Any Garden "O" gauge folks here?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by catbert, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. catbert

    catbert New Member

    I'd like to share information with anyone with an outside "O" "fetish. I know it's an "elite" group, but if anyone here has a permanent garden O setup, I'd like to hear from him/her. :eek:
  2. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    I don't...

    but find yourself a copy of the December (20th anniversary edition) of Garden Railways Magazine from Kalmbach Publishing.

    There is a repeat of an old Model Railroader Magazine article on O Scale/gauge in the garden...

    I had been thinking about going On30 in the garden, but now I am thinking of doing Hn42. (1/2 inch to the foot on 1 3/4" gauge)
  3. gmcmurry

    gmcmurry New Member

    I have a large outdoor O-Gauge system and would love to share my notes with you.

    Do you currently have outdoor o-gauge or are you just considering a system?

  4. Danny

    Danny Member

    I have never modelled in O Gauge, having moved up from HOn42 to Large Scale G Gauge. The only real consideration is choice of rail for outdoor usage, you would need to use Brass or Stainless Steel to stand up to the weather conditions you would encounter.
    It is the way to go, it can be so social, inviting twenty or more friends over to operate trains (impossible with indoor layouts!)
    Regards, Danny Sheehan in Oz.
  5. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Danny I think you got that backwards. :confused: I 've seen and/or read about dozens of indoor layouts that can keep 20 or more people busy. While most any outdoor layout can have that many people standing around watching a train or two making laps I've yet to see a outdoor layout that would have something for more than a few people to actually do. The biggest reason of course is the $$$$$$$$$$ required for track, turnouts, locos etc. in the larger scales. Now that I think about it I'd guess that less then 5% of all outdoor layouts I've ever seen or read about even have a operating plan of any kind, or a track plan that would lend itself to operations. This is not a knock on outdoor layouts (I'm thinking about doing one myself), just my observation over the last zillion years. :)
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Geeze, Tyson, you're older than I thot! No wonder you know all the good stuff! :D :D :D

    :wave: Welcome to the-gauge you new folks! :wave: Wow! before I posted, the old timers were outnumbered! Two first time posts in one thread :D :D :D Hope you folks love it here and I'm looking forward to seeing and reading about your garden layout adventures! Got any pictures you can post??? :cool:
  7. gmcmurry

    gmcmurry New Member

    I am using gargraves all stainless on my O-Gauge outdoor layout and other than having some trouble with cold and heat it has held up for years.

    Actually, this may have happened because of the earthquake just before Christmas 2003... ;)

  8. catbert

    catbert New Member

    I have the rolling stock, a healthy MRC transformer and I've decided on Gargraves stainless but that about where I'm at. I'd like to start soon, before the weather gets a little WARM here in Arizona. Are there any tricks on laying track - special techniques????
  9. gmcmurry

    gmcmurry New Member

    If I had it to do over again, I would put expansion joints on every section.


    I put joints like this about every 10 feet and that was not enough for my Southern California weather. You're in Arizona and it is probably more extreme there.

    Using small 3/4" pieces of teflon coated wire, I make joints like this. Leave 3/16" space between the sections and they will slide in and out on the track pins. I think I used 20 gauge wire from Beldon.

    Also, the screws I used in most places were #4 stainless by 3/4". I tried black steel screws but they rust almost immediately. I would use all stainless screws, two every foot and then paint the heads black if you don't like the look of the bright stainless heads on the ties.

    One other thing... The stainless track is not that great a conductor for electricity. I used #12 THHN stranded wire and ran a parallel run the entire length of my 300 feet outdoors. About every 50 feet, I made a connection to the track. I use TMCC on my O-Gauge system and have had no problem getting power around the layout.


  10. fifer

    fifer Active Member

    I am an N Scaler but have had O scale 3 rail and used Atlas O track.
    Can the Atlas O be used outside or has anyone used it outside?
    I am in Las Cruces New Mexico.
    PS how did you solder to the stainless????
  11. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    IIRC, Atlas has UV resistant 3 rail track. Their 2 rail track is UV resistant also. While I don't have any plans for an outdoor layout here in Reno, I do set up my Atlas on the family room floor and watch the trains go in circles. I even built a small switching layout that is based on John Alan's TimeSaver layout. Quite fun, and the kids seem amused by it. For power, I'm using the Bachmann power pack from one of their On30 sets sold for Christmas. Some day when I get the garage cleaned up and insulated, I will build out there. The wife and dogs aren't too keen on an outdoor layout.

    This is an interesting thread, I hope you don't mind my interjection.

  12. RRGrandad

    RRGrandad New Member

    Track types

    I've tried both Gargraves all steel and Atlas. The Atlas looks great, but it's held together by rather small pieces of plastic that are similar to real tie plates and spikes. The ties themselves are held together by rather frail connections. I've seen some great Atlas layouts indoors, but it's really not robust enough for outdoors. The Gargraves track holds up well.

    The real challenge is finding a roadbed material. GMCMURRY - is that wood or Choicedeck or Choicedek you're using? I'm using Choicedek, but I'm looking for a good solution for loops where I can use a big enough piece of material that the whole loop is on it, rather than on several pieces. The one idea so far is to use outdoor plywood with Choicedek cleats underneath to keep it a little out of the soil and a lightweight metal over the top, with track screws going through the metal.
  13. gmcmurry

    gmcmurry New Member

    Roadbed Material

    I have used both wood and some sort of plastic decking material that i got at Home Depot.

    I like using the the plastic decking material. It is easy to install, cut and mount. I do get a substantial shrinkage/expansion differential between the Gargraves track and the plastic roadbed material. Not sure which material is the real problem.


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