All Aboard! Riding the Backyard Rails.

I’ve struggled with getting this post up and running. I’ve had some YouTube problems, but after about three hours of struggle, I’m giving up. It will be what it will be.

I’ve teased before with photos of our backyard railroad. I wasn’t holding out on you, it just took some time to scour external hard drives and each of our computers to find the photos that illustrate the building process.

In 2006, after several years of planning and a great deal of collaborative hard work, our G-Scale (G for garden) railroad was born.

The amount of work that goes into maintaining track and rolling stock, not to mention the work that goes into keeping the water healthy is a significant responsibility. Jay spent the entire weekend on his hands and knees removing acorns and cleaning the track. Corrosion buildup affects electrical conductivity.

But the enjoyment we and others who visit derive from the sounds and visual appeal when the trains are rolling is significant. And although I’m not the one working on it for hours, I’d still assess the effort is worthwhile.

I’ll share just one photo taken from the early stage in the layout, and in my next post I’ll give much more detail.

Early Railroad Outline

Enjoy a little ride on the rails, and if you can stick with it to the end you can hear Darwin chomping his greens.

I hope you enjoyed the ride, and that this week provides smooth travels wherever you go. Don’t forget to Breathe Lighter!

76 thoughts on “All Aboard! Riding the Backyard Rails.

    • I’m sorry you couldn’t see the video, Charlie. If you’re interested, do try again. I managed to get YouTube to at least accept the video. It’s not exactly displaying as I would like it, but at least it’s working! Yes, it’s a big project. I’ll be sharing photos later this week. πŸ™‚

    • I wasn’t paying as much attention to which trains Jay had going. I think that was just an ice cream train. He has a few little ones the girls enjoy. I like the larger ones the most because they sound realistic. One of these times I’ll try to get some photos of the train running at night. We have some nice lights that really do add to the atmosphere. I’m so glad you could come along for a ride, Koji! πŸ™‚

    • I don’t know why I had so much trouble uploading the video this time. I almost couldn’t get it to work at all, so I’m glad you could view it. We have several trains and some very nice engines, but some of them need a little work to keep them running continuously. I will enjoy sharing the “before” and “after” photos later this week. Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed them! πŸ™‚

  1. I enjoyed the video, Debra. And I breathe lighter after seeing Darwin chomping his greens. That looked so cute! I very much loved seeing the trains going around. What a terrific construction site this is! And this is all in your backyard? Fantastic! πŸ™‚

    • It has been so much fun sharing the train with my blogging friends, Uta. It was such a big project, and I’ve enjoyed organizing the photos that remind me, too, of how much work went into its construction. And you could hear Darwin chomp, couldn’t you! That shows you how big he is getting that his jaws are so powerful. He’s a funny guy! I’ll have to have my camera handy again sometime and follow him around for you. He’s very entertaining!

  2. Brilliant! That has to be one of my favorite landscaping features ever. I also managed to come across your MontaΓ±a de Oro video. It makes a sublime “white noise” soundtrack.

    • Yes, isn’t my YouTube channel just brilliant, Janine! LOL! I’m so all over the place trying to figure out how to make videos I have snippets of nothing on there. In the beginning I thought I could make it private for my own use, but as anyone else would know, private means I can’t share anything either. The other day I noticed I had quite a few “hits” to the channel and had to laugh. Who knows how many people have been directed to video clips only to realize there’s not much there at all. I’m very amused by that. But white noise is just about right. Ha! The railroad is quite fun. I’ll look forward to sharing the photos later this week. I’m so glad you stopped by!

    • Hahaha! I didn’t even remember the chicken was ON the bridge. You are so observant, Jim. That chicken was my grandmothers and we seem to move her all over the yard. I think she’s like a garden gnome. You’ve got me thinking about that now…that’s what I’m going to call her! And yes, I can only imagine what you’d write if you had this train! You’re welcome to borrow it. πŸ™‚

    • The bulk of the work has been Jays’ from the beginning and to this day, but I fuss with the water and some of the plants. I’ve been looking forward to sharing the photos for such a long time, but wasn’t very organized with them! And dear Darwin, I think you can get a little more of his personality in a video. I’ll have to do that from time to time. He is getting really big. I had to move him the other day and I couldn’t believe how heavy he is. There is going to come a day before too long when I can’t move him at all! I hate to think!

    • I do give Darwin the produce! But he still makes his way around the garden sneaking little bites of things. Sometimes he just eats grass. He is such a funny creature, and for the most part, he makes his presence known! If we ignore him, which isn’t often, he just comes over and gets us. I’ve found him hanging around the backdoor looking for attention–like a dog! πŸ™‚ I’m glad you like him. He is so funny!

