As I explained on the “Our Own Railway “ page, the new garden was very steeply sloping and after many sketches of possible track layouts, in such a large garden, I got very confused and overwhelmed by the huge number possibilities. One thing we appreciated from Brian Jensen’s garden railway, was his “steam-up” pit, where we could attend our loco’s at waist height.
At some point I realised that I could have a “pit” without actually digging one, by building the railway up to a comfortable height at the lower part of the garden, and then laying the track from that point, up the left hand side of the garden and then across the top edge of the garden. So I picked a starting point built a stone wall approx 90 cm high at it’s maximum height. Not so easy as stones in Denmark are mainly roundish, boulder like objects. The wall was built in a “U” shape.
Approximately 1.5 metres inside the wall, posts were placed and wooden planks attached on the side of the posts facing the wall. This was to retain the earth which was used to fill in between the wall and the wall. Plastic sheeting was attached to the planks to protect them from the damp earth. The wall, planking and filling in with earth was the hardest part of the whole undertaking.
The wall ended up being 9 metres long on the sloping side, and 5 metres wide. Track laying was started in late March 2005. We laid out the track in the main station area, and then started laying it up towards the top left hand side of the garden. The gradient from the station gently increases until it rises 2 cm for every metre in length. Even at this gradient, when we reached the top left hand corner of the garden, we realised that, even imitating the Darjeeling, we would very soon be building an underground railway if we were to continue to the top of the garden. So a new plan was devised, the track would go across the lawn to an overgrown flower bed in the middle of the lawn. My wife had promised that we would have a steam day in the beginning of May, so we laid track in a loop and eventually linked it to the track from the main station (Welton Station).
I was injured in a traffic accident whilst on holiday in July 2005, so I was not able to think about doing any more work on the railway from that point, until the early summer of 2006. We extended the railway across the lawn, and down one side of the overgrown flower bed to a point above the pond. The flower bed was widened and raised. The lower end of this flower bed is the site for Puffin Bay station. It was hard work, as some of the lawn had to be dug up, and this took sometime as with a damaged knee I can really only dig by sitting on ground with a trowel, so when anyone asked what I had been doing, I was able to say I had been sitting in the garden ! :-D
We held a steam day at the beginning of August 2006. During the spring and early summer of 2007 we managed to build stage 3 (shown in blue, below). During 2007 a turnout was added just after the curve from Welton station and two sidings have been added. Nothing was really done in 2008, just some re-ballasting of the track and the addition of a loop from Welton Junction, past Castle View Halt and back to Welton Junction, to facilitate the people who prefer running around and around instead of end to end. At the moment the railway is lacking buildings and atmosphere, we are working on that ! A cottage kit has been purchased from Lineside Delights, along with some signals. An Accucraft Lynton & Barnstable “Lyn” Loco has arrived at the motive power dept. and a coal fired 0-4-0 is under construction. A secondhand Regner Lumber Jack loco was added to the loco roster in August 2008.
In April 2009, the Lineside Delights cottage kit was completed, and placed by the side of the curve between Welton Junction and Puffin Bay. Alterations were made to the track plan, the number of tracks in the Welton station area were reduced, there is now only one track with a run around loop at the station, the single track on the other side of the platform is the Bay Platform for holding shorter trains that are ready for departure. A station building is being created from a “Breeze Block”. An extra siding was added to the original siding which runs from what is now the Bay platform and around the bottom of the station layout. The sidings will serve a small factory.
In May 2009, the engine shed was removed from it’s original location near the buffer stops at Welton Station, the track was removed and the engine shed relocated to the bottom left hand side of the operating pit and 2 sidings were added to the original. The two sidings to the left of Welton engine shed will be used as steaming bays, and a small ramshackle building is planned to be built over the end of these two sidings and will be the maintenance shed. A design for the extension of the railway from stage 3 has now been settled, and work has now been started on building the stone walling for the area incorporating stages 4 and 5. The area of Tumbly Down Station will be 60 cm above ground level, giving a comfortable height for tending locomotives. Stage 5 will be at a higher level than stage 4, which means that Stanton Magna station will also be at a comfortable height, as the ground level is lowest at Tumbly Down Station and rises quite a bit as one moves towards the track of stage 3. Hopefully this track layout will give plenty of scope for running a number of trains at one time during a steam day, and varied operation when operated by one or a couple of people.
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