Garden railway photos and some questions

traingeekboy Apr 18, 2014

  1. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    The collection of photos has been re-arranged into an album. You can click one photo to expand it and then use the arrows to easily navigate forward or backward.

    http://www.oogardenrailway.co.uk/gallery/album.php?album_id=65

    I'm thinking some day some of the TB members may give it a try, and we'll have our own garden railways in HO/OO scale, on this forum. The images of things like long coal trains running through real snow on DCC would be awesome.

    Which brings me to a question about garden railways in general. Years ago (70's) I had a book on model railroading and it included a couple shots of british garden railways in larger scales, some with live steam. Back then it just seemed like a novelty and I didn't think much of it. Then I saw this youtube video of a guy in Wales who had a huge mainline. It was possibly 100' long.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqzw8D_b27M

    That video completely changed my mind about the garden concept; it made me realize that despite having a tiny house I could get long runs for my trains. My layout is actually really modest at 47' with a double mainline, but it's a lot more than all my other previous layouts had. And since going out doors I actually ran trains quite a bit.

    My standard layout has been ignored for sometime since discovering the joy running my trains, as opposed to merely talking about that future layout. I often post garden railway things with little response. While G scale is easily accepted as a garden scale, the smaller scales are not. Why is this? Is it because it just lacks something for all of you? Why wouldn't you make a huge layout in your yard with a sceniced and detailed section inside your house or garage?
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Are G scale items intended to be a bit better in withstanding the exposure to being outside? Weather? Dust and dirt?
     
  3. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Ken may be correct to a degree. I instinctively feel that "small" scales, HO, N, and Z, are delicate mechanisms like watches and similar precision items. Having spent hours searching for and removing untold single pieces of ballast from gear teeth, I would not voluntarily operate a locomotive in a "kid's sandbox". OK, that's an overstatement, but I still remember the backside tanning I received as an eight-year old after playing with my brother's Lionel 0-6-0 in my sandbox...not a pleasant memory. :crying:
    However, Geeky's photos and video are extremely tempting lures...hmmm? :eek:hboy:
     
  4. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    They have much more favorable weather over there and maybe more understanding codes and landlords.
    I don't think anything smaller than 'O' would be practical and battery powered in my area. It's also a bit expensive.
     
  5. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I do it, so do all the other guys in britain and australia. One guy in australia had some issue with cockatoos eating his track so he built covers for it. Another guy had issues with mina birds dive bombing his track.

    As to mechanics, my track is just plain old Atlas track and it's been out there for 3 years. Been using DC on my layout but as soon as I can will be adding decoders to my old lima and hornby trains.


    We've been told it cant be done. But we do it anyway. So the it can't be done issue is out the window. No gear issues either on my part. I am only using DC at the moment and have no jumpers for power yet, just the standard joiners.

    But DCC is coming so I can run in the winter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWSqUSO9vrQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-B-G3S9VMQ

    But I still wonder why those who have homes they own or balconies even, we've got a balcony layout in the pics, don't just make a simple running layout outside? Or build the yards and industrial areas inside with long mainlines outside. I'm talking scale miles on those mainlines too.
     
  6. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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  7. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    Oh, you CAN...but....the smaller the scale, the more difficult 1:1 mother nature can be.
    A pine needle will cause a massive derailment.
    UV issues with ties, locos and rolling stock.
    The garden folks have that pretty much figured out, except for the Genius.
    Track cross level issues can be a bigger issue in half zero than in 1.
    Parts that can rust, will. Like axles. Screws, Coupler covers.
    Running small scales in the snow is....interesting.
    I do it in 1, know the issues, and boy, the ice, if pure as snow melt usually is, won't conduct.

    But, try it out.

    It's only money, right?

    Dave
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    We get a lot of winds here, the year around. Today at times sustained at 30 mph, with some gusts reaching toward 40. With farming around, aside from the usual natural debris, a get a fair amount of dirt. Today, N scale would be scattered across the yard. HO probably surviving operations no better. So, adding 5-6 months of snow on ground, and rainy months, there'd be a lot of days when the whole setup might be useless.

    Also, I wonder about lightning. It happens here a bunch, a couple of different times annually. With a chain link fenced yard, (which that fence has been hit), quite a stretch, but I wonder. It's in the forecast for the coming weeks.

    Hmmm. Is this someone you'd alluded to, when we "conversed" a while back?
     
  9. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    Yup. Didn't listen, split boilers, melted drivers, little things like that.
    Winds....we had to rework all the spurs so the ends are downgrade from the frogs..so the wind doesn't blow cars out onto the main line.
    One spot wind funneled down, had to put a 3' high fence on top of the raided section. Lost several complete trains over the edge.
    Can't imagine lighter stuff. End up two yards away.

