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Hi Guys, well I have finally got round to gettin back into the back garden and railway. I did a load of major reconstruction a couple of years ago but have decided to rip 90% of it out and start again. Some parts of the old track route will remain but not much. The new layout will be bigger though and will pretty much extend to the outer edges of the garden this time. All the perimiter fencing will be replaced, new pond and new patios etc.,. I'm demolishing and reconstructing as I go. The first reconstruction is taking place on the left hand side lookin out from the house. You can see the concrete block wall under the track bed.This was previously faced in timber ,now its gettin faced with stone and adjacent to it is the bed for a new pathway and what will be the side of the new pond. This stone walling will extend all the way towards the house and will  carry the double track mainline in a gentle curve bringing the railway to a station area right in front of my kitchen diner window. However loads of work before I'm there. All material ,sand ,cement timber has to be brought from the street at the front of the house and carried thru the house to the back garden as there is no other, hopefully I'll be a lot slimmer by the end of the job !!   





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Hi Joe,aye its a big job for sure but I have the bit between my teeth. We've had the summer from hell here in Scotland this year,much of it cold ,windy and rainy, but hey ho ,sun'll shine again. I'll just get done what I can when I can before the winter frosts close things down till spring comes round again. Ye can never tell here with the weather though ,November could be better than July !!  . I have two grandsons ,one 4 and one 2,so I want to get the trains up and running ASAP so we can enjoy some shared quality time wi them. I've got three grandaughters too but they're more girly girls than tom-boys so I don't see them gettin all that excited about trains...but ye never know ! stranger things have happened !  thanks for the thumbs up Spence...  cheers  Davy 

Last edited by Davy Mac

Hi Guys these next 2 pictures show the direction I'm goin in. Some of the old track formation coming off the loco stabling area still bears to the right ,this will be re-hashed as the doubletrack mainline's new route will be tighter to the loco yard and a much longer straight run too.The new pond will extend a good bit more towards the house too.  




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Hi Pete, am gettin there,but I have a huge job in front of me, still the good weather the last couple of days has let me push on a bit with the wall building. In the next two photos you can see todays progress.Up in the right hand corner where you can see the track pieces is the location of my turntable (still in situ and to be reconnected once the new mainline is laid. The main line will go straight to where the build has extended to date ,next job is to demolish the old formation and swing as gentle a curve as possible into a straight section along the front of the house window. Once I get the walling and track base finished to there I can start to lay track again and re-hash the sidings into the loco stabling area. The former patio in the forefront of the picture will be part of the floor of the new pond. Anyway,won't try to confuse you,I'll just keep posting progress pics as pics speak a thousand words eh ??   I think the forecast is for rain tomorrow ...ah well such is Scottish weather !!    Cheers  Davy 




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Hi Scotie, believe me I;m tired tonight that old trackbed formation is as hard as hell, could be doin with hiring a jack-hammer .however got on not bad with the big hammer and steel pinch. I'm almost thru though ,had to finish at 3pm due to torrential rain ,but got few hours at it while the sun shone. As soon as I get pushed thru I'll get the new wall foundation in and  the stonework rattled up. Old bones achin tonight though ... Never mind tomorrow's another day. this attached pic was taken just as the weather started to break this afternoon. Not the greatest photo but you can see what I'm workin towards.... Davy 



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One of my daughters took this pic of me today batterin away at the old stonework ,all the old stonework in the foreground has all to be demolished and moved this was the route of the old intended layout .However the priority for now is breaking thru it where I'm working in the picture to get the new formation built. 

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Matt and George, the track is PECO bullhead rail ,O gauge 2 rail. Nickel Silver rails and UV resistant plastic sleepers or "ties" as you guys in America call them.The track thats been down for a couple of years is as good as the day it was laid. The bulk of my G scale layout was also Peco G scale nickel silver track ,great stuff and far better than any other make I experimented with by far .   


Last edited by Davy Mac
Originally Posted by Davy Mac:

Matt and George, the track is PECO bullhead rail ,O gauge 2 rail. Nickel Silver rails and UV resistant plastic sleepers or "ties" as you guys in America call them.The track thats been down for a couple of years is as good as the day it was laid. The bulk of my G scale layout was also Peco G scale nickel silver track ,great stuff and far better than any other make I experimented with by far .   


Thanks. I'm hedging my bets on home layouts and looking for various alternative track brands should I have to build outdoors.

Thanks for the interest guys, as for doin articles for the magazine Allan, feel free to use anything you want from what I'm posting if that suits you. I;m sure you'd make a better job of putting things into words/editing etc., than me. I have a general plan for the garden and layout in my head but nothing's definite other than the rail route must go to as near the extremities of the garden as possible. Believe me I'm as curious as anybody else to see how it pans out as I have only a loose general plan in my head. Great fun !! 



