Thomas & Friends Toys, Stickers, Books and G Scale Trains for sale in our Gift Shop.
We've started work on the next section of the Styrofoam Castle for our Garden Railway. We have a railway line that climbs to the top of the castle... it's a passenger service for tourists visiting the castle!
Children love to watch trains passing through tunnels so wondered if we could fit the tourist train though a gatehouse!
As before we build the shape from styrofoam sheet adding in extra layers to create depth and detail before beginning the carving process. We also have to make sure the trains fit under so we keep checking the clearances on the line.
Castle building continues and in this episode we redesign and start building the Gatehouse!
Enjoy the "clickety-clack" and the view from a passenger train window as we take you on a tour of our lower line. Departing from Lower Soar Bottom and the home of Soar Bottom Castle and our Children's railway your train takes you out past Bower's Bridge Station (Under Construction) under the Wendy House, through Soar Point Station and across Bower's Bridge Viaduct
This 2017 we plan to extend our line back to Lower Soar Bottom.
Each year we try and improve our railway and in 2017 we plan to extend even further including the construction of an additional line so that more children (and adults) may drive trains at the same time!
We do however need your help. To date we’ve never charged entrance to watch or drive our trains. We have no intention of charging in the future (Other than for special events)
We need your help to keep our railway free! We rely on donations from our visitors and purchases in our Summer Toy Shop. We’d be delighted if you could support us by dropping some spare change in the donation boxes on your next visit.
e’ll also soon be announcing some new ways to support us soon.
As work continues on the Railway we’re also always looking for Rocks and Plants, so if you have some spare do let us know!
Details of the Plan:
See our Trains running in the night!
We’re running four special Night Running sessions with trains running in the night. Parts of our Garden will be illuminated.
February Night Running Sessions:
5 - 6:30pm
Admission is Free however we are now fundraising to extend our Railway to allow more children to drive trains at the same time. Please look out for the donation boxes!
Please Note: Subject to Weather conditions.
Our BR218 Diesel is a popular locomotive on our railway. Maybe its the size of the thing or the colour?
We made this video of the loco pulling a winter special in the frost a few weeks ago. Our Garden Railway will happily run in the rain or snow, so frost isn't much of a problem!
The village of Soar Bottom has been neglected of late so we decided to spruce it up with a castle. Follow our progress on our Video Blog (Vlog) Presented by Arthur (Age 3) and Martin (Age 41)
We've had a lot of new followers this week and we realise some of you may not know what a Garden Railway is!
It is (as the name suggests) a Model Railway in your Garden. Like most Garden Railways ours is not one you can ride on... though if you bring a teddy or small toy to a special event we'll almost certainly let them ride a train.
Our Garden might be much like your own... it just happens to have a railway running through it!
Our trains run on Extra Low Voltage, Batteries or occasionaly steam. Some GArden Railways model a specific era, location or railway. The Soar Valley Garden Railway doesn't represent anything so specefic and we have no set scale as we like to run all kinds of fun things!
Garden Railways are very popular all around the world. Here in the UK there are a number of shops and exhibitions dedicated to Garden Railways as well as Magazines and societies who help bring together people and share experiences and tips. We'll talk about those at a later date.
Garden Railway Questions
Q) What will we see at your garden railway?
A) Well at the risk of stating the obvious: A Garden with a model railway running through it. Why not pop on over to visit and see!
Q) What Gauge is the Track
A) We use G Gauge track (45mm) that's a little larger than O Gauge which is 32mm but the same gauge as Gauge 1 (Martin... yes confusing isn't it!)
Q) Can I ride your garden railway?
A) Yes of course you can... if you are an Elf... or a small teddy bear!
Q) I want to build a garden railway, could you help?
A) We can certainly give advice and opinions, we can even sell you a garden railway train set... but if you want us to come help dig up your garden we're a little too busy right now!
Q) Can I bring my trains to run on your railway?
A) The short answer is yes, we welcome visiting locomotives and trains. However we can be quite busy so please contact us in advance
Q) Are Garden Railways Expensive
A) They certainly can be... however they do not have to be. You can buy a simple starter set for reasonable amounts, (we'd love to sell you one!) However there are other options such as Playmobil Trains (Please note the plastic track will deteriote with time) or affordable kit built trains such as Houston Gate Locomotive Works which can be a great affordable way into garden railways.
Q) What other scales or gauges can I use in a Garden Railway?
A) In the UK O Gauge is also very popular, we personally feel anything smaller is harder to operate and maintain. That said it often depends on your garden environement and climate. We know a number of people that run 00 gauge in the garden and we've seen videos and photos of N Gauge. If you intend to go for these smaller sizes be prepared to do a lot of cleaning... and if you have trees in your garden avoid going underneath them!
Q) What's the best advice you can give to someome building their first Garden Railway?
A) Start Small, build something manageable that you may add to over time. Drop a starter set on a patio and see if you enjoy running trains... if you plan to get more serious it's great to know that unlike other model railway scales Trains, Accesories and Tracks retain a good deal of their value on the second hand market. Be aware that no two garden railways are the same and what works for one person may not for you. Unlike a model railway in a warm spare room a garden railway is like the real thing you have to deal with a range of environmental factors some of which will be unique to your garden!
Finally nothing is ever set in stone, and if it is go buy a sledgehammer!