G scale garden layout

Larry’s been in touch with his G scale garden layout:

“Greetings Al,

This the second time I have submitted something for your blog.

My first post was a small ‘Z” Scale layout for my office a couple of years ago.

I am swinging to the other extreme for this go around and reaching out to all those “G” Scale outdoor layout folks.

I know how much you say “It’s all about making a start” when referring to this wonderful hobby of model railroads and that`s kind of where I`m going to end this post.

But first I would like to go back a decade and show some pictures of my outdoor G scale garden layout.

Here is a link to a Short Cab Ride video From that point in time, It only three-ish minutes long but helps to put the pictures in perspective:

OK now a few pics:

G scale garden layout

Pic 1 Train Yard view from the top of the trestle.

G scale garden layout

Pic 2 Train leaving the yard pulled by EMD FA & FB Locomotives.

G scale garden layout

Pic 3 Same train at the lower end of the trestle heading to the high
point of the layout.

G scale garden layout

Pic 4 4-6-2 Union Pacific Loco headed down the trestle toward the yard.

G scale garden layout

Pic 5 FA & B Locos leaving the layout high point tunnel.

Pic 6 Yard view from upper tunnel.

Pic 7 Far end of layout, 4-6-2 Loco headed down to the WYE

Pic 8 4-6-2 approaching WYE, EMD train leaving WYE.

Pic 9 FA & Bs heading into the lower tunnel, Caboose of the other train
can be seen under the dragon.

Pic 10 FA & Bs waiting at other end of tunnel for the 4-6-2 Train to pass.

Pic 11 4-6-2 train`s caboose headed through tunnel to yard.

I hope I didn`t inundate you with these older pics but it’s important to my story, and here is where the story takes an ugly turn.

So back to my story:

I, like a good majority of your readers, am getting on in years (only mid-sixties but still…) and with that usually comes sore backs, stiff joints & and whatever else can go wrong with a person.

In the years that followed I found out that I had a skeletal condition and at the tender age of 50 had to have both of my hips replaced, two rotator cuff surgeries and a third rotator cuff surgery to reconstruct the joint.

Also during that period my wife had both knees replaced and both of her hips replaced. (So as you can see, I do know how to have fun. ??)

Although in reality none of any of that was in any way fun it did, on several levels, detract from my being able to pay any attention to my Trains.

So all the while those awesomely fun things were going on my lovely train garden was doing what all plants do if not tended to and that is grow wildly out of control, especially here in the Pacific Northwest.

So it`s time again for a few more Pictures:

Pic 12 An overview of the whole layout. ( the rocks are a whole other

Pic 13 View looking up toward the trestle.

Pic 14 Same area looking in the opposite direction.

G scale garden layout

Pic 15 View of the trestle.

Pic 16 If you look real close you can almost see a pond here.

G scale garden layout

Pic 17 Underneath all the brush and shrubs is/was the WYE intersection.

Pic 18 Apparently tree roots don`t like turnouts, the WYE sacrificed itself…

G scale garden layout

Pic 19 Lower tunnels, left tunnel goes to the yard.

Pretty sad huh ? So what to do at this point ??

In reality the only practical thing to bring this all back to life was to start over. Trying to defoliate this mess was simply not an option.

The good news here is that there were things I was unhappy with in regards to the original track plan so now I can make changes to the layout starting from a clean slate, with some help from my favorite gardening buddy “John”.

Pic 20 This is a picture of my helper, power tools are only way to go.

So I guess the moral of this story for you “G” Scale outdoor layout folks is this, We all know how much work goes into creating a beautiful and functional garden railroad.

So if life does what it does and you think that you can leave your Railroad garden to it`s own devices for a while let me just say this, if you can take that extra minute to pull that occasional weed, trim that shrub, or whatever else you may notice happening on your outdoor layout you will be doing yourself a huge favor.

So here we are at the end of my post, which I realize it not the normal fare on Al`s Site but I thought it just might save someone from the same fate that I have bestowed upon myself.

