Large Scale Central

My First Garden Railroad Build

Actually got to start on my garden railroad build today.

Here is the basic plan. Two mainline loops with a station siding in the front. Its about 50’ along the fence. About 20’ at the widest and narrows down to about 7’ by the gate. I will have to run my small locos on the outer loop.

Even though it is mostly level, I am going to put a low wall around the perimeter to keep the people out, and make burying the cables and laying track easier by getting above the roots.

Here’s the mostly before pic of the walkway. I hated this area. Even when it was dry it seemed dark and wet. It was even worse before I pulled out a huge dying hedge that was in that corner where the blocks are sitting.

Current pic of the refinished walkway with retaining wall.

Got the corner started. And only hit my hand once with the mallet. Was a good day.

Congratulations on breaking ground!

Thank you

Looking good Derailed(

The longest journey is begun with the first step.

Got a little bit done this week. Was planning on knocking a bunch out today but smashed my thumb with the mallet. Probably gonna lose the nail. I hate when its hanging half way on and catching on everything. So I went to Man Depot and bought up all their bricks they had in stock which should get me another 30 feet of wall.

I will have to lay an R1 curve in this section as its pretty tight. I might be able to squeeze in R2 entrance and exit pieces to help graduate the curve.

Unfortunately I cut through a wire. I am not sure what that wire goes to yet, if anything. The only thing I can think of is maybe the sprinklers. Its kind of weird since it is a single strand of 18g wire and not a double strand, and not outdoor landscape wire either.

Sorry about the self-induced hangnail! It’s lookin’ good!

Looks good. My only concern with the track plan is that 3’ or so radius on the end by the walk. Not only would you need to run small locos but it will also limit the kind of cars you run. Is there anyway you can alter the walkway and get another couple of feet for the track?

Unfortunately no. I am limited on one side by the fence and properly line, and the walkway on other side. So, yes, I will have to run smaller engines on this track. I plan to have a minimum radius of R3 on the other track for my LGB Mikado. My other engines are LGB’s Forney and Moguls. All my cars are LGB with truck mounted Kadees so they will make the smaller curve. They just might not look cool doing it. I plan to make this end the wilderness section with a log cabin and Teepee village.

I could potentially cut into the walkway but, it would look really weird and I just finished it.


Our LGB Mogul will bind on R1 curves in hot weather. We fixed this by having R2 lead-in/-out of the curves.


I am going to try and get the R2 lead in and outs. Clearance might be tight. I need to actually lay down some track and check.

Maybe just turn both loops back in that wider section?

Then turn the spot you’re currently working on into some sorta stub end passenger term/industry?
You may even be able to fit in a “Y” there on the outer loop to turn trains?
Might make things work out better with a little bit of interest?

Just trying to help avoid a possible problem area…with tight curves.

Maybe it would be best to loop the track a little farther back where you can maintain the bigger curves and if anything a siding with an industry at the end of it , or a wye to turn locos around. That way you wouldn’t have to limit what runs where.

Derailed said:

I am going to try and get the R2 lead in and outs. Clearance might be tight. I need to actually lay down some track and check.

May I suggest making some card-stock mock-ups? We used that to worry through our problem area. They are the 75% solution…Not perfect, but enough to visualize what will work without laying out the cash.


Thank you for the tips. I think I have the track I need already. Might need a few pieces here and there. I’ve been collecting since I got my starter set when I was 12. Its the only reason I don’t plan to go flex track as I’m pretty much set with sectional. The only reason I haven’t put the track out yet is I just haven’t had much time with family, school and work commitments.

I’m mostly a roundy, rounder. Not much into operations. I might put a few sidings in for looks but the points add another potential derailment location. I do plan to set each line up with an opposing direction, alternating station circuit, so I can run 4 engines at one time. If I use LGB Manual switch motors I don’t think I will need even need to automate the points. Just set them to always go right. I’ve been having problems with my LGB EPL motors not wanting to throw completely, even after a good cleaning, and it has made me lose confidence in them. TrainLi was supposed to come out with a new switch motor but I haven’t seen them advertised yet.

Also, I model DRGW steam era so the slow speeds and tight curves are not as much a problem as if I were trying to run big diesels.

The cardboard template idea is a good one. I will definitely use this for placing my buildings I haven’t gotten around to building yet.

Those are some really nice blocks you are using to make the wall.

At the end of the line in that tight spot why not build an industry there instead of trying to force tight diameter track into it. I would recommend going with at least 8’ diameter curves so you can run most anything. Bigger is better and your trains will grow as your interests do. In the last photo you posted it looks like you have the room between the pine and short bush to have a 8’ turn and then run sidings into the tighter spot for industry or a train yard.

I really like the curves on your walkway and if they are not too sharp it would be neat to see the train snake along the side of it.

Thank you. I chose them based on looks, but also they come in a variety of shapes to make fitting to curves a bit easier. They are already rumbled, so they should still look good as the blocks chip and wear.

I do plan to have the outer track follow the walkway as much as I can. plus, I think I will have an extra siding run from the inside track to the edge of the walkway, crossing over the outer track (terminating before the patio) to make loading the inside track easier. This will make the station area 5 tracks wide. 2 lines each with a passing siding as well as the 5th loading siding. If that makes sense.

I realized that the track will be at the top of the wall, so I can run the sleepers to the edge of the wall as long as the rails are above it. I got the track out again and I can just barely fit all R2s if I don’t run the track all the way down to the end. I will just have about a 4’ section of landscaping to fill in. Not an issue as I was planning on putting my Teepee village there. Is there a moss or something that looks like prairie grass?