O/On30 Garden Layout?

alexkmmll Feb 17, 2013

  1. alexkmmll

    alexkmmll TrainBoard Member

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    I've been slowly collecting On30 equipment for a while now, and I don't have much, but I have no space to run it, either. The other day, I had the idea of making an On30 layout outside, possibly with a portion in O Scale. The problem is, well, it's outside.
    I thought I saw a thread about it once, but can't find it any longer (hmmph.), but, in Europe, I know many people enjoy running OO in gardens or around patios, so it must be possible, right?

    Has anyone experimented with this? Should I use flextrack or handlay? How do I weatherproof things?

    Alex
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have seen a good number of articles and mentions of this idea. It would probably depend upon your location, how everything was put together. Such as for snow, frost heaves and such. You might try searching on YouTube. There are some in several scales uploaded there. You can get an idea of how they built their layouts. There are even a few showing folks running snow plow trains to clear their tracks.
     
  3. alexkmmll

    alexkmmll TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, plowing was one of my top items on my "Why I want an outdoor layout" list, but, with how much snow we get dumped on us up here, I think it would only work for the first few snow falls.
    Seriously, though... a working spreader, maybe even a small little rotary plow? How cool!
    Track cleaning would be essential, as well, unless I want to convert everything to battery power.. that'd be a pain.

    I'll poke around a little more!

    Alex
     
  4. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    One of the issues with smaller scales outdoors is the thickness of debris compared to flange depth.
    One of the reasons LGB went with pizza cutter wheels, and almost everyone else followed suit.
    I've seen full 0 out of doors, the occasional half 0, but, you never really hear the nitty-gritty of how they actually work year around, nor how much work it takes to keep them working.
    Track cross level is a big issue even in #1 gauge, with the smaller flanges on smaller scales, 1:1 mother nature can be difficult.
    I plow snow on my radio/battery #1 gauges, using heavily weighted BBT drives in my Bachmann cadavers, still, you get two or three engines and you buck the snow. With the substantially smaller size and mass of 0n30, plowing snow might be an effort in futility.
    Excessive up and down of the rails due to frost heaves, settling, any other cause, can make small Kadee type couplers non-couplers, so watch that.
    On my railroad, we use Bachmann, Lionel, Delton couplers, all basically the same head, all the same height, but when someone comes over with a string of 4-bay hoppers with body mount smaller Kadees, nothing stays together.
    Talgo (truck mounted) couplers actually work best when you cannot keep your track in real good shape.
    Give it a try...and try to get it high. Doing #1 on the ground is a pain especially as one gets older and the joints don't work as well, 0n30 on the ground can be real interesting getting equipment back on the track.
    Dave
     
  5. alexkmmll

    alexkmmll TrainBoard Member

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    Dave,

    Thanks for the input! I was thinking about just how to secure the track, and decided fixing it to plywood or some sort of solid base would work well, as well as gaps for expansion. This would leave track as level as possible and allow for smooth travel. Also, if a garden layout were built, I would also spend the time to create sweeper/vacuum MOW equipment to lead the way before any running took place, sweeping or vacuuming out debris from between the rails and then give them all a good cleaning. In Wisconsin, snowfalls of 12" in just a night and over three feet of snow on the ground are not at all uncommon in even November, so running would most likely end shortly after winter set in, and snow plowing would only take place on the first snowfall or frost for giggles before packing up for the winter. Heat and humidity would of course be an issue, though.

    I think this could be a fun project or a real headache. Perhaps I could help lead the way in successful O and On30 garden layouts? Ha!
    It is a project I would like to pursue, though, and I hope to gather more information and research more this spring. I'd love to hear more from you guys in #1 gauge, too. I mean, you have been doing this stuff for years!