So Spring is almost upon us here in Washington State and now that it is starting to get a little warmer as winter transitions into spring I guess it`s almost time to “Just make a start”…

Pic 21 A clean slate and place to “just get started”…

Peace Out


A big thanks to Larry – or is it Olar?

It’s always fun seeing a G scale garden layout. Really looking forward to seeing the progress on this one.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if this post – or any of the others – has made you think you’re missing out on a lot of fun, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



47 Responses to G scale garden layout

  1. Fred says:

    Oh man that is so not good, and feelings for you and your wife .

    Many best regards to you and yours


  2. Peter Waring says:

    Olaf, that must have been heartbreaking, to watch your train layout slowly disintegrating. Hope your recovery is complete and you are able to re do a fantastic layout, Godspeed to you and take care.Regards Peter…

  3. Sounds like you and your had a rough time …not funny getting older , got a few of those complaints myself ..but start of a new year Spring on its way so now the time as you are doing starting with a new garden layout ….good luck with the project and god health to you and your wife ..dangerous Dave

  4. Never stops does it Olar? Keep the Faith,

  5. Robert Brady says:

    The answer is weed killer and some track replacement.
    Good luck and carry on.
    The Critic

  6. dan robinson says:

    Dangerous dave and a garden buddy, look out water lines lol. You have a beauty garden, trains around the fish pond, nice.

  7. John C Pistorino says:

    I decided to go inside. With a large attic room

  8. That friend John is a Deere friend indeed.
    There are times I wish I had a friend like John (or his Asian cousin Kubota) to help me with my garden railway… This hobby gets interesting when the scenery for your layout was built first!
    I hope that you have seen the end of your health issues.
    I once dreamed of a decent sized G scale railroad in my own garden. My plans for that have downsized (I am thinking now of a simple loop and a couple of sidings)…. On the other hand, the garden railway that I have under construction has a slightly larger track gauge! (&.5 inch track gauge to be exact).

  9. that would be 7.5 inch track gauge…

  10. Best wishes on the redesign as the original was “AWESOME”!!

  11. Harold Plucienik says:

    Actually it looks realistic ,like an abandoned rail line in some forgotten rust belt prairie.

  12. Bob From Towson says:

    Oh My Almighty Engineer !!! I’m indoor with S scale vintage American Flyer and just glad I did all the under layout wiring a while back because its harder all the time to get down and back up from there…LOL! Hey, nobody told me it would get like this when I was 20 something, or maybe I just didn’t listen as 20 somethings usually do….Best of luck to you and lots of great railroading to come!!!

  13. Erick says:

    I always wanted to put my railroad outside but i would have to deal the weather.

  14. Graham Smith says:

    So sad to see all that effort ruined by mother nature. A pretty mean trick to pull while you and your wife were going through all the problems of keeping your bodies working. Great spirit to show though to roll your sleeves up and start again like this.
    Such a shame we’re all spread far and wide, I bet we could get a good crew up to help out. Mind you, it looks as if were all the same sort of age and probably with some of the same ailments, so perhaps it wouldn’t be a good idea. The only beneficiaries would be the doctors and pharmacies.
    It’s the thought that counts and I’m sure we’ll all be rooting for you as you labour on. Please keep us posted on the progress, I want to see this new layout you’ve got planned.

  15. John Schmehl says:

    That is great work 👏

  16. Steve Ruple says:

    That was an awesome layout and it is very sad to see it destroyed by mother nature, You have a wonderful place and lots of room for a large layout, I wish I had that much room for a garden layout. I have the “G” gauge trains, but not that much room for a layout. Good luck and my God bless both of you and stay well
    Steve from Michigan

  17. Ted says:

    I faced similar range of motion issues, and getting down to work on my large scale layout became a chore. My solution was to tear up the ground level layout and build a raised layout. No more dog issues, minimum leaves, and acorn removal is much easier. I can even run in the snow. May not be as prototypical as some folks want, but very “elder-friendly”.

