Phase 2: A larger loop of track around the perimeter of the yard

 

The second loop is outside the first, and is much larger.


This loop is a much longer run of track, and has a minimum radius of 7.5 foot (as compared to 5 foot on the inner loop).

Starting next to the back of the house, there is a crossover to get from the outer loop to the inner loop. The original design with the Aristo wide radius switches were just too much of an S curve with long cars.

This picture is taken at the southeast corner of the house, and you can just see the turnout in the left side that leads to the wye that leads to the yard.Image

The outer loop parallels the inner loop next to the house heads towards the South fence. This is an early picture before the proper #6 was installed to turn right into the yard (I needed a right hand, but was out, so put a left hand there temporarily):Image

The track follows the South fence, and heads east. The crossover made of Aristo wide radius turnouts has since been replaced with one made from Aristo #6 ones, I could not get my passenger cars through this crossover. The track is now going from East to climb onto the retaining wall and heading North.Image

The outer loop proceeds North up this grade. I asked for a 2% grade, but it had to fit the height at the spa in the distance (hidden by the palms). Turns out it is a 2 DEGREE grade, 3.4%. Well, I love to MU and doublehead!Image

Next the track crosses behind the spa, and enters a tunnel into the planter. See the section on the "Tunnel Thru Planter" for details
<<< picture here>>

After the track exits the planter, it goes behind the fireplace and a large fountain, along the North side of the property, right next to the wall on the property line.

I added a passing siding here, and made it as long as possible. This entailed dressing some of the piping behind the fountain, but now I have a 34' long passing siding. , which means moving some pipes behind the fountain. Here's the switch to start the siding (just after the fireplace):

Originally the outer loop was to go out to the front yard, cross the driveway, and come back in the front of the house to join the switchyard.

I've put that expansion last in priority, since there will be some tough issues to solve, and I cannot leave the track down all the time in the front entry to the house.

So, I had planned to construct a helix just west of the fireplace to get the track down to ground level, where it can then come back East near the house, and then back along the East end of the house to reconnect with the outer loop, near the entrance of the switch yard. (You can see the "Building a Helix" topic. Unfortunately, this helix would have been 4' radius, and 5% grade. After long consideration, it just seemed to be too much trouble.

Luckily for me, an "ace" track expert (1:1 scale) visited my house after the 2008 National Garden Railway convention. He took all of about 15 minutes to come up with a way to finish the outer loop.

The track makes a 180 turn at the end of the side yard and come back along the side of the house, dropping at a much better grade than the helix.

Here is a picture at the very West end of the side yard, where the track starts this 180 degree curve. The gate to the front yard is in the background. I have left the original track to allow future expansion to the front yard. This stub can function as a helper cutoff.

Here's a picture of the curve by the gate, going back towards the house. I was just checking the sanity of making all of this fit:

Well, there is a shed right next to the house. Looks like something has to move!

All right, move the shed away from the wall about another 4 inches, looks like things will fit now:

Now all that remains is to make the track supports to bring the track back along the house, and 2 lift out bridges, and 2 swing away bridges. Well, it's going to be a challenge.

 

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