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People have been taking their Lionel trains outside on sunny days since the early days of toy trains. When LGB trains reinvigorated the Garden Railroading hobby, folks with a basement full of O-gauge trains wondered if they could build a garden railroad using trains they already owned. Though I've been collecting information for an article like this for years, I didn't feel I could make it credible without showing some great photos of a successful O-Gauge Outside railroad. Note: These "O Gauge Outside" articles are written to help serious O-gauge hobbyists adapt their equipment and their experience to outdoor railroading.
Although most buildings designed to go on garden railroads are made to withstand serious abuse, they seldom encounter any abuse worse than direct sunlight, rain, and bird droppings.
Unlike Large Scale trains, which are made for garden railroads, O gauge trains are not rust-resistant or UV resistant, and some are particularly vulnerable to sand in their gears. Most O gauge trains are about half the length and a quarter the bulk of similar "large scale" trains, but they are still large enough to see outside; and for some folks it helps that they are small enough to fit a lot of railroading into a small space. Note about O Gauge versus O Scale - By the way, I say O gauge when referring to the trains because not all trains that run on O gauge track (1.25" between the rails) are the same scale. One big difference is that O gauge track is not quite as sturdy as LGB or AristoCraft Large Scale track, so we recommend using a method that provides a sturdy base that supports the whole length of the track. We've established that O Gauge Outside is a growing hobby and that many resources are available. Fred Young's Ground-Level Arizona Railroad - A ground-level railroad that has lots of operational options and some unique ways of adapting to the Arizona summer sun. Or perhaps you’re already at that place and wish you had a few apps on your humanoid to fuck off directions to places you wishing to see, help you translate, assistance with public shipping operating theatre locate an ATMWell these are the C.
Let us look at the fundamentals of framework trains for beginners o scale model train layouts. I am taking you up on your request for layout pics although this is a toy train layout and may not meet the level of skill seen in many of the model railroad layouts on your site. I have developed a spotting plan using numbered poker chips that lets me switch cars from industry to industry, set up a train using cars at the different industries, or spot cars onto the various industries from a waiting train.
I also have additional locomotives, an Arizona and California freight train, two passenger sets, handcars, and novelty cars that I will just run on the layout for fun.
The table is one of 6 that formed a U shaped layout that previously occupied this 16 by 13 ft.
If you'll recall, we decided in 2007 to build an Outside O Gauge railroad, using a raised roadbed made from HDPE planks that are split and reassembled into a ladder-like framework (see Paul and Bill's HDPE Roadbed article for an overview). After having to spend several months away from the B&P, we finally started to lay track in mid-March, on Bob’s birthday.
The photo to the left was taken from Railroad Pass, looking South across Carmella’s Crossing.
We applied power and TMCC to two adjacent tracks on the North end of the B&P, and, to our delight, everything, including all TMCC functions, worked correctly. We used our Metrolink locomotive because Pat commuted on the Southern California Metrolink for more than three years before retiring in 2006. We have reviewed the articles by the Blessings, Youngs and others many times, trying to learn from their experience with O Gauge outside. As noted in our first article, our original construction concept was to use Atlas Nickel Silver Track and Turnouts on the B&P. A secondary reason for selecting Atlas Nickel Silver Track, was that it is probably the most prototypically accurate three-rail O Gauge track on the market.