    Alex
     
  6. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    Couple of things.
    The folks who use track power of any sort out doors, including dcc, have to clamp the rails tightly together.
    Expansion in direct sunlight, and shrinkage in the chill of winter, precludes the use of attaching the track to anything, and actually "saws" the ties into the ballast, creating rolls in the cross level.
    Radio/battery eliminates that. All of my track is attached to something.
    Treated lumber, TREX, tried lots of things.
    The joiners are slip joiners just there to hold the rails in alignment.
    Some folks think they can solder jumpers around the joiners, leave the track free in the joiner....but, if you can solder it, it will rust and corrode.
    Spent 90 minutes once on my belly with tools and soldering iron fixing wires during a wake after the owner's memorial service, so I know what happens.
    UV stabilized plastics.
    Boilers, cars, paints.....often if not specifically designed for outdoors, it isn't protected.
    Ties.
    Same thing. Might have an issue with deterioration on the ties, fixable by painting them first.
    Lots to think about, eh?
    Dave
     
  7. alexkmmll

    alexkmmll TrainBoard Member

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    Dave,

    My idea was to use flextrack and fix the ties to the base with a thin layer of ballast loosely around it. The track would be gapped at each joiner, and each section would be wired separately, hopefully eliminating as many dead-zones as possible and allowing the gaps at each joiner. By using flextrack, the rail would be able to 'float' on the ties and expand and contract as it wanted to, and the ties could technically do the same. Painting with UV resistant paint on the ties is a must, and all cars would not be stored outdoors and only run outside.

    There sure is a ton to think about! No better time to think about them than in the planning stage, either!

    Anything you spot that wouldn't work, any other things I should think about? Rain? How should I redirect drainage? I'm coming up with my own questions! These definitely all need to be planned for.. just like the real deal!

    Alex
     
  8. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    Plywood will rot in much rain over a short period of time. Locally, one guy used roll roofing on the benchwork (pressure treated) before track went down, it will outlast him.
    Holes. Drill holes and seal the edges....sometimes old garden hose siliconed to the top, just a bit out the bottom, to direct water away.
    Use a conductive paste in the joiners, keeps them from corroding and keeps some semblance of continuity.
    Dave
     
  9. mogollon

    mogollon TrainBoard Member

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    My layout is outdoors and is r/c with onboard batteries.
    http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=1222&forum_id=17
    Here's a link to it on Freerails. Mine is not laid on the ground but is sectional and can be covered up during bad weather. By using r/c, you will not have any track cleaning problems or wiring mess. Everything will fit into On30, anything is possible.

    Woodie
     
  10. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Since the track is essentially OO/HO you might want to check out the OOgarden railway site.

    My layout build discussion:
    http://www.oogardenrailway.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=241

    one thing a lot of the british outdoor guys do, is have a shed where the tracks can lead to indoor storage. You can also use it as a workshop and power distribution center. i wish my layout had that.

    once you get outdoors you'll probably take a whole new approach to model railroading that will make it hard to go back indoors. Just ask woodie :)
     
  11. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    Well, my outdoor pike is rather small, only 1500' of track, with a locking, alarmed shed for inside storage and theft protection. I use all aluminium rail, as it's a whole lot cheaper than brass, NS or stainless. Mine is elevated between 1 foot and 5 feet above ground level, ruling grade of 4%.
    Been all radio/battery for 20 years out of doors this month.
    After starting out with ME, I switched rapidly to Llagas, and as the ME ties fail, change those sections over to Llagas. 250 on main, 215 on branches and spurs, all in #1 gauge.
    On your 0 on H0 track, going radio/battery will be the best decision you ever made.
    Dave
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    How does the aluminum hold up, such as for oxidization? Does it expand and contract less at joints?
     
