Ride-On Train

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  • Member since
    May 2018
  • 3 posts
Ride-On Train
Posted by mrbighead on Sunday, May 13, 2018 9:44 PM

I am creating a ride on train in my backyard but on a strict budget. The tracks are made from PVC conduit pipe and the ties are made from stained garden post wood. Crushed rock acts as the ballast. The distance between the "rails" is about 5.5 inches.

I am partially half way with the drive train of the locomotive. The motorized carriage has four lawnmower wheels with 7 inch toilet flanges acting as the wheel flange. The front axle has a sprocket for attaching the roller chain coming from the 24 volt 250 watt scooter motor. I plan to put the motor at the front of the locomotive. Also, I plan to add two additional wheels on an axle (without the flange) in the space between the current wheels so that this locomotive will have a 0-6-0 configuration.

Any feedback is appreciated! Thank you






  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ormond Beach, FL
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Posted by chocho willy on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 10:08 AM

Had a friend that did pretty much the same thing, had it for years and the kids just loved it. Pretty much just flat wore it out. Brings a new meaning to outdoor trains. Thanks for the share and keep us invenyious ones posted Bill

Tags: Ride on
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: North Coastal San Diego
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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:49 AM

Very creative!

How did you secure the pvc pipe to the ties?

Did you consider to make a depression in the tie to keep the tube from rolling when getting pressure on the side?


Visit my site: - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site


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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 9:59 PM

My kids will expect me to build something like this now.  Thank goodness for small yards!  Looking forward to the updates!

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  • From: US
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Posted by rixflix on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 8:59 PM

Back around 1980 I built a 24" gauge pedal power railroad that ran around our house. Track was 3/4"  metal EMT conduit on round side stockade fence crossties. I made a jig for track section assembly on a 3/8"x4'x8' sheet of plywood for straight on one side and curved on the other. I spaced and screwed 2x4 blocks to the plywood to accomodate the EMT rails and wood ties. EMT was surprisingly easy to bend betweeni the blocks. Rails were dropped in first and then the ties on top of them. I then drove self drilling sheet metal screws through what would be the underside of the wood and into the underside of the rail. Then the track section were popped out of the jig and 3/4"x 6" dowel was used as assembling pins. 

24" track gauge was used so I could climb in the cab of the locomotive which was built on a wheelchair with rubber removed from the wheels. A center pivoted cross pipe was where my feet powered the side rods that went back to an eccentric hub on the wheelchair's "drivers". The engine had an all wood cab, fiber barrel "boiler", copper tube pilot, motorcycle headlamp and battery and i was looking for a smoke machine. I scoured thrift stores for kids wagons to use their wheels (again I removed the rubber) for my rolling stock. 

All this ran SO well. My favorite experiences were:                                     ------ --running at night through fresh snow. 

---when grading and laying track I'd look up at my neighbors' house and see their curtains whisk shut.

---taking kids around the house and occasionally, if their legs were long enough, letting them be the engineer.

Before we had to move to an apartment and scrap the railroad there were several projects I had in mind:

---building a new spur with a trestle *** flower trellis.

---building a station with ticket window and a #0 wood stove on a rocking chair base. Sort of like Humphey's tricycle in the old comic strip.

---building a trailer to take the trains and an oval of track to block parties and the Washington DC children's hospital atrium.

--- the smoke machine.

Aaaah welll... it sure was fun. Today I'm grading with CR-6 gravel for my second G gauge layout.

But regarding your project, I hope my jig idea is helpful, i.e. running screws from the underside. If using PVC conduit for curved sections, you would probably have to diagonally cross-brace to keep the rails from returning to straight. Picture wire or aircraft cable with a twist or turnbuckle arrangement, south right rail to north left rail and south left rail to north right rail, under the crossties of course. Even if that worked it sounds like a lot of work just to use plastic. I would seriously contemplate metal instead to hold curvature and gauge.

Anyhow best, trial, error, success and never forget to have fun.


rixflix aka Captain Video. Blessed be Jean Shepherd and all His works!!! Hooray for 1939, the all time movie year!!! I took that ride on the Reading but my Baby caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride.

  • Member since
    May 2018
  • 3 posts
Posted by mrbighead on Monday, September 3, 2018 11:04 PM

My ride-on train for dogs is done!

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    February 2013
  • 804 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, September 7, 2018 2:45 AM

Beyond cool!  I am NOT showing this to my kids!  I'd have to build this, too, if I did!

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