Twenty years ago I had a stream and waterfall under construction and I had a
raised vegetable garden. Bachmann brought out their Big Hauler which made an
inexpensive entry into the hobby of Garden Railroading. A modest scheme was
conceived consisting of 40 feet of track running from the waterfall to the vegetable
An economic purpose was seen from the beginning. Tomatoes would be transported
for canning and tourists would travel to see the waterfall. Some aluminum
rail was purchased and a start was made from the waterfall end. Thus was born
"The Waterfall and Tomato Patch Scenic Railway"
A little later it became possible to enlist the help of Niall MacKay. Plans became
much more ambitious and were realized. Track continued past the tomato patch to
a three track terminal, the waterfall leg became part of a Y and a loop was incorporated
across the width of the back of the yard. A combine was acquired to enable
The Big Hauler would run for hours on a charge and the sound was quite adequate.
There were magic moments of evening running with lights ablaze in the
combine and from the engine headlight.
Costs to that point had been quite reasonable. That changed with purchase of a
Sandy River and Rangely Lakes locomotive from Roundhouse of England. Again
it was good to have Niall to initiate me into that hobby within a hobby, the world
of Live Steam.
The railway, however, was to experience a decline. It had been built like many a
prototype: quickly, to minimum standards to get things running. I should have
been adding spikes but my retirement occupation of gardening for others took my
time during the season. It didn’t help that our dog liked to race across the back
barking at passers-by and pushing track around.
More recently I wound up the business, added boards to the fence to block view
of the passers-by and made a decision to entirely replace the loop at a higher level.
The loop was complete in 2008 when a further decision was made to re-align part
of it to bring it away from the fence, permitting plants to be installed between railway
and fence to relieve a stark view of the fence. This also corrected a problem of leaning supports
in that area.
The present railway is to have power through the rail– for the first time!
This remains a work in progress.
The Kitchen View Shelf Railway
The space and built features already there have dictated the design of this simple
shuttle. One terminal is urban featuring the Wheat Sheaf Hotel inspired by one of
Toronto’s older operating buildings. The other end is more of a pleasure gardens
following what was often prototype practice and is to include a mill whose wheel
actually turns by force of water. The street car shuttle works quite well, thanks to
the help of Jim Barber