Monday, 11 January 2016

Ahead of Schedule.

It isn't often that I complete something ahead of my self imposed schedule.  However thanks to some hard work by a step daughter's construction worker boyfriend this weekend saw the often threatened great leap forward completed. Well nearly.

Dan's conservatism saw him dig a rather deeper trench for the trackbed than I'd planned for, with the result that we ran out of ballast to bed the track down into, but we did have enough to produce a roughly level trackbed capable of supporting and draining the track, though not sufficient to retain it in place, I suspect.

After he'd finished ballasting I took over track laying, which was delayed slightly both by a cat who kept sitting on the rail joints and the slipping belt clutch on Teddy slipping rather too much as the drive belt wore in. Fixing that was my first experience of removing the combined engine and dynamo unit from the frame. That is one of the clever design features that not only simplifies maintenance but also means one person can lift the loco into and out of a car boot.

Ballast is 20mm limestone laid to a depth of around 80mm on a really decent weed proof membrane - a lesson learnt from a 16mm  line that used a less robust variety, 

Teddy is hiding under the old BBQ Cover. A siding might eventually lead off to the other side of the hut as a storage siding. The "engine shed" is in the background and still doesn't have a rail connection.

The line terminates at the gate on a side road, used solely for dog/cat walking sorties.

Late on Monday evening track laying reached the other end of the line. I wouldn't run the loco with the coupling bar in place like it is here, I was just keeping it safe before turning Teddy to face the other way - a task accomplished with the aid of a culinary lazy susan. I haven't had a chance to do much running because the step daughter  hasn't learnt how to use a petrol gauge so Teddy's petrol supply ended up disappearing into her car so she could get back to civilisation.

In theory this is the way ahead, but I'm beginning to have a rethink, not least because between here and the ash trees is the greatest change of level in the garden and to go straight on is going to need earthworks whilst not  adding  much utility to the line. Instead I might curve it round to the right  and then cross the drive to the other side of the garden where the main station is eventually planned to be.


  1. It's all looking very good James. And you are right about using really good quality membrane. The cheap stuff is useless for any purpose.

    Best wishes.


  2. James,

    You might consider using a layer of smaller sharp ballast over the top of the 20mm stuff. I lay my 45mm gauge track like this and it is very firm.

    Still envious of your scheme!



    1. Richard, I'm going to see how I get on with 20mm. It has been recommended on three counts: It locks the sleepers in space (the PnP sleepers are hollow for that purpose), it is less susceptible to a build up of soil, and less likely to jam in the rail web and cause a derailment. 20mm for 7 1/4" gauge is, of course, relatively much smaller than 10mm for 45mm gauge

      Having said that I'm keeping an open mind, and I did consider 10mm. I might experiment.