Phew!!! you and me both, I have been hooked on this all morning waiting for the next episode. I don't do ride-on railways but the construction and development of this has had me completely engrossed.
There is something much more satisfying about your hands-on approach which I certainly applaud, mechanical diggers may be quicker but create other damage which contractors are unlikely to restore afterwards. Also, 'outsiders' don't have your vision of what you are trying to achieve and compromises become inevitable.
Excellent stuff..... ready for more now!
I doubt the 'management' would be agreeable to the work from the outset if that was known?
The main reason for doing all the groundwork manually is that, while I have had occasional few days help from friends, I have largely been building gradually on my own.
I had kind of expected the basic loop to take 18 months - 2 years (in reality an increase in free time due to lockdown has sped this up a little).
I did consider hiring a minidigger for a weekend and getting all the hard dirt shifting done in one go; but this would have left an ugly scar all the way around the garden while I caught up with construction.
By digging and building gradually, I have been able to "finish" each section before breaking ground on the next. This has kept the majority of the garden presentable as the railhead has slowly crept forward.
This has now been made much more presentable using a good number of potted plants (delivered by rail naturally):
DSC_0204 by simon mace, on Flickr
The front of the station area has been clad with landscaping sleepers, and the existing gravel area extended to do away with the small strip of grass.
Here it all is seen from an upstairs window:
DSC_0172_1593025688546 by simon mace, on Flickr
Footings for more trestle pillars were then dug and more concrete poured:
DSC_0199 by simon mace, on Flickr
Onto which more sleepers were placed, on edge this time and screwed together (with spacer blocks):
DSC_0200_1588964290910 by simon mace, on Flickr
And track laid on top:
DSC_0202 by simon mace, on Flickr
The idea here is to keep the track itself as non-intrusive as possible, while re-planting the more luxurious plants from around the garden.
I think it has been quite effective
DSC_0201_1589044108855 by simon mace, on Flickr
My job is mainly desk based and leaves me with endless aches and pains so to then attempt that amount of digging and manual labour at the weekend would leave me very broken for Monday morning!
Next time you steam the Wren up at home it would be good to see some video of it running with passing shots along the railway.
I will try and get some better video of Jynn at some point, but I am usually too engrossed in running it to film much (i have run a few steam powered ballast trains, but it is hopelessley inefficient trying to be both labourer and engine driver!).
Train services were recently disrupted by a heavily pregnant wild rabbit:
DSC_0201 by simon mace, on Flickr
Although the offspring seem pretty happy in the garden, and do their bit to help with the mowing:
DSC_0205 by simon mace, on Flickr
Basically it was begun as one of a pair (alongside the green one pictured previously), but never progressed beyond a bolier / frames / rough machined castings.
It then sat unfinished for some years, until the green one needed some fairly heavy rebuilding. By then the original builder was getting older, and used the part-built engine as payment to have the green loco professionally repaired.
I then bought the collection of bits, and had south west steam finish it for me.
This meant I could make certain choices on the details (it has two injectors and a welded tank for example). It also has quite a bit of cnc machined stainless steel in it - very modern!
I did all of the painting work, but cannot take any credit for the build itself.
The following pictures show the trackbed developing through the front garden:
DSC_0190 by simon mace, on Flickr
DSC_0189 by simon mace, on Flickr
DSC_0199_1589748829934 by simon mace, on Flickr
DSC_0201_1589748829455 by simon mace, on Flickr
DSC_0210 by simon mace, on Flickr
_20200523_164504 by simon mace, on Flickr
DSC_0211 by simon mace, on Flickr
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