Borracho Springs & Angry Beaver Garden Railway

vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
Borracho Springs & Angry Beaver Garden Railway



Well let’s try this one more time…



This thread will be chronicling the building of my new layout, outdoors this time. Seems like every other layout I’ve tried building gets going well enough, gets stalled and dies a slow tragic death. Such is my indoor Gotham layout, which is still there! It lies behind a wall of clutter that I have been unable thus to render into the nearest Salvation Army, despite my best efforts to do so. So here we are again. Only this time I’m going into a spot where no clutter can block. I decided I am going to build a simple layout in the back corner of our yard, a corner that abuts neighbors barking dogs and trash cans in an alleyway.



A little backstory first. This is where I began:







It’s looked like this ever since we rebuilt the garage. For whatever reason I never had the energy or strength to deal with it until this fall, when after being on jury duty for an extremely depressing criminal trial, I needed to do something positive to pull me out of a serious funk. I first did a couple planters; one became the little outdoor pizza layout, and converted a couple of pallets into mobile planters.







I really got serious just after Thanksgiving with beginning to rework a nasty section of loose pavers that used to abut the old garage before it was torn down. For whatever reason, I simply placed large retaining blocks against the raised edge and created a step down between the higher pavers and the old garage floor, now the driveways. But over time the soil under the pavers washed out creating a drupe in the paving. So out came four feet of pavers, soil dug, recompacted, and reset to create a ramp between the higher patio and the driveway area. Big improvement immediately, now I could move things between the upper and lower areas with far greater ease than before. So easy in fact that the next step was to take the small metal toolshed on skids that we’ve had since forever in the back corner, careen it onto its sides and add four large lockable caster wheels to it. Once accomplished, I could now wheel it down onto the driveway and rework an ugly planter spot along the fenceline at the rear of the current patio pavers. Landscape retaining blocks and soil were removed, concrete pavers laid down and now I had a convenient alcove to push the toolshed into.







I then started removing the pavers laid in the back corner, and discovered that the tree against the rear fence was sending out root runners and were pushing up the pavers. We had already paid a guy to cut it down last summer 2018, but it started growing back stringers out of the old stump, I tried to keep it in check but the damn thing grew like something out of a horror movie. So after cutting it back filling a 100 gallon trash can a couple times over, I tacked several copper nails into the stump. Now came the big dig, digging and relaying pavers. I had several dozen concrete Saltillo pavers, left over from the patio, that were mixed with regular concrete pavers in that area originally. They got sorted and as the area nearest the patio was releveled, reset against a new PTDF header, another improvement over the haphazard previous installment, more importantly it gave me a hard edge to start placing CMUs for a low retaining wall. At only two blocks high, I decided to treat them more like landscaping blocks, so they are set right on the soil, sandy loam no clay, with each cell having a #3 rebar driven into the ground and filled with post hole mix. This is an experimental idea but given how low the wall is and how well the soil here drains, it shouldn’t be an issue.







Once I had the blocks down I could now focus on the bane of this area, the bamboo. Luckily for me the area it was growing in the soil was higher than the area I had to dig down to for the interior wood planter walls. So I would dig out the soil to where the roots were exposed, then using a variety of tools (shovel, cutting chisel, mallet, 8 foot breakers bar, and a chainsaw that went from sharp to dull as a butterknife no less) and invoking several words and phrases that would have resulted in any fine young Edwardian ladies fainting from the hearing of, broke out the roots by the chunk. But as of now the bamboo is gone. I have also placed PTDF headers and concrete chunks against the fenceline. Luckily this type of bamboo grows straight up and doesn’t spread runners everywhere but I know it will be an ever vigilant job to keep them out of the yard.



Also I decided that I really hated the way the chain link fence looked, I mean its ugly as sin. Last year we had our fence between our neighbor on the other side replaced completely with a cedar fence, and really liked it I decided to add a cedar facing to the chain link. And it’s just that, I placed a PTDF 2x4 at the top and bottom and simply screwed the cedar pickets to that. The method is simplicity itself. Some bailing wire top and bottom to fix the 2x, then use plumbers tape strap to secure the 2x. The top 2x is strapped around the top crossbar so it’s doing all the hard work, the bottom 2x just needs to hold the pickets. It works well and looks a hundred times better than the ratty chain link.







After another big push to meet the Miks Challenge deadline I got the interior wood retaining walls in place, I used wood here mostly for space to maximize the layout area and still have comfortable interior walk around space. It’s the same method I used for the outdoor pizza layout but with added steel stakes to help keep everything in place. I had to remove awful roots along the way from the tree that looked like something straight out of the Upside Down in Stranger Things but luckily they were a lot softer than the dam bamboo roots and were removed as I went. So as of this weekend I managed to get the walls set in place. Next will be to level the soil across the layout bed and set the pavers in the interior walkway.











 
vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
Post two

Now the layout:

Sorry for the low res images, I recently lost access to my Autocad so until that gets resolved I had to make images from screenshots from another program that was read only. Once I get the cad issue resolved I will repost clearer images.







This will be a simplified version of my original indoor Borracho Springs layout and will incorporate both the Borracho Springs and Angry Beaver trains I have been building since forever it seems.

Track power using an Aristo Basic Train Engineer for however long it lasts, with a very simplified block control. Grades will be steep because why not, and because I don’t have a lot of room to begin with. Curves will again be R1 for the same reasons, I can pack alot more layout into a smaller space and I have a bunch of it.







