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Sparky's History of Our Garden Railway Trains

The swimming pool at the old house before Jim and I fixed it

Way back in 1989, when we was living up near Broomfield, Colorado, we had a swimming pool that was leaking reel bad, kinda like a boat that was gonna sink, except that it was leaking out instead of in.

After a while of several years where it got left with the cover on all summer and nobuddy cared or even wanted to keep filling it with water, Gloria mentioned to Jim that maybe it was time to jest fill it in.

Here's a picture of me with the big sledge hammer that I used to help break up the pool concrete

Before Gloria was through saying that, Jim and I were both out there with our big sledge hammers, breaking up the cement sidewalk that ran around the swimming pool.  That pitcher shows me resting after breaking the concrete.

The pool after we was done smashing up the concrete, waiting fer the big tractor to fill it in

This pitcher shows the pool after we was all done smashing it up, waiting fer the big tractor to come and fill it in with 3 semi dump trucks full of dirt.

The big tractor filling in the pool

This is the big tractor that filled in the pool.  The only thing us guys didn't like about it was that it said "CAT" on the arm that lifts the big scoop.

Pitcher of the old Split Rock City at our old house

The pitcher above shows a little bit of the Split Rock City business area at our Garden railway in the back yard of our old house.

Sparky's Back Yard
Page 2
by Sparky

The Split Rock City Railroad Motion clip of steam locomotive

Featuring Construction and Operational Information About the Railroad

Jim built a tunnel fer the lecktrik train and installed it in back oTunnel to get the train behind the pondf the pond, so now the train has a way to get behind the pond without falling into the water and getting ruined.

Jim started with some hoses to help figger out how the train tracks are going to get around in the back yard without the trains hitting each other, but then he needed the hoses back so he could water the flowers, so now he is working with some wooden stakes that he hammers into the dirt to show him where the train track is going to go.

He already figgered out that he needs a trestle to take 2 tracks from by the pond to the hill on the other side of where the dirt pile isn't very tall, so he sawed up a bunch of boards and nailed them together to make them trestle holder things that ken do that, I think they call them "Trestle Bents."Fixture Jim uses to make trestle bents

Anyhow, Jim made a fixture out of a piece of old funny looking plywood that somebuddy made out of sawdust and glue, and he nailed some other sticks down on it to hold the sticks he cut out of a lot of scraps of old wood.  That way he ken make all of those trestle bents the same.

That's why they call them "Bents," cuz in the old days on the regular railroads, them fellers jest made them by thinking about what they should look like, then everybuddy made one that they liked, then when they went to put together the big trestle fer the train to go on, the bents was all different sizes, so they always had to bend the other boards that held together each individual bent, so then when they started building any trestles, everybuddy jest natcherly knew that they didn't have to use no rulers or levels, cuz the final construction guys would jest bend the boards to fit, then use a lot of reel long nails.

The New Steam Shovel

I got my own Steam Shovel so I ken help with the digging and not get in a construction accident, like has happened in the past.  I made sure to get the one that has a remote control so I can be clear out of the way when the dirt and rocks start flying.Here I am with my new, powerful, remote control Steam Shovel  You can never be too safe when constructing a Garden Railway in your back yard.

There's no smoke coming out of it, cuz it doesn't run on steam like the old ones that they used when they built the Panama Canal did.  That's cuz it's "Environmentally Friendly," and runs on batteries.  I would prefer the one that runs on steam, but they're not available anymore, and besides, they never did run with a remote control.  You have to keep putting more wood or coal in the fire and adding water all the time cuz all steam engines leak a lot of steam out of the gaskets and that's why they used to have big water tanks along railroad tracks.

This powerful Steam Shovel has been a big help in digging the holes for the supports for the bridge holders, cuz Jim is too big to fit into the place where the hole has to get dug, and this machine takes all the work out of it.

