Going Garden Crazy

Discussion on OO, and O gauge garden model railway design and construction. (scenery, track laying, electronics)
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:09 pm

Going Garden Crazy

Postby riber3 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:21 pm

Hello Everyone,
I am planning to build a garden railway and like most people I don’t have a big budget. I do have a large garden so size isn’t an issue but I do have some questions that I hope someone may be able to help me with.

1 I have some 1/43 scale cars that I would like to use in various places along the way but I am not sure what scale trains I should use? I have read that 0 scale trains would be ok? However when I look for prices and availabililty they seem to be very high and very old such as clockwork!!

2 So if O scale is the size to use what size Gauge should I use?

3 I know I should use a G Gauge track but that seems to be either 45mm or 32mm but will O scale run on this size of track? I did notice that there is not a lot of 32mm stuff available. Also I just read that with G gauge scale size is various? Can anyone please clarify?

4 If I scrap the idea of using my cars what would be the best way to go in reference to scale for a garden railway?

5 Track now since I have a large outdoor space as well as a shed to store the rolling stock what is the best and most cost effective track to use Aluminium or other? I know that steel will rust if not treated and since I am going to need a fair bit what would you recommend? And where from?

6 Power!!! Now I am quite happy to run battery/rc controlled locos or to use mains transformed electrics if feasible or any alternative you can think of. I would use elastic bands but I don’t think they would get very far!! I like the look of this even though its G scale

7 Rail laying and rail care. As I live in a place that does suffer with damp weather at least half the year if not more I can either make sections of the track to lift up and put away or could I use protective covers? Or are there any other ideas I could consider such as rotating it underground so its out of the way?

8 Any other ideas and suggestions would be most welcome

Apologies for any repetitiveness and for rambling on a bit like a broken record which I am sure many of you have heard before but I wanted to air my thoughts before this site gets inundated with the Strawbridge lovers!

I am planning to get something running for this summer even if its just a starting point.

Posts: 5125
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby b308 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:50 pm

First of all I would suggest that you search for a Garden Railway Forum, This one is a general one, but most of us on here specialise in indoor railways and the outdoor ones are very different.

I can however answer some of your questions about gauge and scale!

Firstly when outdoors the larger scales tend to be the easiest to build and keep running well, that's not to say you can't use the smaller scales, there have been plenty of Garden railway in OO and N scales using 16.5mm and 9mm gauges, but it's just easier with the bigger gauges such as 32mm and 45mm...

Which takes you neatly on to the vexed question of WHAT you want to model

O scale is 7mm to the foot, 1:43.5 scale, using 32mm gauge track and representing Standard Gauge and is perfectly OK for outdoor use. However you can also model Narrow Gauge using 32mm gauge track to represent 2ft gauge prototypes using 16mm to the foot!

Likewise with 45mm gauge the Standard gauge scale is called Gauge 1 and is roughly 10mm to the foot 1:32 scale. However there is a well known narrow gauge manufacturer called LGB who model Metre gauge prototypes (and 750mm gauge ones as well, they use a "rubber ruler"!) using 45mm gauge track to a scale of 1:22.5/1:24. LGB equipment is built to be used outdoors.

So your first choice, before you even think about which gauge is whether to model Standard or Narrow Gauge prototypes! You can run SG and NG together but because of the different scales things like buildings, people and cars won't match!

At this point my expertise (if I have any at all) rather comes to, a gridning halt. I have modelled in SM32 which is 16mm/ft using 32mm gauge track a long time ago and know that you can use electric/battery electric, live steam and clockwork in both gauges but I'd suggest that elastic bands would be a waste of time!

Like I said originally I suggest you now look up "Garden Railway Forums" on a Google Search and head off to one of the results of that search for the real experts!! :)

User avatar
Posts: 5386
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby Mountain » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:55 pm

Garden railways have been made in many scales and gauges from N gauge right up to sit and ride types of 5" or7¼" gauges or larger.
N gauge, while it did work, did have many challenges. 00 gauge has been a bit more successful though itself is a compromise at times. 0 gauge and larger is more made for garden railway lines.
1 in 48 scale is the same as 0 gauge (If my memory is correct) and in standard gauge form you are looking at a gauge width of 32mm.. In the same scale I model in narrow gauge with a track width of 16.5mm which is the same track width as the popular 00 gauge.
0 gauge is 7mm scale (7mm to a foot). The narrow gauge form mentioned above is known as 0-16.5.
While the first choice for a garden railway in the scale you have chosen is the standard gauge form (0 gauge) as its size and weight is more successful and ideal for garden running, the narrow gauge form does have the advantage of modelling to a budget (Often less or equal to 00 gauge prices), though most things will be kit built or scratch built. Standard gauge has ready made items which are very good but not cheap!
G scale is a larger scale then your models. It is very ideal for a garden railway. It uses 45mm gauge width. Is narrow gauge. Also using 32mm gauge width (Same as 0) but a larger scale is SM32 which is also narrow gauge in a larger scale then your models are.

Picture is of an example of 0-16.5.

