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traingeekboy

My cobbled together layout

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HI all,

Traingeekboy here. I figured instead of posting in the introduction forum and then posting here, I'd just make up one big thread. I got my first train set HO scale atlas with a docksider 040 at age 2. I have no idea what dad was thinking, the word is I was already fixated on trains by that point. I still have the cars from that set; plastic varney 60's stuff.

Since then I have desired a layout. Many different sets and unfinished layouts later, I stumbled upon some you tube videos: brambly railway; Jules garden railway; selby railway. I had seen British garden layouts in books in the past but it didn't click for me. Seeing those running railroads changed everything. I had to build one!!!

The N scale layout is abandoned for now, the old 70's Lima FS and SNCF trains were unearthed and I set to building. Big problem there, I'm only half employed so have little money to spare for fun-ness, so I started collecting scrap lumber from alleys and trash dumpsters. My entire layout is made from found lumber. It makes me have to think differently, because I have to use what I have or I have to hit the alleys in search of something close to what I have. It's amazing what people throw away and even more amazing the kind of expensive metal hardware they are to lazy to recycle.

The layout plan is to build a really super fun two track roundy roundy in my front yard. Yes, the front yard! I hope the track doesn't get stolen. I may have top glue it with liquid nails. The area is 19' x 9' 6" give or take an inch.

I got linked to outdoor layouts because I was on a british outline forum, I'm in the USA. I suspect that when I find a decently priced steamer on ebay I'll be getting some LMS running on the layout. I have already bought some OO LMS coaches by lima. I also own a small collection of continental stuff that is HO scale. PLans are in the works for a couple On30 items to add variety as well. SO my layout is basically, anything that runs on HO track is my kind of train.

I'll shut up now and post some pics. :D

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My recent acquisition a Jouef 4-8-2 passenger steamer. Word is they run like crap. I suppose some tinkering will be required.

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Stage one is the plastic covered station platform area. I still need to put wood stain on it to protect it, so it's got a plastic drape for now.

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Stage two. My first corner section. It took me a bit to figure out how I wanted to do it. Then after planning and planning, I said to heck with it and just built something. ha ha

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Stage three. The straight section along the fence. Different approach for construction. I fastened posts to the existing fence with pipe clamps and then built off of that.

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Stage four. This is the section that connects the previous sections. It is a lift bridge. Never done one before, I hope it works.

Well, that's my layout. I still need to round the other end. I already braced a beam to the old fence for it, so when the urge hits me, it should be done. Hope you like it.

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Hi and (a somewhat belated) welcome to the forum. Sorry about that :oops:

It's interesting to hear of your developed interest in UK railways. I've always been fascinated as to why modellers choose to base their layouts on foreign lines. I've seen examples of some really impressive American 'railroads' but even though my modelling interests are centred on what we in the UK would class as 'heavy freight', the much larger and more powerful American traction has never done it for me. I have to stay with what I know and have experience of but that's not intended to take anything away from any other area or geographical region of modelling - it's just my personal preference. To add to my fascination as to your choice for UK railways there's an obvious interest in LMS steam rather than any modern diesels. I guess that's somewhat akin to my preference for the LNER even though I have very few recollections of any working steam trains. Railway (or railroad) modelling is an interesting pastime for sure.

It's good to see you're able to make use of reclaimed timber and if there's a ready supply then I'd say go for it - far cheaper than the stuff I've been purchasing which has cost me an absolute fortune over the past couple of years or so and none of it's actually viewable. I'll say one thing for outdoor layouts. You can cobble something together, run any kind of stock you wish, and you can have a whole lot of fun. Doing likewise indoors just wouldn't be the same.

Looking forward to continued updates, more photos and perhaps a video or two once you're up and running.

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G'day from Australia. AT LAST another modeller from outside the UK. I was beginning to think I was the only one. Good luck with your railway and I too look forward to your progress and hopefully in the future a video or two or more.

Roy.

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Thanks for the welcome guys,

Mick I can't say exactly what happened to cause the UK interest. I some how stumbled on to the hornby forum and started looking at layouts there. I was curious to do European N scale. Then one day this guy posted a link to a simple O scale garden layout. I linked off of that and found OO scale layouts. I think it was watching the brambly railway video that did it. Just had to go outdoors.

or else it was jules garden railway steam engines, not sure what.

All that steam running at high speed. US modellers are obsessed with scale speed. I like slow speed for shunting, but C'mon guys lets let er stretch those legs!

I dunno I was firmly fixed on the idea of Us models, but I have FS and SNCF from when I was a kid. I was born in Italy so I'm a mixed breed critter. I have memories of steam in Italy in the 60's. I also rode the Zephyr as a kid in the US. I've always been sort of a confused model railroader.

