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Hopefully, this will really be the year I get started putting track outside permanently and get a small layout going.  Before I start digging, I have a track plan that I wanted to show everyone any comments gratefully received.  I will post the plan in a reply to this message, bear with me as I get the hang (or not) of image posting.  But, some background first....

The layout is based on the Rio Grande, standard gauge, in the late '50's early 60's.  It will mainly be freight, box cars and perhaps some hopper wagons and other bits and pieces.  I chose the DRG because I used to travel out to Denver and Boulder  for work every now and then, and liked the area.  I am not fanatical about counting rivets, but had to decide what era/type of layout I wanted before I ended up more trains than I could had space for, or could afford :D

My site is on a steep slope but I want a very level track (for when I get the live steam going one day - at which point we might have to turn the clock back a little). If you imagine the site has the longest part (about 30 ft/10m) West to East,  the North/South part is only 2ft/4m).  North/South has 2-3 ft drop from North to South (you should see the rest of the garden!), so there will be a lot of built-up trestles or earthworks on one side, and some cuttings on the other side of the layout. The area I can build on is about 4m x 10m - and the plan is near to the perimeter of the area, avoiding obstacles like trees.  The South side of the layout follows the retaining wall, and this will be the raised trestle, earthworks area. This means it should be easy to put trains on the track!

I am staying with powered track, and using LGB brass track pieces I have been using for temp indoor/outdoor layout I have been building.  I will need to do a bit of flexing of track to get the passing loop to connect up unless I can adjust the plans a little.

The track is going to be laid a recycled HDPE "plastic wood" ladder so I have a stable base.  Still thinking about how I get the ladder to follow the fixed track curves as I assemble the ladder, thinking about a big piece of board, drawing out the track plan in short sections and then adding stops nailed into the board as a template to get the curvature right.  Experiments trying to get the curve to match up by hand didn't work too well as I could never get the HDPE to keep in place while I put in pilot holes for decking screws.  I can carry it out to the site in pieces and do final assembly there.  That's the plan anyway, but any suggestions most welcome.

Now to try and get the plan on the next message...

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