First time Seeking Advice
I am pretty new to this hobby. My dad had HO scale stuff as a child, and I have an extensive Lego collection. I also have some N-Scale and HO models/track. Model trains is not new to me.
I have read most of the articles on www.familygardentrains.com as well as http://www.elmassian.com/ and http://www.girr.org/girr/. I watched the British series on making a Garden Railway as well.
I am looking for any/all advice tips and ideas on the project I want to set out. I am still in the planning stages but at this point have a good phase one plan for my yard.
I live in Seattle, WA.
The trains I plan to run are both USA Trains engines. One is http://www.usatrains.com/usatrainslocogp38.html and one is http://www.usatrains.com/usatrainslocosd70.html.
I have purchased a loop of track, some track at a yard sale and both engines I plan to run on my track. The loop of track is LGB code 332 and the yardsale track is a mix of both LGB code 332 and Sunset Valley code 250. It includes the rail clamps to swap switch between. The ties for the code 250 is the USA style (or mainline vs narrow/euro).
Chosen Track Type:
I mostly plan to go with USA Trains track and mostly preformed curves. The track is code 332. I like the look of it and the simplicity of install. The LGB track I ordered was 8 foot radius and will be my indoor test track when I need to test. While the engines I bought work on 8 foot, I don't feel they look good on it and all advice I have read says bigger is better. I also do not like the fact that bigger pieces of LGB include couplers and gaps in the ties.
I will probably end up going with rail clamps for keeping the track together.
I plan to go the PVC route with railbed from RailClamps. http://www.railclamp.com/ . Portland is pretty close and I like the looks of the product, its looks like it hold up to weather and its easy to be modified. I have a few test pieces that I have been playing with to get an idea for the installation method.
I plan to raise it at least 1 foot at the lowest point though I am still considering 2 feet.
The track would all be installed first and have the trains running. Landscaping would come later and slowly over time as I figure out what I want to do at the various parts of the track.
The proposed layout:
I measured and modeled my yard in some CAD software and then used an image overlay carefully scaled properly in SCARM to layout the track.
In the picture below the "Red" areas represent existing wood chips. This would change eventually based on how I landscape it. The green part is where my house exists (it continues on down the bottom of the image). The black outline represents the fence/property. There is a rather deep rain garden on the right that came with the house. It is made with conrete blocks. The space to the left is likely where I will put both my train yard some day, and a shed of sorts to house the trains, with appropriate locks and security. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any nice way to drive them into my garage which is at the front of the house.