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HO Scale Discussion of HO scale model trains.

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Old 01-31-2014, 08:51 AM   #1
Mister Bill
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Posts: 416
Semi-outdoor HO layout

I am designing a new layout after a 25 year absence. When I dismantled my old layout, I converted my basement to a workshop and want to keep it that way.

I live in central Texas where we have long stretches of nice weather during the spring, summer and fall. I am thinking about a 30’ dog-bone layout built in sections that I can connect together easily in my back yard when I want to run my trains. Maybe I could cover the area with tarps overnight or in a bad stretch of weather. I have an indoor storage area where the sections could be stored when I am in to other things, which is about half the time.

I am not interested in scenery and just want to run long consists on level plain plywood with #6 turnouts and wide radius. I also want to give my grand daughters some good memories.

Everything I have ever read said this is a stupid idea. Can anyone encourage me?

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Old 01-31-2014, 11:15 AM   #2
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I've seen big name magazine editors do the same thing for photo shoots, and no one ever calls them stupid

I think it's a cool idea

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Old 01-31-2014, 11:37 AM   #3
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Just make sure they are protected from the sun and wind. I sell outdoors at a flea market in McKinney, TX. The sun will fade the paint and the wind can blow them off the track and layout.
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:51 PM   #4
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There is other train can run outside. Here the link:
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:03 PM   #5
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I love the idea! I have never done scenery, either. I really just love watching the engines rolling around, and making them better than when they were new. I will try scenery, whether I'm good at it or not, but it's okay with me just to watch them go on a piece of wood for now.

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Old 01-31-2014, 06:27 PM   #6
Station Master
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Location: Flint, MI
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And that's what makes this hobby so much fun!
I personally seldom run my trains around their tracks. My "hot button" is scenery, lighting, and animation.
My 10X10 layout is a big salad bar of different scenes. From a campground, to a cemetery, to an Army base, an oil refinery, a downtown main street, a forest and tunnel, a lake and a river, and every thing in-between.
IMHO, watching trains to 'round and 'round is fun, but I much prefer creating "fantasy and atmosphere".
Enjoy the hobby and have fun,
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:41 AM   #7
Yard Master
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bonita Springs,Fl.
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Morning Mr. Bill and good to have you with us. I don't think your idea is bad at all except for one thing, setting up and taking down. I think you'll find that having to go set up the trains will be a lot of extra work whenever you want to run them. If you can build the layout so that the trains can run inside when your not using them (Into your storage area)
that would be great. Then you could just throw a cover over the outside part and not have to worry about taking it all apart and then putting it all together again. That's the only drawback I can see. Pete
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:16 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum.

Many, many people do out door rail roads in G scale and many do it with Lionel. I've never seen anyone do an outdoor layout in HO before. But it is something that I wanted to do as well so I took a couple lengths of Atlas flex track, nailed it to a piece of plywood, and stuck it outside where it got full sun all year to see how it held up. After a year and a half or so of mid-west sun and snow, the track was fine but the plywood was in poor shape.

I'm convinced that if you use proper wood for the track support, and code 100 track (maybe even paint the ties) that it will last a couple years before needing any serious maintenance. Of course you'll need to clean the rails on a regular basis but that should be expected.

That being said, if you can find a way to cover the switches during the winter months (always read they get damaged first) I see no problem with building a HO scale garden railway and not having to worry about set up or tear down.

I do agree with Norgale in that you should have a spur track that runs inside somewhere, or a spur track that allows you to run trains into a transport of some kind to make setting up your trains easier as you do not want to leave those out unless you're actively running them.

Or you could go with Lionel and there is a wealth of info out there about doing Lionel in the garden. And it's easier to see from across the yard.

Let us know what you decide.
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:49 PM   #9
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I think it's a great idea first of all it's yours do what you like that's why we do this go for it and send pictures.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:23 PM   #10
Big Ed
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Scales Modeled: O right now. HO packed/ small N scale table, G scale for under the Christmas tree.
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I though Texans did everything big?

Just build yourself something like this and have the best of both worlds.
Never Enough Room,Time or Money for all the Trains!
I like ALL SCALES/GAUGE'S, I don't discriminate.

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