What is this site all about? Well it is to show to my friends and family the progress i am making (or not making to be more honest) with the on going activities in my back garden. Basically I was bored with growing a crop of weeds mixed with a few blades of grass so over the last five years i have been replacing most of that green stuff with concrete, bricks and anything else that was cheaply available and building a home for my trains.
Now these trains are not your normal sized Hornby OO stuff, no, I am using G gauge. LGB G gauge to be exact, it is hugh, admittedly not big enough to sit on but still quite chunky, children love it as it is not fiddly like the small stuff.
As I said this has been going on for 5 plus years, a little very summer, and all there is to show for it is lots of foundations but no track so this year (2005) I have set myself a target to get one little bit working. This leads us to the raised loop which started off as a simple return loop of a spur inside the main loop.
Hopefully this will get finished within the next month or so, however things that tend to slow me down are :-
- the very strange and long shift patterns I work
- weather to hot
- weather to wet
- something good on the telly
- romantic involvement with a person of the opposite sex (OK this is fantasy but it might happen)

12 july 2005 - A pile of dirt

Well this is what you would have seen if you had come round when you returned from foreign lands - a rather uninspiring pile of dirt. Actually that is a slight lie what you would have seen is the same pile of dirt but covered with an impressive load of weeds.

Anyway thissection is called the raised loop (because it raised of the ground and the track forms a loop!!). It is about 14" high and its core is made up of old bricks covered with a thin layer (2-3") of poor quality soil. It was basically debris from the rest of the garden piled up and a wall built around it and now I am going to make a feature out of it.

The reason for doing this bit of the track first is simple - it is small, affordable and largely self contained.

Note - that odd looking thing sticking out of the top of the mound is a solar powered light (it glows blue at night) it will not form part of the finished layout.

13 july 2005 - Prototype layout

After spending many hours playing with computer track layout I came up with a design (bottom left) which I thought was suitable but when it was laid out on the ground it did not fit so modifications where made (bottom right). Both plans look as though they do not line up properly but in practice the track pieces can be made to fit. Having said that I am pushing my luck slightly with the triangular box as there is not enough length in the sides to 'give'

The two little coaches you can see were used to test the loading gauge which is a good thing as the modified top section (where two tracks run in parallel) was to close and allowed then to crash into each other while on these tracks.

Also seen in these picture are glimpses at my nice new conservatory

14 July 2005 - Foundations

Two bags of cement and 8 bags of ballast later we have some foundations for the track to run on. Concrete is my preferred solution for allsorts of jobs in the garden from path laying to track foundations for some very simple reasons:-

1. It is cheap, the whole lot here cost less than £20
2. It is a very determined weed that will grow though it.
3. Cats can not dig it up and crap in it.

The concrete runs are about 2" thick and are resting on the brick core so therefore should be very strong and stable, well massively strong and stable enough for a model train to run on.

Along with the central mound 4 holes have been created which when filled with descent soil will have flowers planted which it is hoped will soften the whole thing up a bit. The mound itself will be landscaped with more plants and stuff to make it look a lot better.

You will notice that the inner spur has no foundations this is because it was late in the day and I run out of cement for the concrete mix.


18 August 2005 - Some landscaping

Work has dramatically slowed down progress however I have managed to do a bit. Shown here are the basic outlines of the landscaping of the pile of dirt plus the wall to stop it flowing on to the tracks. I spent ages researching the best method of containing the earth pile before settling on the concrete and little bricks (I think they call them cobs) the see here. In fact a large chunk you don't see the bricks as I found that I had placed them a fraction to close and they failed the loading guage.

The yellow bo you see will be buried in that position and will hold all the electrics for this part of the layout.

1 September 2005 - Some Buildings

Some more progress and even a glimpse of the finished article! I am slowly carving away the dirt pile so there will be not much left, but still hoping that it resembles some kind of mountain region. More little bricks and red concrete.

The little houses/huts are in fact bird boxes which I got of Ebay. From a distance they almost look the part but are a fraction of the cost compared to proper scale models. (There was absolutely no chance I was going to make anything like this from scratch)