How to Grow Your Own Garden Railway
Above and below: Even though Dennis and Helen from Frenchs Forest NSW are a working couple, they still seem to find the time to enjoy their trains.
Your garden railway can be anything you want it to be. As simple or as complex as you like, it's there all year round to enjoy. For many, it becomes a lifelong interest, growing and changing over the years.
Model trains designed especially for outdoor operation are made by a number of companies. They run on solid brass track that is designed to stand up to all weather conditions. They operate on low voltage electricity similar to outdoor garden lighting that takes care of any electrical safety issues. The power is carried through the rails in the same way that smaller scale indoor model trains operate. The most common gauge (width or space between the rails) is 45mm, internationally referred to as 'Gauge One'.
The engines and carriages are usually made from industrial grade plastics such as ABS, the same as motor-car parts. This makes them very strong and durable. Buildings and structures made to the same scale and from the same materials add realism, helping create little villages and dioramas in your backyard railway empire.
Dennis and Helen are a typical example of Garden Railway owners. They are a middle aged working couple living in Frenchs Forest, a suburb of Sydney. Rather than dominate the garden, their trains tastefully fit in with it. After the family left home, Dennis and Helen could do as they pleased, so the Garden Railway was built for their own personal enjoyment.
"We thought that all the fun would be over once we'd finished putting it together," says Helen. "But we have a ball every time we run the trains, which is quite often."