H&CPR Garden Railroad

  In the fall of  2002, Cindy and I decided that it would be interesting to explore the world of Garden Railroads. Combining our interests of gardening and our family history related to railroads we jumped into the hobby with zeal in the early part of 2003.  The photos below, in reverse chronological order, show our progress to date.  After constructing our first layout in 2003, we moved to a new house on a much larger lot in the summer of 2005.  With over an acre of property and lots of great locations to reconstruct the HCPR. In early 2006 we started to reconstruct the HCPR and in late June had the new layout up and running. 

Locomotives:  LGB 2-6-0 Mogul, Bachman Spectrum 2-6-0

Rolling Stock: For now all rolling stock is Bachman Big Hauler cars with plastic wheels replaced with metal wheels. 


June 2006

After being in the new house for 11 months I have now had time to get a new layout up and running.   The new HCPR is shaped roughly as a figure-8 and makes use of the pond that was installed by the previous owners.   Due to time constraints I have not had time to build proper trestle so have quickly whipped up some temporary trestle using 4x4 'sand 2x6's.   The addition of Bachman Passenger Cars and a new LGB 2-6-0 Mogul have enhanced the railway since the original layout was constructed.  The existing Bachman  Spectrum 2-6-0 Mogul is now relegated to the backup locomotive. 




August 2005

In August 2005 we moved to a new home and not unlike the real railroads went through a process of abandoning the line, pulling up track, and getting ready for the move.  Although sad to see a lot of hard work come to an end the new house has a much more room (over an acre and a quarter) and numerous great locations for the railroad.



August 2003

Not much changed throughout the summer with the exception of the gardens growing and presenting a completely different look to the layout. In addition, some dwarf conifers (red and white cedar; spruce)  were planted along the right of way:   I was also lucky to acquire four passenger cars on my birthday (pics to follow) so now have the choice of running either a freight or passenger line. 

June 2003

In early June, I started the first major construction project - a curved trestle bridge. Despite my best efforts at keeping a constant elevation, the North loop had a 4 to 5 inch elevation change as it went around the garden.   My neighbor provided me with some 1/2 x 1/2 yellow cedar from a local lumber mill and I started the building of a trestle. After trying a couple different designs for bents, I settled upon a 3-legged version.  With a relatively flat lot, the idea behind the trestle was to provide something of interest on the North side and take the grade from being below the rest of the layout to slightly above.  

The second big project in June was the construction of a tunnel on the South loop.  A four foot long wooden box was constructed from 2x2's and 1x4's and left over granite, rock dust and soil were used to finish the outside.  The first of two entrance portals was built using left-over yellow cedar from the trestle project. 



May 2003

There is no photographic record of the hard work that was completed in May... I guess we were to busy. Throughout May, the remaining sod was removed, the garden areas dug and many trees and shrubs either removed or transplanted to different locations. Over two tons of granite from the local quarry in Pitt Meadows was hauled in for the south flower garden border and approximately 5 yards of soil was hauled into the backyard to fill in the garden areas.  Several hundreds of dollars of perennial and annual plants were purchased and planted and the vegetable garden was seeded during May as well.  Several cases of beer were consumed as well. 



April 2003

By mid-April, the initial north to south right-of-way was completed .  Almost 3 cubic yards of rock dust was used - about double my estimated amount.   We also purchase two LGB switches to allow a smaller loop around the South garden.  With the right-of-way complete, we were then able to quickly lay the track onto the roadbed in a simple fashion and see some very early results of our effort.  Initially the Bachman engine had difficulty navigating through the tighter LGB switches. We exchanged them for the larger switch and things improved.  However, it wasn't until the two guide pins from the engine accidentally fell off that it would navigate the turn-outs problem free.  As a result, I have not bothered to fix the engine and it works just fine without the two pins on the inside of the centre drivers.   These fuzzy photos were taken with a web cam and are not that great but do give a sense of the progress that was being made.   


March 2003

With the arrival of spring it was time to begin construction in the back yard.  Notice our neighbor also figured it was time to start construction of his pet project as well.... a new gazebo.  Initially we were hesitant about digging up the back yard.  We no previous experience related to the construction of Garden Railroads, we started by digging a small right of way and trying out some rock dust for roadbed.  It seemed to work very well so after gaining some confidence that we could actually do this without turning the place into a total mess, we proceeded with the digging of the major portion of the rights-of-way. 



February 2003

With the weather improving, we purchased approximately 90 feet of USA Trains track from the local supply store.  The patio was a great spot to set things up initially to satisfy our curiosity and to see how our new engine and our few cars would work.    Living in the Vancouver area, there is no major snow or frozen ground to worry about...just lots of rain. 



January 2003

After several months of research about layouts, manufacturers, scales and gauges, live steam vs. electric, and styles of garden railroads, Step 1 was the purchase of a Bachman Spectrum Kansas Central 2-6-0 Narrow Gauge Steam Engine.   The investment in the engine was a big leap.  We were now into Garden Railroading.  The diagrams below are three of many sketches drawn - not extremely accurate by any sense of the imagination but good enough to figure out what the track requirements would be.