Our Beginnings in G Scale: (2002..)         Below: A TimeWarp Picture
The first of a series by members, describing how and why their differing layout designs evolved.
As can be seen when visiting other gardens and events: the results are all unique; reflecting their different locations and creators interests.

Choices made at the time may be for reasons which no longer apply. Tempus Fugit

They are not intended as definitive examples of 'how' but ideas to generate discussion.
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Before there was a Garden Railway: The day we moved in.    1983
In these early pictures note the slender tree trunks and extent of lawn.

Our Garden story actually began with the 3½" gauge Hornby Live Steam Rocket from the time of the Rainhill Trials anniversary, and our previous house in North London which had a paved patio. Work relocated us here in 1983.

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Live Steam Rocket Running Session - with Lin´s Father and Phil´s nephew 2000

Our garden still has many trees; including (for now) an ever-growing willow ! Nothing would grow beneath this tree, and we therefore used it for our 3½" gauge oval on which we could run the Rocket and Coaches. We used ½ tonne of 20mm gravel and decking squares.
For G-Scale, the 20mm gravel is much too coarse, and it has taken us a long time to replace it all!
view of willow and LGB loops
Chatham Model Railway Show, in 2002, saw the purchase of 2 LGB Garden Railway Starter sets and a box of 1.2m straights for what was to become known as Lin´s Garden Bahn!
2002: We headed straight home to set up the 2 loops beneath the willow, despite lightly falling rain, and were soon joined by friends for the first of the year´s many Garden Railway Barbecues! The railway rapidly developed; with an outside store, and cordless digital control for both trains and points. The trains have lights, and some engines have sound and smoke, which was augmented on summer evenings with Phil´s fog generator..
Phil had used Zero-1 - Hornby's original digital railway system - since its launch, for his 00 layout in the loft.
As a result, there was no going back to 'analogue' with its section switches knowing that a major problem with a garden railway would be to ensure a reliable, continuous, power supply! Analogue was okay for single loco, loop layouts, built for continuous running.

Therefore, within weeks, we were using the newly released MTS2 Digital Start Set, and the loops were connected.

At the time it seemed sensible to use the LGB MTS system to ensure compatibility, but this would not be appropriate if starting in 2016; LGB was an early adopter of what became nmraDCC, and has provided an upgrade path to the current standard, and still offers the MTS handsets. However, Massoth (their original electronics manufacturer), and now Marklin LGB have provided compatible replacements built to current standards. Marklin´s Central Station offers both nmra DCC and their Mfx standard, as do some other European makes
Controller Types

We currently use the Massoth Dimax with Wireless Handsets for our garden, at 22V with an 8Amp capability - we can have about 5 locos running within this limit
For our portable layouts, with trains running on level track, we use the Roco/Fleischmann Multimaus cabled or /Pro (wireless handset) versions, with 16V on track and a 3 Amp limit. Both systems are able to use the freedom of 4-digit loco addressing and control of points/signals from the same handset.
The Roco does not, however, allow an analogue loco to be run, and is why, at Wickham in 2015, The Mini-Modular ran in analogue, and our 15 metre Linear Modular ran in Digital and Live Steam. Our 00 loft layout changed from Zero-1 to DCC initially with the ZTC but then with the Roco Multimaus / Pro and now a Z21 option.

Wireless controllers allow freedom of movement around the garden - taking the controller to where a problem occurs, or the view is best.

Branching Out
Branchline Extension planning Branchline Station
With an increase in stock (we now had 4 small locos) came the need for storage, and to have somewhere for the trains to run.
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Storage Shed in use at the end of the Branchline - Buildings change with time - Our 1st Open Day

With the slope in our garden, the ground-level track was extended as a winding branch (lots of R1 curves) forming a Branchline, supported just above the soil using Decking boards, to reach the Dedicated Storage Shed.
This (non-Keter) design of box had horizontal ribs which were ideal supports for the Wickes boards cut as internal shelves, and the grooves in the boards are the right spacing for 45mm stock too, making them ideal for stock storage shelves too.

NEXT How the track was extended down the other side of the garden (2003)
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(Copyright Phil and Lin Spiegelhalter 2000-2016)