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A Portable Railway
I have made a Portable Railway. This railway came about mainly because of the confluence of two
things: the loss of my Garden Railway;
and the need for our small group of live-steamers to have a railway for public use. The first
discussion about the live steam group was in March 2012. And in the summer of the same year it
was decided to sell the house where the garden railway was located.
Three years later, in June 2015, I made the decision to go ahead with construction of a
portable railway. This was a difficult and big decision because of the many practical issues
to be handled; so many of these being not railway oriented; for example, storage and
transportation. What follows are various descriptions of the design and construction
activities over these years. The Overview provides a
description of what exists, and which may be out of date; other sections reflect design
progress, and which have omissions, and may appear disjointed, because they were written as
My approach includes a significant theoretical component; I did this for personal
satisfaction. Computer code is used for design, and this code contains, for example,
implementation of two-dimensional vectors and numerical integration. This may be overkill for
toy trains, but it was a lot of fun, and some of the payoff is very real assistance in
construction; for example, creation of full-size paper templates for module hardware
Embracing the design process as an end in itself, independent of whether or not hardware ever
was to be produced, enabled me to set minor sub-objectives. One of these was to gain a grasp
of the mathematics of transition curves; writing a mathematical description was an exercise
for me with that objective. Another objective was to implement the application of these pure
mathematics of transition curves to the engineering and computation problems of designing
hardware. I note that the Web has descriptions of parts of what is required, mainly the
underlying mathematical theory; but I have not found a description of all the grubby detail
work necessary to get the job done.
This Portable Railway is named the Hunting Hill Railway. The reason is simple enough:
I live in an area that has been called Hunting Hill for a long time, decades as far as I can
tell. The railway name may be overshadowed by other things emphasised when the railway is in
use by the live steam group.
A self-contained high-level description of the railway.
Here are a few images of the railway in use. Construction progress is evident.
- Transition Curves
A summary of the mathematics commonly used to define the shape of transition curves on
railways, roads, and roller-coasters.
Description and specification drawings of the module interfaces.
- Design Log
This section is obsolete. It was the log until October 2013, when there was a lengthy
hiatus due to house-moving. However, this section contains descriptions of early thinking,
including overall railway objectives.
The decision to go ahead with making a portable railway was made in late June 2015. This
section picks up from that time, and deals with all aspects of construction, including
history and how-tos.