Novice Questions, outdoor O-gauge layout

I'm a relative novice re model RRs, but I'm wondering whether anyone has
built an O-gauge layout outdoors, and if so, what factors should be
considered. What I'm considering would be a layout mounted on a plywood
base on our rear patio, which is about 30 ft x 20ft, and which is
sheltered by an overhanging metal roof. The idea would be to construct a
plywood base for the tracks, reinforced with cross members, that could
be raised and lowered by a pulley-rope arrangement whereby the layout
could be lowered onto A-frame supports when in use, and raised to a
position a few inches under the roof by the pulley-rope system when not
in use, freeing the patio for other applications.
It's my understanding that weather resistant Atlas O-gauge track
(selling for about $10 per three-foot length?) can be left outside for
extended periods. (In this case, the track and plywood base would be
shielded by the patio roof and would not be directly exposed to sunlight
or rain, although wind, heat, humidity, etc., could still be a factor.)
My plan would be to use outdoor carpet over the plywood, with the wiring
and the Atlas weather-resistant track mounted on the carpet and perhaps
a cork roadbed or something similar, but to keep the rolling stock,
controls, transformers, etc., inside when not in use. The layout would
include a plywood base perhaps 6 feet wide by 20 feet in length,
although I'm open to suggestions regarding the dimensions.
The advantages of such a system would be that I could have a relatively
large layout without sacrificing an entire room in the house. Also, the
system could be raised (to a position near the roof, or about 7-8 ft
above the patio floor) to get it out of the way when not in use.
Regarding the size, I think all my present equipment (a 1965 era Lionel
Hudson engine, a new MTH Mohawk engine, and an older MTH diesel SantaFe
set, plus various cars) would work with 0-27 curves, although I may
prefer to go with larger radii for greater realism and for future use
with scale equipment. - As understood, for 42-inch radius track, the
width of the plywood base would have to be over 7 feet.- Is it
important to go with larger radii in such a layout? Seems like a 6-ft
width (for 31-inch radius track) would be easier to work with.
Is this be a workable approach? - Thanks for any advice and suggestions.
Reply to
Loading thread data ...
Sounds awesome. As you mentioned in a part if your message I snipped, making sure the weather cannot adversely effect the layout would be the major factor. I don't know about Atlas, but Gragraves makes track with real wood ties and stainless steel rails (the Phantom line even has a blackened inner rail to make it less noticeable.) I don't know if the wood is treated to withstand changes in temperature and humidity, but the stainless steel would certainly be resistant to damage. If the wood isn't treated, you would be able to do that yourself given a lot of patience.
O gauge track is measured by diameter, not radius. Therefore O-27 track makes a 27" circle, O-42 a 42" circle, O-72 a 72" circle, etc. Gargraves
formatting link
makes track up to O-138, an 11.5' circle. Their largest diameter track could make an inner loop in the space you are considering! With their bendable 37" straight sections, you could lay an even larger diameter track. I have to admit I am jealous...
As for the electronics, look for as much stainless steel as possible for anything that will be left on the layout. You can get weather resistant wiring for under the board. With some forethought, you could rig an easily detachable control panel for the transformers, terminal strips, etc. I'm not very aware of all that is available in the model railroading world, but I've been to Radio Shack countless times and it seems to me that wiring your own quick-disconnect plugs would not be much trouble.
Speaking of things left on the layout. If you use lighted buildings or operating accessories, you'll want to consider the internal wiring of those as well if temperature and humidity reach extremes in your area.
If you can tailor the corners of a sufficiently large tarp to cover the layout with a relatively snug fit prior to raising it up for storage, it should be pretty well protected.
Sounds like a great project. Have fun!
Reply to
Yes, lots of people.
Start by googling on "garden railways". Add "O scale gauge", if you like, but then you'll miss a bunch of stuff that's valid for all scales.
Reply to
Thanks for the helpful information and suggestions. I'll look forward to working on the project, after I finish several others that are in progress.
Reply to
At the London Toy Museum I saw an O gauge (they call it OO for some reason, probably because they run on the left, and people say "O,O, they're on the wrong side!") layout which ran for a considerable distance around the garden there. The engines were live steamers, quite impressive for their precision.
The track was mounted on plywood, covered in what appeared to be asphalt roofing material. A short run, about twenty feet or so, was in a shed, where the trains were stored in a kind of a fiddle yard.
Being live steam they didn't have to worry about track oxidation destroying electrical contact.
Reply to
video guy -
Er, video guy, OO scale refers to 4mm scale (1:76) models running on 16.5mm gauge track. O scale refers to a group of scales and 32mm gauge track.
You saw British O scale, which is 7mm to the foot, or 1:43.
Reply to

Site Timeline

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.