[Amended. Got confused between 1:43 and 1:48 scales so what I wrote may not apply in all situations]
Last edited by Mountain on Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 2528
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby TimberSurf » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:08 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum!
There are others on here probably more knowledgeable than I, but I will have a go!
There is no problem running OO guage and upwards outdoors. So the choice of size is entirely yours. Cost wise, in most cases larger is more expensive, but there may be a few exceptions in low detail (G scale) rolling stock. Your slight confusion about scale is probably related to "Narrow Gauge", which bucks the trend of a direct ratio scale to track gauge scale!
Example: OO gauge is 1:76 and O gauge is 1:48, but if you are modeling a narrow gauge train, it will be have a scale of 1:48 but use OO gauge track!
So G gauge would normally be 45mm track, but you might find G gauge "narrow gauge" that runs on 32mm track, there is a bewildering number of variants see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_r ... _standards
So to answer your question (I like the bullet points):-
1. O gauge would be about the same, readily available off the shelf from the likes of Dapol with normal track power control.
2. See above, 32mm for standard gauge.
3. See above, 45mm for standard or 32mm for "narrow guage G scale"
4. Unless you particularly want a bigger scale, OO gauge would get you the cheapest track cost and more trains for your buck!
5. Most track is now available as standard in Nickel silver (60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc) which basically does not erode in the weather. I think you can get brass on the larger gauges. Anything above G scale tends to be home made and steel.
6. Battery and R/C is common in the larger scales, for OO and O gauge, normal DC or DCC can be used through the rails, or various other systems both battery and rail powered but controlled by radio/Wifi/Bluetooth/etc. Real steam can be used (with R/C) either with coal or butane gas
7. See 5, apart from a clean up in spring and a good foundtion (frequently roofing felt on wood), no issues, see you tube for Americans using model snowplough train on garden track for winter running session!
8. Real steam? Probably best for cost, given you have a large garden, that you go for OO or O gauge. Use DC or DCC control. Available off the shelf, larger gauges are less available as RTR and are more likely kits to make up.
Sorry if I am repeating, but it took me so long to right, the others beat me to it!
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
Posts: 2275
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:43 pm
Location: Cornwall UK

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby Emettman » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:55 pm

Hello Riber3. In the garden you have lots of options.

I have built garden railways in 16.5 mm gauge and in 45mm gauge.
Were I starting again, I would almost certainly be using plastic track and battery power with radio control.

My first garden railway was in G in a space no more than 15' square.
There's no need to set out to fill the garden. That may or may not happen, later.

In actual scale 1/43 or 1/45 you will be using a track gauge of 32mm for standard gauge railways or 16.5mm for a narrow gauge one.
This last is quite practical, and the most affordable if using track power.
It's main problem is relatively tall stock, which can be susceptible in windy areas.

The other common out-door track gauge is 45mm, and this rapidly gets expensive with metal track and ready-made points.
Plastic track is far cheaper but the points and curves tend only to come in tight radii, quite OK if modelling a quarry line on the rockery or town trams in a model village, but pretty horrible if your taste runs to express trains with big locos and long coaches.

On the ground, or raised? A ground-level line may be easier to built but it can be seriously more of a pain to maintain, and the main view can become of the roofs of the trains.
Several different "raised" approaches are possible, and where trains run into a shed or garage for storage, or to keep the more complicated main station out of the weather, "raised" often makes more sense.
A non-level garden needs to be thought about to get the best advantages out of possible problems.

Track-laying and track bed?
I am a firm believer in Rommel's dictum.
"If you have a difficult job to do, give it to a lazy man. He will find an easy way to do it."

I used unconventional weatherproof materials and they have served me well.
Most especially square section drainpipe and twinwall polycarbonate sheeting.

My first layout was essentially a shelf, installed along an existing solid fence.
For my second I had some raised beds built in a small town garden, and had plastic benchwork for one station.

I suggest the key question is whether you will be aiming at mainline trains or would be happier with little quarry/dock ones.
This is likely to affect choices of gauge, scale and type of track.


My last G scale layout under construction

A small layout I built for a day-centre. Playmobil track and trains. Total cost £85.
elford_004_opt.jpg (111.77 KiB) Viewed 4098 times

Other different ways might include battery-power Faller Hit trains , Spur O or Playtrains.

The chassis of these are often used to provide the basis for more realistic narrow gauge trains.
But they don't have to be.

My G scale 6ft square shunting layout. Something like this could do nicely as a dock alongside a pond.
tfq4_opt.jpg (96.44 KiB) Viewed 4098 times

Yes, I prefer bigger models of little trains.
And anyway, rakes of big coaches are expensive!
Last edited by Emettman on Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:09 pm

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby riber3 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:46 pm

My Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to reply to my questions and my sincere apologies to B308 if I have upset or caused any offence to you by my posting. The reason I posted here was because it was under the heading of Garden Railways and because I thought this site was for all modellers not just indoor ones. So again my apologies for any misunderstanding on my part.

I am now re-reading everything you all told me again and looking at the other links that B308 has posted although I have looked at a few other sites too for research etc I still find this site very appealing and helpful. I will write back on here in a few days once my head stops hurting from info overload or it might still be recovering from the Xmas overload!!!

