Phase 2: Tunnel through planter becomes necessary

To make it around the yard, I had originally planned to make the curve below to the left and stay in the lower planter. Nine years later, the landscaping had grown to block part of the path, but more importantly, the left hand turn would have been too sharp.

So I decided to bore two holes into the upper planter to get the trains in and out!

planter

I started by using a 1-1/4" hammer drill and drilled out the outline. I picked a 10" high entrance, and I knew the width would have to be tweaked since it is on a curve. Here's the results of the first "boring".


Now I needed to enlarge the hole. A diamond blade on a Makita grinder let me cut and shape the hole. Notice I had to cut away a bit of the nearby wall before the entrance. Those double stack cars are BIG!

Success! It fits! The USAT double stacks were the longest and tallest cars I could find. (Great excuse to go buy a couple!).

You can see the NCE Pro Cab controller I used to drive the train right into the tunnel. You can just see the tender of a Bachmann "Annie" ahead of the container car. (Yep, not prototype!)


planter1


OK, now what? Just had to run a train through the first tunnel, right into the rest of the dirt in the planter.

Time to start digging! Obviously the planter needs excavation! Will build a thin retaining wall and face it with rock castings. The track is now headed West, along the property line, and needs to gain several inches to get to planter level.

planter2


 

So, dig it out to check track alignment.

Now, excavate and plan track, 14' diameter curves minumum. This should be gentle enough, but not much planter left! About 2 cubic yards of dirt came out! The conduit coming out of the ground on the right is how I run the power, guess that has to move too!

planter3

 


Below is the portal at the West end of the planter. Since the train goes through at right angles, it can be of a more conventional shape and size. A lot less time to cut out! Notice the room behind the fireplace for track! (oops, looks like those gas pipes will have to be moved too!)

planter5


OK, built a wall with a footing, kept it to 4" thick to preserve as much planter as possible. There is a french drain behind it. The conduit for power has been moved, and plumbing for drip irrigation has been added. It works!

planter4

Time to add track, and keep going West behind the fireplace. A slight grade up in the planter and continue behind the fireplace.

I will eventually face the inside of the retaining wall with cast rock via molds.