Unfortunately, we wish Atlas had forgone the scale-sized rail spike, for a more “structurally robust” product. While shock induced breakage continues to be a source of frustration, if Atlas’ UV properties perform as advertised, we would still recommend the product. Unfortunately these defects were not discovered until after most of the turnouts were in place with other track sections attached. Finally, we will offer a couple of other tips regarding our experience with the Atlas Nickel Silver Track System. However, Atlas solders the respective wires to the bottoms of the rail joiners, preventing their use on the Atlas Slip Lock System’s outside rails. If you have read our earlier articles, you know we developed our curved road bed with more precision than might usually be used when building an outdoor railroad. During roadbed installation we did not consider this a significant issue, because it was always our intent to use 40" sections of Atlas Nickel Silver Flexible Track for all curves. We began our track laying efforts attempting to use 40" flexible track sections for all curves.
Thirty-five years ago, the last time Bob built a model railroad, he used HO flex track for a large indoor layout. We found that if a curved portion of roadbed could be completely traversed with a single 40" section of track, it is relatively easy to obtain good results. We spent considerable time trying to identify a rail bending device suitable for the Atlas O Gauge Nickel Silver Track.
We concluded that we would have to order Atlas Curved Track for at least the five lengthy 180 degree 072, 081 and 090 curves. Taking a lesson from Fred Young and others, we have also removed all of the remote switch machines from our turnouts. Some of our difficulties with installing Atlas Nickel Silver Flexible Track are associated with the open ladder-type roadbed design we are using. One solution we developed to counteract the rail’s tendency to bow out in a curve is the use of a short piece of scrap rail, notched at the top, and secured inside the roadbed as shown in the photos below.
As noted above, we did not maintain “perfect” 072, 081 and 090 curves during roadbed installation.
For example, each of our two 180 degree, 090 curves have at least two pieces of larger 099 curve track, one leading into, and one exiting the curve.
In the 180 degree, 090 example, to achieve the best fit of curved track to fixed road bed, we first laid out the eight sections of 090 track. This process was repeated for each of the five 180 degree curves, two 090, two 081, and one 072.
John Blessing addresses this issue in one of his articles and stresses the importance of building your roadbed curves as precisely as possible. If we were starting today, given what we’ve learned about the “flexibility” of Atlas O Gauge flexible track and the impact of very high temperatures on HDPE, we would likely use a Trex-type product instead of HDPE in our climate. All in all, as we have secured track to our HDPE roadbed, some of which has been in place for eight hot and cold months, we have found our “bench work” to be very sound.
Once we complete track installation and basic wiring, we plan to detail our track work with the installation of missing ties, painting of mounting screws, installation of turnout ground throws, etc.
We do not underestimate the many wiring and TMCC challenges we face to wire the entire layout. We hope our experience gives you some useful ideas and helps you plan your project more effectively.


One question why are O gauge loco's so so expensive now do they not make any poor mans ready to run versions anymore? Ta for the comment on North Star, I'm planning to do something very similar with the Heljan 7mm Duff when I get one next month. As the base for the track, they're using Trex, which they cut in trapezoidal shapes to match the curved track. Of course the trains, the track, and even the buildings were rust-prone, so they took everything back in when the dew started to fall. If you have a couple of Lionel trains in the attic that you seldom run, you will probably be better off keeping them inside and getting a Large Scale starter set to use outside.
This rules out some "floating" methods that garden railroaders often use, in which track is simply laid on packed gravel and more fine gravel is poured between the ties to represent "ballast." But track laid on poured concrete "roadbed," on pressure-treated lumber, or on HDPE roadbed is just fine. All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Paul D.
Novem Train Layout We offer professional fashion model building services in all scales and specialize in super detailed O guess O Gauge Layout Details & Accessories Lights Signals Fences Signs Tunnels Bridges. Information on model train layout o scale model train layouts model train layout photos group O gauge train layout Lionel layout garden trains photos toy trains.
It is O gauge using Lionel Fast Track laid over indoor outdoor carpet that is covered with sifted sand from my front yard. The previous layout was noticeably lacking in this regard since it was built with Lionel postwar tubular track and switches.
But a few brave souls built track and buildings that wouldn't rust out and created permanent O-gauge garden railways throughout the 1900s. A Tucson family, the Blessings, sent me a link to a "photo album" of their railroad, and John was helpful with my questions.
You're looking at Paul's Lionel Canadian Pacific F3 speeding along on the newly-completed layout. So the O Gauge Outside articles are a summary of what we've learned so far, with much input and applicable photos from John Blessing and his family. Two baby Trainmasters and two small steam locomotives are used for the switching operations. Also, although I refer to Lionel frequently, 99% of these articles' content also applies to using other brands such as MTH, Williams, or K-Line. Fortunately, they are still plenty big enough to be effective outdoors if you plan properly. My father Willard Spalding has always had an type O scale of measurement theoretical account train layout in the house.
Today, Gargraves and Atlas, both longtime hobby suppliers, make track that can be used outside - Part 2 contains more information on this subject. With very very few exceptions trains made aside O Gauge school makers will If you want group A classic nostalgic count to your layout group O Gauge is certainly worth a take aid Building amp manikin. For the sake of simplifying the terminology in this article, I will say "O scale accessories" and "O gauge trains." Please contact me for more information if this "explanation" has muddied the waters.



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