  18. Bill Butler says:

    There was one allusion to weather. How do you deal with it? That was/is a beautiful layout.

    Bill in Va.

  19. CARL ANGDAHL says:

    Sorry to see you have to “start” again. Here in the sunny southwest desert of California vegetation growth is not a real problem if, as you unfortunately had to do, you leave it for awhile. Here we have the bright and sometimes VERY warm sun that plays havoc on rails and structures, not to mention the small rodents who like to dig. We all have to do a little TLC now and then. If not for anything else, we can call it therapy. Just have fun.

  20. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Hi That’s some bad luck you have been having. Glad you and your wife are some way to getting back to normal. I’m 70 now with no problems at all. I don’t know if its life style or genetics but I think myself lucky. I just wonder if you could not off sprayed at least the track bed wit some weed killer to control the rampant growth of the vegetation. Indeed making a carriage that could be pulled round and spray the centre of the track and the outsides leaving the rails alone with weed killer could be a worthwhile investment for the future. Good luck with the new layout. I do think larger scale garden railways are very desirable and look great.

  21. Dave Karper says:

    my heart goes out to you for you loss, but I’m glad to see you getting back on the bike.

  22. Bob Amling says:

    What a beautiful layout! I feel for you with your and your wife’s health issues. I didn’t have anything the magnitude of yours.
    I had posted some video back in December of my Christmas layout. It was only operating from Thanksgiving W/E till the middle of January. I too have bad knees The end came for me one winter night after 35 years of running when I had to walk in the icy rock garden to clear a derailment. I thought to myself how would I ever get back up if I fell. When I got back inside I texted my kids that if the trains weren’t picked up at the end of the season ; they would be sold. It was hard to do, but necessary. We since moved and now I have an 0 ga layout so life is good.
    Bob in Colts Neck Crossing NJ

  23. Now I know what to do when my wife kicks me out.


    Life is like a box of chocolates!

  25. Eric says:

    send some pictures of your “elder friendly” raised layout. sounds pretty neat.

    Eric in NC

  26. OLar Maksin says:

    Thanks to every one for your kind and thoughtful comments, and Al for posting my story.

    And for the record it is actually “Larry” but I prefer to go by “OLar”(another long story)…

  27. Allan J Jelinek says:

    Awesome layout. Hope you get well and healthy. Take care.

  28. Kevin says:

    That was so great to see. I couldn’t get a real size of the train because nothing familiar was beside it, like a hand or a person or something. But that was awesome. Thank you.

  29. Robert Brady says:

    So that’s how your better half caught your ear ” Oh Olar time for dinner ” instead of Larry.Ah Pet name.lol.

  30. Kevin Vogelsang says:

    Olar – maybe you can turn it into a “rails to trails” fairy garden. 🙂

    Garden layouts are the coolest. Reading an earlier post on garden trains, and feeling the aches myself, I decided my layout will be indoors at bench level. Now just deciding between S and HO scale.

  31. Allan J Jelinek says:

    Just to make you feel better and keep things in prospective I’ll tell you another story. My niece Nanell has fought cancer and won many times, AND WON. Sad to say that she recently lost the battle 2 weeks ago. She left 4 kids and her husband. AND More sad, a mother that watcher one of her children die. I’m not telling you this to top your story, as I would give my life for Nanells. I’m just saying to you, things in your life could be way worse. I’m loaded with arthritis all over. Had a new hip too, surely more will come. Just satin, things could be worse. Good luck. Great railroad.

  32. William Swenberg says:

    Hi I have 5 acres and I think I’m going to have a rr that I can ride, I’m in Arlington on Arlington Heights road.

  33. Jim Robinson says:

    Empathize with the overgrown garden. It happened to me while I was working for a couple of years in another state. At least I didn’t have trains to be destroyed. I also admire your pluck and determination. Keep on keeping on!

