To build a passenger carrying miniature railway
, to carry one perhaps, back to a distant happy holiday memory,
somewhere in the 1950 / 60's .
|Land purchase and survey
|First sod cut
|Rail and sleepers /
fixings purchased from Maxitrak ltd
|Delivery of bogie wagon no
1 built by Compass House
|Earth works / track bed
preparation completed , track laying commenced
|Main line track laying
|Passing loop track
|Loco siding to turntable
and goods siding completed
|Delivery of bogie wagon no
2 built by Compass House
|Delivery of engine no 1 '
snapper ' . A Sapphire class loco built by Maxitrak
|Official opening ceremony
of the ' Holiday Island Miniature Railway Co'.
|Construction of wagon no.
3 completed, adriving truck kit by Maxitrak
|Loco yard with ash pit and
three sidings completed. These being the final pieces of
track to be laid
|New and much needed water tower
delivered and installed in the loco yard. this being
adapted from an old galvanised water tank.
|First semaphore signals built from
|delivery taken of engine no2 . '
reverend chanter ' a Trojan class 0-4-0 battery loco
built by ' Ride on Railways ' of Romford , Essex
|Signal box erected and fitted with a
westinghouse ' l ' type miniature lever frame of sixteen
|Level crossing gates constructed
|Twelve foot long carriage shed
- Basic track bed dimensions...........3
feet wide by 9 inches deep.
- Lined by timber edging................. 9
" x 3 " either side to retain ballast
bed.....................................4 inches of '
crush and run ' this is a limestone based hoggin
available from most builders merchants for about fifteen
pounds a ton. This once compressed by a vibrating plate
forms a very hard but porous foundation.
The reason I chose this method is that one half of the
garden was a very boggy clay mush in the winter and rock
hard in the summer , so I needed a foundation to rely on
whatever the weather . This may seem like overkill but
why not, it's got to last.
On top of this I put down three inches of 6mm limestone
chippings. This was also fifteen pounds a ton delivered.
This will support the track.
Originally I was interested and thinking of
7.25 ". Available space and funds soon changed this to 5
“. This was a blessing in disguise.
The reasons being that:
- 5 " gauge is much easier to
move on your own and to lift without breaking
your back, especially during maintenance. An
engine will also fit in the boot of your car
- Rolling stock needs less space
- There are plenty of 5 " club
- It is much cheaper, just as well
- I fitted in a lot of railway in
the space I had available, in fact, more than I
could ever have imagined. 8 ' - 10 ' curves
All the track and point kits were bought from
Maxitrak of Staple Hurst, Kent.
The rail is Cromar White aluminium and is 16 mm high in profile.
It is not a heavy gauge rail and is therefore very easy to shape
and cut. All curves were bent using a rail bender. This produced
perfectly smooth curves and I would not be without one.
The sleepers are of hardwood supplied with the track kits and
with adequate drainage are supposed to last at least twenty -five
years. We'll see!
Track fixings again were supplied with the kits and are zinc
plated, these being cross head screws, fishplates and nuts and
bolts. All of which went together without any problem and have
produced a wonderfully smooth ride.
The point kits were not easy to make, but once made they perform
well and are reliable. Two track gauges made life easier during
construction. The best advice with points is.......take your
Two bogie open wagons by Compass House - great
little wagons and I am very pleased with them. They have already
travelled many miles and have rarely de-railed, they are sturdy
and I love them.
One Maxitrak driving truck - a nice little kit and it runs well
on our line. Because it is so short I have to be very careful not
to sit too far back and tip it up. Hmm........perhaps I will
convert it into a small dog wagon!
MAXITRAK SAPPHIRE 5" LOCO . This is one powerful little beast. I ordered this loco
having never seen one run before and of course was extremely
pleased with its pulling power. The record so far is four adults
and one child [as that is the most people to visit so far] on our
three wagons with no problems. Our loco is painted green as was
the locos of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, soon to
re-awaken, with which our little garden line is identifiable
RIDE ON RAILWAYS TROJAN CLASS BATTERY LOCO . This engine will pull your house. It is a lovely looking
loco and the perfect companion to our steamer. This loco is also
fitted with a diesel sound unit which changes pitch as more / or
less power is applied, wonderful when stood still with the engine
just chugging over. I love this loco and so does everyone who
drives it........I would not be without one.
|This was made in a very
simple fashion. It looks great and works . The base is 4
x concrete flags 2 ' x 2 ' laid on mortar. The edging
bricks were 25 pence each from a reclamation yard . The
table is made from 2 "x 1 " wood with two metal
plates , one with a bolt welded on to act as the pivot
and the other screwed on to the table to take the pivot .
It is the best thing I have made so far and I’m
really proud of it.
|This is again flags laid
on mortar. I have made a picket fence to go around it and
screwed on a couple of tinplate signs. We also have a
platform for the ' little people ' and their luggage.
This gives us a great excuse to search around the car
boot sales for bits and pieces the right size. The odd
action man and small basket look great.
SIGNAL BOX :
Our signal box is a 6x4 garden shed, painted in
southern colours to resemble the little signal boxes on the '
Lynton to Barnstaple ' line. I think it looks great and it
captures the atmosphere of the real thing. Inside it is fitted
with a sixteen lever ' Westinghouse ' K type frame, of 1928
vintage. Originally in 'Deal Street' signal box, Manchester. This
box controlled the old ' Manchester exchange ' station, becoming
obsolete in 1999 with the rebuilding of Manchester Victoria. I
managed to buy a few levers from Railtrack on decommissioning. I
believe it was the last miniature lever frame to be in use on
The levers operate ' Del- aire ' compressed air
switches, which in turn operate air cylinders on the signals.
This is a fantastic method of signal control.....so easy to
install and reliable. These components i purchased from '
Brandbright Limited ' of Norfolk, a 16mm/ft railway stockist. The
rest of the signal box instruments were saved from the scrap man
in the 1960's. Ah... Those were the days.
CARRIAGE SHED :
|This has been built over
the now extended main siding, leading off from the
station loop. Constructed with a wooden framework and
clad with shiplap timber
It is twelve feet long to accommodate two passenger
carriages and one goods truck
Again this is painted in the green and cream
colours of the southern railway and looks great. This is the last
large construction to be built on our line as we have now run out
CURRENCY AND TICKETS
|On our garden line we have
our own printed tickets as shown and we use pounds,
shillings and pence. All rides have the same fare price
of one old penny. This is the only currency our line
accepts. The conductor has an old leather bag in which
the tickets and money are carried. We always have small
supply of old money available, should visitors find
THOUGHTS ON THE GREAT
Now that the major construction work is all but
over and the railway is running as a proper private miniature
railway , it must be said that it took a great deal of effort ,
but to be honest , even with all the blistering hard work , I
could easily do it all over again , so........
Whatever it is that you enjoy, whatever shape, size, or type of
railway you have, or dream of building, for us here in a
windswept outpost, lost in the mists of time, we have built a
lovely world of our own, where little trains carry large people
and little people travel through huge landscapes past large
flowers and trees. The small pieces of garden left have provided
great fun for my wife and myself to plant out, to enjoy the
splendid colour and scents, but perhaps best of all is the
laughter and happiness that resounds around our magical
1950’s garden and the memories it creates.
SO GO ON AND BUILD YOURSELF A GARDEN RAILWAY.....GO ON....GO
ON.........GO ON GO ON GO ON GO ON GO ON GO ON GO ON .