Thinking about OO garden railway.

Discussion on OO, and O gauge garden model railway design and construction. (scenery, track laying, electronics)
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Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby rik_t » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:21 pm

Have been thinking about building a OO gauge railway for a while now. Original plan was to build an 8x4 setup in the garage but now really thinking about putting one around the outside of the garden, probably in an L shape along two fences.

Is there any guides out there for wood to use, how to power etc? I'm totally new so unsure about most aspects, I have the planning software so will soon start planning on there.

Any help would be welcome.


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Re: Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby rik_t » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:44 am

Been out this morning to measure up roughly where I think it could go in the garden. Looking like an L shape with one lengh around 6m and the other around 9m. You think this will be too large? I plan on using some treated railway sleepers directly onto the ground and put the track on them, then just use a couple side by side for the wider station areas at the end of the L shape. They seem to come in 2.4m lenghs so maybe do the L shape 4.8m x 7.2m ??

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Re: Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby dan8400 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:31 am

Hi, I have not got an outdoor railway but I do work with wood. Large Dog Kennels and Garden Sheds etc.

The railway sleepers are perfect. If you are going to use anything else it really needs to be Tanalised (or other pressure treatment). This will give it a long service life with little or no maintainence. If you decide to raise the layout off the ground you can use 3" or 4" fence posts, again pressure treated is best.

A lot of people use roofing felt on top of the track bed. This has two benefits. First, it kinda looks enough like ballast to get away with. And second it protects the track bed from the weather.

As for power, I would run a Bus wire all around underneath for DCC. Or for DC Feed each section with it's own thick wire and make a 'section Bus' and join to every piece of track in the section.

Good luck and don't forget to post lots of updates :D

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Re: Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby thomas the plank engine » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:47 pm

Check out the other garden layouts here first, will probably be able to answer most of your questions, but don't be afraid to ask as sometimes what we take for granted is not so obvious to others


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Re: Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby Someone » Wed Mar 02, 2022 1:00 pm

If your doing 00 I would recommend sticking to indoors becuase maintenance is gonna be made alot more difficult outdoors in 00. And it's very much susceptible to poor weather.
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Re: Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby Bigmet » Thu Mar 03, 2022 10:14 am

But on the other hand it's great fun, and even a modest garden allows space for a much longer run than is usually possible indoors, full size trains are easily accomodated.

It is undeniable that there is more maintenance required, but current traction is far better at coping thanks to can motors mounted well above rail level due to a multistage gear train, and typically quite tightly shrouded by the loco body limiting ingress of dirt. The effects of weather and gradients are a factor in operation (you might have to send out an assisting loco to enable your train to restart in the face of a stiff breeze on a damp rail). Options for power and control are superior, DCC or r/c with battery power are options, either of which will outperform DC.

There are factors which may make it impossible though. Having very much enjoyed an outdoor OO operation in a previous location, I wanted to do it again in our current home. However, it turned out that the woodland wildlife didn't stay the other side of the garden fence, and much of it wanted to rip up the track. Badgers, Corvids, Grey squirrels, Woodpeckers were all identified as having a go, and they didn't get bored and move on; so I retreated indoors.

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Re: Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby Mountain » Thu Mar 03, 2022 11:25 am

Safety first. All train controllers that run from mains electricity need to be kept in an indoor enviroment such as a dry shed.
My thoughts about outdoor as I have tried experimenting though I never did get one built. Track needs to be as level as possible as what looks like a small gradient will be very much magnified at railheight outdoors. One does have the space for making gentle gradients though be aware that track is slippery when wet. Avoid running locos that have traction tyres on damp or wet days. Keep these for dry days.
One can certainly run in the rain but locos will need extra servicing and a dry after running. Todays modern central motored diesels are ideal for outdoor running as one gets traction from both ends. Some like the Bachmann class 46 have an excellent record for durability.
In the past Wrenn locos such as their class 08 had excellent record for longlivity in daily outdoor use. (Wrenn took over from Hornby Dublo 2 rail), and though Wrenn ceased production in 1993, they can be found secondhand and most Wrenn locomotive designs are very durably built.

The track does need to have electrical link wires as one can't rely on the railjoiners to provide power electrically outdoors. Also bus wires will help especially if using DCC.

If using DCC get an expandable system. One may not need to do this but it is better to have a system that can rather then have a system that can't be expanded when power requirements may need that little bit extra. My Lenz may now be an older system, but it can link boosters in series if required to provide more current. One does not want to go overboard with current but I have a 5 amp and a 3 amp booster so if 5 amp is not enough it can push out 8 amps if I wire the them in series so though one may need a serious length of run before one needs to do something like this, it is possible on many DCC systems to do this, so consider a system that is expandable in this way if one is going down the DCC route.
DC can be used but if using DC consider buying a controller designed for 0 gauge use which can supply a little extra current.

Outdoor railways do need a lot of track cleaning so consider where one will need to stand as in the past I have helped clean track on a large G scale garden railway and balancing across a pond to clean track on a large viaduct which has to be carefully cleaned to avoid damaging its delicate handrails is not at all fun! Larger scales do have a track to loco current pickup advantage as G scale can run on brown tarnished track (Though it does not run that well) while with 00 gauge it is "Definately not!"

Goes without saying that all track needs to be nickel silver or another suitable metal. Steel track is definately not suitable.

Consider radio control if one does not have many locos as then one will not need to clean the rails saving one a lot of work. One still needs to ensure the track is clean of dirt or fallen leaves or twigs, but that is a whole lot quicker and easier then cleaning the rails before running.

Outdoor garden railways are long term projects. Great fun and quite an adventure but a lot of work.

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Re: Thinking about OO garden railway.

Postby Metadyneman » Sun Mar 06, 2022 1:01 pm

I was just about to say " I couldn't possibly comment " but then I remembered I have had a garden railway for 20 years now and it's still going strong!. My advice is if you want to try it and the desire is strong enough within you to give it a go, then go for it. There are many out there who say, it's a lot of work, and it's not easy. In my opinion that is rubbish! It is as easy or as hard as you want to make it. To put that into context, If you try and build a scale model of Clapham Junction in your garden then you will definitely be making life hard for your self, but if you build something like I have, which will definitely give you years of pleasure then it's a fairly easy task. My railway is basically a twin track circuit with two train length passing loops in the shed and a branch "shuttle" running up to a separate station away from the main line. All my stock is stored on shelves in the shed and i run what I feel like running on any given day. If you have a look at my you tube channel ( Click here to see ) and the last video I posted, you will see what can be achieved.
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