Garden RGS Construction – Part 1

I have been working for a couple of years to get a long-neglected part of my yard in shape to build a new garden railroad. About three years ago, I began to use herbicide to eradicate the massive amount of ivy that had taken over a couple thousand square feet of the yard. This is what I had about 1 year ago: most of the ivy was sickly or gone, with a mess like this still in part of the yard.

July 2017

August 2017

After more than a year of cutting brush and filling the weekly trash can with debris, I have a clear enough space to lay out a grid and mark where tracks and walls will go.

Laying out the Railway

I placed stakes on 20-foot intervals corresponding to my plan. Marking paint connects the main grid markers. Then I staked out the limits of track, especially the limits of curves, and placed rocks along the proposed retaining walls so we (my wife) could visualize what the final product will be. (“It’s going to be THAT BIG?”)

Laying out the Railway – Revised

Taking her helpful advice about the size of my planned pike I moved everything back five feet. I lost 30 feet of mainline but gained a happier wife. You can see that over the weekend I started some excavation with a shovel. (This is my exercise program!)

Helper District

This section of the rail road will probably require helper service.

Matterhorn Table

Ha ha. Actually I’m going to build a “table” section so I don’t have to put in a retaining wall, buy and move tons of soil and bury the base of my trees. I’ll build the Lizard Head return loop, the Matterhorn table section and add a temporary return loop – hopefully before the rains come this year.

Looking up the Grade

Like the real Rio Grande Southern, the mainline works hard to climb from Ridgway (about where the camera is), the lowest point on the pike, to Lizard Head (way up that orange line about 60 feet up the hill). The climb is about 8 feet vertically, so there is a nearly constant 2.5 to 3.0 percent grade all the way along the 380 foot mainline.

RGS Plan

Here is my planned version of my chunk of the Rio Grande Southern. I’m modelling the line from Vance Junction to Lizard Head. The towns of Ridgway and Rico are represented by storage or staging tracks.

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