Large Scale Central

Just the begining

Back in January we actually had a nice day and there was no snow on the ground! So I laid out some of the track I had been purchasing to get an idea of how things would look. I had to run a train just to see if it would go, and I ended up running for an hour. lol.
I will try and take pictures as I start construction. My roofers left today and the gutter guys are coming this weekend. So, weather permitting I will start construction of my new railroad in a couple weeks!

It looks like you have a nice start and a good space, and I really like that you went right ahead and started running trains immediately, really sweet! I don’t often get to see a layout started from the very beginning…I hope you’ll keep updating with pictures as you go along. Good luck.

p.s…that aluminum track might give you trouble, especially if you’re using track power and not onboard power.

I would advise anyone who is thinking about building a layout to do exactly what Matt has done. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing better than to actually see the train running. My “Just Do It” layout was quite a bit uglier and I never ended up using that area, but it got me moving in the right direction…

I have to agree. My first layout consisted of an oval of track set up in the driveway, just to get things going. Then I started doing the same thing in different parts of the yard, just to get an idea of what I wanted and where I’d like to place it.

YA! looks way diff. on the ground as to on paper (Napkin) :wink:

Thanks everybody! I actually added more track after that picture. It extends further behind the yard barn and came closer to the house where I was standing. I originally was going to run battery power, that’s why there is a mix of aluminum and brass aristo craft track. I’ve since changed my mind and I’m sticking with track power. Now I just need to pick a track type.(I made a post over in the track section)

I had several plans sketched out. None of which I cared for. Much easier and way more fun to start just start laying it out.

Thanks again!

Matt I did the same things when I first started. Get some track down and run trains. You can expand from their.


Shawn (napkin builder) Viggiano said:

Matt I did the same things when I first started. Get some track down and run trains. You can expand from their.


I would have thought you would have started with a napkin sketch!

Lol that was before the napkin days. I think I used some chalk on my walkway haha.

A feature of many garden railways in the UK seems to be almost dumbbell shaped and relegated to one side of the back yard. I saw one or two like that and decided the better thing, for me, was to lay track around the edges of the existing garden.

As my back garden is well establishes and family wishes had also to be considered, I decided to lay the track amidst the plants and bushes. I laid the track in much the same manner, only on a much smaller scale, that the 1:1 railways laid their ROW.

Plants and bushes do add interest and helps camouflage the real size of smaller back yard railways. I have never needed to re-align anywhere and just laid a couple of extensions (yards) as the life of the railway progressed. A good, firm base and decent track should give reliable operations.

Get R done, well it’s never done! I also subscribe to the “just do it” philosophy. Similar to writing a song, it will let you know where it wants to go as it is being created.

I had a plan, and the track plan worked out very much like on paper, it is the 3D scenes that kind of evolve and are envisioned once things are in place.

I started February 9, 2013, and have a facebook photo album of the whole process from the start. the link is in my signature. Document the progress!

Matt don’t forget that you will need to cut grass and otherwise move around your yard and your track could get in the way. What if that fence needed repair? Is there enough room inbetween the track and fence? I don’t like people stepping over my track and trains. As you are planning and laying out your right of way don’t forget to leave access for maintenance and if you will have switches consider how they will be thrown. I like to follow my trains around using a Aristo train engineer remote. I will send a train on its way and meet it down back to either drop off or pick up a few cars. Be sure you can easily reach your switches and couplers comfortably.
Another thing that makes a train seem more real is to have it disappear from view like it is going somewhere. I often lose trains when I’m running more than one or if I’m doing a bit of yard work while a train is running. A little mystery is a good thing. You can do this with foliage, a tunnel, or send it behind your shed. You could send the train through your shed! it would be a good place to park a train VS carrying 2 pieces at a time from your house.

It looks like you have a good space there, I’m looking forward to seeing what you will be doing.

Mike, I’ve seen your videos! That is really, REALLY cool!!

Todd, I’m building a raised bed along the fence and around. Probably only 2ft high…maybe 3ft, depends on what I end up using for border. Thanks to Mike Dorsch I know how to support everything and keep the fence safe. There probably won’t be a whole lot of grass in the center. I will be installing a fire pit and patio directy in the middle of that area. In the bottom left corner of the picture, where it’s cut off, is where a foot bridge over the tracks will be built. I hope I have room for that. it’s going to be close. Right now I plan on one siding with manual switches. The tracks will go behind the yard barn. I plan on using trees in a small “forrest” to make it appear the rails disappear. I would like a small community in that area.

Big plans and dreams. Probably take a few years to get it complete. My main goal this year is getting a train running. lol.

That is a good idea to raise your RR your knees will thank you later plus it is nicer to view the trains closer than to see the roofs pass by your feet. Instead of a foot bridge consider a lift out train bridge it would be easier and cheaper to build.

There sure is a lot of things to consider when building a RR. The great thing about this hobby is it will never be done but your plan to have a train running this year is a good one, the details can be added later. Happy RRing.

I hadn’t considered a lift out bridge. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. bad joke, I know. lol.

Matt , here are a few pictures of the beginning of my railroad. I am pleased with how it has held up so far . The dirt that was installed was tramped down with one of those flat hand held trampers, Even then it did still settle some on its own. A few years later we moved the wall further out so I could get more foreground scenery and it also got double tracked. If I was to do it again I would have put in more vertical posts in the corners and double up the cenent board in the corners too. Looks like you have a nice yard to build in , have fun and post pic’s.

I like what you did there Matt elevating your track and runnig the perimeter of your yard. I thought the orange boards were going to be used to paint a backdrop on but then I saw it was to support the dirt away from the fence. Do you have reversing loops at both ends? It must be nice to see a train make its way along that long straight away.

I always liked how layouts look running along the perimeter of a yard. Then you can use tall plants in the back and smaller up front. I would love to do something like that bit hard to do with 9 acres. Maybe my next house I will have a yard that it can be done on.

Those are pictures of my backyard when I started back in 2004. Just wanted to clarify that.

THANKS MIKE!!! Those pictures help a bunch!!

I thought i was going to get started working in the yard tomorrow, but it the weatherman is calling for rain/sleet/and snow for tonight and tomorrow. Ugh. Probably for the best, I still haven’t replaced the aluminum track yet. I was too busy today.

Todd, that’s Mike’s backyard layout. I’m shooting for the same design around my fence and he’s been kind enough to give me some great pointers!