  34. Peter Farrington says:

    Your friend John looks like he could be related to the ‘Big John’ from the Country Classic song, what happened to your layout reminds me why I don’t like gardening and why my ’00’ gauge railway is waist height so I don’t have to torture my knees anymore. Good luck with the new build and keep ‘John’ on your side.

  35. OLar Maksin says:

    Kudos to Robert Brady, for nailing the origin of the “OLar” moniker. 😎

  36. Gerald says:

    That was a great video though.

  37. Bruce Buchanan says:

    Olar, what a sad story. I’m not great at destroying something I had built. I still have my original N Gauge, which had some parts that could be improved, but not destroyed. If I was in your situation, I would have hired some professional weed gardeners, and have them clean up the site. If not that, maybe some school kids would like the money. Anyway, good luck with your new layout, and good health to you both. Bruce in Indiana.

  38. Brian Olson says:

    Love your positive attitude. You inspire! I’ve only had one rotator cuff surgery some years ago, can’t imagine everything you’ve had to deal with.

    But still, the trains keep running!

  39. John Hauser says:

    Great Video, a very nice outdoor layout. Like all things in life, we do get obstacles thrown our way. Every mountain is conquered one step at a time and so apply this rule to the restoration of your layout. A chance at renewal! JD equipment is always fun to operate and very useful. Keep going!
    John Hauser

  40. George Zaky says:

    Damn right- We didnt know when we abused our bodies a long time ago it would be so tough later but keep on truckin. We thank you for letting us in your camp for a while and a fine camp it is.
    Please keep us posted on your what you’re planning and any progress.
    The only opinion I can add to this is if I was going to make an outdoor layout I would definitely use battery power G scale instead of conventional because dirty, rusty tracks or small twigs are not a problem. Todays electronic options are many and very cool.
    Best to you and the Boss

  41. Britt says:

    What a fine railway. I like the bridge. Very good work!
    I have just begin with my railway. And it shall works with Arduino. I have programmed It so it works all round, but I can not get it stop where I want!

  42. Mr. Ron from So Mississippi says:

    The reality is things will only get worse with age. I am 87 and have moved from ground level G gauge to indoor HO. Age has caught up with me, but I am still going strong with my love of model railroading. Even working on a HO layout has its limitations, so I have to learn to adapt and readjust to situations as they arise. For example, instead of under layout wiring, I run wiring on top of the layout and cover it with ground cover. Obstacles become opportunities to re-invent the wheel. I admire your tenacity with your layout and hope your health allows you to continue on your path. Getting old is a bummer, but there are still many opportunities ahead. It’s only a matter of recognizing the twists in the road and straightening them out to your advantage. I see people all the time, younger than me giving up on life and eventually ending the chapter. That is not what I want, and I will keep fighting till the end.

  43. It’s very in lighting you feel as if you were on the train looking forward, hope you can enjoy it for many, many years to come it’s awesome I’m sure that all train enthusiasts like my self and others will enjoy the ride as much as I, congratulations well done.

  44. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Wish you and wife all the best my friend good luck with the new outdoor layout! Take your time and God Speed!

  45. Cary says:

    What a great ride around the railroad country side, thanks Larry.! Started my backwoods G scale about 10 yrs ago, now the back, knees all starting to catch up. But theres nothing like watching those large scale trains meandering their way through real life Mother Nature. Great layout… love your tunnels! Cary in KY

  46. Ted Curtin says:

    As I approached the end of my 70’s, I elevated my G scale outdoor layout to reduce the amount of time spent bending down or on my knees. It’s the only way I could continue to enjoy running trains outdoors. Also, all my HO buddies elevate their layouts above 4′ to simulate realism. They would rather look sideways rather than straight down on their layouts, and an elevated outdoor railroad follows that theory.

  47. Terry Miller says:

    I always wondered how much time garden railroaders REALLY spent “playing” with the trains vs weed removal. The best outdoors layout I’ve seen was just outside Denver. It had snowed that morning and the train’s snowplow was making its way around the layout. So cool!
    Terry/Idaho USA.

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