|Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)|
This article is part of our series on "Garden Railroading on a Shoe String" which contains links, tips, and tricks, for using low-cost approaches and products to create attractive, reliable railroads in your back yard.
Note from Editor: Evan was pleased to see our January, 2009 article on Garden Railroading with Toy Trains. He's been using Scientific Toys trains on his backyard railroad for quite a while and has figured out a few tips and tricks he'd like to share. He sent me these notes and photos in early spring, 2009, before he'd quite got the leaves picked up or his perennials had gotten a good start on spring. He promises more later, so stay tuned - Paul
Evan Morse's Shoestring Railroad Tips
Here are a few things I've tried that have worked out for me, as I figured out that a garden railroad with toy trains was not only possible, but fun.
The picture to the right shows the kinds of gravel I used for most of the line, they are called pea pebbles, or pea gravel. These small stones can be great for the use of gravel on the railroad bed that the tracks go on. (Pea pebbles are the stones under the tracks in the bottom of this picture) [Note from Editor: In Ohio, pea gravel tends to be very rounded, so it never settles in place or holds your track in place either one. So we don't recommend it for anything but cosmetic purposes. It looks like Evan's also using some crushed gravel under the tracks - that's more along the line of what I'd recommend for most garden railroads - Paul]
Holding Track In Place and In the Correct Shape
The photo to the left below shows a Scientific Toys brand train on a metal bridge. You can see that I used a board to fasten the track down. The New Bright track on the bridge has one little hole on the first or second tie on both sides of an individual piece of track. So that a small wood screw would fit through each hole of the track on the bridge, keeping the track in place.
The picture to the right below shows what can be done to prevent the plastic track from warping during certain types of weather that may cause the tracks to warp or bend up in the air a little bit...... The metal pieces over some of those ties are called garden staples..... I found them at my local Walmart, and they appear to do the job quite well!
One great aspect about "shoe-string" railroading is looking for ways to do things with little or no investment. As an example, the photos below show what someone can do with those plant tag type of things that stick in the ground to identify which plant is which...... In thse pictures for example, they make good whistle posts and yard limit signs. But they can also be used as mile posts or mile markers as well.
More To ComeAs I am writing this, it is still early in spring, my garden isn't in full bloom yet. But when it is in full bloom, I shall definitely take some more pictures. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments for me, please contact Paul, and he'll forward your comments to me.
Here are other articles with tips and tricks about running battery-powered toy trains outside.
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