefinitely and take no maintaining. The surrounding landscape can undulate all you want and accommodate the features you describe.

I have no affiliation to this company, just have looked at the website whilst researching my own garden railway build.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Premium

Having experience from the past I strongly recommend to use a concrete base below the track. I used hard-core only and got crazy from the weeds growing through the track. Actually after a few years I removed the garden railway as it was too much to keep it in working order. This was between 2000 and 2005 in my garden in Italy.

Have fun with your G scale trains!

Link to post
Share on other sites

To be quite honest it sounds like you have a lot of landscaping to do. I have spent all spring and summer digging out a patio in the rear and widening the drive in the front, then leveling both gardens.

 

All I can advise is to buy materials in bulk from a local builders merchant not a DIY store, as builders merchants are both cheaper and deliver for free.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hi all, I'm in the process of constructing our first garden railway. My wife and I have decided on a patch of ground behind our garage, it measures 6m X 5m. We want it to be a rural type sleepy branch line/freight based scene in G Scale. A feature of the layout will be to use real plants for landscaping, a water feature, and a few buildings. The base for this is undecided, we've thought about laying a patio on the entire area, to provide a base for everything, either that or decking, butnim wondering if it would be better to dig trenches and fill with gravel in the traditional manner for the track, and leave the rest of the lawn uncovered for planting purposes. I've watched a few videos and methods for track laying are very varied, any advice about this would be very welcome.

In spite of the romance of it:

 

Don't build at ground level it will be an UTTTER, UTTTER, UTTTER  pain in the fundamentals to maintain.

 

Build above ground level.

 

You can plant up to it, you can strim up to it and you can keep it tidy...every inch out of the ground is an inch less to bend.

 

Lonicera Nitidia is the railway person's friend followed by Buxus sempervirens both will screen both will represent embankments.

 

IF this is your forever home then likewise, this will be the forever railway so don't scrimp on the foundations.

 

Build the very best you can afford. Go to a builders merchant and ask the yard guys to lay out a 6m x 5m selection of paving slabs this would represent your baseboard top...

 

Bradstone blocks will hold it up off the ground, and look good if you do not plant the edge.

 

A good cast concrete strip foundation

 

6metres x 5meters sounds HUGE but in reality it is tiny. (Big by indoor standards but in reality the equivalent of a 5'x4' layout in OO.)

 

It is important that you consider the proportions of the locomotives and rolling stock you aim to use.

 

No large locomotives they are physically too big even if electric powered.

 

(I reviewed an MTH 1:32scale Triplex a full 1meter long making a Gauge 1 9F look like a L&Y Pug in comparison.)

 

No twin truck/bogie rolling stock again too long.

 

Now look at what you get at the rail-top.

 

Put an 8' diameter circle in that space to see what I mean.

 

Pull the quadrants of the circle apart and you will get about 8' 1200mm of straight before the corners on the long edge...

 

1:22.5 scale is popular but if you want to do the job properly go for 15 or 16mm/ft IF you are really serious then 1:12 and 1:13 is even better all will cope with 4' radius curves and that is as tight as you will want to go.

 

1:12 scale agreed that's massive but remember more is less in the large scales, and a simple industrial A-B skip shuttle around a U shaped track and by going seriously large the use of 600 or 750 radius curves and 45mm gauge will give a little more running length.

 

Do not be down heartened by the negativity shown above Garden Lines are very difficult to get right and very easy to get slightly wrong.

 

Moving down a scale to 7mm/ft would see a bit more run.

 

BUT you are up against minimum radius which will again limit the rolling stock and motive power to four wheel wagons and 0-4-0 or small 0-6-0 locomotives.

 

My best advice? Go and see as many railways in as many scales as you can then decide.

 

Personally if I had the resources. I'd build a BIG alpine greenhouse with raised beds in U formation, on this I would try to model a section of single track branch all 7mm and plant with alpine plants and real rock.

 

Garden lines do not have to be outside to be garden railways...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...