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Hi Mike, the wood I'm using is pressure treated "tile batten"as we say in Scotland. Kinda wood strips used here for fixing tiles on roofs. They're about 1.25"X0.5"profile..... As for warping ......doesn't happen. The timbers are laid in wet cement .To stop springing or warping....before laying the strips I hammer nails half way in on the underside of them  leaving the nail heads exposed. A few nails protruding at various angles ensures that when the cement sets round them it takes a grip of the nails...result.. the wood is going nowhere. As for cold and frost ground-heave,again,doesn't happen because with the rubble underbase everything is well drained....nowhere for water to collect so no frost heave. Only 6.45 AM as I write this so too early to go hammering in the garden just yet....don't think my neighbours would appreciate but I'll be laying timbers again today so I'll post method-photos  later on for you.


OK Guys, heres a section I've just done. The top stones in in the walling were all incorporated in the same batch of cement as the track base.So makes for a very strong over-all finish. OK first the timber was cut to the desired length then nails hammered in. Then the wooden strips are bedded in the cement nailed face down and then levelled.Then more cement spread and tamped in to shape,finally a few handfulls of fine crushed grey rock/rockdust is spread on top and tamped into the cement to shape. This gives a nice ballasted look to the track and also being tamped into the wet cement it stays put. (Incidentally the sand I'm using for the cement is is rough/coarse grade sand ,not fine building sand used for brickwork.When I finally lay the track more of this fine crushed rock will be spread and brushed in between the sleepers (ties in US-speak). See stage by stage pics attached.  









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Hi Guys,  Ace....thanks for the thumbs up.... don't enviseage any major problems,had a G scale layout for years so the only difference is that its an O gauge layout this time as opposed to 45mm. George for power ...I have too many locos that would need chipped for DCC so I think it'll be straight DC. I'll probably use a radio control system to track though along the lines of the old Aristocraft G scale system. I think the German company Massoth make a similar unit.

Hi Guys, well after a couple of (painfull..ouch) boring days burning rubbish, demolishing and muck shiftin I'm back on the rail route today .As you can see I'm round the curve and onto the straight in front of the kitchen window. Hoping to squeeze a station in there but because the retaining wall narrows on that section it might be toght to get much in the way of platforms and sidings in so it may well yet just be a central simple platform between the two mianline tracks,we'll see. 



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This next picture hopefully kinda will give you a picture of where I'm goin with the part of the garden  forward of the kitchen window. The grassed area still in place will be lifted and that area filled with rubble then a new patio built .A new lawn the base of which you can see under construction just forward of that remaining still to be demolished bit of old wall will be forward of the patio,then where the parts of the swing seat etc., are sittin right now is where the new pond will be. Solookin out the window it will be ,trains, sun patio,lawn and a sloping pebble "beach" down into the pond with a decent sized waterfall smack centre., however a lot of work before I'm anywhere near that stage. Anyway after a crappy summer we've finally had some really nice weather the last wee while so I better get back out and get on with it !!



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Hi Guys,not much to report on the railway side of things but a whole load of other work has been in progress. Since I last posted I have moved my next door neighbours old front lawn turfs and soil into my back garden and have also lifted most of the small lawn I had . This material will be getting used as bottoming for the new lawns I intend to lay. All stockpiled  for now. Been filling in the old lawn area with demolition rubble from other parts of the garden and am now starting to cover this with "type1 hardcore" as we call it here. (Type of crushed rock). Once I get that complete I'll be laying a new patio. As you can see I have started to build a curve with sandstone,this isn't for trains this will be a stone built bed for plants and shrubs  running up the garden to split it into two pretty much seperate areas. The trains will go straight across to the right . Kinda hard to explain but all shall be revealed as work progresses.Anyway,thats where I'm at for now.Luckily the weather is being quite kind so things are advancing slow but steady.






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Hi George, believe me am gettin sore doin it  .... 5.24 pm and have downed tools for the day,had a shower and already in my snooze pit. Dying to get trains running but I think it will will be into next spring before I get to that stage .Trying to get as much done with the landscaping  before the frosts arrive  


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Hi Guys a bit more progress, in these pics., the long straight secion along the house is almost up to height to take the track-bed. The other sandstone work will come up to the same height and will be a flower/shrub bed and will be the front part of the shrub bed which will divid the garden in two from front to rear. Kinda hard to explain but ,you'll get the picture as the work progresses....





