I got into G Scale through my Dad, he part exchanged all of his extensive oo gauge stock at a long gone model shop on Dewsbury Road in Wakefield, for a starter set and some extra track. That was it, I was hooked. The way every single day was different in the garden, through all the seasons, and having to maintain the actual permanent way when the ballast shifts or sinks, cat damage from the resident moggy. It was so much more hands on.
Forward to 2006, I bought my first house. I knew I wanted a garden railway, and did indeed build one. It was called the Kim Garten Bahn. It didn’t last long. The area in which I lived turned out to be not very nice, and it was hard to maintain due to a massive tree and the shedding of its leaves, twigs etc. Come forward again, to 2014. New build house. Blank canvas garden. This is where my current line resides. Woodlock Logging.
Building the railway
From the start, I knew I wanted a ground level railway. It’s just what I’ve always done, and I feel it integrates with the plants more. I wish I had room for massive raised beds to integrate it with planting, but that was never going to be possible. I had no particular plan, but I had salvaged a little track from the previous house and laid it out rough. The garden was sloped so needed building up at the bottom, so I made a concrete embankment up on which to lay the track. This was then backfilled with soil for the plants.
I had no point motors and no DCC control. It was a small circuit and I told myself that was it. I found it hard to get back into at first. But then the interest started coming back. A siding here, a siding there. Can I fit an extension through there and a turning circle down there. Then came some buildings. It grew and grew. But I have always being adamant that I want to maintain the feel of a garden. Not just a jumbled up mess of track with no ballast, bad joints and dipping everywhere.
The biggest overall investment I made (but worth every penny) is the addition of DCC via Marklin CS3. Courtesy of PS Models in York, who is always on hand to help (electrickery is not my thing). He converted all my locomotives to DCC and helped me get my head around Point Motors etc. Let it be known though, it was a gradual process due to cost etc. It’s taken year’s to get here. I started with small starter set locomotives and second hand. A garden railway does not need big fancy locomotives and a 2 acre garden.
To summarise, a lot of the pleasure I take from the hobby is maintaining it, gardening around it. I like seeing how it changes every single day. It’s incentive to get in the garden, run a small train. Sometimes a big train. Sometimes 4 big trains.
The worst bit is storing it all and bringing it back in and upstairs after a running session!
Some general facts
- The layout is built at Ground level
- The track is not secured down, it is free-floated in ballast (horticultural grit)
- The layout now runs in DCC using the Marklin CS3 System with all points motorised
- The collection includes 21 locomotives collected over 16 years
- There are 3 turning circles on the layout
- there is a single running line with passing places
- The layout uses R1 (Radius 1, the tighest) curves
I hope this inspires anyone toying with the idea.PAUL
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