Reader Question "Best Trains to Use Outside"
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Author:  paulrace [ Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Reader Question "Best Trains to Use Outside"

A reader asks:

I'm interested in an outdoor train to go around my water garden which has a 21 ft long waterfall that goes into the pond and recirculates the water.

What is the best brand of train to use for outdoors?

-----------our answer - feel free to reply with your own ideas, but be nice. -----------

Best is relative. Bachmann works outside. Piko is a little sturdier.
USA Trains is sturdier. LGB is much sturdier. I have mostly Aristocraft who went out of business last year, but there are still sets around.

AristoCraft's track is the best. It is now being sold as GeneratioNext. USA Trains track is very similar. Bachmann's brass track (not the stuff that comes with their sets) is almost as good.

Author:  paulrace [ Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader Question "Best Trains to Use Outside"

The same reader's followup question:

Can certain train engines and cars stay out in the weather?

----------our answer - feel free to add your own opinion but be nice----------------

All of them will survive getting rained on occasionally. Most of them will handle a few months of staying outside before pieces start to break off. I recommend taking them in at night.

Author:  paulrace [ Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader Question "Best Trains to Use Outside"

Nudder followup question from the same reader:

Is it best to buy a starter train set or buy the engine and cars I like separately? Would it be more cost effective to buy pieces off Ebay?

-------our reply. feel free to add your own below but be nice.----------------

Starter set. I have gotten good deals on eBay and I have gotten s******d. You have to know what you're looking at and watch the so-called shipping charges. You don't want to pay $50 plus $20 "shipping" for a car that would cost your $60 new from a store.

Author:  paulrace [ Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader Question "Best Trains to Use Outside"

Nudder followup question from the same reader:

I have 0 gauge MTH trains in my house and I found to get exactly what you want it was better to buy engine and cars separately. The main reason is I wanted all premiere trains.

Are there lower quality engines and cars when buying from starter sets?

-----------our answer - feel free to add yours below, but be nice ---------------

Yes, Bachmann Big Hauler train sets have lower quality and much lower cost than buying equivalent pieces separately.

Author:  SkippyGP [ Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reader Question "Best Trains to Use Outside"

We live in the "boonies" so have no train shop nearby. All of our track, engines and rolling stock have been purchased online. Mostly on ebay. We've never had a bum item, but then we check the seller's feedback completely before we bid on anything. If there is anything suspect (comments about items not being as described, broken in shipping, excessive shipping, or not responding to emails) we pass, even if it is an item we'd really like to have. There's usually another just like it listed. Sometimes, paying a bit more is worth it to get an item you won't have problems with or have to return.

We bring our locomotives in after we're done running them. Wisconsin's weather runs the gamut from hot and dry to humid with rain to below zero temps and snow. Locomotives are a HUGE investment and we don't want to take any chances on weather related issues causing them to stop running.

Our rolling stock is kept in locked, made for the outdoors cabinets (Rubbermaid), right by our garden railroad, to which we added shelves. The only time we bring any of the cars up to the house is if there is some issue such as squeaky wheels or lights not working that we need to fix. They are protected from rain and snow, and from the sun causing fading, but the cabinets are not air tight. All our rolling stock has been outside for at least 5 years now and we haven't had one problem with breakage, parts falling off, etc.

As for the "best" brand to buy, it all depends on what you want to run. We have Aristo-Craft and USA Trains locomotives. They have been dependable and look great, plus they are based on US prototypes, which we like. LGB locomotives and rolling stock are patterned after British/European railroads, which look much different than US railroads.

So, choose a style you like and check ebay to see what is out there. Even if you choose to go to a local train shop, or to a train show, to purchase your items, you'll have an idea of what is available and can make a better decision on what you'd like to buy instead of just getting the first G Scale set that you see.

Another thing to consider, when buying a set, is the type of track that is included with it, and the size of the loop that you'll be able to put together once you've got everything out of the box. Bachmann sets all come with inexpensive track that should only be used indoors. Or, if you do set it up outside, you'll have to take it inside once you're done. This is fine if you're only planning to run your train around the Christmas tree or in the basement.

However, there is nothing wrong with buying all of your items separately and mixing and matching them to get the consist that you want. If you look at a real train, you'll see cars of all shapes and sizes. Some taller than others, some shorter than others. Look closely and you'll find the same type of car (box car, tank car, flat car, covered hopper, etc.) in several sizes. There's no reason that you can't have the same combinations on your own railroad.

All of the track that we use is brass. We have a combination of USA Trains and Aristo-Craft track. They work just fine together. Ours is permanently outside and we've never had a problem with it. In fact, we don't even worry about cleaning it the first time we run after the snow has melted. We simply put one of our larger locomotives on the track and attach our cleaning car which is a USA Trains flat car with a wood load to which we've attached a cleaning pad on the underside, and let them go around the track 3 or 4 times. We've never had to clean our track manually before running first thing after winter.

So, look at what is available. Go to a train shop or to a show and check out the various brands and see what catches your eye. Look on ebay and spend some time looking at "G Scale Locomotives" or "G Scale Engines" and find something you like. That will give you a starting point.

You'll probably want to add to your first consist anyway, once you get started. Have fun! That's what this hobby is all about!


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