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Editor's Note, 2023: I first wrote this article about 2003, back when half our readers were still using VGA screens and at least a third were still on dial-up, so we only put photos in when they were necessary.

Also, back then, most Garden Railroaders had tried all of the major brands, and hobbyists varied between lessez-fair "ten-foot-rule" approaches and violent opposition to certain manufacturers. So when I listed the brands below, most readers knew exactly what I was talking about.

Lionel had already stopped manufacturing most of their track-powered G gauge trains. They were, as a rule, about 1:30 in height, 1:32 in width, and 1:35 or so in length. In other words, compressed in length and width like their indoor trains. (Their passenger cars were half the length they "should have been," which made them toylike, but I wasn't running them as a rule outdoors.) The ore cars were great. The boxcars had molded-on handrails and ladders, which I found objectionable at the time, having compared them to Aristo's nicely detailed cars. One exception - Lionel came closest to getting PRR's "Tuscan Red" paint right of all the Large Scale manufacturers, so I gave The Lionel PRR refrigerator car a "buy."

Model Die Casting (MDC/Roundhouse) made car kits and a few ready-to-run cars in about 1:32. Handrails and ladders were molded on, giving the boxcars a toylike appearance compared to AristoCraft. However their ore cars looked great. Today, MDC is out of business, but PIKO is using several of the same molds for their ore cars, boxcars, and cabooses (which are, inexplicably, closer to 1:24).

AristoCraft was the first and only full-service G-gauge model railroad manufacturer, with a growing line of locomotive and car types. Though "standard gauge trains" running on 45mm track should technically have been in 1:32, Aristo mostly manufactured in 1:29, which their competitors found objectionable in many ways and complained about continuously. That said, not one person in a thousand would have looked at an Aristo train and the track it was running on and guessed that the trains were 10% "too large."

Aristo's box cars were so close to LGBs and Bachmann's in overall size, that many garden railroaders blithely combined all three on the same train (after figuring out how to attach Aristo couplers to the LGB or Bachmann ones). The fact that the ladders on Aristo's cars had seven rungs, and the ladders on the Bachmann and LGB cars had only 5, didn't put off many people. Nor did the different location of the brake wheels.

At first, USA Trains (Charles Ro) made narrow gauge equipment that resembled Bachmann's, but then their owners settled on Aristo's track, couplers, and scale as their standard, so the USA Trains pieces that are still made are 100% compatible with Aristo.

Sadly, when Aristo went out of business about 2010, their competitors rejoiced vindictively, but none of them ever did a tenth for garden railroaders what AristoCraft did.

At this point, a list of what I was using fifteen or more years ago is probably redundant. But I'm leaving it here, because there are indexes pointing to it elsewhere on the site.

We now return you to the article as it was updated in 2008:

Rolling Stock (as of 2005-2008)

What rolling stock I use depends on whether I'm running D&RG Narrow Gauge or PRR Standard Gauge.

Standard Gauge (Mostly PRR)

When I'm running Standard Gauge, I run mostly Aristo, with a few Bachmann cars that don't look too bad with them, such as the flats and tankers. I have one Lionel PRR reefer that looks okay at the head of an Aristo heavyweight train. I've tried other Lionel and MDC, but after handling Aristo, those brands with their molded-on hand railings, etc., just feel cheap, so I've rotated out most of the Lionel and MDC. (I do have two MDC ore cars, but they're closer to 1:24, and labeled for D&RGW, so I run them with the narrow gauge stuff.)

Narrow Gauge (Mostly D&RG/D&RGW)

When I'm running D&RGW, I run mostly Lionel and Bachmann. The "heart" of the D&RGW setup is my daughter's Lionel Gold Rush set, which includes a foreshortened 0-6-0 with a very nice paint job, a foreshortened wooden gondola, and a foreshortened "drovers' caboose." When I say "foreshortened" I mean that they are about 32:1 or smaller in length, about 29:1 in width, but about 24:1 in height. Take a picture of the prototype and stretch it vertically by 30% or more and you'll get the drift. But they're pretty solid and the loco runs well.

Also, the Bachmann wooden gondolas, boxcars, and stock cars that look silly in a standard gauge consist look fine with the Lionel set. Other D&RG/D&RGW gear comes and goes, depending on mood. We occasionally have LGB, which also mixes well.

Next - Proceed to our article "About the Owner/Author/Lead Editor," which describes Paul's circumstances and approach to garden railroading in the early 2000s

Previous - Return to our article "Motive Power, which was written in 2003, and updated in 2008. It describes the locomotive we were using most of the time to pull trains on the New Boston and Donnels Creek.

Note: The following list is in reverse chronological order. If you want to start at the beginning, go to "About New Boston and Donnels Creek" and work your way forward, by selecting the next article at the end of each page.

Return to our article "June, 2003 Photos, to see what our railroad looked like four years after we broke ground, and one year after the 2002 convention.

Return to our article "Layout So Far," which describes the track plan, plants, etc. of our garden railroad as of the early spring of 2003.

Return to our "January, 2003" article, which includes photo of our railroad caught in a 6"-8" snow right after running trains at Christmas.

Return to our "June, 2002 Photos article, which contains photos of our garden railroad as it was set up for the 2002 National Garden Railway Convention in Cincinnati.

Return to "What to Do When a Tree Eats Your Railroad."

To return to our article "Stress Testing on the NB&DC RR," click here.

To return to our NBDC 1998-2000 Pictures page, click here.

To return to Landscaping and Pond Construction, 1998-1999, click here,

To return to our page "About New Boston and Donnels Creek" click here.

To return to the New Boston and Donnels Creek Index Page, click here

To return to the Family Garden Trains Home Page, click here

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