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Considering DCC, OO gauge garden layout


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I’ve always wanted a large layout, to watch full length trains rolling by but I’ve never had the opportunity, finances or space to build one.  I was talking with a friend last night and he suggested building a layout in the garden and it threw me.

 

As I model in OO gauge and DCC, is this really practical?  I’d like to hear from others about the advantages, pitfalls or even experiences that they’ve had.  My plan is I’d really like to maybe sit in the garden on a sunny day, a beer, watching the trains roll by.

Edited by jools1959
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11 minutes ago, jools1959 said:

I’ve always wanted a large layout, to watch full length trains rolling by but I’ve never had the opportunity, finances or space to build one.  I was talking with a friend last night and he suggested building a layout in the garden and it threw me.

 

As I model in OO gauge and DCC, is this really practical?  I’d like to hear from others about the advantages, pitfalls or even experiences that they’ve had.  My plan is I’d really like to maybe sit in the garden on a sunny day, a beer, watching the trains roll by.

Do I detect a full-blown "Sleaford" in the offing?

 

Afraid I can't offer any real help with OO gauge/DCC practicality other than my (somewhat humble) garden railway is 16mm scale with live steam and battery powered locos because I thought it would be easier to run trains with these power sources rather than relying on track fed power, which I believe would require constant "maintenance" to ensure smooth/consistent running. But don't just rely on my thoughts/experiences. I'm sure there are plenty of people on RMweb who have good experiences of operating OO gauge DCC layouts in the garden and will offer you sound advice.

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17 minutes ago, iands said:

Do I detect a full-blown "Sleaford" in the offing?

Urm, nope ;):P

 

I just fancy sitting in the garden watching trains go by, frightening the cats :lol:

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I did one for my Dad, G Gauge.

 

Laid it at ground level at the time he could get that low, Sickness hit and it is basically out of use as his back is preventing he stooping.

 

So if I was doing one again, make is raised and on stilts, No Weeds will take over, Cleaning will be made easier too which was a right pain in the butt to get sorted everytime we needed running.

 

Some nice OO garden layouts there but If I stated again it would be O given the RTR stuff out there now.

 

I live in Ireland so I opted to lay on Concrete brick as the damp would eat the wood in no time at all.

 

 

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Didn't someone do a rather large garden layout in N once? Now that had to be masochism.

 

 

" It's actually better for the track to be in full sunlight, but not too exposed because the wind can blow trains over."

 

Lol!

 

But looking at those photos has made me want to do it "just because".

 

(I'm an N gauge guy).

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10 hours ago, Georgeconna said:

I did one for my Dad, G Gauge.

 

Laid it at ground level at the time he could get that low, Sickness hit and it is basically out of use as his back is preventing he stooping.

 

So if I was doing one again, make is raised and on stilts, No Weeds will take over, Cleaning will be made easier too which was a right pain in the butt to get sorted everytime we needed running.

 

Some nice OO garden layouts there but If I stated again it would be O given the RTR stuff out there now.

 

I live in Ireland so I opted to lay on Concrete brick as the damp would eat the wood in no time at all.

 

 

 

First thing I thought of was raising it on stilts because I have serious mobility issues.  I've decided to keep with OO mainly because of being on a limited budget and I can use the stuff I already have, though the new O gauge stuff that's coming out, makes it seriously tempting.  I'm not going to bother with stations, signals and stuff like that as it will be a simple but large double track oval.

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23 hours ago, jools1959 said:

My plan is I’d really like to maybe sit in the garden on a sunny day, a beer, watching the trains roll by.

That is what I do on sunny days :D.

From my experience, which is on the larger gauges (S. 0 and 1) , I concluded that good and many power supply feeders to the track are most important. I found out that, especially with DCC locomotives, this is very important. You might even consider going 00 gauge 3-rail. But as Dorkingian shows it even can be done in 2-rail 00.

Regards

Fred

 

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  • 7 months later...

Going outside in DCC in OO is quite ok especially if you can use DCC radio or remote control. There are some manufacturers that have integrations with mobile phones meaning that all the expensive DCC hardware can be kept indoors and out of the weather. With OO being much cheaper than O you usually amass a large collection of rolling stock so an outdoor building is a great idea. If it starts to rain then trains can be quickly run under cover. As stated before mother nature doesn't recognise scale or gauge so whether you're running OO or gauge 1 outdoors it's all the same to mother nature. Peco code 100 streamline is the track to use and can be used with their set track range. I've used in the past code 100 streamline on curves and double length straights in set track for........straight sections of track. 

I'm not overly sold on the use of points outdoors as you can't easily get a waterproof lubricant onto the tiny steel spring which operates the Peco points. In time they rust and break and although replacement springs are available they're an absolute to fit and make work properly.

All track joints are bonded outside and you don't rely on the fish plates to conduct the electrical current for the fish plates only align the rails. Don't solder the fish plates to the rails as you need the rails to move when they expand in heat and contract when cooler. Bond only to the outside of the rail side not underneath for bonds can drop off due to temperature changes which effects the molecules in the solder. If you solder underneath before laying the track you'll be unable to get at the soldered joint once the track is laid.

Gradients can be done outside but it's hard to get an absolute 1 in 100 gradient. They often fluctuate between 1 in 90 and 1 in 110. DCC Concepts makes a power base which is stainless steel so it won't rust outdoors and that can be laid beneath the track. But it means fitting all locos with the tiny magnets and on some locos that isn't easy and there's no plastic keeper plate. But it allows far steeper gradients to be used without the loco losing traction and coming to a halt so 1 in 40 or steeper gradients can be laid.

Station platforms can be made out of concrete if a garden level line is desired with a black pigment added to the concrete to represent bitumen. Scaledale platform sections can be used on raised level garden railways. Station buildings for both types can be from the Scaledale and Scenecraft ranges, in fact all buildings can be from those two ranges as they're made of resin and won't warp out of shape in the sun. Footbridges can be held down by magnets under their base so they don't blow over in a slight breeze in front of a speeding HST. Even station buildings can be made to stay put in a slight breeze. Add a separate permanent sub base to the building and line it up exactly where you want it to be then press it down into the wet concrete then withdraw it. So every time you place the station building on the platform the sub base goes down into the concrete leaving the building at the right height on the platform. You can make the sub base from thick plasticard and there's no need to paint it as it will never be seen.

Tunnels must never be too long and only about one arms length so if a train stops or derails they can be easily retrieved. Cuttings are ok too but make them much wider and not narrow for if a train length of coaches becomes derailed and falls over they won't be damaged by the cutting's rock sides. Also with tunnels you will need tunnel mouth plugs and a piece of polystyrene is good to plug the tunnel when the railway is not in use. Natural wildlife will find tunnels a ready made home with bedding thrown in too in the form of leaves in sticks. Tunnels can be constructed from concrete using shuttering, plastic pipes if a single track straight tunnel or bricks with a large concrete paver top. Bridges are used on garden railways like the real railway where the garden path crosses the railway. 

Also with tunnels spiders can take up permanent residence inside but outdoor insecticides in trigger form can be sprayed around tunnel entrances and inside on the tunnel walls to deter spiders from setting up home. They have an effective deterrent power of around three months.            

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