Ground preparation and track laying - phase 2

As the concrete trackbed of the first phase had survived the winter unscathed, I decided to adopt essentially the same method for phase 2 which was to complete the main loop. Here I will only describe enhancements to the process. In phase 1, I had measured the 5 feet radius of the curves using a piece of wire. As phase 2 had many more curves, I constructed a simple wooden jig to improve the accuracy.
The jig was a 6 foot length of timber with holes drilled to take dowelling rods at 60 and 68 inches (the track radii), and 56, 64 and 72 inches (the trench cutting radii). The centres of all the curves were marked on the ground, and the other end of the jig pivoted on these in turn.
I was able to quickly and accurately mark out the centre line of the track and the width of the trench to be cut with sweeping curves. As the track was to fall and then rise by 1 in 80, levels were marked along the centre line every 2 feet using the method described in phase 1.
I decided to put in the hardboard shuttering for the whole of phase 2 as well as the initial part of phase 3. Phase 3 will consist of a rising line from centre of the junction. The first part of the trackbed through the approach curve will be concrete which will be laid with phase 2. The latter part will be on a bridge yet to be designed. The soil was thoroughly compacted and covered with a couple of inches of scalpings (road hardcore).
I mixed and laid the concrete as before. As there was heavy rain forecast the day after laying, I covered the newly laid concrete with plastic rubbish bags to protect it for a few days while it was fully setting.
I left the concrete to settle for a month, and then filled the joints with sealant and added the wooden lawn edging. I used the wooden radius jig to draw a pencil line along the concrete top to indicate the track centre, and then fixed the track as before. The honour of being the very first train to go round the loop fell to Thomas the Tank Engine. The rising approach curve to the future phase 3 high level station is visible just above Thomas.
An aerial view of the loop, with the junction on the left. The little house in the background belongs to my son, and is visiting from the other end of the garden where it serves as a station on the Corris Hill Railway!
The 1 in 80 gradients and curving track have provided just the right amount of variation to allow my Millie to haul her train of heavy Brandbright rolling stock with a good plume of steam. As the station is on a rising part of the line, Millie slows nicely as she approaches this, only stopping if I shut off her regulator.