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A bit more progress. Some wet weather and earning a living have got in the way of progress a bit the lastf ew days however still advancing. Where the new concrete block ends will be the new access to the whole garden so a lifting section of track will be require to bridge the gap as and when. As you can see the track base timbers are widened to take a double track main with passing loops .




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Hi George, no track plan per se other than the intention to lay a double track main all the way round.I had intended to put a station where the passing loops are but space dictated otherwise. However theres another couple of potential locations for stations. I got on well today with some stonebuilding work but never got photos. I'll post some tomorrow. We're now having  superb weather here and its to last a while so I'll keep pushing on as much as possible before it breaks. 


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Hi Guys, working on the planter/garden divide today and yesterday. Not quite finished. The big boulders in the middle are resting on old blocks and rubble. Doesn't look all that impressive at the moment but once its filled with soil planted out and dressed it should look the part. I intend to plant thyme and the like adjacent to the rail tracks but on the other sides trailing plants. End of this season so it will be next year before the finished effect is seen.






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Hi GUys well,amazing beautifull weather here,can't believe its October.Anyway,put in a great shift today about 10AM till now 7.45PM. Got a huge chucnk of patio laid and the planter-cum-garden divider section filled with soil and topped off with ornamental fine gravel. It can sit like this till next planting season apart from some Narcissus and crocus bulbs I'll probably put in next week. We'll see. Anyway,I'm goosed,so I'll let the pictures do the talkin. These are my old reclaimed paving slabs Ive used,incidentally laid in a bed of about 2" to 3"wet cement.  I'll hit them with some chemical cleaner and the powerwasher and they should come up fine. Still a bit to go with the patio but at least thats a decent start.









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Hi George,yip,track is pinned to the timbers and levelled as much as possible .loose ballast is then spread over the lot and brushed into place. In some places where the timbers have settled uneven in the cement you can get dips and tilts. the fixing pins in such cases don't need to be hammered all the way home ,just enough to hold the track in position and any dips or unevenness under the track can be  packed to level with the ballast ,pretty much as per the real thing. supposed to be dry tomorrow. I'll post pics of exactly how I go about laying the track for you.



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Cheers Airedale, just keepin my fingers crossed that rain and hard frost stay away for a few weeks yet. I'm making progress but still a helluva work to be done yet,..... however every bit I get done now is a bit less come the spring,hoping to at least have the bulk of the landscaping's back broken by then....if it doesn't break mine first .... ha ha. The moral support is appreciated 


Hi Guys, well ,almost finished the right hand curve build. This will be the tightest curve on the whole layout . There will be a lifting section across the gap in the second photo ,thats the main entrance to the garden. A lifting bridge would be nice but don't know if my engineering skills are precise enough....we'll see !. 




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Hi Joe, make myself tired doin it . weathers to be good tomorrow but I'm takin a day off to take my eldest grand daughter and her pal down to the Scottish borders. Takin them to see the A4 4-6-2 pacific steam locomotive "Union of South Africa" on the newly re-instated border railway. The line used to run from Edinburgh to Carlisle in Northern England but was closed and demolished in 1969. 30 odd miles of it have been newly re-instated and its hoped that it will be extended back to Carlisle in future. Steam specials have a been a feature since it re-opened in September. Two locomotives ,the newly built pacific"Tornado"and the A4 60009 "Union of South Africa"have been hauling the trains. I remember 60009 from my childhood when it was in regular service on trains between Glasgow and Aberdeen. So it will be nostalgic to see her in action again.



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Hi Guys, well had a day away from the garden , took my eldest grandaughter and her pal to the newly re-opened borders railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank.We missed seeing the train on the outward steam hauled run from Edinburgh but caught her with the diesel hauling on the return trip. There are no turntables or Y tracks on the line so its steam out and diesel back. Video attached of the train passing thru Galashiels ,diesel class 67 at the head and 60009 steamer on the tail.




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Hi Guys, well not much in the way of rail progress to show right now as I'm back demolishing and rebuilding. Just demolished the bulk of the old central trackbed formation and have pushed on with the back retaining along the fence on the right hand side of the garden. Was originally goin to do this part with a timber base attached to the fence but decided to keep the stonework theme all the way. Rough lookin block work I know but its all built using reclaimed block .Still does the job and will not be seen once the jobs finished. Weather still holding thought the forecast for tomorrow isn't lookin good . Ah well, upwards and onwards as and when





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Hi Guys, well after a long break due to rotten wet weaher, frost,snow etc., things have been on "ice" since the back end of 2015. Still cold with frosts at night but at least a bit of dry weather again.So, the garden project starts again in 2016. A couple of weeks back I got some stone from an old wall that was being demolished.Wee bit of history with these stones. The topping stones from this wall at one time had railings atop the wall,However like many such walls across the UK,they had the railings removed during the war 1939/1945 ,metal needed for the war effort. In one of these pictures you can see where the legs of the railings were at one time embedded in the stone. Recently got a couple of dry mild days so I got a wee bit done usin these. Don't half cover some ground with these beasties laid on their sides. Have now started the stonework up the right side of the gatrdenDSCN4302DSCN4303DSCN4304DSCN4305DSCN4302DSCN4302 next to my neighbours.


