Bay Area Garden Railway Society

Roving Garden Railway Blog

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  • 07/01/2010 1:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our latest helpers, pictured, are the Smith girls who made Sculpey (clay) bakery goods for the bakery window. Little fingers made little cakes and cookies. Next time they'll make figures as they already know how.Susan and Dave helped to cut backer board for the mountain frame  and made scenery, too. John submitted his plan for a metal suspension bridge and the rest of us started screwing the plastic roadbed to the steel frame over the trailer's wheels.

    Daniel took home one trailer side for fitting with a series of wooden bridges, trestle and retaining walls all with hand-laid track.

    Terry's paint job on the metal buildings looks great and ready to install. They will be mounted above the battery box, now purchased, be part of the town, and be visible while the trailer is traveling.

    Frank and Donna made us all a lovely BBQ lunch at their house where the kids went swimming. Then we paraded over to Kermit's for a tour. Big day!

    We still need YOUR help! Lots to do. We have our first venue in October, finished or not. Let's make it finished!
  • 06/24/2010 7:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After our normal Wednesday work party, yesterday, Bill and his son Patrick welded the fasteners for the sides of the trailer over at their house and Bill hauled it back to my house without all the jury-rigged rope and bungies around 5:30pm. They welded an angle iron piece on top and across the front vertical posts and welded a hasp on each end. We plan to use this bar for a banner and eventually for solar panels. At the rear, he welded a short angle piece from each post horizontally over to the rear corner of the sides. We then screwed the other end of the hasp on the top four corners of the two sides.
    To keep the front lift out gate from wiggling he welded a fifth hasp to the center of the front horizontal bar. We are using bungies on this hasp to hold the steel curved girder bridge upright during travel. Lastly he welded two shorter hasps half way up both of the rear posts to fasten the hinged winged side panels which fill the gap between the rear gate and the side gates. They also cut off the spare wheel mount that was on the front of the trailer. At the front of the trailer they welded on two small hinges which will be the platform for  two metal buildings on the outside of the trailer over the tongue. The platform will be hinged plywood so that we can lift it out of the way of the battery box below it.

    We discussed the battery box and Bill suggested getting one shaped for the tongue and large enough to hold the tarp and charger in addition to the battery(ies). We  still need an expert electric person to advise on the type of battery and other equipment. Bill will weld mounts for the battery box when we get it. I can't really build the water feature without the battery in place.

    Next Wednesday we will continue building the mountain frame we started this week. John will show us the plans for a fancy metal suspension bridge on one of the sides. Terry plans to bring the metal houses he painted so we can install the plywood foundation over the tongue.  We've decided to get rid of the plastic roadbed above the wheel wells because it's warping out of control. We'll need to cut some pressure treated plywood for that. Lots to do -- again.
    Thanks everyone!
  • 06/09/2010 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Ed and Terry are completing construction of the front and side gates. Joe is testing the railbus's  fit on the newly painted steel bridge. Next work party we'll have fasteners attached to keep the sides in place during travel.

    We're thinking of painting it to look like a boxcar.
  • 03/24/2010 6:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    To make the load as lightweight as possible, some soil will be replaced by air spaces in useful boxes and foam board. We are using the following 1/4"-thick plastic parts with the help from TAP Plastics: 1. a big lengthwise storage box on bottom with a slide-out tray to house a mining tunnel, 2. four sides to hold the rubber liner in place (end side being glued here), 3. a gate (inside) cover, 4. two wheel well "shelf" covers for track, 5. an electric connection box under town buildings, and 6. a 3'-radius tunnel for our upper loop. All the plastic will be covered or decorated with scale scenery material, but the plastic gives us something to work from without using heavier materials for framework. Here you see all the pieces in place, but some are covered already. The liner is covering the foamboard and tucked between the plastic sides and the expanded metal sides. Resting on the top foamboard is a structure of recycled redwood for building a mountain that will stay in place on a bumpy ride. Behind that is the plastic box that will be covered inside and on portals with strip wood for a believable tunnel. Here we will place the Bidawee Cottage right above the tunnel. Notice track coming out of the upper tunnel. We want the mountain high enough to block the view, side to side, for a surprise  diorama on each side. The town will be lined up on the front box, beyond the curving steel bridge. We need welding done now, please, because John and Joe can't hold up this bridge forever. Wednesdays we party on. You are welcome. Call Nancy for details and directions: 925-408-9402.

  • 02/25/2010 8:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Six conduits will take care of all the electric (DC low voltage) needs of the trailer. The front of the trailer under the town (left) will be a box to get power to the town buildings. All the conduits come together in that area to run over the trailer edge into the battery box which will rest on the tongue. Next we'll get the liner and plumbing in. We plan to meet next Wednesday. You are welcome to help.
    Nancy 925-408-9402
  • 02/19/2010 1:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 24. Call Nancy for details and rain date at
    925-408-9402. Or email
  • 02/19/2010 12:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Here's what under the liner will look like:
    IMG_2010.JPGLiquid Nails glues the foam board together and to the plastic storage box. This will lighten the trailer load and provide a place to store the jack and tire iron.

    The final foam board is being glued onto rails of foam over which the hills will run.

    Inside the storage box is an 8' tray that pulls out onto the open gate whenever we need to access the tools.

    At the end of the box we will display a portal from which will emerge a point-to-point G-scale mining engine automatically reversed with DC current from the battery on the rails. This will be the only track powered train.
  • 01/25/2010 9:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Plans are still gelling!
    On January 16th a team of 6 BAGRS members and a prospective member  met to work on the trailer, but we ended up brainstorming some improvements into the design for ease of maintenance and low cost of building.  Since then we asked for and got a donation of a truckload of foam board and the prospective member drew up professional scale drawings of the trailer to be sure that everything we're planning will actually fit on the trailer.  From one of the cross-sectional drawings I sketched what the trailer might look like when done and a birds-eye view showing the layout and track plan.

    Our next meeting to install the foam board and plumbing for drainage will be the first week in February.  Call Nancy for more info 925-408-9402 or email
  • 12/26/2009 10:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Our trailer is resting comfortably at the end of my driveway in Pleasant Hill awaiting the garden railway construction.
    January 16th you are invited to come any time or all day from 10 AM until 3 PM to begin fitting it for the garden and railway. Free lunch at noon! RSVP about what tools to bring. Otherwise just show up and help create our outreach trailer garden railway.

    Here's a shot of two coats of preservative going on the bed.

    Nancy     925-408-9402       Call if it looks like rain.
  • 11/29/2009 8:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Hello BAGRS members,
    IMG_1770.JPGThought you might like an update.  I took photos on Monday of the trailer which has been welded with our after-market shelf over each wheel well, hinges on the outside of the shelf edge, four permanent upright posts, two removable center upright posts, chains to hold the rear gate level for a lower track, hydraulic braking system (any towing vehicle can use), and lastly, a new hydraulic jack arm to make room for the vertically mounted spare wheel, which will need a $17 cover, unless someone has a spare cover. Also note the four leveling devices. Not shown is the club to prevent theft.

    The check has been sent to B&D Trailers and I am waiting for the call to pick it up. I have a space at the end of my driveway for it initially. As soon as I get it I will be organizing our first work party. You'll be welcome,
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