Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Discussion on OO, and O gauge garden model railway design and construction. (scenery, track laying, electronics)
BananaRepublic
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Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby BananaRepublic » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:02 pm

There must have been a few books written on the subject over the years, but can anyone recommend a reasonably up-to-date publication, that covers the basics, the techniques used and the pitfalls of building and operating a Garden Railway?

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Emettman
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Emettman » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:29 pm

Up-to-date is the problem, particularly with new options being used for track-bed, buildings, motive power and control.

I wouldn't be casting railway arches in cement, for a start!
(OK, that book's fairly old, but it's the newest I have)

It's also an incredibly wide subject, with garden railways running from N scale to G and beyond, and with at least four main ways of powering the locomotives.

Did you have any type or scale in particular in mind, or is this a totally "blank sheet of paper" starting point?

Chris (on my third garden railway, the second in G scale)
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

BananaRepublic
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby BananaRepublic » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:51 pm

Thanks for the quick reply.
It would be a blank sheet start as I don't want to take my 00 modelling outside.
0 gauge is an obvious starting point, but my options are open at the moment.

I suspect that most if not all books on the subject are probably way out of date, but I'd be pleased to hear otherwise.

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Emettman
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Emettman » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:10 pm

Where to start?

Preference for narrow gauge or standard gauge in whichever scale?
(The narrow-gauge version of any track gauge is usually accepting of tighter curve radii, even though if larger scale: bigger models of smaller engines.)
Space available?
To include shed or garage for storage, or to to hold primary station out of the rain?
Slope or other major terrain features? (Paths, ponds...)

Skills available?
Budget available?
Peco O scale track is running at about £8 a yard, new, points £40+ a throw.
G scale track, about £15 a yard, and points also in the £40+ category, except the incredibly tight 2ft (first) radius ones.
There are ways to reduce that considerably, given the application of time, effort and skill,
or there are options using far cheaper plastic track and battery power locos with radio control.

There are also some unorthodox options... you have to watch me for these, but I have turned up surprising workable (and cheap) solutions from amongst the madness.

Chris.
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby faulcon1 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:36 am

I've only found 3 publications on garden railways that recommend O, OO/H0 outside, They all have their good and bad points.

Don Neale's Railway in the garden 1978 a Peco Publication (now out of print) Written by Don himself in a humorous style it mainly concerns itself with coarse scale O gauge.

The Garden Railway Manual by CJ Freezer 1995 is an odd one as the author has never had a garden railway but has seen many. I feel that many people contributed to this book.

Garden Railways The Essential Construction Guide by Chris Hatton 2007 is the most up to date that I've found but seems to use 20th century technology. No mention of DCC whatsoever. The owner built a narrow gauge O scale layout or O scale stock on OO gauge track.
Unfortunately that's about all there is in print.
All three books have some useful hints for the budding outdoor modeller.

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Emettman
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Emettman » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:07 am

"Location: Blue Mountains New South Wales Australia."

And then there's the location! What might be eating model buildings, or lurking in model tunnels, can vary quite widely in this global village.
I don't think dangerous snakes and spiders get any mention at all in any book of British origin, nor do they tend to allow for weather conditions found in some other parts of the world.
(Who knows, that might be changing.)

BananaRepublic has not returned to the topic: I'm afraid my comments on track costs may have deterred him.
A line of any length or complexity in the garden does involve a significant investment for track alone.

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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End2end
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby End2end » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:01 pm

Just a note of point. I found myself at the Gaugemaster shop last weekend and saw that a larger scale trainset suitable for indoor or outdoor (I think it was either O or G although, they had a few) was roughly the same price as a OO gauge sound equipped loco - around £220 - £260. Just thought it might help in the running stock/ track purchase at a cheaper cost.
I would say to anyone wanting to see some larger models in the flesh that they have quite a few on display, with some in display cases you can walk right round to see all facets and elevations of the models and in larger than O and G (I think, as a couple of them seemed massive).
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Emettman
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Emettman » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:21 pm

Yes, compared to some OO starters sets, a starter set in G can be very reasonable.
Unless aiming for indoors (and a shed or garage layout can be done, very effectively, perhaps with an eye to breaking out intothe garden later.)

And the starter set type tracks are quite rugged enough to lay on lawn patio or decking temporarily, parallel to the "carpet phase" of many starting smaller-scale model railways.

But expansion does need to be budgeted for:
Piko 35225 - G SCALE TRACK RIGHT HAND CURVED POINT G-BWR R3: £83.99
Peco SL-E8377 Streamline Electrofrog #7 Left Hand Curved Turnout OO/HO Gauge £19.10.

Interestingly one way to get cheap track is to buy second hand R1 starter set curves of 2ft radius, (rather like 8-10" radius in OO) which get dumped as soon as longer trains and locomotives are wanted. These can in fact be hammered into quite usable curves of increased radius of 3ft or 4ft. A bit of work to save a lot of money.

