Still, not to be deterred, further up the track-
Thanks to the discovery of all those immovable obstacles and the number of last minute route modifications, the last ten yards was now a masterpiece of incredible engineering (all bad!). Heath Robinson would have been proud of me! In the middle of the proposed tunnel along the front of the tool-
A couple more days were spent in stapling the whole lot with a layer of roof felt, and I was ready for the big time -
Despite having convinced my two dear daughters that investment in the project would provide each with a section of line named after them in perpetuity, at seven quid a yard, progress was still painfully slow. A magazine advertisement for used track produced a magnificent response of zero until "Tony the Train Man" gave me a good deal on several lengths of used LGB plus a Bachman Big Hauler. (Little did it know just how "big" a "haul" it was going to be!).With the final purchase of one power unit and a freight wagon to start the collection done and dusted, the grand opening was looming on the horizon. .
Like every half-
Some finishing touches such as track lighting and signalling were installed ,thanks in no small part to an old fruit machine, which had lain dormant in the shed for years, a bunch of relays from Maplins, a couple of reels of multi-
One advantage of living in the South East is the relative convenience of cross-
Since the line was opened, some additions to the consist have been made, all scratch built, apart from the wheels and, if you stand far enough away they do look reasonably authentic. Whether or not trains are running, there is plenty of other traffic -
For the more technically minded however, the Railway closely adheres to the following specification:-
Rolling stock and accessories occasionally to scale.
Historical and Geographical accuracy coincidental.
"Connex S.E. meets Denver & Rio Grande!"
Design follows "proto-
Existence at the C.E.’ s discretion
and operation entirely to his own satisfaction.
Rivet free, obviating requirement to count them.
R.C.s welcome to visit -
The next phase of construction has already been completed, with the provision of a small siding and a passing place for a loco as yet awaiting purchase. The air has consistently been heavy with the pungent aroma of Creosote and the neighbours washing has once more mysteriously disappeared from the lines. Whilst this time I have carried out the installation to a more exacting standard, planning and execution was really only half the fun!!! Just you look out -
PHASE III -
Living in the world of fantasy, my dream would have been to eventually cover the garden with railway, points, crossings and enough bits to make Spaghetti Junction look like a rectangle! However, time is a great healer, so I erred on the cautious side. Two reasons sprang to mind -
Nevertheless...following some serious negotiations with the Insurance Company, and the Boys in Blue, who to this day haven't so much as sniffed a suspect, I managed to replace the missing articles to some extent, in order to keep the rolling stock rolling so to speak. Sadly, my scratch builds were irreplaceable. Whilst they were not exactly straight out of Swindon Works, they were far more appealing than the shop-
(At this point my thoughts turn to the little S**** who thought they had a better right to my property than I do, and hope that they find enough power to run the locomotive -
Due to the continued lack of Planning Permission, and if I carried on, we’d have no lawn left, there consequently has been no major extensions to the track layout, but the "wheels" have changed. "Tony the Train Man's" Denver and Rio Grande has been replaced by another Big Hauler -
Apart from maintaining the trackside accessories and keeping the rails in place, I think that's about the completion of the LMBR. The Posts and Planks seem to be holding up year on year. The woodwork on the signals needs annual attention, the bridges require the odd bit of cementing, and every Spring, the annual "my-
There really is a railway in here somewhere!
...One way to keep the greenery away!
(To shorten the narrative, I refrain from detailing the endless visits to the local Building Reclamation Yard, large areas of dead lawn caused by the over-
Such was the genius of my mathematical calculations, that I found myself some two weeks later, ten feet away from the shed, all posts firmly fixed in place, timber planking secured and STILL six inches above the ground! There immediately followed a polite verbal condemnation of Pythagoras and every Theorem he ever invented plus an almost irresistible urge to test the combustible properties of preserved hardwood. Discretion then being the better part of valour, the decision was made to "keep on trackin’ " past the shed at the same height and then build a bridge over it later. By this time, nearly two thirds of the proposed loop had been completed and like all good projects, one eventually gets to the saddest part and sure enough, I reached it. The last stretch of track required an uphill climb around the rockery, levelling off past the small toolshed, down through a sharp double bend around the patio and finally levelling off once more to finish up at the little known Austrian village of Bachwehr Itstadted!
With renewed fervour and a serious re-
The promised border was duly dug, along with several new and judiciously remodelled old ones. This was followed by an instant regret of not taking up a less energetic pastime, like mountaineering. Historically, our house was not supposed to exist. It was originally intended to be an access road into a new development area. Since the development never happened, neither did the road. But it did, however, provide a perfect dumping ground for building rubble left over from the completion of the other houses on the estate. (And guess who finally made the discovery??) Also, you may be interested to know that Kent clay is rumoured to make good bricks. It has a consistency of concrete in the Summer and toffee most other times. Suffice to say it sticks to anything and anyone. So by the end of the month, having wrestled broken drains, pipes, bricks and the fossilized remains of a builder’s packed lunch from their respective underground resting places, plus accidentally knocking the top off our soak-
By mid April, the Railway right of way was in place, and Stage II, the laying of the track-
The topography of our garden is a "Ski-
Never mind -
Contained in the aforementioned magazine was an article entitled "Garden Railways from Scratch." Having mentally shouted an emphatic "Yes!" to all the Objectives for having one, without actually taking much notice of any of them, planning was forever afterwards plain sailing into the stuff of nightmares.
It was noted with some concern that one major requirement not covered in the article was Planning Permission the kind that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Local Authorities. Our garden is already well established both plant and shrub-
Nevertheless, to sweeten the deal, so to speak, I eventually offered to dig another border to enlarge her recently created "cottage garden". That seemed to do the trick, and approval was finally obtained. It came, however, with more provisos than a Government White Paper, but what the heck! At least I got it. (Did I fail to mention that this border was needed as a railway right of way in the first place? -
Since having achieved an "F" grade in the subject of Patience, at just about every level in my educational upbringing, this shortcoming naturally influenced the whole of the planning process. In fact it must have taken me the best part of thirty minutes to decide where the track was to be laid. The Railway in general, was to be scaled around no Company or Region I could think of, apart from the Edge of the Garden, and as far as attention to detail was concerned, if, whatever ran around the track, stayed on it, was fine by me. The only decision requiring a bit of thought was the method of construction. With HL s no-
Consequently, in accordance with my fast-
The great day arrived on March something-
For a long time it had been an occasional ambition to build a railway in the garden, but neither the time nor the opportunity presented itself until recently, when the prospect of redundancy together with the usual "offer I couldn t refuse," produced an early retirement. Thus, having survived the initial trauma of being sent on leave for the rest of my life, and notwithstanding the occasional attack of apathy-
THE LOTTS MOOR BORDER
"Steam on Regardless."
(& A Sad Tale of How Not to Do It and Still Have Fun)
I quit playing trains at the age of 13 when I discovered Smoking and Girls. As adolescent lunacy would have it, the end of the line finally arrived with the sale of my prized Tri-
Having long since given up the former habit, and following many years of relatively faultless marriage, the same could also be argued of the latter. However, whilst here and there, the old "barnet" may have receded, my interest in railways has not. (The sight of an A3 Pacific in full steam has just GOT to be the next best thing to a good woman must be all those moving parts!)