The St Andrews Island Estate Railway is a 7/8ths scale garden railway occupying a small space about 30 by 15 feet within our larger garden. The brief was it was to be as none intrusive as possible and blend in with its surroundings. I have never been a fan of complicated trackwork in any of the scales I've modeled in and in the garden its no different, the line being a simple skewed oval with a passing loop and a single siding. Buildings are also limited to (at the moment) a single goods shed and small tool shed at the farm siding.
I am not trying for a scale model of anything, rather an impression and atmosphere of a small 2 foot gauge estate line winding through countryside on my imaginary Cornish island.
The line is set on an imaginary island, St Andrews, set in the real Isles of Scilly archipelago 35 miles off the tip of Lands End in South West England... next stop the USA! It is envisioned the line runs around the island (which is privately owned (much like the real Tresco) by "the Commander") delivering goods and tourists from the quay to the various farms and hotels etc and returning exports to the quay in the form or the cut flowers the real islands are rightly famous for.
The track is aristocraft 45mm gauge, laid loose into the ballast which lies in a 6inch deep trench lined with weed preventive fabric and larger gravel below the main ballast. It has never needed much maintaining, just a bit of packing and re-ballasting in the spring etc. Now if I was starting again I would handbuild my track with wooden sleepers and code 250 rail spiked down, to look more to scale but the aristo stuff seems to be hard wearing and doesn't look too bad when the sleepers are buried in the ballast. Plus I can still run other G scale stuff and the like if I want to! Turnouts are LGB R1 and I do keep meaning to replace them wit heasier radius ones but I never seem to get round to it!
At the moment we own 4 locomotives, two battery powered infernal combustion types and two live steamers. I have built one of each and bought the others off friends. There is a scattering of various wagon/coach types, some scratchbuilt, some kitbashed and some built from kits from Modelearth design and IP Engineering. 7/8ths and 1/12th and rapidly increasing in popularity but there are still only a few kits etc available commercially, so much has to be self built.
Locomotives and stock area!!
Now lets see if I've got the picture posting ideas right....
Evelyn in the Woods.
Evelyn is a Accucraft Edrig with a body kit from Back2Bay6 for the 1/12th scale Heywood 15inch gauge Katie. She runs as this on 32mm lines and as a small 7/8ths steamer on my 7/8ths line.
Evelyn with the IP Engineering coaches at the Farm Siding. The Deutz-esque at the farm siding.
The Deutz-esque is a small loco based on this german manufacturers locos for 2 foot gauge, and was built by bashing an LGB Feldbahn "Jonny" locomotive!
Simplex at the gated crossing before the "cricket pitch" (Lawn crossing!)
The fabulous Simplex was built for me by a friend Simon Harris who is "Modelearth Design", its a work of art! Some of the stock is also built from Modelearth kits, like these 3 plank estate wagons.....
Now for the newest loco, Moth. She was aquired from Rob Bennett of Busy Bodies fame... (who has supplied most of the figures for the line over the years from his stall at shows too). He has built Moth as an on going project over the years from a Regner Konrad Locomotive. It was the locomotive that got me back into modeling and into 7/8ths a few years ago after I had been "in the wilderness" for a long time! Its not often you get to own the thing that first inspired you to do something, so I was overjoyed when my husband bought it for my birthday when Rob decided to sell it on as he wasn't running it enough.
Moth on the Embankment.
Photos from around the island etc.
Ran Evelyn the first time this pm (21st April 2010) since the fitting of the summerlands chuffer I bought from Chris at Stoneleigh. Goodness me what a difference. The sound echos round the garden lovely.... especially when she is working hard up the small gradients... there are more since the winter, time to get the gravel out I think!
Above. Evelyn basks in the warm spring sunshine at the loop after a good run. The Chuffer also does a good job of directing the oily water down onto the track rather than all over me and the loco at start up!
Left is Evelyn at the long embankment with the flowering Magnolia stellata which eventually should shade this area and put on a fantastic early spring flower display.Mind you it looks really good now.............
Now we move on to running Moth on a goods train of Skips and 3 plank wagons plus the brake off the previous train...
On the embankment. Along the "shore" towards hotel loop and Wine Cove. Embankment again. Busy moment at hotel loop with Evelyn resting at the loading dock.
Changes are afoot...Perhaps!
Here is a track plan of the current layout.... there may be changes afoot but more later....
In recent months there has been a change in focus and the line can now run as either the St Andrews Island Estate line or as a mainland 2foot narrow gauge line set around the war years as things are neglected somewhat... This has resulted in some new stock being built such as the new 0-6-0 Lawley/Baldrig bash "Sylvia" seen below.
This as led to a change around the station/farm siding area, we now have a platform and shelter (the latter is taken in after running sessions so doesn't always appear!) and a new detailed cast concrete water tower from Cain Howely, which even the local wildlife, sundry cats etc which use this area as a thoroughfare have not managed to shift (touch wood!).
I find at the moment we are a little down on siding space so the dotted line on the plan above near the loop shows a new siding layout.... for this I will experiment with hand building some track! I do however fancy a complete change to this area to represent a small quarry/pit siding area at some point (to give more purpose to the proposed Accucraft Quarry Hunslet!). However I would like to retain the rather overgrown feel seen in the photo above.
This would also give a reason to run the assortment of industrial stuff I have like the two small diesels and skips etc. These could be the remnants of the steam worked line as it struggled into the modern era... a bit like the Ashover did at the end after the steamers had gone....
Some of this will have to wait though as I will be rebuilding part of this area with a more substantial track bed and retaining walls.