G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Extreme Garden Railroading[/b]...that pretty much sums it up.

The new Rockwall Canyon railroad is like nothing I've ever taken on. Imagine building an Fn3 layout in the middle of the wilderness... There's no electricity, no equipment, no roads, no houses in your photos, just a trail and railroad.









Ya, I'm not kidding...
 

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
So why build in the middle of nowhere?
As a long-time hiker and bicyclist, I love being able to escape to the woods for my sanity! There's something about the sounds and the smells of being in the deep wood that seem to recharge my spirit. It's far enough away that the rumble of autos and the bark of dogs can no longer be heard, but the sounds of chipmunks and wood peckers seem to be amplified. There's a swift flowing brook about 30 feet below that adds another sound track to the setting.

Over the last two weeks I began trimming tree branches and removing small brush in the general location of the railroad. I also brought out my rake to pull back some of the deep leaves and sticks. I chose my site due to the high volume of spruce trees to take advantage of free landscaping material. The spruce needles create a nice "mulch" that covers the ground in a nice reddish tone.


I started to break ground today...

When you're building a railroad in the wilderness, bringing gravel in is not an option. I surveyed the site over several weeks, each time planning the route based on the ground conditions. The location I chose was in close proximity to a hillside of sandy soil. After pulling back some of the root bound top soil, I discovered the gravel below was easy to shovel. An hour or so later the roadbed was complete!
















The route is currently a large point-to-point horseshoe. I am still debating whether or not to build a wye track on each end. I know there will be at least one wye and maybe a long spur. The route is rather short, but with low speeds, the AC 3 cylinder shay allows you to make the most of a short run. For rolling stock: The plan is to scratch build 4 skeleton log cars...and that's it. Everything that goes out, has to come back to the house afterall!


Next stop...Bringing out the track!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
Have mercy, the layout may look great when it is finished, but I would hate to keep all the leaves off the layout. Look forward to seeing the end result.
 

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Ron,
While this is in the middle of the woods...I think leaf keeping should be an easy task compared to my last layout. I'm only planning to keep a 3ft wide path clear while leaving the rest up to nature. This really is a backwoods logging line haha
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,334 Posts
What a novel Idea. I like it

I dumbed out when I built too close to the house.

Live Steam or Battery power?

I know what you mean about the woods. The desert can be the same way... Just not in the summer time
 

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys! I will definitely keep posting up my progress.
I'm also trying out a blog format as well... http://extremegardenrr.blogspot.com/ So far, I'm more comfortable with mls, but the blog has its pros.

Chris,
My intention is to run live steam mostly. In FN3 I have a live steam 3 cylinder shay and an 0-4-0 side tank by Bachmann. The side tank will be outfitted with airwire soon.
I have a young daughter who also is very into the trains. So I imagine we'll be running my old 1/29 batt/rc engines quite a bit too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,113 Posts
Is this layout on your property? And if so how far away is the layout location to your house?

This sounds a little like our layout. From our experience this is what you should be aware of:


Layouts out in the wilderness require lots and lots of upkeep. We shut the layout down for the winter due to heavy snow concerns. Everything except the track comes inside for long term winter storage. So this means all the buildings, vehicles, figures, rolling stock, locos, etc has to be moved in and out every year. We also bring in the bridges and switch tracks for protection. After just one winter season the roadbed needs lots of fill and grading work to get it up to smooth running standards again. Pine needles are a real pain. They fall year round and can be annoying to pick up without gloves as they pinch. Wildlife can be an issue too, especially if deer or elk trample your track. Level terrain is hard to find, although your building spot looks a lot more level then ours. Forget any garden plants if your environment/soil/weather is harsh. And there's no watering for plants out in the forest so it's up to nature to keep things living. Falling tree branches can be a real hazard as well. One plus for us is an abundance of rocks to use for retaining walls.



But these issues aside, when you are out in the undisturbed wilderness you get photo ops like this:




I'm looking forward to more updates as I really like outdoor layouts a lot more then garden layouts
 

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hi Steve,
Thanks for the advice about the builder's logs! I had forgotten all about them! I've been away from LS for too long! I will be sure to use the service when I start building my skeleton cars.

Hi Matt,
Nice looking layout!
Yes, it's on my land, and I'd say its around an 1/8 of a mile down the trail.
As far as maintenance goes...I'm thinking this will actually be easier than my previous Rockwall Canyon RR:



The new layout will have a mainline of only about 60 feet... But with the slow speed of the shay and the dense foliage, I think the operation will still be satisfying.

There will be absolutely no buildings, bridges, or structures of any kind. All that will be on the ground at the end of the day is track and dirt!

At some point I plan to build an all weather storage box to house a few log cars. This will truly be a minimalist approach.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
I think that part of garden railroading is loving the outdoors. Well that and the fact that anything else is just playing with toys (just kidding, kind of).

Doug
 

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Okay folks it's been a while since I've made an update to this endeavor. Mid way through the summer of 2010 we encountered deep concerns about mosquitoes in the area carrying EEE and the risk of tick-borne diseases. The location required passing through some wetland areas which were often visited by deer and other creatures. Thus...my first effort in extreme GRR'ing has been left to deteriorate.

However!
Very recently, I have moved to a new property with similar possibilities! The new location allows me to build a railroad relatively near the house, but far enough removed to keep the house out most views. The increased accessibility will allow me to have a more traditional garden railway....with a much larger track and more capacity for trains and structures, etc. Currently, I envision having a 200ft x 30ft level grade track in a folded dog bone configuration as the main line. Wide radius 20ft dia minum will be used in anticipation steam-ups and long freights on this line.

So far this might not sound so extreme, but consider this:
Instead of having the entire railroad on the extreme, I'm opting to create 2 branch lines off the main line loop. At least one of these tracks may be able to extend deep into the woods terminating at either a reverse loop or wye track (maybe both if I'm able to disguise the loop. ) Accompanying the branch will be a meandering walking/bike path which likely loop back around to the main layout.

I hope to post some pictures of the new location soon. Unfortunately, there is a lot of work to do on the site before tracks can be installed. I'm looking at taking down a few trees (i've learned that you can't have acorns and g scale together!) and the site needs overall clearing and assessing. The plan is to run trains in April!
 

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #13









Here are some pictures of the new main line for the new Rockwall Canyon. Believe it or not, this isn't the remote part of the line! I've surveyed about 400ft of mainline which will travel deep into the woods. I had considered making this only a branchline, but I was able to find a pass that will enable the mainline to go extreme, while staying at a relatively level path. I used a Harbor Freight tripod mounted laser level to determine the path. A gas-powered roto-tiller was user to make the "cut", and finally 3/4 in driveway base is being used for the roadbed. A foot trail/bike trail will accompany the trackbed to give guests access to the backlands while maintaining good footing, and less mud in their shoes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
757 Posts
I love the idea of a remote, undisturbed area, the beauty of the background and lighting, etc.

But, I am nonplussed at the overall inconvenience of access, maintenance, etc. Even if I had some train transporting AWD, chairs, table, tools, coffee, etc., I can only think that this will wear badly over time. I can only think battery or live steam in the deep woods. I guess its a matter of available time and mindset.

otoh.i would think, a very very long point to point, one which actually runs out of the line of sight, might be hugely inspirational, like a real mountain line.
 

·
"Rocky Canyonero"
Joined
·
464 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top