To top it off, I'm a stones throw from a great deal of Colorado narrow gauge lines since I live in Denver.

So yeah, I never really quite got the British outline. It is not what I am used to. Those funny little wagons. Weird looking diesels, not like US monsters and not like those frilly continental electrics either. The more I looked at peoples layouts online the more I started to see a great deal of beauty in things like jintys or Princess royale class.

Even with funds low I'm bidding on my first uk Loco right now, an LMS jinty toi go with my red coaches. I am afraid I'm slipping into british outline. But... I also wouldn't mind getting a bachmann On30 shay and some cars just to mix it up.

I think my biggest pleasure in discovering garden layouts is that outdoor guys are a different breed. They just run stuff. To an outdoor railroader the real question seems to be, "Is it a train, will it run on my track, Lets do it!"

So I'm going to settle in here and see what everyone else is running and show some of what I'm running.

roy, i promise as soon as I get some track on those planks I'm gonna make a video. :)

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traingeekboy said:

I met this guy on a Us forum that caters mostly to N scalers. I was asking about Uv issues and he posted that he just hand lays all his track. Then he gave me this link to his layout on another forum. It's amazing!

I can't imagine that would look quite the same indoors - it just looks made for outdoor running, excellent scenics all round. When I think of the progress I've made over the past 3 years I find it amazing that someone can attain that level of detail with all those different scenarios. I haven't time to read through the thread for construction details but it looks like several years (maybe even many years) have been spent on it.

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I completely admire his work, but I know I am not up to the task of creating something that requires that amount of labor.

It looks like the scenery is carved insulation foam that has been painted with acrylic paint and then sprinkled with dirt and gravel of all sizes shapes and colors. Basically how it would be done indoors only with glues that won't dissolve. I think most everything is scratch built even the track.

He is urging me to handlay my track on my layout. I may have to give it a shot. But it's actually more expensive than flex track from what I have found.

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Don't worry too much about the video side of things. Although I have a video camera it's now 13 years old and an old analog one at that. To do a video I shoot it, edit it, then transfer the footage to a DVD- or + RW disc on my DVD recorder then finalise it. I put it in the disc tray of my lap top and upload it to you tube. Then I enter the code here and it appears on this forum. I know some on the net say with a camera like mine you have to have a special video converter to convert the analog signal to digital. But I've found that unnecessary with a DVD recorder.

As for hand built track, with the amount of track I have it would take a life time to build all the track and points and I'm also not too sure if the construction is as rugged as Peco Streamline code 100. Also viewing distances on a garden railway are greater than on an indoor line. Indoors the viewing distance is about 2ft whereas outside the viewing distance can be 20ft so you just can't see the detail even on a small line. Some are tempted to use Peco code 75 for as they say 'greater realism', but with a railway in OO or HO your house is way over scale as are most of the plants and even people. So code 75 for indoor layouts and code 100 for garden railways in OO/HO. If your railway runs into a shed for storage and you have code 100 on the garden railway then use code 100 in the shed as it's a hassle to try and join code 100 rail to code 75 rails.

Roy.

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Hand built track can look extremely realistic when done to a high standard but I can't really see what benefit there would be when used outdoors. With correct sleeper spacing and a finer rail section it would look better than the commercially available track systems but outdoors you need reliability above all else and a universally acceptable rail profile, especially if you intend running a lot of older stock. Peco Streamline code 100 will accommodate just about anything you wish to run and if it is indeed cheaper than handbuilt then it's a no brainer. With a bit of additional work the Peco track can be altered to provide better sleeper spacing but take a look at the ballasted track on IanRs Kirkfield & Warmthorpe Railway where just the addition of ballast has made an enormous difference to the appearance of standard Peco trackwork.

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Meh... I considered it for a bit. But the comments you have both made support going for ready made track. Besides even real railroads use sectional track on occasion. I am scaling my expectations down a bit from two mainlines to one. I figure a good oval just to get going should be awesome. I can always alter things later by adding a second line running inside the first.

I think that just getting trains running needs to be my first priority. Then I can look at hand laying as an option. Then again, I sort of want to scratch build some catenary for my electrics. I think catenary would distract viewers from other non existent things like scenery.

My sister borrowed my level and I can't get the work I need done till she finishes re-finishing her kitchen. I recall handing it to her and thinking oh brother i'm never gonna see this again!!!

RE: videos... I used to be a professional video maker so that side of things is a no brainer for me.

I learned about garden railways from youtube so here are some inspirational links below:

 

ok, time to outside and use the last rays of daylight for some train building.

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There's nothing wrong with lowering your expectations, and making a start with a single oval of track is much better than struggling along and never being able to complete two. I've always said that the important thing is to get something running as soon as possible and the use of commercially available track is thus the ideal choice to make. I spent hours running trains back and forth over a gradually increasing end to end section until I was finally able to complete the circuits of track to enable continuous running - even then it was via makeshift wooden ramp - so don't expect to finish the whole thing overnight.