Click here for a closeup of my new invention

Construction of "Fearsome Gorge"

The hardest construction in this garden railway is expected is that of "Fearsome Gorge."  In order to provide crossing bridges for 3 layers of train tracks, it required a very deep hole for the underpinnings of the tallest bridge supports.

They rest on a pair of paver bricks, set into 2 inches of crusher fines and packed and adjusted until everything was firm and solid and within 1/16" of the final grade level.  Cribbing and rocks were added to further stabilize everything and make it safe fer them heavy trains to eventually cross.  Since some of my brothers and I sometimes ride in the trains, I spent a little extra time double checking everything!

The first 2 pitchers show how easy it was fer me to sit in my outdoor easy chair and run that powerful Steam Shovel with the remote control, while still remaining out of harm's way to prevent accidents.  Then, by the use of a strong chain, I was able to swing that heavy trestle bent down into the hole to check for level and that the correct grade was established so the little bridges that will be installed on top will sit level and the track will be safe fer the train.

The 4th pitcher shows how easy it was to accomplish the final level of the trestle bent, using the powerful Steam Shovel once again.

The final 4 pitchers show how the excess dirt was easily moved using the Steam Shovel to dig it, then turn around and drive it to a big, long board that goes to Gloria's great big wheelbarrow, which I filled up while sitting in my easy chair with the remote control in my lap, and a big cup of iced tea right next to me.

Not even new batteries in my Powerful Steam Shovel will be enough to get that big wheelbarrow up the hill to dump it, so Jim will jest have to do that the next time he comes out into the yard...pretty soon, I hope!

Sparky's Album of "Fearsome Gorge" Construction

Here I am in my relaxing chair with the Steam Shovel remote in my lap, excavating for the trestle bent on the left
Excavating for Trestle Bent

Here I am again, a little farther along with the excavation for the trestle
Almost done with excavation

Here I am using the Steam Shovel as a crane to install the trestle bent
Using Steam Shovel as a crane

Here I am, doing the final leveling of the trestle bent with the Steam Shovel
Final leveling of trestle bent

Here I am, removing the big pile of dirth left over from the excavation process
Removing excess dirt

Removing more of the excess dirt to prevent landslide into gorge
Removing more excess dirt

It's great how I can relax in my easy chair, sip on some iced tea and run my Steam Shovel
Driving dirt to Wheelbarrow

Dumping immense quantity of excess dirt into Gloria's wheelbarrow
Dumping into full wheelbarrow

Garden Railroad Information

Rather than make up an extensive history of Garden Railroads, I'll jest say that there was people in the 19th century that ran toy trains outside.

Then in the 1930's and 1940's there was some old geezers around the country that made their own lektrik trains that they ran outside on some special tracks that they also had to make, cuz they weren't available from any manufacturers.

When Jim was a kid, some of the neighbor kids put their tracks outside in the dirt and ran their Lionel trains out in the yard, at least until they forgot to put things away and it rained and the track got rusty and the trains got mostly ruined from the rain water sitting in them fer about a week until they decided to play with their trains again.

If this article is making you want to put some tracks outside and run a lecktrik train out in your own yard, you ken jest click below to get aholt of the Garden Railway Magazine, cuz they are in the know fer all things about outside trains:

Garden Railways Magazine 

If you want more information than that magazine tells you, you ken jest type in "Garden Railroads," or "G Scale Trains," to find more of the millions of other websites about those big trains.

 Why Are Garden Trains So BIG?

G Scale trains are about 1/24th scale, so they're a lot bigger than the typical HO scale most people are familiar with.  You ken probably run your HO trains out in the yard if you reely want to, but you'll have to bring everything in so nothing gets ruined by rain or other bad weather.

Most G Scale items are weather resistant to a certain degree, and the track is left out all the time, even in the winter.

Also, if your HO train hits even a little pine needle, it'll probably get in a serious wreck!

Getting back to the question, G Scale trains are big cuz you jest need big trains in your garden, and you probably have a lot of space, so why not use it?



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