Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Plans and more Plans

It has been a funny first half of a year. Whilst the Winter months were busy with work Spring was focussed on family and improvements at Elder Cottage, particularly in the garden.

That is quite significant for the Eaugate Light Railway, because as our plans become more concrete for the garden so do the plans for the extensions, and revisions, of the 7 1/4".

One of our local crafters made this rustic version of Elder Cottage
The trees on the left of the photo have now gone.
You can see how close to the house and the overhead cables they were

In the short term the biggest change is that we've taken out several of the mature self-seeded trees that had grown alongside the house, and the old apple trees a third of the way up the garden.

Now I normally hate having to have trees cut down, but I salve my conscience with the fact that we are still to count all the trees on our land, and the long term plans involve more suitable replacements.

The sycamores and elders were stealing light from one of the rooms, their roots were in danger of causing structural problems and their branches were dangerously close to overhead cables. It is pure coincidence that they also formed a major barrier to extending the line down that side of the house.

With them out of the way we can now plan what will be a short but significant new section of track that will eventually lead both to additional wood storage areas and a road-accessible terminus. The trees will be replaced by native hedging. One thing that is already clear is that I need to alter the alignment of the last 5m of the "tramway" section, so I'm glad I made the decision to lay the tramway as temporary track.

It was a tough choice deciding whether or not to remove the apple trees. They were very productive, in fact far too much so, giving us a massive glut of fruit and a major problem clearing away windfalls each Autumn. Visually we also found them a major barrier to us even beginning to imagine our vision for the garden. That eventual vision will obviously have a big impact on the big extension to the ELR and its eventual route to the garden office. The apple trees will be replaced by a more manageable and diverse mini-orchard as part of the redesign, which will also let us remove some of the other fruit trees that have also grown out of hand.

We are hoping to have the garden office built by the end of the year, and that will also give me more space for a modelling workshop and a more permanent layout. It is odd thinking about returning to 4mm standard gauge after what has been a four-year gap, but that is a story for another day.

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