"A brief history about myself and my garden railway"
Growing up with the Inchicore Railway Works behind my house, I was always fascinated by the railway. As a young boy I would spend many hours sitting on the railway wall watching the trains pass by. Between passing trains there was always plenty of activity, with locomotives arriving and departing the running shed and the old Maybach shunting locomotives moving carriages and wagons around.
"This was the view from my bedroom window (mid. 70's)"
"Click on this image for read more on the Inchicore Railway Works"
My railway career starts......
In 1987 I started my railway career as an apprentice electrician in the Inchicore Railway Works. My first year of training was in the training school, but after this was completed, I worked in the many sheds and workshops within the complex, working on the locomotives and carriages. It was great to get the opportunity to work inside the sheds after years of looking over the wall.
"This is me as an apprentice working on 226"
My last two years of training were spent outside of Inchicore in various depots and sheds, but it was my final year of training in the Signal and Electrical (S&E) maintenance department that I really enjoyed. I started to learn a lot about maintaining signalling systems, both electrical and mechanical. When I finished my apprenticeship I worked in the S&E New Works department for four years installing new signalling equipment around the country. In 1995 I got back into the S&E maintenance department, maintaining the signalling equipment on the North East mainline and the branch line to Navan, and I'm still there today.
"Installing new track circuits in 1992"
The beginning of the Barna Railway......
When I got married in 1999 and bought my own house I had planned to build another small OO scale layout in the spare bedroom. However as the years rolled by and my two children came along the model railway was put on hold.
During the Summer of 2006 I decided to start planning my new railway layout. Finding space wasn't easy, the spare bedroom wasn't an option now and the attic was converted so this was out. I quickly realised that there wasn't enough space left indoors so I looked to the only available space left, the back garden.....!
I knew nothing about building a model railway in the garden so I did a bit of research on the internet and found plenty of useful information. I was still thinking of using OO scale models but after seeing an LGB G-scale garden railway video on the internet I knew that this was the scale for me. LGB models are built to a scale of 1/22.5 and run on a 45mm gauge track. LGB (Lehmann Gross Bahn) models are produced in Nuremberg Germany and are built to a very high standard. I decided to use LGB for all track work, locomotives and rolling stock.
July - October 2006 design and planning......
Building a garden railway requires a lot of planning, I needed to work out where the line would go, the natural gradients of the garden, and the size of the curves. To help in the design and planning stage I purchased 4 curved sections of track and two straight sections, which I placed around the garden in different locations to give me an idea of how it would look.
October 2006 construction begins......
After deciding on the final route around the garden, construction of the track bed began on the 10th of October 2006. The weather was nice and dry so I managed to get a lot of work done and I completed the track bed by early November.
I also installed the cables for the points and track power under the track bed.
"Track bed construction in October 2006"
November 2006 tunnel construction......
With the track bed completed I started work on building the two small tunnels, one at the large conifer and the other at the entrance to the shed . Both tunnels were constructed using a plywood frame covered with rocks and plants. These were built before any track was laid down, just in case a rock or two was dropped.
"Tunnel construction in November 2006"
December - February 2006/7 track laying......
The next stage of construction was laying the track and ballast. I had bought an analogue starter set and all of the track and points during October and November so it was only a matter of fixing the track to the track bed. The final cables were fixed into place along the edge of the track and the points were wired and tested. The first test train (Stainz and two flat wagons) was operational by the middle of December 2006, testing the gradients and clearances on the curves.
"Track laying underway December 2006"
20th of February 2007 opening time......
I decided to use LGB's digital Multi Train System (MTS) with a wireless handset to control the locomotives, this system allows several locomotives to operate independently on the same section of track. The best way to get the digital MTS equipment is to purchase a digital starter set, you also get two decent locomotives, two wagons and some brass track. The wireless equipment was bought separately.
There was no official opening ceremony, as test trains were going around the railway since December 2006, but the first day of operating trains (just for fun) was on the 20th of February 2007.
May - August 2007 pond and bridge......
The biggest project on the Barna railway was the pond and bridge, the pond was started in May but a very wet summer meant it wasn't completed until early August. Next on the list was the bridge, this was built over two weekends in August and was put in place over the pond by early September.
"Pond and bridge project started May 2007"
September 2007 the inner loop extension line......
I decided to build a small extension line to the inner loop before the winter started, which would allow two trains to operate together without the need to wait at the single line section. The track was purchased and the extension line was operational by mid September, it has proved to be a very useful addition.
"Extension line route September 2007"
December 2009 the Barna Railway ceases operations......
With the birth of our third child in February 2009 we decided to sell our house and escape to the country...! In December 2009 I ran the last few trains on my garden railway and then switched off the power supplies for the last time. The tracks were taken up in one day and the locomotives and rolling stock were carefully boxed up ready for the move.
"Tracks lifted at the old tunnel"
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