Newbie help with a Garden Railroad

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Chipotle101202, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Chipotle101202

    Chipotle101202 New Member

    Hello everyone !

    Well this is my first post so here goes...i'm looking to put a garden railroad in my mother in-laws backyard (yeah shes all for it too) :)...but I have a few questions...

    1. I've seen LGB and Aristrocraft trains....personally I Like the Aristocraft ones...but I was wondering if I could go smaller then that...and find track for the smaller O scale (the next in size correct?)

    2. ummmmmmm......

    3. What kind of Track...other then brass would be best for Southern California?

    4. I've seen tracks....with 3 rails.....what are the purpose of those types?

    well thats all I can think of at the moment....hopefully I can get started on my train set soon :)......i'll post some pics of the backyard as soon as I get them for some idea of what i'll be working with.

  2. Livesteam

    Livesteam Member

    well , i like aristo craft, nice engines for good prices, stainless steel track will work good too, i wouldnt go with anything smaller than G for out doors because you will be cleaning the tracks alot than. Ive seen 3 rail for subway trains
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    3 rail track is mostly O gauge and dates from the beginning of the hobby, but is still used today, mostly by Lionel and K Line. In the old days they didn't have the material technology we do today so they couldn't at the time insulate the wheels from each other like they can today. So three rail was the answer. The outer two rails where the wheels run are are one pole of the electric to drive them, and the other pole is carried in the center rail where rollers/wipers under the train can pick it up. It has never been changed as most people veiw it as a classic holdover from the days of their childhood and have a warm sentimental feeling about 3 rail trains. Also of note is threee rail run on AC where the two rails mostly run on DC. Fred
  4. Anozira RR

    Anozira RR New Member

    Outdoor O

    Outdoor O was my choice because I had O in a bedroom that suddenly had to become a bedroom again. Garage was full of shop and my wife's van, so she gave me the backyard to turn into Anozira RR.

    My three strings of advice after first saying, "Going from indoors to outdoors was a blessing." So much more fun outdoors. BUT, outdoors is a whole new ballgame and even more so if one is going out with "O", which is not manufactured for outdoors. Give up that log loader and other motorized accessories because unless you can dustproof and heatproof and waterproof, forget the fancy stuff. Remote electric switches are a problem until you realize how to weatherize them. Otherwise there is compressed air drive or manual. Forget manual because I sit on the patio with my CAB-1 Lionel TMCC and run three or four trains at a time. With 700 feet of track - one has the time to set a rum-and-coke on the table and grab the transmitter before things get sticky out on the pike.

    Forget scratch building buildings to cut the cost of building a town or village as there is no glue that will hold up to several years (more than 3 or so) of all weather exposure. Cost of structures in O or G will kill most bank accounts. In O the plastic used in structures is not Ultraviolet proof. That leaves nailing or screwing pieces/parts together to make a building or painting rocks to look like buildings. I'm handy and artsy, but not good enough to create structures that look like the indoor structures I was used to. Had to be something else and there is. It's called those little ceramic houses and shops that people put around their Christmas trees. Termites won't eat 'em, water doesn't phase 'em, no glue to melt, or screws and nails to work out and loose due to expansion and contraction, and no plastic to warp, craze, crack, and splinter. All one needs to do once and while is repaint 'em and hope your neighbor doesn't throw rocks. That's with O. With G scale you can buy what ever your heart desires if you have enough $$$. G plastic buildings are UV resistant.

    Here at last are my three strings of advice for either G or O:
    Number one -------
    Stainless steel rails. All 3 or 2 rails of stainless steel. Soooooooooo much eaiser to keep clean and to clean.
    Number two --------
    An elevated roadbed. The older you get -- the higher it needs to be. Check out this site. It's the answer to all outdoor RR prayers.
    I purchased my plastic lumber at Lows. (90% recycled plastic and 10% sawdust) The stuff ripped on my table saw nicer than real wood. I run O so I simply modified what Bill Logan describes in the web address above to suit my scale.
    Number three ------
    Design on paper in plan form FIRST and minimize straight sections. Keet it curvin'. Straight rail expands along the rail axis parallel to the rails. This can be bad by running out of expansion room and humping. Expansion along a curve forces the curve to get wider (increasing the radius -- pushing outward perpendicular to the rail curve). Ergo, there is more room in which to expand. So when you construct your elevated roadbed, add an inch to its inside width and this alows the track to "float" within the track bed side rails. Ohh, I need to explain. Bill Logan's roadbed's side rails are below the track's crossties. I constructed mine so that the roadbed's side rails are the same highth as the track's ties, i.e. roadbed cross pieces are set down - track tie depth. I don't screw the track to the roadbed - it floats, but it don't float off the roadbed into the asparagus and marigolds.

    Switches set on roadbed expansions that become switch platforms.

  5. Chipotle101202

    Chipotle101202 New Member

    Thanks for all the help so has taken up most of my time lately....and my wife and I just celebrated our anniversary so I haven't had a chance to take a pic of the backyard.

    So if I understand correctly....long straight track is unadvisable....due to how it expands and contracts?

    another question......can the tracks get wet? i'm assuming yes....but i'm not sure if and how often they can get wet.....I think the tracks may be a bit close to sprinklers is why i'm asking....

    thanks for all your help :)

  6. Anozira RR

    Anozira RR New Member

    MichaelAngelo --
    Curves, curves, curves as much as possible, even if the curves are large radius. The intent is to induce the track to move sidewise rather than linear. You will have, or should have at least 2 feet of straight (or at least the length of your longest car) between the curves of an S curve and that is fine. I also included at least a foot of straight leading into a switch from either directions, the Ys and the single out/in. Probably most folks don't do this, but I do and I have very few switch derailments.

    Water on the rails. The primary reason to use stainless steel -- no rust. I have stainless steel rails that have been through 4 years of outdoor exposure including sprinkler irrigation. There is not a speck of rust or anyother blemish on those rails. Termites began feasting on that track's ties, so a trip to Home Depot's wood perservative department snuffed that problem. Now I use GarGraves' UV resistant, plastic tie, SS track. I do not run trains when the track is wet. Water or moisture on the ties could short across to the outside rails from the center rail. I've never had that kind of short, but I have never applied power to wet track. Tucson climate, summer or winter dries the track rather quick. So having an open window running trains is never a problem. Realize that the distance from the center rail to either outside rail in O guage is only 3/8 inch and that's not much distance to bridge with a little puddle on the top of a tie. Also, I'm thinking that consistantly wet wooden ties that soak up water MIGHT provide an electrical short problem. I don't know as my track is very dry. I irrigate in the morning. So by P.M. running time - track is dry as the perverbial bone.
    I have sprinklers that are less than a foot from track. Not a problem.
  7. Philinbos

    Philinbos Member

    First, As a dealer for both Hartland and Aristo I admit I have a bias, but heres my take on equipment.
    Aristo- nice detail, hold up well
    Lgb, not as real looking( American) as some others, excellant quality.
    USA Trains., some nice paint schemes, fall apart quickly esp. grab irons, hand rails etc. Often uses plastic gears which wear out quickly (I have a GP7/9 B&M great paint, great smoke, only runs in one direction in less then 7 months due to plastic gear wear)
    Bachman- larger scale then the others, they run well for the money. great for bashing
    Hartland- Every bit as good as LGB, excellant motor system, Less variety then LGB, Aristo or USA.
    I use Aristo brass track, with LGB turnouts. Neither rain nor snow hurts it here in N.E. Good drainage is key - get the water off the switches. When it snows we put on the snow plow- Makes for great photos! Hope this helps, and have fun!

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