Trains.com

I NEED HELP!!!

3478 views
9 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Greenwood, DE - USA
  • 170 posts
I NEED HELP!!!
Posted by swknox on Thursday, October 9, 2003 11:06 PM
Hi fellow railfans. I need help. I getting ready to buy 3 acres of land and I want to start a Garden Railroad or a Rock Garden Railroad. Either way I am clueless when it comes to garden railroads... like what track to use, what scale are the locomotives and rolling stock, and one question that has always bugged me which is how does the track not rust up say like a HO track when left outside for a while, umm oh and what kind of controls and weither to use track power or battery power!!! I know this seems like a lot but I would be grateful to any help or advise you can give me. I know I need to subscribe to Garden Railways Mag but I just renewed my Model Railroader for another 2 years so that will have to wait until next month. Knox

Cool site to visit http://www.trainweb.org/peninsularailfan/index.html - local site, very cool http://crcyc.railfan.net/ - Conrail site, also cool http://www.thedieselshop.us/MPR.html
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 9, 2003 11:53 PM
swknox-
I learned everything I needed to know on the internet. If I gave you the links it would take all the fun out of searching on your own! Good Luck, you will do just fine. Having 3 acres thats nice. You certainly have your work cut out. Have fun!!
pfd586
  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Greenwood, DE - USA
  • 170 posts
Posted by swknox on Friday, October 10, 2003 12:07 AM
Thanks pfd586 but a lil help in the right direction could help more! Also is there DCC for large scale trains? I have a nice but lil 5 x 12 HO layout with DCC and If I did a Garden Railroad I want it to operate just a smooth. I need tips. ED, VSMITH, I'll even take advise from Mookie, anybody else please help. Send a post back or just email me or if you have MSN just chat when i am online. Thanks everbody!!!
-KNOX-
Cool site to visit http://www.trainweb.org/peninsularailfan/index.html - local site, very cool http://crcyc.railfan.net/ - Conrail site, also cool http://www.thedieselshop.us/MPR.html
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Friday, October 10, 2003 10:06 AM
A good beginning point for you would be to get a copy of Garden Railways magazine's "Garden Railroading -- Getting Started in the Hobby" and read through it. As far as track is concerned, the best recommendation I found in said publication was to avoid Bachmann aluminum track. After reading through the book, I decided to use Aristo Craft track because it uses screws to hold the rail joiners together, and is available in stainless steel rail. I planned to use stainless steel track throughout but wound up having to use brass for some of the layout because stainless was not available from any suppliers in the western U.S. that I could find. Although pricey ($120-$150), Aristo Craft Number 6 stainless steel turnouts are a good investment. The cheaper turnouts look too much like they are out of a toy train set with their very sharp curves, whereas a number 6 turnout looks much more realistic. CVP Products (www.cvpusa.com) in Richardson, TX, makers of the Easy DCC system for the smaller scales, is developing a wireless DCC system for G-scale called the AirWire 900 that will use on-board battery power. Their initial announcement was that it would be on the market by August 15th, but their target date is now January 2004 because they are trying to improve the range and battery life. It will consist of a 900 MHz battery operated DCC hand-held transmitter and a receiver that mounts inside a locomotive tender or tethered box car. Details are available on their Web site. By using battery power, you don't need to worry about dirty track. In that regard, the only locomotives I am purchasing are steam engines with tenders large enough to contain the battery, AirWire receiver, and a sound system. A 12-volt GelCell battery with a 1500 mAh rating that is used for radio control model airplane starters will fit sideways inside a Bachmann narrow gauge Consolidation's tender with room to spare, and hopefully will provide enough power to run the locomotive for a couple of hours per charge. CVP recommends either a GelCell or NiCad rechargable battery pack. Scales of locomotives range from 1:20.3 for the Bachmann narrow gauge equipment, which runs on standard G-scale track, to 1:30 for other brands. Because the Bachmann is a narrow gauge steam engine proportionally sized to run on standard G-scale track, it is BIG and heavy, so you need to decide ahead of time what type of equipment you intend to operate and then choose your rolling stock accordingly. In my case, I will run only steam era equipment, so the only items I have purchased are the Bachmann Consolidation, a Hartland Rail Bus (Galloping Goose), and an Aristo Craft Pacific locomotive. I carefully selected these locomotives because all three have room for a battery.
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,737 posts
Posted by vsmith on Friday, October 10, 2003 10:26 AM
Hello swknox,

Since you specifically named me I'll give some of my advice. Cant help with DCC, I've never used it. There is DCC for large scale and it is popular. Personally I think Battery and RC is better if you have a really big layout planned, Running electrical lines (power to tracks, switches, accessories) is the BIGGEST headache with garden layouts. I have yet to see a decent "how to" for wiring a garden layout. How big are you planning on building it? If its really big I would invest in a walkaround throttle (if track powered) that allows you to "follow" the train without being tehthered, or R/C might be best then.

