I had a look round Jane Sullivans website on about her Garden Railway,
and I am thinking of doing somethine similar for me and my lad.
Now the thing is that I prefer to model stuff in P4, and wondered if
people thought that it would be OK?
I like the approach of using roof felt as a substrate, but am open to
I have doubts about P4. I mean, the gauge isn't the problem, it's the
wheel standards and the equalisation. The equalisation that's
recommended was designed for and tested on indoor layouts on which track
doesn't change much under the influence of weather, yet people do
occasionally report that shifts in track level (for example) cause
problems, when the changes exceed the range of equalisation, in which
case wheel flanges can climb the rails. (Same with Proto:87, the HO
analog to P4.) If you increase the equalisation, P4 should work. Build a
test track 10ft or so long, partly in shade and partly in sun, and see
what happens. Why not ask jane about the tracking problems encountered,
maintenance needed, etc. That should give you a better idea of the
feasibility of P4.
BTW, on any outdoor railway, the track support is crucial. Making a
stable one will cost quite a bit. For example, if the posts aren't sunk
deep enough, then changes in soil moisture will tend to heave them
about. If you live in an area where the soil freezes over winter, that
problem is compounded. Etc.
Ok then, Jane, what kinds of things do you find? I know that doing it
in P4 is a long shot....perhaps i'm being overly optimistic. One thing
as well Jane, is do you have track circuits for the signalling or have
you not gone that far?
I do realise that the quality of my upright supports is crucial to this
projects success. I would like to do it in P4 though, so may give it a
whirl as a test bed as Wolf suggests.
The table-top the main line of my layout is built on is made of a
reasonable-quality (not Latvian birch, but also not the rubbish you get
in B&Q) 3/4-inch plywood. After seven years in place, the plies have
started separating in a few places (one place was bad after two years),
and I have controlled the associated warping by means of steel mending
plates in the locations that affect the track levels.
I thought I'd try something different for the branch line, which was a
mistake, and I have to keep an eye on the superelevation to make sure it
doesn't become subelevation (!)
For the curves on the helix, I used second-hand 19mm. thick decking cut
into 6 in. lengths and laid acrosswise, supported by 25 mm. aluminium
angle, topped off with 4 mm. Latvian birch ply: these are supported at
approximately 3-feet intervals (i.e. 45 degrees on a 4-foot radius) by
the fence-posts I use for supports. As the helix is on an approximately
constant 1 in 75 gradient, it is essential to sort out the
superelevation on the easements to the curves so the wheels on the
outside rail do not rise above the rail (which will cause them to
derail). It can be quite tricky to get this right.
I think it can be done. Just don't try to do it too quickly.
All my track is flex-track, with pointwork by Peco and Shinohara.
Unfortunately, nobody I can find in my trawls of the Walthers catalog or
of the internet does a proper double junction, so I am going to have to
build one by hand. (I am thinking of building this to OO-SF - the
flangeways on the Shinohara points are 1 mm. at the V and 1.33 mm. at
the check rails, so I think everything I've got will go through the 1
mm. gaps of OO-SF all right.) When I do this, it will be mounted on a
completely new baseboard made of Latvian birch ply, with all the
switching and interlocking underneath. It could be interesting to see
how all this, including my hand-built track stands up to the rigours of
the south-east London weather.
Signalling is for the future. I was not going to use track circuits, but
I have been thinking of IRDOT by Heathcote Electronics.
I use my layout in both British and US mode, so any signalling method
has to be compatible with both, unless of course I invoke rule 1 (it's
my railway and I'll do what I like) and use 4-aspect UK-style signals on
the main and UK-style semaphores on the branch for all operating
Of course, as the signalling is still under consideration, I might write
my own computer program to control the signals one way for British mode
and another for US mode.
At present my layout is still in "test bed" mode, as I haven't built any
lineside structures, let alone scenery, etc. for it.
British OO, American and Australian HO, and DCC in the garden
I have done a bit of hand building of pointwork and enjoy it immensely.
Do yourself a favour, if you've not done any P-Way construction like
this then buy a copy of Iain Rice's book. It called something like 'An
Approach to building finescale track in 4mm scale'. Bit of a gobful but
if you put his name into Amazon then you'll get what you want.
Like I said I would like to put P4 in the garden. My son wants me to do
in 00 gauge because al his stock is 00, so may go the 00 route to save
bottom lip trauma!
You mention doing your own code for it? What do you programme in?
Well I have decided that a plank of wook left out over the Winter is a
good idea, with some P4 track and P and C work on it. I shall decide
thereafter what i'm going to do.
Thanks for the responses.
Robert Wilson wrote:
On Wed, 14 Nov 2007 16:10:19 +0000, Robert Wilson
If I was putting track outside, I think I would go for components
like the C&L plastic sleepers and chairs. I think the Brooks Smith
ply and rivet method might not survive too well - particluarly the
thin ply sleepers
Subject to checking the UV sensitivity of the plastics. Some degrade rather
rapidly in direct sunlight, others are stable pretty much indefinitely.
Ply sleepers depends on the ply and the weatherproofing of the ply. The
stuff usually supplied for sleepers will need some weatherproofing to avoid
delamination, but that should be possible with the sort of treatments used
for ply boat building.
Webmaster at http://www.2mm.org.uk/
Actually i'm using the InterCity Models/P4Track Company moulded
sleepers. The concrete ones I mean. I emailed Pete and he said that
the plastic is UV proof to an extent, but I should paint them.
I shall give it a whirl and report back in a while.
Nigel Cliffe wrote:
One of my customers told me some time ago that he had been helping to
operate a P4 layout (with hand-built track) at an model railway show. At
lunchtime the layout owner was about to disappear for lunch when he told my
friend not to try cleaning the track. When he asked why he was told that it
goes out of gauge VERY easily.
If that is typical of P4 hand-built track (is there anything else?) then I
suspect you can forget outdoor use completely.
In every gauge/standard of track, there is crap track and there is well made
Well made requires a hell of a lot of abuse to go out of gauge.
( and the there is RTR P4 plain line. I suspect one could call some of the
turnout kits less than hand-laid ).
- Nigel (2mm and P4 modeller).
Webmaster at http://www.2mm.org.uk/
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