This page last updated: 14
In May 2014 I decided that I needed a front garden
railway. I don't have much of a front garden, at most 3.5
metres by 5.5 metres and with a 0.5 metre slope across the short
dimension. But I didn't have anywhere else to put a
railway and so it needed to be done. The space is so small
that realistic curves are impossible however I did want to run
real steam so I commissioned Roger Melton of Just The Ticket
railway supplies in Salisbury to build me a Gauge One (i.e. 45
mm track spacing, with an accepted scale of 1 metre == 30 mm)
loco that would fit. And, of course, it had to be a 0-6-2T
tank engine of the type that would have run on the Rhymney
Valley line in South Wales in 1964, the year I was born.
In discussion with the secretary of the Welsh Railways Research Circle
I determined that the "native" 0-6-2T engines of the Rhymney
Valley line, with the flat-topped tanks, as seen in the Rhymney
Valley line books, were all withdrawn by the mid 1950s so the
engines that would have been running on that line in 1964 would
be ex-GWR 0-6-2T 56xx
series engines, in BR colours, with slanted-top tanks.
Roger said he couldn't commit to a timescale, so the engine
has been in the making for a little while. Provided it
will go around the tight radii I don't mind. Now that he's
not far off completion it is time for me to begin work.
Below find my front garden railway diary, starting with the things I did in the years
of waiting and then the clearing
of the space. Updates on progress are then in chronological
order, most recent at the top.
The water tower will allow me to actually refill my engine from it (fitting a plastic hose between the filler pipe and the up-pipe and running a hose from the up-pipe at the base to a supply tank); the trackside hut will be a nice simple first kit to build.
After a few hours each over a few weekends spent with pick-axe
and fork, and as many trips to the dump, the front garden is
cleared. The large stones were saved to one side and five frogs,
one toad, one bumble bee and a newt were rehoused.
Fortunately there is good soil right down to pavement level,
which gives me lots of room to get imaginative with a river I
have in mind. Now I will leave it over winter, covered to
avoid any unwelcome growth.
As I've been waiting for the engine for a little while, the
front garden has become somewhat overgrown. So I've begun
by clearing it; excuse the statement of political allegiance, I
took the "before" photo in the run-up to a general election.
While I've been waiting for the engine I began a plan
X2. This is just a rough idea, laid out using Peco
G45 track (which I have also bought), and doesn't take into
account the position of the yew tree. The inner oval is
not part of the implementation, it is simply a standard oval of
Peco G45 track for visual reference (since I can set such an
oval set up in the loft).
Also, while visiting a model railway show in Bishops
Stortford, I came across a chap who made station signs; I had
one made (we live on Victoria Avenue):