Copyright 2002 T. Sheil & A. Sheil  All Rights Reserved

All Gauge Model Railroading Page

Garden Trains, Spring 2002

Operating Trains in the Garden

The Conover Street Brick Mine Railway is a small railroad with but a small consist of cars and locomotives.  Here we bring you a selection of these trains as they run through our garden.  Of course, this is also a chance to show off the garden.  If you had seen the yard when we first bought the house in June of `99, you would appreciate all the efforts done to make it presentable.  The previous owners did nothing with the yard, and it looked like a little jungle with its own junkyard.  Audrey and I spent hours clearing away the junk and weeds.  Our net was 23 trash bags, two trash barrels and four cartons of junk, plus 8 rusted angle irons and about 40 foot of ruined pipe, not to mention glass, bottles and brisk.   That left a big tree stump in the middle of the yard.

Brick!  The stuff was all over the place.  Every time we dug, we hit brick.  Apparently, the previous owners dug out the old brick foundation of the original garage when they replaced it and just threw and buried it in place.  As of May 2002, we have recovered 205 whole bricks and numerous fragments from the ground.  This is how our railway got its name, since we facetiously called our yard "The Conover Street Brick Mine."   The brick found new use as landscaping materials and a planter.  Yes, we built the planter around the tree stump, and we call it "the Brickwell."  Landscaping included building a path, setting aside an area for Audrey's shade garden, and turning a small mound into the Railway.

Our First Train

I am experienced with N and O/O27, so planning the Garden Railway was an easy enough task,  Our first order was for the Bachmann "Clementine Mines" set.  We tested the Bachmann track, and it rusted, so we opted for Aristocraft trackage.  Once track was laid and we got running, we were quite pleased with ourselves.  I painted some birdhouses to use as stations, but they succumbed to weather.  This led to acquisition of the gazebo-shaped white building and the Victorian-era train station.  Our big mistake was using bark mulch inside the railway.  It was soon replaced with gravel.

 Since then, we have grown our railway.  Operating trains include the "Brick Hauler," an Aristocraft "Rogers" 2-4-2 tank engine, Aristocraft 0-4-0 locomotive, the Hartland Locomotive Works 4-4-0, and two battery-operated toy 2-6-0 Moguls.  The toys are for when friends visit with kids.  Currently being worked upon are two more 0-4-0s and a Rogers.  These are being refitted and converted to other locomotive types.


Passenger service on the Conover Street Brick Mine Railway is in the form of an 4-4-0 Woodburning locomotive and thee blue coaches.  Freight includes the "Brick Hauler" carrying mined brick and gravel, and other locomotives pulling boxcar consists.  Scale is mixed 1/24, 1/20 and 1/29.  After all, this is a Garden Railway, not an outdoor model railroad masquerading as a garden pike!   Rivet counters beware!  Everything on our pike is chosen because it fits the Garden, not because it adheres to a scale prototype.

See the trains: click on the links below to see pictures of our trains

The Brick Hauler:

Passenger Service

Freight Service

Track Cleaning

Audrey planted her shade garden alongside the garage.

This is the train that started it all: the Bachmann "Clementine Mines" set with 0-4-0 Porter locomotive, wooden ore car and 4-wheel bobber caboose.  For such an inexpensive set, it is a very reliable little train.  This set eventually evolved into our "signature" freight train, the "Brick Hauler."

One of the cars that gets attention is the Brick Hauler's tool car.  Here you see its crewman resting in the forward "tool bunker" amid tools and equipment.

Another view.  Note the vise on the windowsill.  Inside the cab, you can see a large tool box.  In front is one of the "Brick Flats" with load.

Click here to return to All Gauge Model Railroading main page