Garden Railways in Focus by Tag Gorton Soft Cover 2005 95 Pages
RailroadTreasuresoffers the following item:
Garden Railways in Focus by Tag Gorton Soft Cover 2005 95 Pages
Garden Railways in Focus by Tag Gorton Soft Cover Copyright 2005 95 Pages
Southern Cross Railway
North Somerset Light Ry
MEtre gauge in the Cote d Or
North Lindsay light ry
Main line magnificence
Russet Tor Light Ry
Life and times of the Foxfields Light Railway
Steam locomotives of the AVR
A tale of two Mamods
Snitterby & Waddingham Ry
Weston & Wrekin Havock Light Ry
Spirit of Compron Down
When I was a child, this sort of sight was common all over these islands. No more alas, but nowadays I can sit with a cup of tea and replicate those far off days in my small back garden, watching the trains go by. This reproduction of a Cornish steam-powered backwater is my own idea of a garden railway and it is built and run to suit me. Some may prefer the colourful and efficient metre gauge railways found in Continental Europe whilst others favour standard gauge trains in action on a double track main line. I make no value judgements here - the world of garden railways is a pastime and hobby that is both creative and imaginative rather than competitive.
A Whole New Dimension
Once upon a time railways in gardens were the only game in town - other than a small selection of live steam 'dribblers' designed to run on the playroom floor and simple toy representations of early steam locomotives for the offspring of the seriously rich. Within living memory however, the accent has most certainly, been on the indoor model railway. These were initially tinplate, usually Gauge 0 and designed to attract purchasers from what was broadly termed the middle classes, who were the only ones with the disposable income to spend on such fripperies for their children.
The rise of the post-war consumer society and improvements in manufacturing technology fuelled production of smaller scale models and the 00 gauge 'tabletop' railway was found to be more suited both to the constraints of modern housing and to the depth of the purchaser's pocket. Railways built in the garden however, tended still to be the preserve of the more affluent and perhaps more eccentric section of the modelling population and the flag, over these wilderness years, was largely kept flying by those who modelled in Gauge 1.
When I first moved into the garden some twenty odd years ago, I was attracted by the possibility of comparatively affordable live steam. The simple little meths fired pot boilers and the first of the gas fired locomotives then available were really only representations of the real thing, but a further attraction was that they were built on a narrow gauge format - which meant that a railway powered by live steam could be constructed in the smallest of gardens - and mine was pretty small! Many people were also moving into the garden using the G-scale products of Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk (LGB) and its derivatives - which again were built to a narrow gauge format, but representing the metre gauge railways in Europe. These models were (and are) in fact very well detailed and, despite being electrically powered, were certainly more than rugged enough to run in the great outdoors and again, the narrow gauge outline meant that a railway constructed in this way would take up comparatively little space.
The Camera Lens is Pitiless
Those first railways of the 'new wave' like the models themselves, were comparatively simple, but the very fact that these railways ran in the open air and in natural light, provided a whole new dimension of realism. An early (in garden railway terms) copy of Railway Modeller, featured an article on Peter Dobson's 16mm scale garden railway and I remember it particularly, because the live steam locomotives and their trains were running through a station that had an awning, built very simply, using curly shelf brackets to represent the Victorian ironwork so often seen on this type of railway structure.
Now this was a very basic construction and, if built for a scenic indoor line, would certainly have turned up a few noses, but in the real lighting of the great outdoors, this model captured the atmosphere of a Corris Railway' type awning to perfection! Now I can and do admire the excellent work produced by our centrally heated fellow travellers, but while our eyes and imagination can deal with the artificial light when inspecting someone's indoor pride and joy - the camera lens is pitiless and photographs taken in artificial light look flat and lifeless.
Some years ago I wrote a book called Steam in Your Garden - now out of print. This was originally made available from the Railway Book Club and, for many months, photographs from this minor work were lifted to illustrate the modelling section of the Club newsletters. Now I don't flatter myself that I am anything like a professional photographer, but you see my pictures of railways looked 'right' because the light was right. As garden railway modellers we have this huge advantage - our railways are real - they run through the real world and in real weather and are not preserved in the artificially lit aspic of a summer day in 1937 on a dusty baseboard in the back bedroom.
Running in the Open Air
Modern garden railways, of whatever scale or gauge, have moved on considerably in the last twenty years or so. Some of the first G-scale railways seen in magazines, consisted of little more than fixed track sections laid temporarily on a freshly mown lawn on a summer afternoon, with perhaps just a few Pola buildings to add verisimilitude. 16mm scale steam lines were rather different to this, largely I suppose, because there was no 'clip-together' track available but, with a few honourable and far-seeing exceptions, the idea of constructing a believable scale world with living scenery and 'all weather' buildings, had been taken up by very few people in any scale.
This was perhaps because the idea of running in the open air was novelty enough in those days - and for many people the added dimension of live steam was the main priority, with one's imagination providing all railway infrastructure other than required civil engineering. With the increasing sophistication of both electrical train control and commercial radio controlled steam locomotives, it became very much easier to run a railway in the garden and, increasingly, the refugees from the back bedroom were applying their indoor modelling skills to their outdoor enterprises. The idea of modelling the complete railway scene in the garden has gradually taken hold - as it did in its turn for indoor railways between the wars. There are perhaps, other reasons. I, for instance, had a large collection of N Gauge stock but, even in this small scale, the demands of a growing family meant that I never really had the space to actually build a model railway -until I moved into the garden!
`Yer Average' Garden Railway
The size and presence of the larger outdoor scales has not only attracted modellers from the smaller scales but has drawn in people who have no modelling background at all, but who do have an interest in railways of all types. Those who construct a garden railway tend to be far removed from the (in any case inaccurate) perception of the railway modeller as a loner who locks himself away in the attic. Take a look at any of the hundreds of garden meetings held up and down this United Kingdom! A more sociable and disparate mix of men and women it would be difficult to find.
Perhaps because of this there can be no such thing as 'yer average' garden railway. The railways in this book are of varying scales and gauges. They range from the expansive wide-open spaces of the mountain road on the Southern Cross to the industrial narrow gauge and homely little steam engines of the Sylvan Heights Tramway. This is not a book about the construction of garden railways. My hope is that, like me, you will enjoy these photographic essays for their own sake and perhaps gain inspiration and not a few ideas for your own great railway adventure. Each railway herein is entirely individual to its builder and all are very different, but each and every one of them has that single ingredient essential to the creation of a satisfying garden railway - imagination!
All pictures are of the actual item. If this is a railroad item, this material is obsolete and no longer in use by the railroad. Please email with questions. Publishers of Train Shed Cyclopedias and Stephans Railroad Directories. Large inventory of railroad books and magazines. Thank you for buying from us.
Postage rates quoted are for shipments to the US only. Ebay Global shipping charges are shown. These items are shipped to Kentucky and then ebay ships them to you. Ebay collects the shipping and customs / import fees. For direct postage rates to these countries, send me an email. Shipping to Canada and other countries varies by weight.
Payment must be received within 10 days. Paypal is accepted.
Terms and conditions
All sales are final. Returns accepted if item is not as described. Contact us first. No warranty is stated or implied. Please e-mail us with any questions before bidding.