H O outdoors?

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  • Member since
    September, 2002
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H O outdoors?
Posted by thetraveler on Friday, December 05, 2003 3:35 PM
Has anyone tried HO outdoors?
  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Posted by cacole on Saturday, December 06, 2003 9:28 AM
As an HO modeler, I wouldn't even think about trying to run it outdoors except as we do at the Cochise & Western Model Railroad Club in Sierra Vista, AZ when we set up a modular layout outdoors during our open houses in May and November. HO scale track is NOT weatherproof, and neither is any of the engines or rolling stock, so everything would have to be covered or taken indoors at night. We have had some weird experiences with our modules outdoors, such as track warpage when exposed to sunlight, and the plastic water used for ponds and lakes melting in the sun. I read an item in GR magazine a couple of issues ago where some people in Phoenix have had plastic wheels on their G-scale equipment melt on the hot rail in the summertime, so I can just image what HO scale plastic wheels would do in the hot Arizona sun. At our last open house on the weekend of 15-16 November, the weather was not as warm as in past years. We covered the modular layout with plastic drop cloth sheets Saturday night, and Sunday morning dew had condensed under the plastic and caused water damage to some of the scenery.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 12:42 AM
I'd say you've answered you own question the best of all on why you really shouldn't do it.


  • Member since
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  • From: Bucks County, PA
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Posted by mkblk on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 7:12 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by tawvale

Hello There..
I am from Tonbridge.(down south) and i have a Garden Railway In 00 gauge,They are great fun to build and operate. And yes the building is the hard part. One thing that i have learned is look at graidients, They are very important, very much so if you are going to be running full length trains.. If you need any help i will be more than happy to help you.
Go to my website to gain idears and to see my garden railway, you can get in contacted with me via my site leave a message... Good luck... darren

My site is:


The above quote from another post might get you going in the right direction. 00 is only .5 mm larger than HO and runs on the same gauge track. Ergo, no difference! The Harry Potter "HO" train sets are really 00. Also, I think the Thomas "HO" sets are 00 as well.

One of the great things about the internet, is that you can communicate with folks such as Darren in the UK just as easily as with any of us in the states. Just remember that the UK's climate is gentler than ours (thanks to us sending them the Gulf Stream).

Martin Kern
  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
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Posted by vsmith on Monday, December 15, 2003 1:20 PM
It could be done, them Brits have been doing it for a long time BUT......you would have to handlay all your track outdoors, as the plastic HO ties would quickly deteriorate from UV. and you'de have to re-wheel everything to metal wheels or risk melting them plastic buggers. Also I would let the trains linger in the sunlights very long (UV, heat warpage) unless you want to scratchbuild everything out of metal and wood?

    Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Posted by cacole on Monday, February 02, 2004 9:47 AM
Here's an example of what sunlight can do to plastic HO scale equipment, which is not UV resistant or weatherproof:

I left a string of Rivarossi passenger cars sitting on a siding near a window that was covered with thin cloth curtains, on the east side of a club layout in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The early morning sun shining on them, even in the wintertime, caused the roofs to warp into a "U" shape and the sides facing the sun were also warped.

This was in an area where the items were exposed to sunlight only until around 9:00 a.m., so I can just imagine what would happen to them if they were exposed to the afternoon, direct summertime sun by trying to run them outdoors.

  • Member since
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  • From: US
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Posted by dmikee on Thursday, April 06, 2017 9:57 PM
So despite the negativity so far, I am going to try it on my elevated G scale layout. I have had a section of Atlas HO track, painted with camoflauge paint nailed down outside and subject to the elements for over two years. No damage so far as the spray paint seems to block the UV from harming the plastic ties. The advantage? Super long runs at eye level if you sit in a chair alongside. Of course, you would need to take detailed scenes inside to preserve them from damage and avoid leaving trains parked in the direct sunlight.
  • Member since
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  • From: YYC, CANADA
  • 52 posts
Posted by rbrr on Sunday, April 09, 2017 4:42 PM

Actually it has been done at least once a waaaay back (okay lets say within past 17 yrs)    I think it popped up in a letter (or 2) to the GR editor.    

Maybe Renee can use their digital format to find it faster than me using the hardcopy index (future) !!


doug c

"G-gauge may not Rule, But it GROWS on Ya !! " djc'99


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