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admin 03.10.2014

The Introduction to O Gauge Outside article outlined the resources available for people who want to build garden railroads with their O gauge trains. Raise Your Trains - Trains and the communities they serve are more fun to view if you're not just seeing the tops of box cars and buildings. For viewing purposes, consider the places where people will be sitting to view the trains, and assume that the average rail height at that point should be 28" or higher. Note: Because garden railroaders often have to interact with landscape architects and various kinds of builders, they tend to talk about track diameter, not radius. Plan to Get Your Trains In and Out Easily - Many would-be garden railroaders only run their railroads a few times a year because they don't have the energy to schlep a bunch of stuff out and in every time they want to run trains. Plan to Protect Your Trains When They Are Outside - Any place your trains will be sitting for a while should be dry and shaded if possible. Plan to Provide Good Support For Your Right-Of-Way - Most O-gauge track suitable for use outside is not as strong, mechanically, as most Large Scale track. Choose Suitable Track - As mentioned before, weather-resistant track is critical to a useful and enjoyable garden railroad of any scale or gauge. Atlas uses molded plastic UV-resistant tie-strips and solid nickel-silver rail, which is very low-maintenance. The good news is that you now have great choices that weren't available just a few years ago.
Plan for Good Access - Indoor railroaders who move outside and use larger curves sometimes forget that you can't reach across a 60"-radius curve the way you could reach across a 24"-radius curve.
Plan for Interactivity - Most indoor railroaders moving outside (including myself) first recreate the same kind of table-top railroad they were used to installing in their basements or spare bedrooms. Fortunately for O gaugers, hundreds of O-scale model buildings and accessories are available at any given time. Model Railroading Structures - Most folks moving their O-gauge railroads outside will either have some buildings they would like to use outside or at least be familiar with the products available. Collectible Village Structures - Many collectible village structures average around O scale, so they can be used with O gauge trains as long as you like the appearance of them otherwise.

As you can tell by the photographs in this article, the Blessings like to use ceramic and resin buildings outside. Plastic Model Railroading Accessories - Mailboxes, figures, benches, lampposts, and hundreds of other accessories have been available for years. Collectible Village Accessories - The good news is that most accessories made for ceramic villages are made of a resin that will hold up well outside, especially if you coat them with a UV-resistant spray before you set them out.
As an example, most figures for collectible villages are about 1:32 in scale, big enough for Large Scale garden railroads, and way too big to fit on O gauge trains. That said, you may want to look for smaller versions of commonly used plants, to keep them from visually overwhelming your trains. Jean's Dilly is a smaller version of Dwarf Alberta Spruce; it has smaller needles and a more compact form.
Elfin Thyme is a ground-hugging thyme that won't get taller than your figures, as "Creeping Thyme" can. Thymophylla tenuiloba (Dyssodiat), an annual that cheerfully reseeds in Tucson and started with a single pack of seeds. John Blessing has been answering reader questions about O Gauge Outside ever since he posted his first "slideshow" on the internet. Again, these notes won't make sense unless you've read the original HDPE Flexible Roadbed article.
We modified the "ladder" to fit the O gauge track, with the cross ties being 3 inches long and a support block on 16" centers.
Another item you in which you might be interested is the RR switch control panel we now have for Anozira RR remote switch control. 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. Its core product is a 3', somewhat flexible track piece, made from sheet steel that has been stamped into a hollow rail shape (similar to Lionel "tinplate" track).

But I put "choosing track" into the planning section because these products are different enough that they will affect the way you plan your railroad. If you have any chance at all to visit area garden railroads and see what your fellow hobbyists are using with success, please do. We are using steel fence posts, instead; they are less costly and easier to use when you need some height. 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. They are even too big, technically, for the buildings next to them on the shelf in the store.
Running them into the window of a dry basement, where they can sit on a shelf between operating sessions is one of the best solutions. Of course, the final choice is yours, and if you don't like ceramic buildings (some people don't), don't use them. So John kept the plastic ties everywhere else, but on those stretches replaced the track with Gargraves track that used "traditional" basswood ties. You'll see that John Blessing used a modified version of the HDPE Flexible Roadbed method for his railroad.
On the other hand, if you're satisfied with the paint job on a building, you can still protect it from UV by purchasing a UV-resistant clear spray (such as the Krylon, UV-Resistant Clear Acrylic coating that John Blessing recommends). By the way, garden railroads are also more fun to watch and to run if you can sit in the shade too, so you could be taking precautions to protect the trains and the people enjoying them at the same time. Knowing the calculations and testing Bill put into his original design, I would probably do something closer to Bill's version.

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