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Sycamore Creek RR

by Peter Bunce

My little bit of Colorado is being built in the back garden with full permission of my chief accountant - my wife! 

One lawn of two had part of it virtually always in shade, and thus any growth there was poor, so it was immediately commandeered for the hamlet of Sycamore Creek, around which part of the railroad was laid forming a loop with a removable  bridge (that goes over the steps which access the lawn).

Much later we decided that the other lawn could also be circled with some track- the difference is that lawn has a double slope in it! I worked out a plan which was approved and just before the snow of 2009 the Celcon blocks were cemented in, leaving space for a couple of bridges and a small trestle and hill, put there to provide a tunnel in true table top fashion!

Now some of the track is due to be relaid, and the Celcon blocks will have their new track laid on top of them. One bridge has been bought from Germany and I have to build the other, and the small 7 bent (I think) trestle.

The hamlet or village of Sycamore Creek has been built by me, and now has permission for an extension. the winter kept me inside so that permission was used and some of the new buildings needed have already been built, I have no shortage of others to add to them if I can get more permission (for expansion) - it will also save me doing the mowing of the upper lawn!

The locos and freight (and a small amount at the moment of passenger vehicles are also scratchbuilt - if I have a plan, the rest is easy, just time consuming! Bachmann provides the bogies for freight vehicles, LGB for passenger vehicles. I have some scratch built locos, some are modified Bachmann, and there are a couple hopefully in the pipeline all round the world to China

Here are some photos with extended captions of the layout so far - there is much more to do!

The hamlet of Sycamore Creek - after the ravages of winter, and in front is the new extension to it. The empty flagstones are bases for my buildings, built mainly from  PVC solid foam, as my article in Garden Rail magazine. Also visible are my mule train, and a couple of my horse drawn vehicles as well.

 A view of the station or depot area - which shows the flagstone bases better - they are 17" square before cutting with an angle grinder and bolster chisel. The white bits are plastic angle strips that hold the building in place - generally I have a couple of screws through the lower walls and the strips.. Behind the station is a 2 foot square base  - that is for a machine shop, which will be a campanion to the Boiler shop and will be made from Korroflute - which is the stuff that Estate agents use for signboards etc. At the far end of the loopis a small yard with a section house, workshop and a couple of toilets right at the end.

Here is the boiler shop, which was the second building I made its 3 foot long and 2 foot wide and sits over a large paving slab. This area is to be made better with a new siding where the bluebells are and between the two building will be a yard full off boilers 0 made from drinks cans wrapped in plasticard.  The water tank has a centre a 10 litre paint pot and is much larger than the Pola version! The near siding will have at its end a small loco shed.

The helicopter has been out and this is a view over the end of the layout; the track is just out of view, the silver rooves are a PW dept that fills an empty space that was not reallly part of the hamlet. The horse drawn vehicles can be seen a bit better The trees are in their overwintering location, they are 'bonsaied sycamores - naturally!  The red building is the schoolhouse - more houses are needed to provide the pupils, I have another one inside, more will have to be built! The boardwalks are bits of Bachmann flatcars - the bogies are donated to my freight stock.

A ground level view of 'Sycamore Creek'  The building at the end on the left is a large store which is going to have new signage after the paper signs failed after 4 years, next is a saloon, and then a Post Office. At then end is the vicarage, church (my wife has always been a church organist so we had to have a church, this follows a HO scale design, with permission of the HO scale kit designer. More ground cover is going to be added! Its in stock, the new area needs finishing then all will be covered to the level of the top of the flags, ground cover net will be laid first however.  Something will have to be done with that fence post I will paint it green!

A final shot of the hamlet in the winter snow at its deepest, showing the buildings which only had minor damage (no doubt caused by me brushing off the snow = broken stovepipes, and there are a lot of those alas), all have now been repaired, though some still need a lick of paint.

Finally, here is the new bit(!) - the old part is to your right, this is all of the double sloped lawn. on the right is where the first bridge will go, and in front (at the end of a 6 foot radius curve) is where the hill, trestle, and bridge (over the path) will be placed making a loop, the old loop will be severed then and I will have a lopsided figure 8 for the layout.

Thank you for the kind comments, yesterday (Sat 23rd April) I lifted the track for just under half off the present layout, and removed all the (sharp edges) gravel that was not doing its job, then replaced the lot with 1/2 size Celcon blocked cemented in. That is now much better and my scratch built Mason Bogie loco has stopped falling off the track at the beginning of the curve. It was the very first track I laid and showed it!

Here are a couple of photos of the loco, built with the assistance of a long article and drawings all done by David Fletcher in Australia, and via the 'net made available from Utah, USA. 

Here are a couple of photos of the loco, built with the assistance of a long article and drawings all done by David Fletcher in Australia, and via the 'net made available from Utah, USA.

All the buildings/cars are scratch built except for the bogies of the cars, and from the photo the door on the first car needs re-hanging!

Here is a closer view of the Mason Bogie.