User avatar
Posts: 1609
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:33 am
Location: Lancashire

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby Lancastrian » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:43 pm

I have a G scale garden railway, the most important thing to remember is that the track is outdoors and as such it has to contend with a variety of weather conditions, from below freezing to a heatwave. I have used and mixed Aristocraft and LGB brass track without any issues.

I have an LGB and Massoth MTS control system with the exception of the Massoth DiMax RC Receiver, that is outside in a waterproof case everything is inside.

The main thing to remember is that's it's your layout, so if you like it that's all that matters.

I am not sure, but you may find my G scale Articles HERE and Videos HERE

There isn't much here I know but it may be a little help.
My Web Site Links: FGO & Boats and Canals (Forum)

Posts: 5125
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby b308 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:31 pm

riber3 wrote:My Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to reply to my questions and my sincere apologies to B308 if I have upset or caused any offence to you by my posting. The reason I posted here was because it was under the heading of Garden Railways and because I thought this site was for all modellers not just indoor ones. So again my apologies for any misunderstanding on my part.

No offence taken at all, I was just trying to get you the best advice! Although there's a section on here (as it's part of the Model Railway Genre), not many of us go outdoors, so whilst you'll get some good advice from those who do I just felt you'd get a lot more from Garden Railway specific forums! Hence the suggestion! It's like if you were modelling narrow gauge, whilst there are some of us who model NG I'd still suggest that a NG specific forum is also a very good place to look!

It's no slur on this forum, but Garden railways are a big subject with a lot of different scales and methods of building so best to research as widely as you can!! :)

Posts: 958
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:22 pm
Location: Telford ,Shropshire

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby mjb1961 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:58 pm

If you are close to or in the county of Dorset pop over to Shillingstone station ,they have a garden railway ,,,,I've seen anything like it !! :D :D :D

User avatar
Posts: 2528
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby TimberSurf » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:27 pm

Or Bekonscot Model village, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, has an 80 year old gauge 1 massive railway, definitely well worth a visit for the whole family.
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
Posts: 5451
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby End2end » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:20 pm

I just had a look where Bekonscot is and it's not that far from Pendon.
A visit to both would make a great day out! :)
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

Posts: 4750
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:57 pm
Location: Antipodes

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby GWR_fan » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:22 am

OP seems to have gone AWOL

User avatar
Posts: 5386
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby Mountain » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:34 pm

Makes me think that it is not often one sees narrow gauge in the garden in 7mm scale though. I have tried it in the past as a test and it seemed to work well. It was my brief early attempt into 0-16.5.

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:09 pm

Re: Going Garden Crazy

Postby riber3 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:05 pm

June 21/06/2019

It’s the first time I have been back to this page & post for a while and it wasn’t a case of the OP disappearing but more of the continuous house renovation, more research and life getting in the way!!! Also I hadn’t received any email notifications and thought my post had been forgotten about so I was a bit humbled and surprised to still up in second spot!!

Additionally because of the wonderful feedback and the extra links you all gave me to look at read about it has been very educational so many thanks to you all for that.

I also watched the Model Railway Competition TV show which I enjoyed and like most people was horrified at the vandalised exhibition that was in the news recently but at least they got a lot of funding to help them back on their feet but the pain and heartache they must have all suffered will take a long time to heal.

One of the things I have been doing towards my railway plan is digging out my pond area which measures 16 x 12 feet which I plan to be part of the layout at a future point. The plan here is to finish the pond area over the next couple of months including landscaping.

The only other real spanner in the works at present and I am probably going to be punished for this (LOL) is my better half made the following statement.

“I don’t think a G Scale model will be big enough to notice in our garden and I think you should look at something bigger”

My jaw dropped as I couldn’t believe my ears!! Then I thought maybe she has won the lottery and not told me. Either way my heart sank a little as it meant More Research LOL!!!

So I began researching again and typed in RC Locos in google and saw these locos

but I think these are a little too big and way beyond my means. I tried looking at what other scales and gauges are available and although I looked at Gauge 1 and Gauge 3 I didn’t find any info on size and scale of the rolling stock they use.
Then whilst on holiday by chance I came across this and promptly dragged my better half along to see the layout and it was utterly brilliant. Here is a link.


I know its in French but the effort, time and skill put into this project was inspiring and my other half reckons this is the scale and size I should be looking at. I know it has been done in 1/10th scale but not sure of the track gauge that they used but it looks a lot bigger than 45mm, more like 100 mm? The figures are about 160mm high

Anyway I found a little more info in English

http://www.gitesearch.com/attractions/v ... niature-2/

I am still not convinced let alone the cost or even where I could buy the bogies and running gear from to make such a model.

So in the interim I have decided to make a mock up model of G gauge train in G Scale. I believe (please correct me if I am wrong) a G scale set with four cars will be around eight feet long The loco would be about 2 foot long and 8 inches high and about 5 inches wide. The cars about the same but about a 1 and 1/2 foot long.

I will add an update and some photos at a later point but in the meantime any thoughts and feedback is most welcome.

Return to “Garden Railways”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests