Saturday, 14 September 2013

Planting for a 00 Garden Railway.

My garden railway has been built based on the principle that it will blend in with the garden, and the trains running on it will "look right". It would be impractical to add 00 scale scenery as I would with an indoor layout, so it is important to choose the right vegetation around the railway.

The first place I looked was in the "Alpines" section of the garden centre. The plants in this section are generally small and slow-growing, so they shouldn't dwarf the trains, and shouldn't require too much maintenance. One of the early finds is described below.

Arenaria balearica is a low, spreading plant with tiny leaves. It flowers on short stems in early summer, and retains its leaves all year. It likes well-drained soil, sun or part shade, and is  drought-resistant. It is ideal for providing ground cover close to ground-level trackwork, reducing the chance of earth splashing over the rails when it rains.

Arenaria balearica
I have just found this post sitting waiting patiently as a "draft post". Although it is a bit shorter than originally intended, it might be useful to someone, so her it is! Perhaps I will continue the topic in a later post.

Monday, 9 September 2013


One of this summer's activities has been to add a bit of scenic interest to the sections of railway not integrated with the real garden. This means, principally, adding fencing, telegraph poles and other items on the raised sections along the railway fence and the neighbours' fence. Having just completed a post on the recent viaduct construction work, I realised I had nowhere mentioned this scenic work done at the opposite end of the railway. So here are a few pictures.

A 4MT 2-6-0 approaches the tunnel around a banked curve.

New fencing is visible to the right of the picture.

Approaching a farm occupation crossing.

A vertical pole shows that the curves really are banked.

Bridge over a (to date) imaginary river

73001 runs light past one of the "new" telegraph poles.
The tomatoes are doing well!

"Tornado" races along a newly-fenced section of track.

On the curve from the tunnel to the railway straight.

An evening auto-train stops at the halt.

More fences and poles.

Who left that gate open?!!

The 7.10pm Bath - Templecombe on 5th March 1966?


Completing the Circuit

It has always been part of the long-term plan to provide a complete circuit by extending the track across the lawn, through the rose bed, and through a shed behind the clothes-drying area and greenhouse to meet the existing track by the neighbours' fence. This was agreed in principle by the Garden Planning Authority (GPA)*, subject to a number of conditions:
  • The lawn crossing must not impede mowing, other forms of gardening, garden parties, access to outbuildings (sheds), or any other current garden activity.
  • The route through the rose bed must be sympathetic with the cosmetic and artistic needs of the garden, and must not impede planting and maintenance activities.
  • It must be possible still to use the clothes-drying area for its intended purpose.
  • Any broken or unsightly fence panels exposed by ground clearance must be rectified. 
  • Detailed designs must be discussed and agreed with the GPA prior to implementation. Aspects to be considered will include appearance, practicality, maintenance requirements, and effect on other garden users.
The design complies with these requirements by means of the following features:
  • The lawn is crossed by a multi-arch viaduct (loosely based on Glenfinnon, Shepton Mallett and similar). This includes a 6-foot long section which is easily removable. The viaduct traces a graceful curve in sympathy with the garden.
  • The route through the rose bed has been agreed. Several roses have been transplanted to a better locations, and "sacrosanct" plants identified.
  • The clothes dryer has been moved forward to make room for a 6' deep shed while remaining screened from the house by the trellis.
  • Three panels and one post of the neighbour's fence have been replaced, and the remainder painted.
A first trial assembly of viaduct components.

First tentative steps onto the lawn.

New fence panels behind the site of the still-to-be-built shed.
Optimising the route.
The lawn is crossed!
Marking the route through the rose bed.
First passenger train (on temporary rails).
Another trial train.

A Dragonfly checks out the new additions.

The viaducts with painting under way.
A panoramic view. The removable section is still in white primer.

*  The current composition of the Garden Planning Authority (GPA) is as follows: Chairman; co-opted as required. Display and horticultural authority; Penny. Technical authority (non-horticultural); me. Consultants; Jan and Gerald.