  3. I agree with your assessment! This is incredible Debra! I can easily imagine sitting in your backyard and breathing lighter yet laughing with a child like enjoyment of this. Darwin’s sound effects were an added bonus. πŸ˜‰

    • I was really glad that Darwin happened to be eating just as I decided to take a video of the trains, Colleen. He’s so funny, and had I wanted to stage him, I’m quite sure he would NOT have cooperated. My dear husband wanted this train for years and had to convince me we could accommodate something this size. The added water feature was his concession to me for taking up so much space, but we’ve both really enjoyed it. I’m so glad I could share it with you! πŸ™‚

    • I’m so glad I could surprise you with our railroad, Frank. The photos will show the step by step and looking at them again, I think we were a little crazy! There is a lot of track. And as a science guy, you know how much work that water is. LOL! We do NOT have science backgrounds, and I’ve been on a steep learning curve for several years now. I should have paid much more attention in chemistry class. πŸ™‚

  4. The first year I was involved in our garden walk, I was in charge of doing the write-ups of each garden and the publicity, an experience I loved immensely and did for six years. On that first writing adventure, one of my challenges was one of the gardens which was a railroad garden. I wanted to highlight the garden, not only because it was so intricate an endeavor while holding on to horticultural values, but, because I knew it would draw more men to the walk that usually came. The “engineer” was a big, burly fellow who resembled the actor, Brian Dennehy, and he kindly spent several hours with me, on several occasions, showing me the hows and wherefores of setting up the railroad. Most of it needed to be brought in each year, as we have such harsh winters. I’ll tell you, Debra, the chairwoman and I really sweated over whether or not the railroad would be up and running the day of the walk – and it was, replete with miniature plants along the mountain passes.

    Thank you, thank you for this post and a rolling look at your and Jay’s railroad. I have an inkling of all the work it involves. I am looking forward to your next installment

    • I think if you spent the time with the “engineer” then I know you really do understand how much work goes into maintaining the track and keeping the trains running, Penny. We don’t have the extremes of weather, but we have very damp mornings and evenings and there is still a lot of corrosion from the moisture. And then there are those incessant acorns. LOL! It’s a labor of love and we enjoy ourselves. I sometimes do wonder if we’d known how much work it was going to be we might have made it a bit smaller! πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to sharing some more of the photos. I think I have dozens of them that look much the same, but I’ll figure out how to tell the story. You must have worked very hard to do the write-ups on so many different gardens! I’m sure you did a wonderful job. πŸ™‚

  5. How relaxing to sit there as watch the “wheels” go round and round ~ with the waterfall splashing in the background and Darwin munching in the corner.

    What time do you want us for Happy Hour? *cheers*

  6. Dear Debra, what a treat to watch the trains–from one car to many–as they journey around your back yard! Thanks so much. I sent a URL for your posting and the Youtube video to a friend of mine who’s always been in love with model trains. I know he’s going to enjoy it and maybe start planning what he could do in his backyard. Peace.

    • The trains are very relaxing, Dee. They make such a nice, soothing sound when they simply clickety-clack around and around. I can easily get mesmerized. I hope your friend enjoys the post. Model railroaders are usually very enthusiastic about all trains. πŸ™‚

      • Dear Debra, Dave–who lives in Minnesota– so enjoyed the post and e-mailed me the following, which I think you will enjoy: “Thanks for sharing the garden railroad video. Great fun! I’d love to live in a climate that would allow garden railroading year ’round. As you can imagine, the season for garden railroading in MN is about six months, at most. Some people actually have little scale model snowplows that run on the front of their trains.” Can’t you just see it!!!!! Peace.

        • Thank you for sharing the railroad blog with Dave, Dee. I can only imagine how much work it would be to “winterize” the track and some of the controls. But the true enthusiasts really know what they’re doing! ox

    • Thank you, Michael. I’m so glad Andra called attention to the post. I had thought of you and was trying to think the best way to make sure you saw it! I expect to have more of the photos (before and after) up later this week. It was such a big project, but my husband planned it for several years before we broke ground! One thing I have learned through the years is that model railroaders are true enthusiasts! You and Jay would have lots to talk about. πŸ™‚

  7. What an amazing garden feature Debra! Love it! (And Darwin is a great garden feature too!) πŸ˜‰ I think the sounds make it even more of a pleasure to watch!

