I decided that I would start building the railway on the left hand side of the garden approximately halfway up the lawn. I couldn’t build it any further down as the slope would make the gradient impossible. I had decided to build the main terminus station here with access to the station, platforms and sidings from the lawn and from inside the wall. This would give me a comfortable operating height, but I would still be able to have a ground level line further up the garden. The wall project was started in August 2004 and was finished about 4 weeks later. We had accumulated a fair amount of stone of differing sizes and these were cemented in place.
The end of the wall is 5 metres wide and some 9 metres long. When the wall was finished we started moving earth from a huge pile we had left over from when the workshop/garden shed was built. The plan was to fill in to a width of 1.2 metres from the wall, and hold the earth in place with planking. This would leave a nice operating area in the middle where 2 people could easily pass each other.
The photo to the right shows the general idea. This was how far I had reached by the end of September 2004. Unfortunately by this time I developed tennis elbow in both arms and was forced to stop work on the project. This was a blow as Ro had promised the others in our garden railway club that we would hold a steam up in May 2005.
By March 2005 we started panicking as there was only approximately 8-9 weeks before the steam up. We built the earth retaining planking and started frantically moving earth at every opportunity. Luckily Denmark holds a number of holy days in the spring, so I had a few days holiday from work.
We also had some nice dry weather, so work progressed really well. We were slaving away approximately 10 hours a day. The earth we were filling in with, was not very good quality, it was full of weeds, stinging nettles and ground elder. We tried to remove as many roots as possible when we were loading the earth into the wheel barrel, but many escaped ! To try to prevent the remaining weeds from getting control of the railway, we covered the bad quality earth with 2 layers of thick cardboard, and covered that with approximately 10 centimetres of top soil. Then came the long awaited moment of laying out and positioning of the track for the station.
The priorities for the station were, that it should have 3 platforms to accommodate 5-6 coach trains , run around facilities and a good comfortable area for preparing and steaming the locos. The photo on the right shows me trying all combinations of track and turnouts in an attempt to achieve my goal. Eventually, the track layout was sorted out, and I started laying the track. As I have mentioned else where, the track of my first railway was laid in cement mixed with small gravel. This time I did not want the hassle of losing track if I wanted to alter something, or worse MOVE HOUSE ! Peco “G” scale track was used. To keep it in place I used my usual method of each section of track being screwed to two 35cm pegs banged into the ground to hold the track in place. After a few months the track weathers and is able to maintain curves without the pegs. The trackbed is coarse granite chippings topped off with a ballast of fine granite chippings. One problem with using this ballast is that the station area and approaches are close to trees, so this autumn has given me plenty of work removing dead leaves before they rot and and get worked into the ballast. The track from the station throat and up the garden and around the return loop is laid on old bricks from the demolition of our old shed. This was done to help keep the weeds in the ground below the track from growing through the track and also to save on the granite ballast which was beginning to disappear at an alarming rate.
It was also done as an experiment to see how stable it would be. The track was screwed to pegs as usual and was 0.5cm to 1cm above the bricks the gap was filled with granite ballast. This is not so pleasing to look at, as the gravel gradually washes off the bricks leaving them exposed
An experimental section laid on bricks. 3 years later,this turned out to be a very stable base.
(Above) Our cat snowy waiting for a train. This is on the loop and where she is sitting is the future site of Castle View Halt. The loop has not been ballasted in this photo.
The view of the finished station area. The area between the runaround loops which is labelled as platforms 2 & 3 had the platform laid in cement in the spring of 2006. Also, added in 2006 was a headshunt and siding along side the right hand supporting planks as far as the entrance to the “pit”. A a turnout just after the top left hand corner of the layout allows access to the “mainline”. The siding is positioned from the end of the arrow showing the site for goods yard, and straight back towards the mainline as it curves around the top left hand corner of the layout. I think another siding will be added in the near future.....(written in June 2008).