First, Kalmbach publishes a "getting started in garden railroading " book that is a good starting point, its mostly a collection of articles from past GR issues, but I would also get "large scale model railroading" by Robert Schliecher. Its more detailed and has a lot of good tips.

Second, START SIMPLE keep it to continuous loop(s) (I didnt say small) and a couple of passing sidings for now. I always feel its more important to get the layout running than to be building forever and your trains are collecting dust. You have more incentive to continue when you actually see them running around the yard. Three acres is a heck of a big territory and you could build a really great sprawling layout. Are there any natural features that could accent the layout? streams? gullies? hills? rocks? Try to work them into the layout in the same manner they would on a real RR. Sketch it out first, then use caulk powder to layout where the track will go then step back to where you will look at it the most and decide if thats where the track looks best. What looks good on paper may be very different in reality.

For indoor layouts switches and sidings are no problem, in the garden though its a headache to wire switches back to a common point, especially if there over 100 feet away so I always feel that in the garden track should be layed for running, not switching. It would be better to have multiple loops with just passing sidings so you can run more than one train, with DCC you could run more than one train on the same track. Any yards, stations, engine houses, etc. should be at the most easily accessed part of the layout, usually next to the operating deck.

Third, I use brass track as its the easiest to get. Whether you decide to use flex track, sectional, or whatever brand, I would use LGB switches only. This is a personal preference but I have had too many compatability problems with Aristo-USA switches and will not use them anymore. LGB locos stall on them and my Bachmann Annie used to derail on them all the time. I'm sure other have used them without any trouble so keep that in mind. My word is not gospil.

I use brass Aristo track and for the breif time (2 months) I had my layout down in the garden (but before I could trench and ballast I got expelled) it oxidized very little, It will turn dark brown eventually hence a track cleaning will be a ritual before any runnnig, unless you go battery/RC or live steam them its just clear the tracks of any debris and run away.

Hope this helps. Vic

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,737 posts
Posted by vsmith on Friday, October 10, 2003 10:29 AM
Cacole posting is very good advice.

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Greenwood, DE - USA
  • 170 posts
Posted by swknox on Friday, October 10, 2003 12:38 PM
Thanks for the advise VsSmith and Cacole. The layout probley will be some where in the range of 100' x 100' to 200' x 200' feet. Its not going to take up all three acres by no means. I do have to leave room for my 30' x 60' garage. I will park the F 250 Powerstroke Diesel down bottom while I will have a barn type roof which will house my HO layout upstairs but all this is still a good 2 - 4 years away but it dosent hurt to plan early. Any other pointers would be helpful. Keep Safe and look both ways before crossing the tracks with you John Derre. LOL Knox
Cool site to visit http://www.trainweb.org/peninsularailfan/index.html - local site, very cool http://crcyc.railfan.net/ - Conrail site, also cool http://www.thedieselshop.us/MPR.html
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 9:56 AM
swknox, The best advice I can give is to check out other large scale sites and forums. Read EVERYTHING you can get you eyes on. mylargescale.com is a great forum for info and help there are alot of photos posted out there that may help as well. One of the best sites to look at for product pricing is RRstation.com they have lots of large scale stuff and are cheaper that most other sites I've found. As has been said Garden Railroad Mag. is great for ideas and company info too. They will give you the best source of info you can get. Planning a layout the size your talking I hope you have lots of money put a side for it as this is not a cheap hobby by any standard but it is the best and most enjoyable. You can get as creative you care to and let me tell you I've see some amazing things out there that people have come up with for thier layouts. Good luck and have fun.....

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 10:54 PM
I too would like some advice.....have recently purchased a s/hand bachman loco...dont know the model but it has American look with steercatcher on the front...to be removed/modified. I have decided to sacrifice this to keep my grandson happy... he wants me to convert it to a Thomas the Tank Engine. So it will need some modification but more importantly a paint job.
What type of Paint is suitable to paint the plastic of the loco....is there something special I should buy. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,737 posts
Posted by vsmith on Thursday, October 16, 2003 9:36 AM
I suppose a 4-6-0 could be turned into reasonable James type loco. Modifying the cab would be the big change and modeling the face might be a challenge.

As for paint, Indoor or Outdoor use, any paints used for modeling are good; Tamaya, Testors, Polyscale and Floquil should be OK for outdoor use, just use a good sealer like (for a James) a gloss coat, or a dullcoat.

   Have fun with your trains

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Garden Railways newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Garden Railways magazine. Please view our privacy policy