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Location location location Where can I keep my model railway?

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Old 13-10-2016, 10:55 AM   #1
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Default Garden layouts oo gauge

Interested in how they react to the weather and how people protect their layout from the elements outside.
Many thanks
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Old 13-10-2016, 01:42 PM   #2
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Nickel silver rail is used and it is good practice for all joints to have a soldered extra wire. Also allow slight gaps between rails for expansion. I read an article in the 1970's to early 80's where one model railway outdoors in 00 gauge was played on a concrete base and a weak concrete ballast mix was used as the writer found out that nickel silver and concrete expansion in heat were similar to each other. He said his line had been in use for a good few years without any issues. More modern methods are using rubbercrete which is a concrete and rubber mix like they use in play parks. Some have successfully used wood in various forms. One was hardwood and another was marine ply. If using wood it is good practice to lay felt before laying track. Wood where I live is a bit out of the question as marine ply only lasts 5 to 10 years if not painted due to living on a hill near the sea. (My bicycles I had when I first moved here back in the 80's needed their wheels rubbing down every other week, though when I was in the village below, it would be around twice a year. Was a good thing when I converted to aluminium rims, though up here aluminium rims need changing between 10 to 20 years).
While concrete preferably raised up from the ground to prevent too many plants overgrowing the track is preferable, what needs careful attention is minimising gradients. My early experiments proved this point. I just dug a trench in the field as it looked roughly level and poured in a cement mix. After cement dried I put some track on the base, and out came the first loco at hand that was either a Lima or Hornby mainline diesel (Happened to be a Lima GWR railcar that used the same motor bogie so was appropriate), added a rake of around 8 Lima coaches and sent it down the field. Wow it went well, until I tried it in reverse. It hardly moved. I took off some coaches and left four. It still struggled to move. I went down to the single extra coach and it moved but with difficulty. The track base looked level. Puzzled, I put my head down level with the floor and the gradient horrified me! So make the track base as level as you are able.
Pointwork should be kept to a minimum outdoors. While they can certainly be used, you may find you need to not rely on the rails to supply current but bridge these with soldered wires instead. (You do this with DCC anyway!) Point motors to be surface mounted and if possible mount under huts or something for weather protection.
Running in the rain is certainly possible. After the track has been weathered and has the sides oxidised into a lovely realistic brown colour, even floods will not short it. Rainwater is unlikely to short the current even in a flood. However tap water will due to the mineral content.
For safety though, all controllers and transformers etc should be kept indoors in a suitable shed or similar.
I think that covers most of it! Enjoy!
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