On the other hand 2ft radius can be lived with, with care and choice of stock.
Little locos and short, 4-wheel coaches help a lot:
Image

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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End2end
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby End2end » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:55 pm

Emettman wrote:Piko 35225 - G SCALE TRACK RIGHT HAND CURVED POINT G-BWR R3: £83.99Chris

:o :o HOLY HELLFIRE!!!
If I remember correctly, one of the starter sets had a point around the £250 price mark.

Lovely shot of the layout too Emettman. :wink:
Thanks
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Emettman
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Emettman » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:24 pm

End2end wrote: :o :o HOLY HELLFIRE!!!
If I remember correctly, one of the starter sets had a point around the £250 price mark.

Lovely shot of the layout too Emettman. :wink:
Thanks
End2end



Yes, the 2ft radius points are considerably cheaper, at around £30 a time, but then you've invested in radius 1 points...
Thank you on the garden.. That was in a back yard about 15ft square. Larger radii were not really an option.

I did once sketch G scale point-to-point spiral for a space 8ft x 6ft (so a 10 x7 or 10 x 8 shed would have been fine, even generous) but as soon as you model American locos and freight cars you need two lots of 10' to start to hold a decent train.

Unless rich, I'd suggest G (or other "large scale") is best for making large models of little trains.

I custom-built this to cope with 2ft radius curves, and that coach section length was maximal.
Image

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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Catweasel
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Catweasel » Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:47 am

I would recommend you read any books by the late Peter Jones. Well known for thinking outside the box. Not current,but easily found. If narrow gauge, look at the 16 mm Association, an excellent group and very good magazines. Loco's and stock can be very cheap in 16 mm n.g as a small battery loco can be built for around £40.00 or less.I would not have electric trains outside myself, but,again with 16 mm, you can go radio control. A cheap toy car will give you the basics if cash is tight. Faller E train track can sometimes be found, 32 mm gauge. Brass rail and tight curves. Ebay.de usually has some available. Once again, cheap and it is tight enough to have a 16 mm layout indoors on an old door for example.

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Emettman
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Emettman » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:34 am

Catweasel wrote: Loco's and stock can be very cheap in 16 mm n.g as a small battery loco can be built for around £40.00 or less.I would not have electric trains outside myself, but,again with 16 mm, you can go radio control. A cheap toy car will give you the basics if cash is tight. Faller E train track can sometimes be found, 32 mm gauge. Brass rail and tight curves. Ebay.de usually has some available. Once again, cheap and it is tight enough to have a 16 mm layout indoors on an old door for example.


A man after my own heart!
Yes, there are much cheaper routes into large scale model railways, but they veer away from the conventional and the well-known, in 32mm and 45mm gauges.

I don't know how UV resistant the Faller *plastic* 32mm track is: I'll leave a bit in the garden today, along with some other plastic track I have in 45mm (Dickie, in this case, but s several types are around.) I should have done that three years ago!
The Playmobil plastic track, again restricted to one tight radius curve, is very outdoor safe. at £8 a point, rather than £30, there's an attraction, though.

I agree on the narrow, gauge too: it's interesting that one way to cope with tight curves is by treating them as narrow tracks in a larger scale.

Scrap-built G scale locos, basic radio or IR control, geared to slow shunting speeds.

Image
http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu17 ... eloco1.jpg

These made for a portable G scale layout for the public to drive:
Five sidings, a loco siding, an oval and a run-round loop in 6ft square.

Track plan visible during constuction:
Image

On show:
Image

Image


Having a quick look on eBay to see availability and prices of plastic track I hit these two:
That loco, already battery power, is crying out for a R/C conversion, basic or otherwise.
There's just loads of room in a G scale body-shell for batteries and bits


http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Batterie-Dampflok-mit-Kupplung-baugleich-LGB-Spur-G-von-NewRay-/271876146026?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&hash=item3f4d14c36a
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dampflok-Zugset-mit-Kupplung-von-LGB-Lok-mit-Batterien-Spur-G-NewRay-/271757232608?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&hash=item3f45fe49e0

See also cheap large scale Christmas trains, but there the quality is very variable, as is also the gauge. It can be 50mm, or 38mm! Unless very clearly stated, or the model is known, I'd not want to buy those without hands-on inspection.

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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Catweasel
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Re: Could anyone recommend a good guide to Garden Railways?

Postby Catweasel » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:42 pm

The sky's the limit,along with imagination, on the narrow gauge. Have a look at this site http://www.hglw.co.uk/. I can vouch for the quality of these kits as I've built several, albeit all with 4 wd. I've had some Faller track outside for about 3 years with no problems. The brass rail weathers to a nice blackish/brown colour and the sleepers have gone a bit green with moss. Brilliant.


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