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Small double line OO gauge for the garden

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I'm having my garden renovated and am thinking of having a small railway in the corner. I would say I probably have about 3m x 6m to play with.


A few years ago I saw a really nice garden railway in OO which was just two simple lines. The chap had built a brick rectangle (like a raised flower bed) and had sunk the track bed into this raised bed.


I would like something similar. Doesn't have to be complicated. No points, just two continuous loops.


Anyone know or seen anything similar so I can gather some inspiration? I think it was in a Model Rail garden special but was a good few years ago now.

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You could cover the brickwork with decking or ply, easier to lay the track and to form your curves, also when having your brick wall built have a section of the brick widened  [which will strengthen the wall from pressure of the soil inside] and you could use that for a station etc

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I'd be inclined to mount the track on pressure-treated wooden gravel boards from your local fencing supplier; more expensive than decking boards from one of the big DIY sheds, but more likely to sit flat and last longer. Mount it on bricks or concrete blocks to keep it off the soil surface, and paint any cut edges with preservative. If you want to blend it in with the surrounds, lay some vertical slates about an inch or two outside the edge of the timbers, then fill the resultant space with angular bits of gravel.

When you come to lay track, don't rely on rail joiners for electrical continuity, but use soldered wire jumpers at each rail end, and also run some fairly chunky wire in parallel with the track, feeding in at regular intervals. I used some 10mm once, which was excellent. Garden layouts are great fun; I've built, though never finished, four at different times, in locations varying from south-west Wales to the Tyne Valley.

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  • 10 months later...

I wondered if this project got off the ground?


My first attempt at building a garden railway had a cast concrete trackbed, laid within a raised bed.


Here is a link to an explanation of how I did it:




I hope it might be of use

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  • 4 months later...

A 'small garden line' is always a bit of a harbinger of doom.


Garden railways take a lot of care to keep them serviceable.


Indoors 6ft radius seems gargantuan. Out doors it looks like radius 1.


Indoors a four car consist takes up half a 6x3 board based layout


Outside a 10 or 12 car train is easily possible.


So small is relative and in reality a small line is better with a larger scale.


A circuit of Mamod cast metal track, with a small diesel and a few trucks will ultimately provide the fun that may be absent with OO outside.


Large is the way forward...but started small!


Marklin C track is stainless steel so less rusting.


It's the 'ballast' is moulded in high impact plastic, so will survive domestic pet interest and toddlers treading about.

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  • 8 months later...

With garden railway it all depends on how the railway will be located. High level or ground level. High level is easier on your back but is as ugly as sin and very intrusive and not aesthetically pleasing in any way. A ground level line or near to ground level in OO is still perfectly feasible but you don't want to use real ballast type materials that the larger scales use.

There are rubber coatings used in kids play areas which maybe suitable as long as the track pins hold firmly. They're poured like concrete but use a special binder. Try to get a colour that will represent ballast, like grey. Outside I wouldn't bother trying to ballast the track as any idea of scale modelling is lost in OO outside.

You will of course need to clean the railway before each and every running session. A battery powered leaf blower will get the worst of the blown debris off and you could make up your own bar with track rubbers attached to it to gently clean the Peco Streamline code 100 nickel silver track. Forget code 75 as you want the extra depth in rail height and the plastic sleeper base is made to withstand the rigors of an outdoor life. Even small insects can't eat it. 

Signals are ok as long as they can be detached and taken indoors when not in use if using semaphores. Colour lights are ok outdoors but you may want to cover them when not in use so they don't get chewed.

Buildings you can use Bachmann Scenecraft or Hornby Scaledale as being made of resin they'll survive out of doors easily although you may lose some of the finely detailed parts attached to them.

Remember with OO it's 1:76 scale and if you were 1:76th normal size your garden would be a frightening place.   

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I cogitated for a couple of years about a removable fixed double circuit of track that gets brought out onto the lawn in summer on occasions when the grandchildren gather for a Hornby live steam Mallard driving session. 

I'd sketched out sort of vertically stretched croquet hoops piggy-backing one another and bearing pre-formed roofing felt covered marine ply and code 100 peco track. I gathered together the stuff including a meter long spirit level. However nowadays the kids are applying for university etc.; far more exciting stuff beckoned.


We never ever progressed from driving Mallard (using an improved 00 live steam club control box) on an indoor Hornby rolling road.


I like your idea of an 00 gauge track running around a coping on a raised brick garden planting bed. I think I might still opt for a removable track like I'd planned and store it through the winter in a garden shed. It could plug down into  non-ferrus or galvanised female sockets mortared into the coping joints (carefully aligned to guarantee a level track). .


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This construction has stood the test of time, dogs, children, footballs etc, and you could add a trackbed of recycled plastic boarding to it, onto which track of any gauge could be fixed with fine brass screws. The lot would then be weatherproof.


Excuse the post-holocaustal look of my plants; this summer did a lot of damage.



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