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Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains

Layout So Far

To get the photo in the title bar, my friend Wil Davis balanced himself on the railroad ties that run across the east ("back") edge of the railroad and used the widest setting on his digital camera. This shows the "south loop," the part I built first, from an angle that most visitors don't see, but it gives you some idea. Click on it to get a "blow-up" that shows more detail. The photo to the right was taken from the same position, facing north. The north loop was completed nearly four years after the south loop. Again, if you click on it you'll see more detail.

This map is to give a clearer idea of what I have so far. (A more detailed view of the south loop of my railroad is included below. Also, you may click on the image to see a "blow-up." If you do that, please use your browser's Back button to get back here.) As you can see, I have an elevated main line (about 140ft) and a ground-level short line. At present, I have not wired the turnouts for remote operation

Track Plan

This is mostly Aristo track, used because the screw-on rail joiners make such a good electrical and mechanical connection. The curves on the mainline are 10' diameter or larger. The entire garden is about 14' deep and about 60' long.

Note: When we have big display open railroads, we remove the sidings, since the turnouts are the places most likely to derail trains during long running sessions. So if you've been to my railroad, and you didn't see the sidings, that's why.


Plants were mostly swapped with friends, relatives, and neighbors who are also perennial freaks. A few were purchased very cheaply at the end of the season and nursed back to health. The following map of the southern loop of my railroad (the one that has been established a while) shows how I've used various plants.

Plants include:

  • Silver Edge (Thomas Hogg) Hosta--Hosta Undulata Albomarginata (lining "canyon wall' next to tunnel)
  • Honeybells Hosta--Hosta ? (lining south edge of raised layout, used because it is supposed to be more tolerant of direct sunlight)
  • Several other unidentified Hostas from friends and family
  • Wooly Thyme--Thymus Pseudolanuginosus (lining track at east "front" edge of south loop, used because of its tiny leaves, has spread slower than expected, though)
  • White Creeping Thyme--Thymus Praecox "Albus" (North corner of pond, just transplanted to fill in where some other plants failed, used because of its low profile and expected good coverage, we've had good luck with it in our herb garden)
  • Stubby Fingers Sedum--Rock wall at east "front" edge of south loop, used because of the small "branches" and profile, has filled in very nicely, starts transplant nicely.
  • Dragon's Blood Sedum--Next to tree stump on front wall, used for color, indeterminate results so far
  • Blue Spruce Sedum--Alternated with Stubby Fingers on front rock wall, nice growth, but looks "gangly" next to the Stubby Fingers. Starts transplant nicely
  • Acre Sedum--This is the most compact sedum I've used, It does a good job of filling in almost anywhere and has "leaves" that are so tiny it doesn't even quite look like a sedum. Represents bushy growth well, especially on "mountain" crevices.
  • Geraniums--wild and regional varieties including "Finger Geranium" which has a relatively lacey leaf and fairly low profile (10" or so tops).
  • Miniature Tulips--Clusiana Chrysantha. The label showed red and white, 6-8" tall; they came up red and bright yellow, 10" tall. However they make for nice early spring color.
More information about the plants I've used is contained in the article "Inexpensive and Low-Maintenance Plants for Garden Railroads", available on the Family Garden Trains Primer Page. You may also be interested in the article "Groundcover 101", which further explains some of the groundcover choices I have made.

Next - Proceed to our article "June, 2003 Photos>, to see what our railroad looked like four years after we broke ground, and one year after the 2002 convention.

Previous - Return to our "January, 2003" article, which includes photo of our railroad caught in a 6"-8" snow right after running trains at Christmas.

Return to our "June, 2002 Photos article, which contains photos of our garden railroad as it was set up for the 2002 National Garden Railway Convention in Cincinnati.

Return to "What to Do When a Tree Eats Your Railroad."

To return to our article "Stress Testing on the NB&DC RR," click here.

To return to our NBDC 1998-2000 Pictures page, click here.

To return to Landscaping and Pond Construction, 1998-1999, click here,

To return to our page About New Boston and Donnels Creek" click here.

To return to the New Boston and Donnels Creek Index Page, click here

To return to the Family Garden Trains Home Page, click here

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