A reader writes:
I am setting up a fairy garden and i thought a train would add to the atmosphere. I have a model train HO scale.
question: What do you do with the train during stormy weather?
Thanks for getting in touch.
Most people running trains outdoors run Large Scale trains, sometimes called G gauge. They are much larger than your HO train. The track is made to stay outdoors, which your HO track is not.
We bring our trains in when we're not running them. Some folks just have a bin to put them in. Other folks have a tunnel into the house or garage for them to go into. I built a shed on one end of my railroad that my trains can run into and stay out of the weather.
Unfortunately, Large Scale/G gauge trains are too large for most fairy gardens. O gauge trains, like Lionel, are closer in size, but the track isn't really made for outdoors either. There are track options made by other manufacturers, which some people have used so they could run their Lionel trains outside. Again, the trains have to come in when you're not running them. Even moreso, because Lionel trains can rust if they're just stored in a damp place.
But if O gauge sounds like a possibility, you can get three-rail track with brass or stainless steel rails and plastic ties. You can paint the ties to protect them from UV rays.
Folks who've tried HO trains (or On30 trains) have one other issue - they are so lightweight, they can get blown off the rails by a fairly light breeze.
Back to the most direct answer to your question. It is somewhat possible, taking the following precautions.
If your track has brass rails,
- You paint the ties with "outdoor," UV-resistant paint.
- You set the track on something very solid all the way around.
You get your trains out only in nice weather.
If you try it and it's fun but it's hard to keep the train on the track or some such, you can always go to a larger scale. I warn you though, once you try an LGB or PIKO Large Scale train, you'll have trouble going back.