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Hi George, yip, that former patio area will be a pond shortly . That sump-hole is for the pump,....lowest point in the pond. Will also serve as a bolt hole for the fish if Mr Heron or MrCat show up lookin for a fish meal.  I'll be workin on this area for the next few days. Lot of work still to go before its complete . Will get lined with thick wet newspaper,then the butyl pond liner's next. Then more cement and stone work to dress it, water plants etc., ...anyway watch this space George !!


Hi Guys, weather ain't been great ,holdin things back but got a bit done yesterday and a few days ago.  Got armoured cabling laid and an external plug box installed for power supply to the pond. Laid this along the route of the path next to the new pond area. Also got the brick lip laid along the pond edge. Hardcore laid over the armoured cabling. Once the pond liner is in situ ,paving slabs will be laid on top of this formation.DSCN4345DSCN4350


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Also got the central flower bed stonework and top patio pushed on a bit. Ditto the right hand walling for the track bed and also got another patio made a start to at the bottom R/H side of the garden in what used t be the old clothes drying area. Rain has yet again stopped play...still... gettin there slow but sure !! DSCN4344DSCN4351DSCN4349 


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Hi Guys, well,the Scottish weather pretty much behaved itself today so I got a good shift in. Beginnin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Whole load of the old patio base broken up and removed to the rear and the area cleared for the shrub/flower bed which will divide the garden approximately central. Bit more path-slabbing done too. Ah,well,will let the pictures do the talking. The over-all eventual shape of things now becoming a bit clearer in these pics.DSCN4352DSCN4353DSCN4354


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Very nice garden railroad. Having been a mason since thirteen, I can appreciate the work you're doing. I have been contemplating a garden RR for some time, and your work has inspired me to get started. I currently have an outdoor covered suspended layout under the patio attached to my work shop,which I will remove the track from to begin a layout in small section of the yard. I do have room for expansion, and a ten by twelve foot oval pond I'd like to cross at some future point in time. I won't be getting started this weekend though, as we are expecting up to six inches of snow on Saturday.

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Davy Mac posted:

Hi Rail, cheers,   really nice lookin stonework on your pond. I look forward to seein your railway in future. Certainly don't count myself a stone mason, I just stick stones together with cement  . Good fun though.  I sincerely hope we've seen the last of this winter's snow , just need sunshine 

Thanks Davy Mac, the wall was key to the pond and workshop. It extends down to below the pond bottom and serves as the back wall, as well as the support wall for the shop's second floor overhang, and the retaining wall for the patio behind it. It is made to look like dry stacked stone, but the mortar is recessed to give that appearance. Some refer to this technique as "Ghost Joints"

Your stone work is certainly worthy of recognition, as is you ground work technique of embedding wood into concrete. I am considering using composite decking material. I have used it a edging for my brick paver walkway, and it has held up well, except for a section the lifted due to roots from a maple tree that has since been removed due to disease. 


Seacoast posted:

Davy always fun to check on your "hardscape" If do anything outside it will be "pale" in comparasion with my G scale.

Rail I like your Koi!


My son got the Koi from a woman he did some work for a few years ago. Some neighborhood hoodlums were throwing rocks at her fish, so she decided to eliminate the pond instead of the problem. She gave the fish to my son, as he told her we had a pond large enough to sustain the fish. We lost one this past winter. We're not sure if it was old age or some other reason. The pond is deep enough to not freeze solid, and we do use a heater in extreme cold temps. 


Hi Don,thanks for the thumbs up on my stonework efforts. Suppose I do alright for an amateur. Theres a proper stone mason just did a job for an aquaintance of mine nearby,superb workmanship,just like your own. Beautifull work.  As for the fish, Koi are nice but expensive and there are a lot of Heron in this area and aren't shy about visiting the tiniest pond in the most built up urbun area for a feed either. So I generally stick to goldfish.  Lot of domestic cats around here too .  I used to keep native river minnows and sticklebacks .Sticklebacks are fascinating wee fish to watch. I'll be starting to the new pond shortly.

As for the wood-in-cement tracklaying method,works fine as long as drainage is good. Otherwise frost-heave in winter could be problematic.