New to Garden RR

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New to Garden RR

  • I would like to build a garden railroad. I have purchased a couple books on the subject for building a railroad. I purchased a LGB "starter set" that I plan to run, on brass rail. My first , of many forthcoming question is: how does one compensate for the expansion and contraction of the track ? I live in Chicago temperature varies from -10 to 100 degrees F. If the layout is installed with the temperature around 75 degrees the concern is more about contaction 85 degrees vs expansion of 25 degrees. Also I have seen a reverse loop kit LGB track. I plan on having 2 reverse loops. What is this product, what does this accomplish and is it worth the expenditure? I cannot find out any details on this product. Any ifeedback is appreciated.
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  • Thanks LGBFan123 for the info. Seems like the reversing loop may be more trouble than what it is worth. I may rethink this one.
    piercedan, I was looking at an ad in GR magazine, when i spotted it, didn't pay attention to the model number. I didn't think they would produce more than 1 type per manufacturer
  • QUOTE: Originally posted by fosrad

    I would like to build a garden railroad. I have purchased a couple books on the subject for building a railroad. I purchased a LGB "starter set" that I plan to run, on brass rail. My first , of many forthcoming question is: how does one compensate for the expansion and contraction of the track ? I live in Chicago temperature varies from -10 to 100 degrees F. If the layout is installed with the temperature around 75 degrees the concern is more about contaction 85 degrees vs expansion of 25 degrees. Also I have seen a reverse loop kit LGB track. I plan on having 2 reverse loops. What is this product, what does this accomplish and is it worth the expenditure? I cannot find out any details on this product. Any ifeedback is appreciated.



    Hello there! Welcome to G gauge!

    You need not worry too much about the expansion problem; there have been a lot of successful garden pikes in such climates as yours! People have figured out many ways to deal with expansion. LGB has often stated that their track should not be "clamped" together--as if you just use the given railjoiners--the track can expand and contract naturally and won't give you a problem.

    Several companies however have products to deal with expansion..they have "expando rails" whereby you place this section of track in your layout and let mother nature takes its course. You must pickup Garden Railways magazine, better yet subscribe, and the ads alone will pay for the mag. You will see ads for expando rails and other great items.

    Frost heave has also been dealt with by Garden railwayers...they have ingenious ways to keep posts and other items in the ground at the proper level during freezing and thawing.
    There are many, many smart outdoor railroaders and perhaps you should join a Garden Railway society to learn the methods best for your neighborhood.

    Now on to reverse loops....

    In the past , LGB had two methods of getting reverse loops working: a simple method, using the 1015K track , and a more complex (but more versatile) method using their EPL contacts and 1203 supplimentary switches.

    The first method--the 1015K track system, has been discontinued. It was never the greatest solution--the train would always stop in the reverse loop until you reversed the power (manually) and therefore it was a "hands on" reverse loop solution. Good for little kids and grownups who wanted a very simple solution. You may have seen this package on Ebay or somewhere being sold, but it basically a discontinued item that has not been in production for at least 15 years.

    The second method--the "EPL" 1201+1203 +1700 contacts solution is still a viable alternative to the newer methods below. But it takes a little learning to understand what is needed and requires quite a few wires across the layout. The good news: you can have a dogbone layout --one reverse loop on each end--and both will be automated.
    Unfortunately, LGB does not a have a current instruction book to really show you all the variations of this system. Pickup the "Explore the World of LGB" or You may pickup the older "LGB Track Planning Guide" on Ebay.
    This will give you lots of diagrams and instruction for it.

    The newer methods out now are the MTS Reverse loop module (which CANNOT be used with a normal "analog" DC power pack) and 3rd party alternatives for analog DC power. The MTS version requires lots of MTS equipment and expense, but supposably will "simplify" your reverse loop and basic layout wiring. Some say it actually does , some rather stick to normal DC power and use a 3rd party unit for reverse loops.

    Roeck's I believe makes a reverse loop module--for $100 you should be able to get one and this should work for DC power trains. I don't know Roeck's website address and they dont advertise regularly in GR, but some people do know where to get the info--make a post in the general discussion here if interested.

    In conclusion, G scale reverse loops are possible, and I have used the LGB EPL system successfully. But you might have better reliability (in long term) with a Roeck's unit, as sometimes the EPL units dont throw a switch when they should. LGB should of by now have created a similar unit to the Roeck's ---a box with a few wires to attach---to make DC power reverse loops possible---why they haven't is rediculous!

    Regards,

    Thomas M.

  • For the LGB reverse loop, what part numer were you looking at.

    If the MTS version, it is automagic in operation.

    If trackside power then you need a method of reversing the main line while the train is in the loop. This can be automated.