My Projects

Web 22

Here are a couple of my projects - a Jack type Hunslet built to Brian Wilson's design, serialised in Garden Rail, and simple coal wagons made from bamboo pen pots.


My name is Chris Bird and although I spend a huge amount of time on the design and marketing of the Summerlands Chuffer, I am a garden railway enthusiast, first and foremost. Although live steam locos that come at the top of my garden railway list, I love making rolling stock from cheap, easily obtained materials, as well as from kits. I even dabble in simple battery electric locos! (see "Other Stuff' button for videos)

Over the past few years, I have taken on many projects and usually write them up, either in the garden railway magazines or on the Garden Railway Club (GRC). Where they are on the GRC, you will need to visit and find the article in the contents column on the left as the links no longer work. Please note that the GRC ones are more of a blog and are not as 'polished' as some of the magazine articles! There is also lots of other interesting stuff to read on the GRC site if you have some spare time!.

I will also occasionally add pages to give more photos or videos of the projects and I should mention that although not all of the kits I have built are still available, the kit building principles remain the same.


Wagon and Coach Projects


The Summerlands General Purpose (GP) Wagon

These are simple flat bed wagons that use strip wood from the DIY store and inexpensive wheel sets from Binnie Engineering. They can be made very cheaply with simple tools.

The GP wagon can be made as the flat wagon, slab wagon, log wagon, log bolster, planked wagon or even tanker wagon.

There are also notes on building a simple runner wagon at the end of the article.

You can read it on the site

GP wagon 1

The Summerlands GP Wagon in 7/8ths scale built from bamboo plant labels

Here the simple wagons are made from plant labels sold by Wilkinson's in the UK. Because of the size of the planks, they are more suited to 7/8ths scale. Once again, their use is only limited by your imagination!


Bamboo wagon

The Summerlands coal wagons made from bamboo pen pots

Here I have used bamboo pen pots (sold by Wilkinsons in the UK) to make a rake of coal wagons. I have made them for 7/8" scale, but they could be made for 16mm scale.


Pen pot wagons

The HGLW laser cut 7/8" scale Slate Wagon

Previously sold by Acme Engineering the kit is now available from The Houston Gate Locomotive Works. In this article I build and lightly weather a set of three.


Slate wagon

The HGLW 7/8" scale Penrhyn open workman' coach

Prviously sold by Acme Engineering, this kit is now available from Houston Gate locomotive Works. It is photographed here with my modified Regner Vincent. Similar figures are available from Model Earth Design.


Penrhyn coach

This page is still under construction. To find more of my project articles, please go to the garden Railway Club site and search for Chris Bird. While you are there, there are many articles by other authors that you may find interesting. The contents is on the left hand side - just scroll down to find lots of interesting reading.

Link to Garden Railway Club