This is the first picture taken of the garden RR once the first bit of track was installed July 8th, 2004. It’s early evening, the yard is mostly in the shade, and you’re looking at 6′ of Sunset Valley code 250 nickel silver rail. The hopper is from Bachmann (picked it up for $16 at a show) and the 40′ boxcar is from Aristocraft, which was included with the first large-scale train set my wife bought me. Both have body mounted Kadee #1 couplers and Gary Raymond wheels. The boxcar also has the new low-riding underframe. I use Hillman’s rail clamps.

By later in the summer I had installed roughly another 50′ of track. This is my son Jason, then six, putting a car onto the track. Above his head on the upper right you’ll see a couple gray blocks holding up the other end of the mainline. I really like this picture of Jason, but he’ll eventually want me to remove it.

One of the big projects was getting the siding installed. Due to the slopes around the rest of the layout, I had to put it along the back. It’s not huge, but is big enough for trains to run around each other. In 2004, I was just getting the roadbed in place:

This is the work train that’s been a tradition since the first garden railroad at the previous house. The gondola hauls around rail clamps, conductive compound, tools, etc. The old Aristo 0-4-0 switcher has been replaced with a GE 44-tonner. This is the same train as is seen in the distance in the previous photo.