Garden railroads

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Large Scale

Garden railroads
Getting Started
DCC in Garden
G Scale Details
Track Cleaning
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A Large Scale locomotive on dual gauge track.
Mamod live steam locomotive and train on a garden railway layout

A garden railroad or garden railway is a model railway system set up outdoors in a garden. Most often, it is #1 gauge rail track with a G scale or similar train. Lehmann Gross Bahn (LGB) first popularised these trains, and more recently other manufacturers such as Aristo Craft Trains and USA Trains have prodcued models in this scale/gauge combination. Atlas O also makes weatherproof #0 gauge tracks for O scale, very suitable for smaller gardens and patios.

Compared to indoor railroads

At its most basic level, a garden railroad works just like an indoor railway, including turnouts and turntables. However, special considerations must be taken for everything from sunlight and water to dirt and leaves, and even wildlife. The distance covered also means that electrical resistance in and between sections is much higher, and electrical power will tend to drop off at the far end for a track. Thankfully, DCC applies full power to the rails to help mitigate these factors.

Getting started in Garden Railroading

Garden Railway in a Backyard
Main article: Getting started in the garden

Getting started in Garden Railroading can be quite intimidating. There is an entire article on getting started in the garden which you may find useful. It details out some things to consider when just starting out in large scale garden railroads.

Other topics

Here are some other topics which you might be interested in:

  • Large scales explained - Large scale is perhaps the most confusing in terms of scales. Rolling stock ranges from 1:20.3 (narrow gauge) all the way up to 1:29 (standard gauge).
  • Trucks and Wheelsets - It is especially important for outdoor railways to change to metal wheelsets.
  • Tracks for the garden - Selecting the best track for your layout is important to keeping your trains running, and not you.
  • Rail joints in the garden - Keep your rails joined and aligned throughout the year by using clamps and Expansion joints expansion joints to hold sections together.
  • Ballast Types - There are many different types of ballast. See what people are using for various parts of the country.

Gardening for garden railroads

Main article: Gardening for garden railroads

Plants are usually an integral part of a garden railway, and dwarf varieties along with pruning are often used to keep them in proper proportion. Some go so far as to use bonsai techniques, however this can be very time-consuming for large areas. Please see the main article on Gardening for garden railroads for tips on species selection and more.

Buildings for garden railroads

Main article: Buildings for garden railroads

Buildings are also often used in a garden railway, though they too must be constructed to withstand the weather. Train stations and freight depots are popular, some even building whole towns trackside. The loco shed is a common place to store a locomotive (or the whole train) when not in use. Some building even double as housing for stationary decoders.

DCC in the Garden

Main article: DCC in the garden

Generally speaking, using DCC versus indoors is almost the same. The only exceptions are for larger boosters and larger power supplies due to the larger nature of the scale. Also, you'll need to protect your electronics from the outside elements. Please see the DCC in the garden article for further reading.


Main article: Large Scale FAQ

FAQs are also a great source of information, rather your just getting started or an expert (maybe you can could even answer some questions).

Other Garden Railroad Articles

  • Track cleaning in the garden - How to clean your tracks in the garden
  • G scale - Article about various G scale sizes, and why so many?
  • Placing electronics outside - Article request on how to permanently install command stations, boosters, etc, outside so they wont' be ruined.
  • G scale - Article about various G scale sizes, and why so many?
  • Laying track outdoors - Article request on the various methods of laying track outdoors to survive the weather.

See Also

Links to general DCCWIki articles.

External Links

There are many great websites dedicated to garden railroading.

Not working (yet): Garden Rail Magazine