Outdoor O gauge? Is there a way of weatherproofing O trains to run outside?

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  • Member since
    December 2019
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Outdoor O gauge? Is there a way of weatherproofing O trains to run outside?
Posted by divebardave on Friday, January 31, 2020 3:09 PM

My budget is limited so I am going with O gauge as I have inherted a O Gauge car fleet of 300 cars and 15 engines

  • Member since
    February 2013
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, February 7, 2020 1:50 AM
Divebardave, I have seen photos of O-scale garden railways, so clearly this is "doable." While I have no experience in this myself, I would imagine keeping them out of the rain and dust would be key, as I doubt they are "hardened" to the elements. Still, I opine good maintenance practices good mitigate this. Also, I talked to a fellow once who said sun was an issue on models not designed to be outside, as it embrittled the plastic. I cannot imagine this would be an issue if you brought them inside after the day's operation, though. Eric
  • Member since
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  • From: Wisconsin
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Posted by Rene Schweitzer on Friday, February 7, 2020 3:48 PM

In years past, we've run two articles on outdoor O gauge. One guy used Gargraves track installed outdoors running modified Lionel postwar engines and equipment. The track was left outdoors but the models were brought inside after running. 

The other issue is that structures and etc. will have to be either weatherproofed or scratchbuilt because they aren't meant to be left outdoors either. I can't imagine a Menards MDF buliding lasting long outside, but you may be able to put a coat of house paint on a plastic strucure and give it a try.


Rene Schweitzer

Garden Railways and Classic Toy Trains

  • Member since
    November 2011
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Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, February 9, 2020 5:17 PM

There was an article in GR back in 2000 with a man in Pennsylvania running Postwar Lionel in the garden. I always loved that article !

It is possible, but another thing to consider: exposed gearing. Many times I have been outside with the G, and a sudden gust of wind has blown leaves or twigs onto the track. The LGB engines have sealed gearboxes, and they will be fine. Many Postwar engines have exposed gears, and may not fair well. If you chose carefully which engines to take outside, you may be o.k. I wanted to build a loop of Lionel outside with this current garden line, but decided to build the cog line instead.

It is possible,and could be a lot of fun! Maybe elevate the track  to keep it debris free?


the Turbines and Berkshires do not have exposed gears,might be good candidates, for example

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