    • It’s true that the sounds of the train really are enjoyable, Cathy. It takes a lot of work to maintain it year round, but it’s a very calming presence. I’m glad you enjoyed the video…and that Darwin! I wish I had the camera handy more frequently when he is getting into trouble! πŸ™‚

    • We go to model railroad conventions from time to time. We’ll have to ask about the camera potential. I’m so glad to finally share the “before” and “after” photos, Kevin. Probably in just another day or so! πŸ™‚

    • I absolutely promise I wasn’t trying to tease, Claire! πŸ™‚ I had to go on a hunt to find the photos. But I’m so glad to share the railroad now. It was such an interesting project as it came together and I’ve enjoyed looking at the photos myself. I’m glad we built it when we did, though, because I’m reasonably certain we don’t have the energy to do it today! I will have some good photos for you in just a couple of days. LOL! Promise!

  8. Fantastic, Debra! It really is an awesome set-up and having 2 separate tracks and trains makes it truly special. I’ve a Cousin that is a train enthusiast — his Grandkids call him “Grandpa ChooChoo”. If he lived near you, he’d probably be a permanent fixture in your backyard, watching the trains go round and round. I could hardly blame him. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much, my friend. We do enjoy our backyard railway! It’s amazing how we can get hypnotized by the very relaxing rhythms. That makes up for the work it takes to maintain. I’m so glad you were able to stop by and visit. πŸ™‚

  9. absolutely marvellous Debra! I love how you started and finished with the pets, Darwin chomping with the sound of the trains in the background … such an idyllic scene with the waterfall and the different trains, quite transporting and relaxing, well done!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the sight and sounds of the train, Christine. The sound of the trains and the water cascading can be very therapeutic. The work involved is significant, but that’s true for any hobby. And the pets do rule the place, so it’s natural to include them. I only wish I could capture some of Darwin’s funnier moments. I never seem to have my camera handy when he decides to climb on something or bust down a barrier! Thanks so much for stopping by. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Tom. We really enjoy our train. The building was a great deal of work, but my husband was really inspired at the time. I posted more photos of the “process” tonight, if you’re interested in taking a peek. I enjoyed collating the photos and looking back. I’d almost forgotten some of the steps! Thank you for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  10. Pingback: All Aboard Part Deux! | breathelighter

  11. Holly Molly! That’s a big project. I can see it’ll be all worth while in the end. What a tease of a post! But whoa, a big one to look forward to on your blog.

  12. Hi Debra! I tried it myself. You can include your youtube video on your post. just type this …

    Remove the link. Meaning unlink it. That should work. That way people can just click on the play button, and no need going to youtube. πŸ˜‰
    Love the inclusion of the water streaming. Cool!

      • Thank you SOOOO much, Rommel. I’ve never had a problem with this before, so I don’t know what I did differently, but I was sure stuck! Now I know the code, too, which helps. I really appreciate your help. Wish I had called on you Sunday! You can’t believe how long I fiddled around trying to solve the problem. πŸ™‚

  13. Now that’s what I call a model railway, Debra! My train enthusiast brother-in-law would be green with envy, as all he has for his layout is a small spare room. The British climarte would not be conducive to a wonderful garden set-up like that.

    • This is the little railway that grew, Perpetua! We didn’t originally imagine it quite as large, but as we got started it seemed to take on a life of its own. πŸ™‚ There are garden railway enthusiasts who do keep their hobby going year-round in very cold and wet climates, but I can’t imagine the work they must perform to winterize. We do have it very easy in comparison! Thank you for stopping by and taking a ride with us! πŸ™‚

  14. Glad I caught this, Debbie. We were never away from gardens with model railways and exhibitions when our son was small and the highlight of Legoland was always train spotting. πŸ™‚

    • Glad you didn’t miss the trains, Johanna. Children, and big people with an affection for trains, are just fascinated with our train layout. It’s a very fun hobby…and a lot of work for my husband. I mostly just enjoy. πŸ™‚

  15. Debra, I am late coming to see this, but the whole family has just sat through the whole thing in unabashed admiration. What an amazing achievement. And also, an amazing tortoise. Thank you so much for sharing your backyard railway.

    • I’m really so glad you caught a ride on the railroad, Kate. And it pleases me to no end to know you shared it with the rest of the family. When I gathered the photos to show how it was built I was amazed myself. I’d forgotten so many of the steps and how much work went into the project. I was primarily a cheerleader, but Jay and my dad and others really did all the work. So I’m so pleased to share it with you! ox

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