Before starting this account of the construction of stage 2, I had better just add an account of how stage 1 fared during the winter of 2005- 2006. In early spring 2006, it was noted that the track in the Welton station area was “hovering” approximately 2 centimetres above the ballast. The wooden stakes had been pushed up by the frost. The flexi-track had stiffened up nicely and kept its form on the curves, so I decided to remove the stakes and let the track sit on the ballast. At the time of writing (November 2006), this was not a bad decision as the track has not moved at all. There was more subsidence in the steam up area at Welton, so in order to save ballast, I filled in with some sand and topped it off with a 2 centimetre layer of ballast. NOT a good idea !!! The sand worked its way to the top.
The whole of the Welton station and yard had remained free from weeds for a year, within 4 weeks of adding the sand, weeds had started growing from the sand. What did suprise me after the winter, was that the frost and snow DID NOT play havoc with the section of track which had been laid on bricks. Admittedly, alot of the ballast was washed away, and the bricks were not a nice sight, but the track sat perfectly and needed no attention throughout the whole section. Due to this, it was decided to lay the track on bricks when building section 2. Time will tell if this is a good idea or not. The original brick foundation section, had bricks laid on edge on each side, these were removed and instead I laid a dry mix of cement, sand and ballast along the sides of the track, 2-3 centimetres deep to keep the loose ballast between the bricks and track, in place. this was also adopted when building stage 2 (see bottom of the page for photos).
We got started on the construction of stage 2 in the “grand plan” during the spring of 2006. This was rather daunting, as I was hampered by a damaged knee which I has sustained whilst on holiday in the summer of 2005. Some of the lawn needed digging up to enable the track bed to extend across the lawn to a flower bed and then down the edge of the flower bed to the pond. At the pond there was to be a station, which would be raised above ground level, and this necessitated the building of another wall and a fair bit of earth shifting to fill it in. Quite a lot of work to which I owe Ro a great deal of thanks for all the hard work she did to help me !
Ro managed to dig up the bit of lawn that needed to be removed, and I spent most of my time sitting on the ground, removing as much earth as possible from the lumps of turf. Then rather awkwardly, I managed to start laying the track. It had been decided to build a passing station (Welton Junction) where the railway crossed the lawn, as this would be a level piece of ground. The “Grand Plan” was slightly changed, and it was decided to make Welton Junction station a double passing station. This way 2 trains could run on the line between Welton and Puffin Bay, and pass at the junction. At the same time 2 trains could be running between Welton and Tumbly Down and also pass at the junction. So Welton Junction has become a fairly large 3 platform station, with accommodation for 4 trains, up to 5 bogie coaches in length.
The dry ballast mix laid along the edge of the bricks and track shown on the left side, and with granite chippings sprinkled over it on the left.
After fixing the track to raised wooden stakes at Welton Junction, a wall was built at the pond and up the left side of the flower bed with the help of a friend. Earth was filled in, and the track was again fixed to raised stakes. Just before entering Puffin Bay station, a lefthand turnout will allow trains to miss the station and continue across the flower bed and then up to the future site of Tumbly Down Station and also to connect back to the upper platforms at Welton Junction. Puffin Bay station has a short siding, a runaround loop and one platform. The station building is under construction (Nov. 2006) from a Model Town resin kit. A larger Model Town station building is planned for Welton junction. Other work finished was the addition of 3 sidings on the approach to Welton station and the missing island platform at Welton station. Luckily all the trackwork of stage 2 was finished by our steam-up on August 5th 2006. Now comes stage 3 in 2007, and a sllightly altered “Grand Plan”!
Puffin Bay station. The dry mix has been applied and ballast sprinkled over it and levelled, now it it needs is a good soaking with a fine spray from the garden hose, then covering with boards and plastic sheeting to keep in the moisture to allow it to slowly set.
The newly laid track from Welton Junction to Puffin Bay station area.
The nearly completed site of Puffin Bay station. The unfinished track to the left of the platform is the line up to Tumbly Down station that hopefully will be finished in 2007 as a part of stage 3.
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