outdoor RR upkeep

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by fooldancing, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. fooldancing

    fooldancing New Member

    my wife and i were wondering how do the outdoor railroaders keep their track clean and rust free? I think it is a great concept but i am not sure about it being out in the rain and snow here in PA. any info would be great to see if we want to persue this idea any farther or just stick with our O scale.
    thank you in advance.
  2. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    You've got two choices...

    Lots of elbow grease...

    Or, use battery power and Radio Control.

    When you use track power and control, you need to keep the rails clean. But because the equipment is heavier, it is a little more forgiving of a little bit of dirt and oxidization. Something that the smaller and lighter scales won't be able to handle...

    But if you go to battery power and Radio Control, you only have to keep the rails clear of stuff that would derail the trains, like twigs and leaves...

    There are also special pieces of equipment that are designed to help keep the rails clean. From freight cars that have pads under them that help to polish the rails, to ones that have motorized grinder/polishers...

    I highly recommend the following websites:

    My Large Scale dot com

    George Schreyer's Large Scale Trains Page

    Jim Banner's Saskatoon Railroad Modellers

    I've sent e-mails to George Schreyer and Jim Banner to ask questions and they are both really helpful and answer their e-mails.

    Oh, and pick up a copy of Garden Railways Magazine for even more information on Outdoor railroads.

    P.S. You can run your O scale stuff outside too...
  3. fooldancing

    fooldancing New Member

    would i have to buy special track to run my O stuff outside? also do they make battery R/c stuff for the O?
  4. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    The first question goes to you...

    Are you running 2-rail or 3-rail O-scale?

    I don't know how the electrics work for 3-rial and how to convert it to battery power.

    So, I hope that you are running 2-rail....

    The biggest issue with having track outdoors is the weather. The ties need to be UV stable/protected, or be ready to replace it every year or two...

    The best option tends to be hand laid track on real wooden ties. They will last better/longer than plastic ties that are not UV stable/protected.

    For battery power with Radio Control, you would put the controler in the locomotive and fill the tender with the batteries. Or for smaller locomotives and/or diesels, you put the controller in the loco, and the batteries in a box-car or tank car behind the locomotive. It will be the one car on the train that you can't switch out of the train unless you replace it with another battery car.

    These battery cars are called "Chase-cars" because they always go behind the locomotive.

    If you have a lot of locomotives and you don't want to get a Radio Control for all of them, Another idea is to put the batteries and controller in the "chase-car." Then you can have one or two "Chase-cars" and swap them between all of the locomotives.

    You can rig the locomotives with a DPDT switch to switch between track power and battery power and Radio Control, so that way you can run the locomotives indoors on track power and out-doors on battery power. And you'll need a plug to go between the locomotive and the "Chase-car"

    For ready made track, I'm sure that some of it is UV stable/protected, or you can paint all the ties with a UV protector. But this is only half the battle. The other issue with direct sunlight is the heat. Some plastic will soften and the tracks will go out of gauge.

    So you will have to do some research on what brand of ready made track can be put outside....
  5. Philinbos

    Philinbos Member

    The worst part of outside upkeep is the annual spring leveling, If you take the time to install the track correctly it's not that big a deal. Here in Mass, It takes me about 2 hours each spring to reballast (level) and clean the track each spring. I actually also weed, set up the buildings, level my roads and clean the tiny pond/waterfall in that two hours... If you install Stainless Steel track it most likely wood take even less time.
    LGB sells a maintinence kit for aroung $15.00 that includes a a great hand held track cleaning pad, as well as smoke fluid and screwdrivers. I also periodically run the Aristocraft track cleaning car which cuts way down on the amount of hand cleaning I have to do. Outdoor track is UV treated. As far as I know, No one manufactures any
    O scale track designed for outdoor use. G scale engines have sealed motors to keep out the dirt, again I do not beleive anyone manufactures O scale equipment with that feature...
  6. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    I did a little looking around

    Hi fooldancing and Philinbos,

    I think that Atlas makes O gauge track that is UV protected....

    But, you are right that the O scale equipment will take a little more care and cleaning. There appears to be many O scale garden railroads, especially in Europe and the UK.
  7. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Since you're in PA

    Take a look at the Pittsburgh Garden Railway Society

    There's a quote from their website:

  8. fooldancing

    fooldancing New Member

    Tin Goat,
    Thank you very much for the response and help. I am currently (not a pun) running on 3 rail.
    My wife and I like the idea of the G scale since they do make waterproof engines and almost everything is made for outside use. We have looked at all of the info you have given us and we belive the G would be the better way to go.
    thank you again for the help,
  9. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    No Problemo!

    You are very welcome!

    Keep us all updated on your progress.

    And while you are at it, you can show off your O scale stuff too.

    Nothing wrong with being a rubber gauger! (Says the guy doing On30 inside and Hn42 outside... :p )
  10. Livesteam

    Livesteam Member

    Ive seen some clubs use a stick with a cleaning pad, one of those pads you use to clena the grill, and you dont have to bend over just put it on the track and walk with it, very easy.
  11. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    A little more info...

    Hi fooldancing,

    I was in the bookstore this morning and I noticed the new issue of March 2005 Garden Railways Magazine.

    It has two articles on track cleaning equipment and an article on battery power and radio control.
  12. fooldancing

    fooldancing New Member

    Wonderful, thank you I will have to check it out.
    thank you again TinGoat

Share This Page