Building a Garden Railway in O Gauge

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Building a Garden Railway in O Gauge

Post by GeoffB » Mon May 22, 2006 12:18 am

Hi All,

My attempts at building a garden railway. It was something I mentioned to Richard a while back and have finally got around to doing something about it. I hope my efforts may spur others on to attempt a garden layout - so much fun (and hard work!!) and it certainly is an exercise in civil engineering in miniature!

I have decided that this simple piece - an embankment with a road under tunnel - would be a good intro into creating one of the many cameo scenes to be placed around the railway. I have now got to a couple of years or so down the line(!?) into building the railway (interspersed with building a 5" ground level line in and out of the O Gauge) and a lot of ground work has been done before I got here.

The tunnel is made in modular construction, cast in concrete as one would with resin or similar materials (see the piccies) and made from some simple moulds, knocked together one Sunday and cast one evening. They were demolded and weathered in a couple of hours one afternoon, a few of days later. They were then checked for fit with a "dry" assembly and finally cemented into place a day later.

The road and embankment had been built about a year earlier and as you can see, I'm just waiting for the undergrowth to grow around the tunnel to finish the scene off.

You may notice the baseboard above the tunnel, looking slightly the worst for wear - this is one of the last few sections that has to be replaced and properly covered - but that's another story - and a job for this summer (if the weather ever drys sufficiently) when the tracks over the tunnel will become four instead of two.

I have also been constructing the start of a viaduct to approach the rockery section over the last couple of weeks and will post some pics on here when the weather eases off and I can get to finish the cementing of the pieces into place - hopefully later this week. Like the tunnel, the pieces are all cast in concrete and weathered with cement dyes. More later.


Just like the real thing, the stone work looks darker and more sombre in the wet - the viaducts are even more so.
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Finally cemnted into place at the top of the road. Now we've just got to sit and watch the scenery grow round it!!
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Dry run to check everything prior to cementing in situ
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These are the components after demolding and weathering with cement dyes. These actually lighten as they dry, unlike paint.
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Post by 50A » Mon May 22, 2006 12:40 pm

Great stuff Geoff.

More power to your spade!


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Post by GeoffB » Mon May 22, 2006 6:17 pm

Thanks Andy,

Thinking of getting a miniature JCB!!!

Oh, no! Can't do that - they weren't invented 'till after the war!!

Ah well. Must buy a Tardis sometime!


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Post by richard » Mon May 22, 2006 8:02 pm

Yes they look good. I like the weathered millstone grit look - lots of bridges like that around Leeds, and of course up in the Pennines.

I tried it with some plastic bridge sections and paint, but couldn't get it to work, but I probably gave up too quickly (moving house/etc).

I guess the cement dyes work a bit like the pigments that Woodland Scenics sell? These soak into plaster rock, and it is then sealed with dilute PVA glue (you'd need to use a different sealer for outside of course - perhaps a polyurethane 'wash' would do the trick?). They're fairly easy to use - I used them on my Wyoming module to get a weathered reddish/yellowish sandstone outcrop look.

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Post by GeoffB » Tue May 23, 2006 10:00 pm

Hi Richard,

The beauty of the cement dyes is that they do wash in with water and once they have "gone off" and the concrete is a few days old, they stay in the cement and don't need a sealer.

I do the weathering while the cement/concrete is still "green" and since I use a polymer in the mix it has to be done within a few hours of demolding, otherwise the concrete is sealed.

When I cement the units together, I let the cement go off for about an hour (using quick setting/frost proofing and waterproofing additives in the mix) and then add the dyes by gently rubbing them into the damp surface and the carefully grooving the surface to match the stonework, thus hiding the joint.

If the weather holds off a little I will get some pics of the viaducts on this weekend. :D



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Post by Bullhead » Wed May 24, 2006 8:05 pm

8) Very attractive - and the dwarf/alpine type plants you've chosen enhance it, too. Just don't be tempted to model this:
LNERF 37101 Weedkiller train Dumbarton 23 May 1986.jpg
Weedkilling train, ex-LMS stock, Dumbarton 1986
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So - did anyone dare tell Stephenson, "It's not Rocket science"?

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