    We just completed 7-1/2 official hours of ops.
    Not counting setup.
    Two of us had more than 12 hours on site.

    Zero track power outdoors of any kind.

    No poking locos to get them past a dirty spot. No track cleaning cars, no jiggling points when there was a connection issue.

    Dave
     
  10. inch53

    inch53 TrainBoard Member

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    Rock-Ome Gardens outside Arcola IL had a G-scale set up outside for years that ran 7 days a week from April till October. I’ve talked to the guy that toke care and he said they didn’t have to many problems as long as the maintenance, just like indoor trains.

    There’s another guy I know that also has an outdoor G-scale. He runs mostly live steam, but has electrics also and has for years.
    Both has said other than picking up trees limbs n such, the care is about the same

    inch
     
  11. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    I think most people don't do this because they value the scenery as much or more than the run. Typical garden railways also involve a lot of pruning for miniature trees which is nigh unto impossible in HO. Whereas in G, you can Bonsai your way into a credible miniature garden.


    I guess what I'm saying is that a long mainline just for the sake of a long main is often not the goal.
     
  12. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    It's hard to pin down what a garden HO/OO railway is actually. Some do plywood centrals and focus on trains, some do garden level with real plants, some do shelf level (easier on the back) with tall shrubs and trees adding green, and some do shelf style with fake scenery like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDUEiUqUBog

    Ian's photo bucket is here: http://s988.photobucket.com/user/IanR_photos/library/?sort=6&page=1

    Notice he's got operating signals. I believe his switches are air powered so in a sense more like real pneumatic switches. He has roll on cradles for trains. And much more. :)

    We're still exploring options for scenery. Scrubber pads seem to be the most used item, but I am not too keen on the bluish color so may spray mine with paint first. I am also looking at that filter material people us for pine trees. But it's definitely an issue of finding things and repurposing as standard scenery is not going to hold up in the sun.

    Yoho, I live in Colorado we get some serious sun out here. My atlas track is fine. I don't leave cars and locos out though. The brits use garden sheds as storage for their trains. One guy on the canary islands has an awning over his patio layout.

    Debris... I have a paint brush ready to brush the right of way to prevent accidents.

    I'll have to do a wind test to see how windy it can be. But many of the layouts follow backyard fence lines so they are up against a wind break. How big is your back yard? How long could your mainline be? What if you built a seniced section inside a garage or spare room, poked a hole through the wall and ran your mainlines for many scale miles through the garden? A best of both worlds scenario.
     
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Another reason it may be less popular in the US is that many have given up big back yards for bigger houses.
     
  14. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not trying to discourage you. Just positing reasons for the lack of popularity.
     
  15. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Oh I am not discouraged. I have my layout which needs some work to repair a section I had to tear out for waterline work, but it has provided quite a bit of good running. I need to ask one of our TB members more details about how he made his catenary as I've gone european on this layout; I have a bunch of old childhood HO trains. And I am excited about adding big bridges to my layout.

    But I am asking mostly because I so often hear people bemoaning the lack of space. And yet space is not an issue, just connect that indoor switching layout to that out door mainline and you can go crazy with no real limits. A good example is the guy who wants a version of tehachapi loop.

    Better yet, for the narrow gauge minded, there is always woody's layout: http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=1222&forum_id=17&page=1

    Woody uses HO mechs in large scale models and his track is all hand laid.
     
  16. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    That's why I said go for it...it's only money.
     
  17. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Money is another issue. So far all my lumber is salvaged from alleys. In fact except for track and screws, which were left over from other home projects, the entire railway has been free. Not so for others, but I am on a very fixed budget. All my trains are second hand from ebay and I only buy low. Oh yeah, I bought some water putty to pour my station platforms too, so another 8 bucks there. ;)

    Anyway I am being a little heavy handed here. I was just curious why no one would consider this as an option.
     
  18. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    Like I said, for me, I'd rather have less main and more detail and outside I want the full garden railroad. So it is a nonstarter for me personally. I have a train club for the 400' of main running.
     
  19. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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  20. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Today I attended the Titletown Train Show in Green Bay, WI and there where a couple layouts there. One was the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society that gets together usually at members layouts. It sounds like a good idea but it appears most are from the Milwaukee/Madison area. Both about 80 miles away.
    I first got interested while living down there but my one acre yard was populated by massive red oaks and pines. What a mess in the fall and spring. My next place was a manufactured home on a rented lot. There the manager was totally anal so it was out there. Now I'm in east central Wisconsin in an apartment so it's on hold again.
    But I keep dreaming and working toward an HO layout.
    And that's basically my story.
     

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