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Recommended reading: garden railway specific

Page history last edited by Ian Stock 13 years, 7 months ago

Garden Railways, Kalmbach  Publications Ltd, Wisconsin, USA  ISSN ?

A bi-monthly magazine dedicated to American Garden Railways.  It mainly caters for track powered lines though battery powered locomotives (inc steam outline) and live steam are sometimes featured.  Its strengths are in the areas in which American modellers tend to excel, techniques for weathering, and structure and stock building, in 'scale' wood and other materials.  It also has regular features on plants and planting; while some of these are not relevant - many are.  The magazine caters for all aspects of the hobby so whimsy is featured as well as lines that strive for the kind of effect - realism, which this wiki is about.  An online index may be found at http://www.trains.com/grw/default.aspx?c=ss&id=9

Landscapes in Minature, by John Constable, Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, UK  ISBN-13: 9780718826024

A text book on using minature species of plant to make, as the title suggests, landscapes in minature. It includes plant lists, and also useful material on building structures. An online reference may be found at http://www.lutterworth.com/lp/titles/landscap.htm.   The author has his own site http://miniaturecottages.co.uk/index.htm which features his work making miniature cottages, but also refers to his landscaping work. There is reference on it to his later book on miniature cottages, which I have not read so cannot comment on. If it lives up to his earlier work on landscapes it should prove interesting.


The material on structures is useful in all scales but John works to 1/32 scale so any dimensions need to be adjusted to suit the scale in use.

Practical Garden Railways, by Peter Jones, Crowood Press, UK ISBN 1 86126 833 5

Peter Jones has a highly esoteric approach to garden railways, but he lacks no experience, being one of the Grand Old Men of the hobby. This book does not cater widely for the detailed end of the hobby in terms of techniques offered, though there are some items that are useful - but his thinking can be the spark for further developments. The photographs are equally varied, but there are some that might qualify as 'high detail' - notably those of Alan Walker's real slate buildings, notably Corris station, which are worth it in their own right.


Garden Railways by R E Tustin ISBN 1 85761 017 2


This has always been my favourite book on modelling railways in the garden, despite being originally published in 1949!


It is particularly good on the ‘civil engineering’ side – but also on constructing buildings, rolling stock, track and signals, as well as a good, if somewhat outdated explanation of the various scales and gauges.


There are obvious technical gaps such as battery power and radio control, and not much on planting, but there is a sound understanding of the whole ethos of garden railwaying which still reads as bang up to date.


There are just a brief couple of paragraphs on narrow gauge modelling, but in pre-preservation mainline steam days of 1949, this is hardly surprising.

My copy is a soft back facsimile published by TEE Publishing, still available at



A little quote just to give you an idea as to how good this book is:-


On Steam as Motive Power

‘It shares with the clockwork engine the difficulty of its control and has other disadvantages of its own in the amount of time taken to prepare it for working, and the messiness of the operation involved. I submit however, that all these disadvantages are completely and entirely outweighed by the fact that it really is a steam engine and not merely a mechanical contrivance to haul trains, faked up to look like a steam engine. There is real pleasure in watching even the simplest ‘pot boilered’ locomotive running with her train, hearing her exhaust sharpen as she reaches  a gradient, the odd dribbles of water on the track and the heat of the engine leaves you in no doubt that you are dealing with a real railway locomotive – something live and appealing, with individual ways of her own that have to be understood’.


Steam in the Garden, by Ron Brown, ISSN 1078-859X,  Bi-monthly from PO Box 335, Newark Valley, NY13811 USA or Brandbright in Norfolk, UK

A fascinating mid-Atlantic magazine which provides for those who build steam (even hot-air) locomotives in a variety of common garden scales. Excellent photographs and drawings and some very good tips and useful extras, using modern techniques. Highly recommended.

A Garden Railway Adventure, by Nicholas Trudgian, Atlantic Publishers, 83 Parkanaur Avenue, Southend on Sea, Essex  SS1 3JA, UK.  ISBN 978-1-902827-20-9.


Nick Trudgian's personable account of how he constructed he Southern Cross Railway. Some of his ideas on mixing prototypes and scales may not be to everyone's liking, but his railway is superbly scenic, and there is much good advice on construction techniques, as well as a lovely evocation of the life of this enormous line.



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