Large Scale Central

Build Log, Babs River Railway


Well since I began collecting parts and pieces and since I has some un wanted spare time I started for actual building of the walls to support my railroad. Work began on or about the week of the 1st of August, and since this is Arizona, progress is slow and not even steady. Summer in AZ is wicked hot in June and half of July , then we get our so called Monsoon season, still wicked hot 110* plus days with a chance of a large Thunderstorm, with big wind, dust and sometimes hail, which leads to the following days being hot and really humid. So I picked the worst time of the year to be outside, but doing an hour or 2 then going inside I was able to get some work done.

Excuse #1 for not getting more done.

My daughter and her family moved at the end of June about 13 miles away. no real biggie, but they have a desert tortise, and the new home has to have a suitable habitat made for Mr T before he can be located. Since I just bought 3 pallets of wall blocks we walled off part of our yard to keep MrT from getting to an Oleander bush( toxic to him) and the pool, ( drowning hazard). This has halted progress for the time being as they need some time to get his new digs ready. He has dug a burrow under a bush and seems happy with his surroundings

Not completely accurate, but close to the final idea, North on the top of the drawing, house is on the right, walls are brown,all the yellow is ground level, railroad height is to be around 16-18", with the red rectangles being some kind of foot path to get to the interior portion, without worrying about stepping on track. TBD later

This is from the west side, looking east. All the wall blocks here were the orginal wall on the left side that ran the full length of the back yard. there are enough to make this whole section of wall 4 blocks high, about 16"

From the pool, looking west. The block sitting near the wing of the biplane is the interior wall . The wall from the pillar of the Patio to the west wall is the seperator wall to keep Mr T away from the pool and the just removed large Oleander by the pile of blocks

I started to lay the interior wall but soon realized, I have them facing the wrong way, OOPS. The area from the wall to the backwards facing blocks will be filled and a rather large mountain will suddenly appear. To accomplish this,Right down in front all of these blocks will be removed again when dirt time comes, so that wheelbarrows can come inside. The wall blocks on the right side will become the wall along the Sago palms

Saturday my 10yr old grandson Eli came over to “help”, we were busy and forgot to take a picture of him out there. He is in Scouts, so this will go towards a model railroading merit badge. I say “Help” because after about 20 minutes his fertile mind started wandering to what buildings SHOULD go on the Railroad( an Airport, because I like planes) a Mt Dogmore for his dogs, and our other grandkids dogs, and the list goes on

Inside the viewing area All around the other side of the blocks will be filled in, ( Thats a LOT of fill dirt to move), the boulders will also be moved to on top of the layout somewhere, so 2 moves for them. The plants to the left will unfortunatly be dug up, as they are probably too old to be transplanted. HArd clay soil and tons of river rocks

Looking north from the tortise side of the world, this is as far as we got before it got too hot., and grandsons attention span was shot too.

So with a 10yr old ideas flew and he really wanted to create something we retired to the garage with the idea(his) to build a water tower. I had 2 of these old solar lanterns sitting around and he spotted one. about 45 minutes later this was the results, look better than I thought it would. Thinking of making it a lookout /observation tower witha walkway around it, and some stairs.

Very nice start! (

Nice work Pete. So from the town of Tortoise Haven you bypass Mt. Dogsmoore to get to the yard area in Relax which appears to be a dead end. Am I with you so far ? (

Better lay some pipe now or you’ll have a monsoon pool in the inner walkway! A couple three, 3" pipes should keep it drained.(

I’m thinking you’ll want it to drain outside your layout … before you get the wall too high…


Ohhhh water letter outers ! (

Sean McGillicuddy said:

Ohhhh water letter outers ! (

Thanks Sean, I had a senior moment and couldn’t remember the technickle name.

Scuppers, John is what I know them as, and yeah that is something I had not consideered… yet. Thanks

David I think you have it lined out just right

Scuppers are found aboard ships. The term we are all reaching for is…

Drum roll, please.



I waited for it to rain ,and were the water collected , is where I put the water letter outers !

scuppers are used in house construction to, mainly for flat roof and patio drainage. Here is AZ we have a lot of flat roofs (rooves?) and to hide the mechanicals the roof has a low wall and scuppers to let the water out. And the picture shows why I do not use culverts, never seen a scupper look like that one. Of course the rain we have here is short lived and will probably drain on its own rather quickly. I get puddles where the rain comes off the patio, and it is mostly gone in a couple of hours

Is this what happens when the truck is in the shop? Nice start. The block work is gonna look great.

Yes Devon, and now that it (the truck) is out … and I am out of income incoming, It will all be on hold for a month or so, unless I find some lottery money.

The temporary tortoise housing has been re arranged, MrT is now in his new permanent digs and back with his family, the weather has cooled off (from 100’s to upper 90"s YAY lol).Well, you all have heard the old saying work smarter, not harder. Evidently I had not heard of that one until a few days ago. This picture is looking to the north from the side of the house. The wall for the inner viewing area is all built and sharp eyes will notice that a large boulder that will go somewhere on the layout is sitting in the viewing area. Dang it ! since it weighs several hundred pounds, it and the other 2 which are also outside of their wall will have to have some walls taken down to roll them to near their final (I sure hope) resting spots. The rubble under the level is bricks that were the borders for the grass and will now be used to build a wall around the tree. A lot of time chipping of the mortar off the brick to re use them is in my future. The wall at the bottom of the picture is short about 126 (1pallet) of blocks, so another trip to Lowes is in the future soon.

Below: While I was gone over a weekend, that following Monday is our bulk trash pickup, so to take advantage of that, SWMBO, our daughter and our 2 grandkids came over and cut down the other Oleander, and other bushes that were in the way of progress. they did a great job and on a warm day they worked hard and got everything down. So now it is about time for some other little details, some landscape fabric behind the blocks and then it will be time to order some dirt. Now 2 things #1 I need all of you to let me know when it will be best to order the dirt so you all can come help move it, Shovels will be provided. #2 I have to plan to be out of town that week LOL. The estimate from counting squares on my graph paper and the landscape company is about 50 tons of fill dirt will be needed! I will probably do this step over the whole winter. More to come.

If you have any plans to enlarge in the future, buy your bricks now. The odds of matching go way up the longer between jobs.

Small… really small enlargement may happen if we get a different shed in the area behind where I a standing in the pictures. this block is a pretty generic and the tan still matches the 20 year old block from the original wall, so I do not think it will be much of a problem.

I thought so too, but 7-8 years later the only matching colors were a smaller brick, only needed 3. (

Pete Lassen said:

The wall for the inner viewing area is all built and sharp eyes will notice that a large boulder that will go somewhere on the layout is sitting in the viewing area. Dang it !



How will one get into the viewing area?


Lou Luczu said:

How will one get into the viewing area?

According to the “napkin sketch” at the beginning of the thread-

“railroad height is to be around 16-18”, with the red rectangles being some kind of foot path to get to the interior portion, without worrying about stepping on track. TBD later."

A pogo stick would be a whole lot more challenging.