Lynn Rice: My first garden railroad had a very long double track mainline with a 3% grade and it worked fine. For that house and yard, it was the logical thing to do. My present garden train tracks are absolutely level and I believe that I can keep any likely expansions level as well. I had to do some cutting, filling and trestle-building to keep the track level. If you do your design right, rising and falling land around a layout can give the impression of grades while keeping the track level and easiest for trains to run on.
Joseph Cicerello: I think that the grades provide a more realistic setting and make the garden railroad much more interesting. I have been reading as much as possible as to the ability of certain engines to climb and I hope I do it right.
John Damkier: No grades, allows me to run very long consists which is what I enjoy. I do have hills for added interest and a dry riverbed for the tracks to bridge across.
Mike Evans: Original loop was pretty much flat. Redesigned and rebuilt last year to create a twice around plan with an up and over. If you keep the garden railroad grade gradual and under 2% (2" in 10 ft seems about right), most modern equipment will handle reasonable length trains.
Jerry Tupper: I have a grade on my garden railroad. It is more interesting than running the train on the level. Since I have experience in HO scale, I know the value of keeping the grades within 2% if at all possible.
Jeff Crotty: I tried to limit all my garden railroad grades to 2% or less, but in a few spots the grade is more like 4%. This doesn't seem to cause a problem, but it just doesn't look as realistic. I am presently revamping a large, high, curved trestle to help reduce excessive grade in a spot. It's a lot of work - but isn't that the fun of garden railroading?