I'm going to stop saying "year number" whatever..because it doesn't matter! ;) it's totally irrelevant now. The garden railroad gets worked on when it gets worked on, and things will get done when they get done.. keeping track of how many years it has been has grown boring to me, so i'm no longer going to mention it! :)

March 2017:

I began working on new storage shelves in the basement! for my trains. And im working on a system to run trains from the basement shelves, out to the garden railroad! keeping the trains on the tracks the whole way, and eliminating the need to pick up locomotives and cars one at a time and carry them manually out to the garden railroad.

See this thread on mylargescale.com for more details about that.

June 1, 2017
Video 17 - state of the railroad at the start of 2017:

July 15, 2017:

Building of the first wood octagon begins! :) These have been part of the plan all along, I need to build two large wood 9-foot diameter octagons to be the support for the upper loop. First, a quick survey of the railroad before construction begins, this is the state the railroad has been in since last Autumn:


July 15, 2017- continued:

The first concrete deck supports are brought in and laid out:

I got the large concrete deck blocks from Home Depot, they only have the one style. (I didn't bother to check Lowes, because these will work fine.) They accept 4x4 lumber legs. It's overkill for my needs! ;) the only thing they will support is the lumber framework, the track, some mulch and ballast! But I suppose its better to be over-built than under-built!

It's important in my climate (Western NY) that the concrete blocks sit *on* the ground, but are not buried in the ground! because of frost heave. Posts in the ground don't work here, unless they are 4-feet deep! posts only one or two feet in the group will get popped out of the ground from frost heave. But it is known from the live-steam community in these parts, building raised railroads, that deck blocks *on* the ground are fine..they might rise and fall a bit in the Spring, but they then settle back to their original level. If they were in the ground, they would rise up but then not be able to fall back..the classic frost-heave problem.. blocks on the ground avoids the problem.

July 16, 2017
Video 18 - Posts are set up, waiting for the laser level:

July 22, 2017:

The Laser Level arrives, and construction of the benchwork continues:

Video 19 - Laser Level! my new favorite tool!

This is the Laser Level I bought: https://www.amazon.com
"Bosch GLL 2 Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser Level with Mount"
(Tripod not included! ;) that's my camera tripod in the video)

July 23, 2017:

I have talked about this "outdoor benchwork" concept before on this page, but here is a recap:

I first saw the idea in person about 2005, when I visited Chuck Walters raised live steam track in Oswego, NY. See photos of the track here:

Click here for Chuck's raised live steam railroad.

Live steam tracks are common using this method, and as I discussed above, having the concrete blocks *on* the ground, rather than posts *in* the ground, solves the frost heave problem.

Then! I read on mylargescale.com about Richard Smith's amazing Port Orford Coast Railroad! Richard has taken the concept "to the next level", essentially taking the idea of  traditional *indoor* model railroad railroad benchwork, like anyone would build for a HO scale basement layout, and adapting the idea for outdoor Large-Scale use! Building a series of raised tables, and then creating a system to hold ground cover, plants, ballast, structures, etc.

I was very impressed by what Richard has achieved, and I am planning to use many of his techniques on a portion of my garden railroad, mainly the left side, which is what is being built now. Thanks for the inspiration Richard!

Click here for Richard Smith's Port Orford Coast Railroad.

July 28, 2017:

Video 20 - Loving the Laser Level!

July 30, 2017:

The top deck of the west platform is built:

August 6, 2017:

Work begins on the East (right) platform:

Video 21:

August 20, 2017

I'm working on ideas for the edging of the raised platforms:

I put a post on the G Scale Trains group on Facebook:

"Hey everyone, im looking for some edging suggestions please. A photo of my raised platform is attached, the track is placed roughly where it will end up going. Im going to place wire and weed-cloth on the top of the lumber supports, and have additional support for the track. I need something to create the outer edge of the platform, a raised edge that will hold back mulch and prevent it from falling off the edge. I would make a curved edge, a circle, instead of making "straight" edges in the shape of the current octagon. So I want something I can curve around the outside to create a raised edge, that sticks up an inch or two. Anyone have any ideas? I liked this as a potential solution:
But the reading I have done suggests it warps easily and doesnt hold a curve well. Metal landscape edging would be ideal, but im having a hard time finding simple straight metal edging, just a bar about 4" tall...anyone do anything like this with a raised garden RR platform? thanks!"

And got a lot of good suggestions, thanks everyone!
The conversation in that thread led to a new direction for the edging..here is a video with the details:

Video 22:

I need 60 feet of edging for the two raised platforms.
More about the three methods I considered:

1. Steel edging:
$52 for 40 feet. I would need to buy two sets, and I would have 20 feet left over. (I could likely use that somewhere else on the railroad though.)
= $1.30 a foot, $104 total cost for my project.

2. Terrace board, plastic edging:
I really liked this idea! It's plastic, but it looks like wood. But..I read the reviews on Amazon, and all the negative reviews are about how it wont keep an even, straight edge, it warps and "snakes", people install it straight, and days later its all wavy. So I gave up on that.
$24 for 40 feet.
I would need to buy two sets, and I would have 20 feet left over. (I could likely use that somewhere else on the railroad though.)
= 60 cents a foot, $50 total cost for my project.

3. Wood fence boards, the same boards im using for the fence panels along the back edge of the railroad.
$1.58 for a 8-foot tall piece, Home Depot.
= 20 cents a foot. $12 total cost for my project.

Well, can't beat that! ;) $12 versus $100. As I discussed in the video, the only drawback to using the fence panels is I lose the round circular edge I was originally going for, but the round edge had other problems. So! I will try the fence panels, see how it looks. I could even splurge, spend $24, and do two rows! ;)
Next update coming soon..

August 26, 2017

The framework of the two raised platforms is complete!
The base, legs, and upper deck support is done on both sides.
next up:
building the bottom walls for dirt backfill, then the sides of the supports, and then finally, the upper deck platform for track, ballast and scenery. I'm going to work from the bottom up.

Video 23:

August 27, 2017
The main wall for the backfill is installed:

Video 24:

September 2 & 4, 2017:

The big project for Labor Day weekend was raising the rock wall a few inches.
I put bamboo stakes in the ground, then used the laser level and a silver sharpie to mark the new height.

Video 25:

September 4, raising of the rock wall is complete:

September 18, 2017

All the wood edges are complete around the bottom of the two raised platforms, ready for the dirt to be wheel-barrowed in. The final project for rest of this season will probably getting the big dirt pile moved into the garden railroad.

Video 26:

October 1, 2017

Video 27:

October 8, 2017:

The dirt pile is all moved! 45 individual wheelbarrow loads, had just enough!

Video 28 - October 9, 2017 -  Final update for 2017:

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