This page is an introduction to my hobby......Paul

A couple of video links will give you a flavour of the garden!    

https://youtu.be/uPkiwSTG-YE      and          https://youtu.be/7lIniz5M1WA

 For the last 15 years up until mid 2016 I had regular monthly meetings here on this track with 30 to 40 friends bringing their own engines and stock. Made for good social days.  I now only have four to five meetings a year for special occasions such as 'Iden Open Gardens', A 'National Get-To-Gether or for visiting enthusiast groups.

Gardening is a large part of the hobby therefore the track is part of the garden and hasn't been added as an afterthought. What came first - The garden or the track?  Both are developing so I'll leave you to make up your own mind. To me they came together!

 The locomotives are 'live' steam, powered by Meths, Gas or Coal either 'hands on' or radio controlled.  We run 'full length' trains consisting of up to 18 coaches and/or 40+ wagons - Just like the real thing.

The circuit consists of a double track of approximately 375 feet in length – folded ‘dog bone’ in shape with passing loops, storage sidings and a separate steaming bay area all at a constant level. Built at approximately 3 feet from the ground for most of the circuit but where the garden rises the track goes to ground level and enters two 12' tunnels with a cutting between.

 

Rails were originally mounted in cast resin chairs but the sun got to them and made them brittle. They have been replaced with commercial ones - 40,000 of them - Took 4 years at 10,000 per year!  The sleepers are of Iroko jig-drilled in the workshop and bedded in granite and bonded with SBR adhesive. The sub bed is a 4 inch reinforced ribbon of concrete resting on 4 inch square tanalised timbers concreted two feet into the ground. The basic circuit has been in position for at least 20 years and there has been no deteriation in the running quality. All points have been laid and built in position as there are no straight rails in the circuit. Minimum radius of 14' 6" and only one cross-over between the running lines. No power to any of the rails. Locos are all self powered, either steam or batteries on board.

A recent addition in the making is an end to end branch line for the use of electrically radio controlled driven locos, connected to the main circuit but having two 'small town' termini. This envisages shunting of wagons and passenger services with four stations. The gradient in places is 1 in 80 and has tighter radii. I have used Cliff Barker chairs with rail on Mahogany sleepers but points are still hand made.

 

 

The hedges which disguise the height are Lonicera Nitida which are very fast growing. The big disadvantage being that they have to be cut twice a month. They look good and if a train decides to derail it will not fall to the ground. Not happened yet but we do occasionally lose bits in it!

There are several features on the line, the viaduct being the most predominant - cast in concrete sections from rubber moulds and from plasticard masters.  The tunnels have access hatches and resin cast entrances. Made by the 'cut and fill' method.  Branch line viaducts and transfer bridges are aluminium sections with resin details added. 

The speedometer accurately records a scale speed of passing locos keeping the performance of visiting engines to a realistic speed. The electronics inside were made for me by a very good friend , Ralph.

 

 

I build at 10mm to the foot (30 to 1) which means most of my models are scratch built. Retail commercial models are mostly 3/8" to the foot (32 to 1).  If I was starting again I probably would go 32 to 1 but it's too late now. Besides 10mm being that much larger has more 'presence' on the track especially when seen side by side!

Coaches and wagons are made from plasticard with resin details.  High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) is a lovely material to work with and David Jenkinson's book of  'Carriage Modelling Made Easy' convinced me that this was the way to go. Underframes are etched or brass for strength. The only purchased items being wheel bearings and wagon wheels.

Engines are either kit built, scratch built or purchased as a 'one off'. The intention is to build a recognisable train to match an engine. Unfortunately there are not enough hours in the day to satisfy all my wishes. The next 'dream' is to extend the branch line into the Nissan shed which I've already insulated the floor and roof. Should enable lineside buildings, stations etc - AND ME - to last longer out of the British weather.

I'll have to live to 150 years if all my dreams are to be full-filled - Wishful thinking!!!!

 

If you want to get in touch