YouTube has been an inspiration to me too, there are now several very good OO guage garden railways featured on there and I try to keep up with them all. The 2 you listed are certainly on my list. I particularly like 'grumpygranddad's layout due to the fact that it's been operational for many years and it's clearly been a labour of love.

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Sorry Mick I was so busy clicking and posting my latest pic that I overlooked the reply. :)

Like you said a little bit at a time. I know I am a fully grown adult, but in some ways this layout teaches me a lot about life. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. This layout has been a real eye opener as far as just getting something done; One plank at a time!

Have you seen the Brambly line video? It's awesome!

As to my layout and track:

Decided I will go with Atlas track. It's cheaper than buying rails for handlaying and if the sleepers do melt or crack, then I'll hand lay the atlas rails! Or just repair with hand laid sections as track splits. For points I'll go with Peco insul frogs, unless there is some reason for going electric frog that I am not aware of.

Also... I am still dreaming of finally getting one of my favorite locos, and no it's not some epic mallet type monster either, It's just a tiny gas switcher; I think you guys call em shunters. Roco has been kind enough to re-release it in a set with a pair of freight cars.

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Well I'm moving right along. I added another board. My design style is pretty much: look at it, look at the pile of random lumber, see if something fits or can be made to fit, Attach lumber and proceed to next section.

I will resist the urge for a blow by blow picture montage.

While taking the trash out the other night I noticed a sign at the bottom of the dumpster. The next morning I returned and discovered a nice chunk of plywood was sitting in there. I had been thinking I needed more wood and was mentally preparing for another driving day scouring trash for wood and this one showed up right in my alley. Very exciting for me as I now have enough wood to finish.

Have you seen this video? Pretty amazing. The way the shrubs make mountains and the tracks curve through rocky scenery. Someday I'll have to build like this guy did.

 

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traingeekboy said:

Well I'm moving right along. I added another board. My design style is pretty much: look at it, look at the pile of random lumber, see if something fits or can be made to fit, Attach lumber and proceed to next section.

Is there another way then..... :lol:

traingeekboy said:

Have you seen this video? Pretty amazing. The way the shrubs make mountains and the tracks curve through rocky scenery. Someday I'll have to build like this guy did.

Oh my, thats enough to make you want to give up now - truly amazing. The thought of all that ballasting and dry stone walling is enough to make a grown man cry. Seriously though, I'd wondered why others hadn't used the traditional methods of ballasting with PVA. I'd assumed that it fixed the track too rigidly and didn't allow for the larger expansion and contraction associated with the great outdoors leading to track distortion. Now if his track survived the last two winters we've had, it might be worth considering...

Duncan

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Ha ha, I know a lot of people who seem to draw things up in detailed plans, I am the complete opposite.

Yeah, The video... Whew, It's enough to make one wonder why he tries to build a layout! My layout will not have that sort of picturesque quality. But it is a start for now.

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drmalesis said:

...The thought of all that ballasting and dry stone walling is enough to make a grown man cry. Seriously though, I'd wondered why others hadn't used the traditional methods of ballasting with PVA. I'd assumed that it fixed the track too rigidly and didn't allow for the larger expansion and contraction associated with the great outdoors leading to track distortion. Now if his track survived the last two winters we've had, it might be worth considering...

I'm under the impression that ballasting using PVA has been tried outdoors with a less than satisfactory success rate. Perhaps it depends on the brand of PVA? I would assume that the exterior type would be more resilient than the interior version. With winter fast approaching it might be an idea to test the theory on a short section of track?

I agree that the Norbreck Garden Railway featured in the video link is scenically excellent and something for us all to aspire towards. When the railway and the garden are at the same level then it makes merging them together much easier.

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Looks like you've made a great start in an excellent pragmatic way :) I look forward to seeing how you get along traingeekboy :)

I only had one thing to comment on, which I hope you'll find useful and that is with your lift bridge. I'm concerned that because you've fitted the hinges flush to the top surface, when you've laid track on it and lift the bridge, the rails will grind against each other and mash themselves out of alignment as they try and move into each other. I think you need spacers between the hinges and the top surface at least as high as the top of your rails will be. I think this explains it better than I can:

http://www.brian-lambert.co.uk/Hints%20&%20Tips.htm#Lifting%20Bridge%20Section

Hope that helps.

Dave :)

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Mick I wish my back agreed with this merging theory of garden to railway. If mine was that low I think my spine would merge with the garden!

Dave, Yes the hinge issue has come up. The top of the rail needs to be lower than the center of the axis on the hinge. I may have to space it a bit to get more height with those hinges. I'll wait till the time comes to lay track to refine that bit.

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