Large Scale Central

Restoring the Rust Garden

Some of the LSC old timers (or maybe it goes back to MLS) might remember my Rust Garden. Built in 2008 it has seen sporadic maibntenance and a few additions of rusty gold, but in 10 years time most of the rock borders and some of the artifacts had sunk into the dirt. The weather here Friday and Saturday was just fantastic for working outside, so a plan was hatched to completely rebuild it.

Digging through old pictures this is what I can find from the original project post back in the day…

And if you REALLY go back, this is the area before any improvements were made. Just the mainline exists in the background…

Interesting how good the neighbors house looked back then. It looks like crap now, all the landscaping yanked out and just weeds now. The stairs are gone replaced by a poorly installed patch in the fence

And now we go forward back to present day - these pictures taken this morning. Some things remain the same, some relics added and old ones placed differently…

Some close-up relic detail. See how many small and unusual items you can spot…

From the back side…

On the far side of the walkway is Rust Garden II. I finally got around to placing one of the line shaft pulleys that I rescued a few years back. I still have one without patina waiting on Dave Taylor to respond to my emails of 3 years ago

Across the tracks is Rust Garden III. I just planted those Aborvitaes yesterday. The borders around them are some kind of a stamp for cutting cardboard shapes, the bottom edge is a blade…

I’m pretty happy with the results except these pictures need trains. No time this morning to get them out. Maybe soon!

That is a great way to display your “Right of Way Treasures” that the wife won’t allow in the house.

cool, Jon! I have a couple of relics also I would like to place and this is a great idea. Thanks for showing it

Where is the crossing bell ? Wait don’t tell me “you are gonna make it functional” ??

" Rooster " said:

Where is the crossing bell ? Wait don’t tell me “you are gonna make it functional” ??

I knew you would ask. Functional, probably not, but I have considered it. I have a set of lights and a plan to mount them and the bell on a Schedule 40 pipe painted Aluminum, unless I can find a real mast free or very cheap. In the mean time, it is on display near my fire bowl on my recently reclaimed back patio.

Neat idea. Looks like some neat NG tie plates and spikes - I really like this as a spot to show off your collection.

The track work looks good. What kind of track is that?

Cool, nice display and you are growing rust…(

John Caughey said:

Cool, nice display and you are growing rust…(

Michael Kirrene said:

The track work looks good. What kind of track is that?

Thank you Michael. It is Aristo 332 Stainless with American ties. I paint all but the tops and the ties then bury the ties in stone dust. It was freshly ballasted when the pictures (old and new) were taken.

Bruce Chandler said:

Neat idea. Looks like some neat NG tie plates and spikes - I really like this as a spot to show off your collection.

Thanks Bruce. Actually those are mostly standard gauge plates picked from a former right-of-way of the New Haven & Hartford. In this photo the second one on the left is significantly smaller and might be narrow gauge…

I can’t remember the source but it might have been found somewhere on the EBT, but they didn’t use tie plates in most places so if it is EBT it might be rare and extremely valuable. Any offers?

I’m reviving this 5 year old thread because once again it’s time to restore the Rust Garden. It has become completely overgrown hiding most of the relics. Being 5 years older it’s just not as easy as it once was, but cool weather today motivated me to take it on.

Fourty years ago I was managing Radio Shack stores and after being transferred to a particularly shabby store to turn it around, a regional manager suggested I work on the store 4 feet at a time (the width of their shelves) so that he job didn’t overwhelm me. It worked then, and it still works today. My entire railroad needs lots of work but by concentrating on small areas it doesn’t seem as bad.

Last week I faced the fact that a 30+ year old Boxwood bus was never coming back, so I cut it down which opened up an entirely new view of Indian Hill Junction. Today I pulled out a lot of Pachysandra that was burying the tie plates on the West side of the walkway. They were moved to the barren area where the Boxwood was. I covered them in loose soil and mulch. They are looking a little droopy today, but I expect in a few weeks they will be standing tall.

Here are a few shots taken after was done…

I left the Boxwood stump and one branch that has some new growth. I don’t give it much hope, but it feels better than just giving up on it…

On the East side of the walkway I rebuilt the dry stack walls of the retaining pond a few weeks ago. It needs to have all the artifacts removed, weeds pulled, mulch laid down and the artifacts re-set…

I’ll see how I feel in the morning :open_mouth:


Jon; I don’t know if you realize it, but you motivated me to willingly, and with great enthusiasm , follow your lead…!!
Every year I purchase several bags of a “Rust Colored” mulch, to renew our Rust Garden, here on the IPP&W. The mulch helps to hide/prevent weed growth, while helping to retain moisture for the plants we want.
Mike Hamer, one of our OPERATORS, seems to enjoy, and takes pride in working on our version of your lovely garden.
As soon as we get it up to scratch; I’ll get him to include pictures on his Blog, on the OVGRS WEB Site.
Thank you, Jon, for your continued inspiration…!!

I finished the section on the East side of the walkway yesterday, but it was too overcast and dark for pictures, so I grabbed a few today. Refer to the last pic above for the “before”. Here is the after. I think it looks just a bit better…

Today I worked on the small area on the other side of the main. This spot used to be hidden by the big Boxwood that I recently cut down. With the bush gone you can now step up from the lower level to access the switch area so I added the red step stone, some ballast and mulch…

Now I need a better way to hide that grey electrical box. Flat black paint will be step 1 :smiley:

Hopefully all that Pachysandra I pulled up then buried on Saturday will start perking up in a few weeks.

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Just put a “Rusty Pail” over that receptacle…or a suitable large can, that will rust, over it…You can sometimes find an open top plastic container, which you just hit with a rust colored paint, from a rattle can with.
If you can find an old metal, pre-ground coffee can, it works well.

I like the term ‘rust garden.’ I need to organize some of my stuff more (and get a tie to put all my date nails in).

I’d also still like a switch stand, and an operating dwarf signal, but they’re hard to find up here in the NE.

I know where there are a dozen or so pump style New Haven switch stands. I doubt the RR that owns them will ever use them, preferring to use more modern low handles for replacement needs. I’ve never approached them to see if I could buy one. They are heavy as all get out,. Probably wouldn’t fit in my SUV either!

I have a pair of vintage crossing lights, a well weathered bell actuator (Thanks Rooster) and a crossbuck sign (Thanks Hollywood) but no post. I have a plan to paint a schedule 40 PVC pipe and mount it all somewhere on the RR. That plan has been on the back burner for years.

The few date nails I have are just displayed on a shelf inside.

If this smoke ever goes away I might be able to get the next section done.

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I was wondering about that ?

The actuator currently has a home on my patio near the stairs up to the RR. The problem with using it on a post is that I don’t want to paint it, and would need to simulate the bell with a bowl of some type. As it sits, it looks great…

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Today I brought section 3 of the Rust Garden back to spec…

Still lots more to get the entire railroad back in shape, but this section is done!

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