F&CGR Back on Track


House Mother, Cheerleader
It's finally happening! Some of you may remember my description of the Fern & Cycad Garden Railway a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, it's languished on an abandoned siding until last weekend, when the MOW crew (me) dug and raked a barrel-full of leaves and weeds in preparation to resume operations.

Before I retired (the first time) 1997, I bought some LGB gear from a friend at work. Included were a loco (picture 1) and caboose, 75 feet of track, and several miscellaneous pieces of rolling stock.

It would be another six years before we terraced a former slope in the back yard and started work on the right-of-way. That was complicated because we had to cut down a large tree and remove the stump at the north end (picture 2), and extend part of the retainer to provide a minimum radius for the track at the south end (picture 3).

The station in Picture 4 was built from a Piko kit that was a gift from our kids. It will occupy the north end of the current 35-foot-wide layout. Phase 2 will see the layout extended another 30 feet or so to the south. Phase 3 will occupy the upper terrace. Please stay tuned. Numerous questions will follow as I proceed. :D
Congratulations on your start of construction! I'm just staring out getting my oval landscaped and I have come to the conclusion that it will never be finished! And that's a good thing! It will be an on-going pleasure. Keep us posted.
Claudia, let me add my Congratulations on your Model Railroad start. I trust you will keep us posted, and with a few photos as you go along. Sure would like to see that "critter" in picture 1 in action.

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Yes, Greg. The fence is finally finished after almost a year. Well almost. There's still a stretch by our driveway where five boards are missing because the neighbor ran out of lumber. We bought the boards for him, but they're still not nailed to the stringers.

Next, we rebuilt the pot storage shelves (flower pots, not the other kind) and re-landscaped the side yard.

The weeds ran rampant during the hiatus, but they're gone now, and The Husband took pity on me ballasted another 20 feet of track last week.
Flowers and Crab Grass Railroad?
(Sorry Claudia, I couldn't resist) :D
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According to the stats kept here I last visited in August 2003 except at that time there was no separate Model Railroad forum.

No excuse for not visiting in a year, but I did move and the trackplan I posted on the railroad forum went by the boards.

I'm pleased to see that Claudia is working in getting her layout done and that NVTiny has made such great progress...most impressive.

I don't have a track plan tho I do have some track down finally but discovered that locomotives fall off of less than level track..:)so I'm scraping up decomposed granite gravel until I can get some decent rock.

I also discovered that most American made locomotives bigger than 0-4-0 simply can't handle a 4' curve without derailing..LGB locomotives apparently can.

Erick, I'm so happy to see you back here among us! Yes, I'll be limited to my little critter loco for a while. Anything bigger than that will have to run V E R Y slowly on the curves I have now. But hey --- who cares? :D

I look forward to seeing what you're doing!
What I've mostly been doing has been shopping....in Garden Railway magazine and on-line trying to find the best prices for G scale stuff.

It would seem to me that working with a larger scale would mean that some things would be less expensive since it would appear easier to manufacture than HO and N scale stuff...Yes, I know there is less of a market for G stuff but I would imagine that high prices are one of the reasons for that.

Anyway, the best prices I've found is at Ridge Road Station, (www.rrstation.com)...a lot of places advertise 'discount' or 'wholesale' and they are lower than the MSRP but not much.

I've built a single track oval about 50' by 14' in my front yard as it is the only area that has close to level ground (except over the septic tank which isn't a good place for a permanent layout)...now I'm working on getting it level so my Bachman 4-6-0 won't fall off the track. I built a bridge out of scrapwood to minimize a steep grade and hope to have my train running by the end of this week.

I'm using Aristo-Craft USA brass track and have 8' diameter curves with some 6.5' diameter curve track in place to work the track around existing and unmovable rocks. For now I plan to use a power pack and hope I can keep the track clean enough to operate. I found a track cleaning car on-line that looks like it will be effective. Does anyone have experience with the Trackman 2000?
Her's Still Got Track!

The "Flowers & Crab Grass Railroad" (Thanks, Ed :D) is finally seeing some action. Last time I posted, you saw the ugly weedy state my poor little railroad had fallen into. Now, things have dried out enough to get back to work, and progress is being made again, at last. Four barrels of weeds await the trash man tomorrow! Things look pretty grim out there yet, but at least I don't think we'll have to start over again from scratch.

Picture 1: Remaining weeds got a healty (!?) dose of vinegar yesterday, so they should be pretty dead in a few days. In the meantime, we'll begin repairing the roadbed that got hammered by the heavy rains.

Picture 2: I may have to replace some track, though. There are a couple of places like this, but I hope that between some scrubbing with brass cleaner and WD40, I can recover from the damage
Ya know Claudia, you're narrow gauge empire couldn't be more authentic. Just like the real thing, it spent more time idle and abandoned in the weeds than it did operating trains!
magnaes said:
I also discovered that most American made locomotives bigger than 0-4-0 simply can't handle a 4' curve without derailing..LGB locomotives apparently can.

Congrats on getting into the big stuff. ;) According to LGB all of their locomotives will run on 4' curve with out derailing. I worked at a hobby shop and we played with one of the LGB mallets, it will run around a 4' curve but not to realistic. I would say stick with 8' or better depending on how much room you have.
'Does anyone have experience with the Trackman 2000?'
No I have never even heard of the trackman 2000, but then again I run off battery power :D so I don't have to worry about clean track.
Claudia, in photo #2 that green looks like an oxide or corrosion, instead of replacing it ( track) just put a coating of light oil on it, and a day or so later take a brass wire brush to it. Since you are going to use battery power a bit of oil on the track won't hurt anything and it will help protect the track. ( very light coat or TH can kiss his plants good bye :D ) You don't want to contaminate the soil.
Cheers Willis
Thanks, Willis. I've already done pretty much what you described, and it worked well. TH's plants in the RR area are all in pots, but I'll still heed your advice as I'm now putting in some ground covers, although they'll be several inches from the track.