  13. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    The Llagas comes in six foot flex sections. I lay it with conductive lube in the joiners (just to prevent oxidation) at about 1/8" in winter. If it does expand more than 1/8", you get a sun kink, slide the nearest joiner back, let the rails pass each other, whack off the little bit with a razor saw, and re-assemble. In winter, you get the "clack clack" a bit, summer nothingh.
    The rails do move a bit in the ties for expansion and contraction.
    The ME stuff is glued in, and is much shorter, like 22" sections, with aluminium joiners staked into one rail. No real issue with them, other than oxidation of the ties.
    Oxidation of the rail is a GOOD thing! When you can regularly haul 20+ cars up a 13' diameter 4% grade for ops setout, you know it works.
    I started using the German brass I had, testing for length of sidings, curves, grades, had to keep the rail spotless to have track power, and we were about 6 cars max plus a caboose.
    Once I ripped that track out (and used it in the shed....."relay") and went aluminium, never looked back.
    Give you an idea, currently six feet assembled is like $22 for Llagas. Try that with NS, brass or even Stainless.
    The cost of those tends to preclude newcomers who don't want to spend that kind of money.
    Altho, now with one supplier doing customer direct, the price on brass has dropped.
    Dave
     
  14. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Do you have a link to your layout DAVE? Would love to see it.

    I haven't had any troubles with my NS Atlas C100. My main goal was a smallish layout and cheap components. Every few months I clean with a peco track eraser and everything runs smoothly. But I only have around a 100 feet of track on my layout, so it's easy to maintain.

    Almost all the OO/ho gauge guys I know run DCC/analog right off the rails. The main reason for the DCC is it lets you use sound decoders. And of course DCC is a constant voltage, so starting stopping is not an issue.
     
  15. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    Used to have a link, but when I retired, we closed the site.
    The BIG advantage, really, to dcc is simply full track voltage.
    Track power from a pack, often when something stops, just crank up the power, it will zap through the garbage and take off. Add to that the AC component of dcc, you have effectively the high frequency AC dirt buster of old.
    On radio/battery, you are basically component stereo theology. Receiver, throttle, sound unit. Something goes bad, you fix that item. All-in-one units are like the more modern (!?) home stereos, with a turntable on top, slot for an 8-track in the front, cassette on the side, maybe a slot for a CD, equalizer, and radio.... something goes bad, you pitch it all and buy new.
    Some climes are better suited to running out of doors. On yours, NS track is really good, in fact, better than stainless, as it isn't as hard, and you won't see the flange erosion some experience with stainless.
     
  16. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I think doing outdoor layouts especially smaller scale has so many options. There is definitely no right way, but a whole heck of a lot of wrong ways to do it. he he he

    I opted for the ease factor. Radio control is tempting, but i know myself. I'de never get everything rigged to run RC. It's much easier to have a one size fits all RTR style layout.

    Like my the fact that I use C100. i run a lot of older 70's-80's european trains with big flanges. They don't work on lower rails, so I don't sweat it and just use c100.
     
  17. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    And you probably find the bigger pizza cutter flanges work really well out doors.
    They do.
    Rolled a GP9 down the side of a mountain once when we tested scale flanged wheelsets. Took them out the next day and pitched them.
     
  18. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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  19. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That link is fantastic geeky! Would be good to have a garden railway like that - if someone else builds it!!

    It is a long time since I had a double track O gauge line around the garden, mostly at near ground level, with inclines to raise the tracks into a shed with baseboards, station, etc. Outside track was set on concrete roadbed with small pieces of wood embedded at intervals whilst the concrete was being laid, to screw down the track. It worked quite well, the biggest chore was trimming back the growing lineside vegetation!

    Much later I used to build #1 gauge for a living, and also had an outside line for these, mostly used for testing newly built locomotives before delivery to customers.

    One of my customers had a truly extensive #1 gauge railway, with curved brick built viaduct, a model of Brunel's Tamar Brige over a large lake, etc! Most locos. were steam powered so current collection was not a problem, but if one ran out of steam whilst crossing the lake, a punt was used to get over to it! Other locos were fitted with radio control and on-board batteries.

    Outdoor railways are not for the faint hearted, but can give lots of enjoyment, what could be better than a garden party with trains in operation whilst you sip your wine, beer, or whatever in the sunshine. :)
     
  20. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    A couple of shots of the curved viaduct mentioned in my previous post. Inspiration, perhaps? ;)

    257682_137811706297331_4285037_o.jpg 259733_137811646297337_3843190_o.jpg
     

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