7" gauge in the garden


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7¼" gauge in the garden

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The railway      Civil Engineering      Track and point work

The railway

September 2010


We've bought 1.25 acres (5000sqm) of flat land near Hamilton and I am starting to plan my new railway. It'll likely be a while before I actually start construction as work and building a house will have to come first, but that doesn't mean I can't spend my time planning!

October 2010


I've done some planning of where the track will go on our piece of land. The land isn't huge and Pip doesn't want the track encircling the house, so I've had to be "creative". It won't be going in straightaway, but we've planned the position of the house around where the track needs to run.

January 2011


All of a sudden the building consent comes through and the builders are off.

I marked out where the track is going so that things like water tanks don't get plopped down in the wrong place. It looks better on the ground than it does on paper. They have dug the foundations for the house and the driveway. It's looking good!

I think I am going to abandon the idea of a tunnel; it is simply proving too costly.


This video was taken by walking the future trackbed. Sorry about the bumpy ride, I now know why movie camera's have the steady-cam thingies - it is REALLY difficult to keep the camera steady when you walk across a field! I haven't chosen a name for the track yet, but Whatawhata Live Steamers is a contender.

I have just spent a couple of hours with AutoCAD drawing up the locoshed and turntable. I am sending the drawings off to get a quote.

Mike Hartle has lots of photos on Facebook of the Beaver Creek Railway - lots to think about here!

February 2011


In the end I decided to go with an off-the-shelf double garage (but with 2 separate doors) for my locoshed. A custom-made shed was just getting too expensive.


The railway      Civil Engineering      Track and point work

Civil engineering


I guess everyone would like a tunnel on their line - well, I would.

The land itself only varies about 600mm across the entire 5000m2 (1¼ acres), so I can't REALLY justify one. However, the land rises quite sharply (even if only 600mm) behind the new locoshed (far right on the ground plan) so it would be the logical place to put it - then heap more dirt on top to disguise it. Our builder has come up with a source of concrete culvert pip at a reasonable price, so I am thinking about it.

I am very unlikely to have a bridge on the line because there just isn't the variation in height - unless I dig out a pond or such-like.


The railway      Civil Engineering      Track and point work

Track and point work


I prefer "proper rail", however many clubs and individuals use flat steel bar on-edge as rail; it is cheaper, easier to work with and much easier to get - but it looks ugly. It might however be a case of following the trend because I will have to balance my desire for aesthetically-pleasing track with (financial) practicality. That said, from anything beyond about 3m or 4m you cannot really see the rail and certainly once you are running on it you don't notice.

I asked at two miniature railways I visited in Australia and neither of them knew of a local source of steel rail, both got theirs from either Europe or Japan.

I drew up a die to have some aluminium rail extruded locally here in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it works out about twice the price of using flat steel bar, so it doesn't really work out to be cost effective. The trouble with aluminium is that it will expand about twice as much in the heat as steel will and the sun is pretty fierce in New Zealand. Add to that it'll wear a lot quicker.

I originally thought I'd lay three-rail track to allow people with 5" locos to run, but this is going to make everything about a third as much again (same number of sleepers etc., just 50% more actual rail). As I don't have any 5" gauge equipment - and am not likely to either - I may just put in 7¼" gauge, 2-rail. This will mean that at least two of my friends won't be able to run their small locos. Umm, decisions-decisions.

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