I have told the story of our garden railroad in bits and pieces for a long time, but I thought this might be a good time to present a timeline showing just what went into the thing. The whole purpose of this exercise, like most of our New Boston and Donnels Creek pages, is to give other hobbyists and would-be hobbyists a "reference point" for how one family did things, and how I made good and bad choices along the way.
This article also sets the historical contexts for one decision or another--many of our early decisions, which still affect the way our railroad looks and works, occurred because we lacked options in 1986 and 1996 that exist in 2003. So please don't assume we'd do anything the same way now I did it then. On the other hand, we're not about to rush out and replace everything we have now just because alternatives are finally available.
If anything I say answers any questions or helps you make a whole different set of mistakes than I did, this article has served its purpose. If it encourages you to order a starter set and get out the shovel, even better.
Note: If any of the terms or brand names in this article seem strange, you might try the Glossary of Large Scale Terms
This article became so long I decided I needed to divide into sections, for the sake of people with slow connections or short attention spans. The divisions are as follows:
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