I have discovered that my local Home Despot now carries pressure treated plywood for ground contact, I will use this as a track underlayment , it will also make the raised grade sections a little easier to build. Here drought is far more common that rain, so PT wood in soil contact is generally very stable. Landscaping will be rock, some more rock, and then some more rock and some succulents. What I really want is just a tiny, tiny, tiny sliver of Ray Dunakin’s marvelous stonework on my layout, and I know he didn’t build that in a day so I’ll be working on getting rock samples I like as I go along. Everything local here is rounded river rock. Broken stone, lava and pumice I’ll have to drive around looking for.

That’s it for now.
 
vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
What? What is this nonsense. This is starting to look like a professional job.







Dry run layout for the conduit work, this will soon be buried. I'm thinking of routing the main wiring thru the pieces, then gluing them together, then bury it. Read that its a lot easier if you can do that then burying the conduit, then fishing the wiring through.

PS let me know if this is in the wrong location, having a hard time reaquinting myself to the new format
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
27,727
North West Norfolk
Wow - keep going, Vic :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
5,073
57
Royston
Looking good so far, I like the coloured blocks
 
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
732
76
Ormond Beach, Fl
Vic been watch this on both here and LSC and it looks like it will be a fun layout the only thing I see that might trouble is siding locations in the red area as layout looks to be run in counter clockwise direction which allows use of all the switches on the left side but the ones on the right an engine will only be able to pull in and not drop a car.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,534
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Vic been watch this on both here and LSC and it looks like it will be a fun layout the only thing I see that might trouble is siding locations in the red area as layout looks to be run in counter clockwise direction which allows use of all the switches on the left side but the ones on the right an engine will only be able to pull in and not drop a car.
Not so, train will be able to depart Fiddle then to North Yard run all the way round to North Yard again. Now we can run round and serve those yards on the way back to Fiddle via North Yard again. Only issue I see could be Siding lengths with Bogie Cars. Would suggest reworked Bachmann Lill Haulers or LGB Toy Train Wagons As the rolling stock, this would allow a few to be accommodated leaving space for shunting duties. Of course a spare engine will be required to release the Train when it returns to Fiddle somthat you can start again.

Oh and lovely work going on in the Garden.
 
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
732
76
Ormond Beach, Fl
as long as you are happy with it that is all that matters
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
4,048
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Having turnouts facing the "wrong" way does indeed cause more movement and a runaround, those items create more interest and fun and are usually put into a layout on purpose. One thing people do is leave a slow freight "circulating" on the main line and then the switching maneuvers have to work around it, especially if they have to cross the main as in this case.

The design is better because of this feature, actually. Anything that takes longer to do, or more work makes your scale layout "bigger".

Greg
 
vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
Finally an update, I have been working on this...alot actually. I just have very limited access to upload pics to here, so here are the updated pics.

Track is down, wired and fully operational, although I do have to regrade the far corner to bring the grade down a little, not a biggie.

Control is optional, a single LGB pack directly wired to the track and a second unit with an Aristo Basic Train Engineer for walkaround control. block control is via simple knife switches, on or off, under the little shed looking thingies.

First pic is before finish wiring was in place. Second is after all the wiring was complete and buttoned up, last is the portable control unit, both simply nest on top of a 4x4 post.















I've also since finished paving inside the pit area, It's coming together.
 
Last edited:
vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
Egads he even has a video for proof! Been a while since I've uploaded anything to video. This was taken before I finished the wiring and the paving.

 
vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
Just a quick snapshot showing how the blocks and siding power is organized. The little shed thingies hold a knife switch, but where does it go? Each block and siding that has a power switch also gets a number marker made to look like a milestone indicator, that number is then stenciled on top of the power stands, so when you want to isolate a section, its alot easier to associate which stand controls which section. It's pretty simple but what the hey, if it works, right?



 
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Riograndad

Riograndad

Model Railroading, boats and oil painting,
6 Jul 2013
1,815
66
Northampton UK
Good job Vic,all you need now is rocks,rocks and more rocks!!;)
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,534
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Looks like you have plenty of options for Operations, car cards and waybills? I have been rehashing mine recently now most wagons have waybills that take them back to their originating Station so that I do not get a collection of cards that need to be moved, arrived card Goes in the back of the bin that ensures waybil circulation to differing ones so that wagons have differing levels and locations of moves. Some cards have just 3 or 2 options. Some cards have multiple services to catch as not all destinations are served by a direct train, though that may not be quite for you. But things are never the same over 2 sessions.
 

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vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
Had a productive weekend, a VERY productive weekend. I have reached SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION.


After spending thursday and friday setting out the pavers and bricks, I spent saturday and sunday moving the gravel from the far side of the garage to the layout. Between the pavers under the building locations and roadways and using bricks under the tracks I ended up needed far less gravel than I originally estimated. Back then I planned to fill the planter then float the track and buildings on top like I did way back with my first layout, it's even what I did with the outdoor pizza. but using the paver/brick method saved a lot of time and effort. For now I am going to leave the bricks under the tracks exposed so I can test trains and make any necessary track tweeks for operation. Now comes detailing and testing trains.

But today is a milestone, I actually finished something










 
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vsmith

vsmith

G Scale indoors, O Tinplate, Micro Layouts
24 Oct 2009
3,809
Sunny So Cal
Running trains this last weekend, also began planting succulents and I added a sunshade overhead as the midday sun here is so fierce it's something only mad dogs and Englishmen would go out into ;)

 
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