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O Gauge Outside Articles - Index to articles about using O Gauge and O Scale Trains and Accessories on Garden Railroads. Click for bigger photo. Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden Railroading
Large Scale Starter Sets: Begin with a train you'll be proud to run Best Choices for Beginning Garden Railroaders: a short list of things you're most likely to need when starting out
Large Scale Track order FormSturdy buildings for your garden railroad.
Large Scale Christmas Trains: Trains with a holiday theme for garden or professional display railroads.Free Large Scale Signs and Graphics: Bring your railroad to life with street signs, business signs, and railroad signs
Garden Railroading Books, Magazines, and Videos: Where to go to learn even more
Collectible Trains and Villages: On30 Trains and accessories designed by Thomas Kinkade and others

Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)

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O Gauge Outside Articles - Tips and Tricks for Using O Gauge Trains and O Scale Accessories on Garden Railroads

Long before LGB reinvigorated garden railroading with their "G-Gauge" trains, people had been running other kinds of trains outdoors, including O-gauge trains from companies like Lionel. Of course Lionel trains and accessories were rust-prone, so people had to take their trains back in when the weather turned damp, but recent developments in track have made O Gauge Outside more feasible than it was just a few years ago.

If you don't already have Lionel trains and accessories, and you want a garden railroad, please investigate Large Scale trains, like those by AristoCraft, Bachmann Big Hauler, and LGB - it really is easier to build a garden railroad with trains that are made to run outside.

But if you own and love Lionel and similar trains, you can have a working O gauge railroad outside. Several folks who are breaking new ground in this hobby have been keeping me informed, as new products, methods, and technologies become available. The following articles are currently available on the Family Garden Trains(tm) web pages:

  • Introduction to "O Gauge Outside - An overview of the state of the hobby, including both the successes that have occurred and the compromises folks have had to make.Click to go to article.

  • Planning an O-Gauge-Outside Railroad - What to consider, what options have been tried, how to protect your trains, and much more.

  • Click to go to articleFred Young's Ground-Level Arizona Railroad - A ground-level railroad that has lots of operational options and some unique ways of adapting to the Arizona summer sun.

  • Evolution of the B&P Garden Railroad - A detailed series of articles by Bob and Pat Canfield, describing their progress building an elevated O-gauge railroad in the Las Vegas vicinity. Although Bob and Pat created a world-class infrastructure ("benchwork") for their railroad, they also learned some hard lessons about Atlas Nickel Silver track and using HDPE for roadbed in a hot climate. Articles include:Click to go to article.

    • Part 1 - Designing an O Gauge Hi-Rail railroad for outdoor use

    • Click to go to article.Part 2 - Building an HDPE Roadbed Infrastructure That Will Survive Las Vegas Summers.

    • Part 3 - Finishing Touches on an HDPE Roadbed. Little touches that make an HDPE Click to go to articleroadbed look great.

    • Part 4 - Installing Atlas Nickel-Silver O-Gauge track on HDPE Roadbed. When three-rail flextrack is a good idea and when it isn't, and more.

    • Part 5 - HDPE Expansion in the Nevada SummerClick to go to article

    • Part 6 - Additional Track Repair, Storage, and Wiring for TMCC

    • Part 7 - Final Outcome and Lessons Learned

  • Using Lionel's TrainMaster? Command Control Outside - Tips for using TMCC outside, including wiring suggestions and methods for providing a "ground plane" in an outdoor environment.

  • Click to go to article.Using O Gauge Gargraves Track (Outside) - Tips on when to order preformed curves and when to use "flextrack." Also, what works and what doesn't work in Arizona, where termites eat wood and desert sun softens plastic.

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Return to Family Garden Trains Home page Return to Big Indoor Trains Home page Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and  running well Big Indoor Trains Primer Articles: All about setting  up and displaying indoor display trains and towns. Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden Railroading Big Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display  villages and railroads

Note: Family Garden Trains?, Garden Train Store?, Big Christmas Trains?, BIG Indoor Trains?, and BIG Train Store? are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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