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Hornby steam in the garden

19272 Views 83 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  manlie
Just become the proud owner of the real steam "hornby Flying Scotsman" I dont want to run it on my layout in the loft, as i have read in these pages that it can be a bit messy, so after having long descutions with the planning authorites (my wife) i finaly got permission to build a OO railway in the garden, i have had model railways for more years than we all care to remember, but this is the first time i have had the chance to go into the garden, this in turn throws up some questions i need to clear in my mind before i start?
a) I intend to have it about 30 inches off the groud, and use 6 inch wide decking boards to mount the track, the grooves in the boards may help with drainage, is this a good idea?
What track would be best suited to this. c) would the preservative in the decing boards attack the tracks plastic sleepers. d) What is the best way to fix the tracks down. Any other info would be very much appreciated before i start this project.
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The good news is Model Rail magazine has a garden rail supplement this month so rush out and pick up a copy now. There is a gent in the mag who has done exactly what you are proposing. He does say that he has replaced the track 3 times over 20 years and I suspect UV light from the sun is the cause of this and not any form of timber treatment. You could always cover the decking with mineral coated roofing felt which does look a little bit like ballast although this does get very hot in the sun.

The even better news is that Hornby Live Steam is absolutely terrific in the garden!

I place flat boards on the grass and plonk a large oval on top to give the Mallard its head in the garden and it is chuffing good. Something to watch, listen to and smell (hot lubricating oil and steam) whilst sunning in the deckchair in sunny hot mediteranean Britain. Maybe I'll get around to something more permanent one day.

Happy modelling
I will get that magazine asap, your positive feedback is very encouraging, i was thinking of using peco code 100 flexable track on the straights and pre set curves as required, any thoughts on this?
Peco is fine, but those set curves are sharp. If you run the loco by itself on them, it will de-rail.

You have to either add coaches to slow it down, or use flex-track on the curves set in a more gentle radius allowing higher speeds.

I've run the Live Steam loco on my track that has 24" radii with no problem.
There is another bit of advice I've seen which may be mentioned in the Model Rail article, and that is not to rely on the fish-plates for connections between sections of track. So you will need to run a pair of cables as per Hornby's recommendations, and at the centre of each track section solder 'droppers' to the outside of each rail which are then connected to the cables. This may also be a good reason to use flexible track everywhere as this uses fewer fishplates.
If you are making the layout a long one it might be better to use 2.5square mm cable rather than the 1 square mm cable Hornby suggests. The droppers can be soldered to stripped sections of the cables or 15amp 'choc-blocks' used to make the connection.

Good steaming - these Hornby steamers are fun!

John Webb
This is all helpfull stuff, had no real negatives yet, my thoughts on using set curves was that, how would i fix flexable track, down and also allow for the expansion and contraction to take plce with out distortion. Would set curves being sorter lengths minimise this problem? or am i worrying to much, Im hoping to get it right first time.
The Model Rail supplement goes into all this. Standard Code 100 Peco flexible track is used throughout. It is the timber trackbed that is more likely to have movement issues than the track itself and the article author has fitted steel plates on the sides of each timber track bed joint to counter this. He also suggests cutting shallow "V's" within the track at intervals to reproduce the "diddley-dum". Points are covered when not in use. Brass pins are used to fix the track.

The author uses no special wiring although he is not running Live Steam. Hornby do make recommendations for Live Steam such as the tips offered above as a good consistent current running through the track is helpful when operating Live Steam. The higher voltage can cause arcing and hot spots at fishplates when using Live Steam.

Happy modelling
The misuss has gone down town to pick up the magazine for me while i get the materials list together for this project, thanks for the help so far, if there is more info you think may be of help, please post it, may be i could take some photos as work progresses, and post them here, im looking forward to seeing my first real steam train move off along the tracks.
QUOTE (Thunder @ 10 May 2006, 15:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>a) I intend to have it about 30 inches off the groud, and use 6 inch wide decking boards to mount the track, the grooves in the boards may help with drainage, is this a good idea?

NO!!! Decking boards are designed for the grooves to be installed underneath not on top. With the grooves on top water will actually be trapped and lead to accelerated rotting of the timber. Standard decking boards are usually 90mm wide anyway. If out doors, treated pine is the only alternative however due to the poor seasoning of modern timbers it is likely to bow a bit over time and would benefit from some external sealing treatment before use. My personal favourite is rock and mortar - more expensive and time consuming but definitely will last and provides a robust foundation not dissimilar to the real thing I imagine.
QUOTE NO!!! Decking boards are designed for the grooves to be installed underneath not on top. With the grooves on top water will actually be trapped and lead to accelerated rotting of the timber...

That may be the case in Australia, but in the Uk, decking boards are laid with the groves facing upwards, these boards are 140mm wide x 30mm thick they are also pressure treated with preservative, but i do take your point on board (no pun intended) so i have routed out groves across the manufactured groves, so that water does have an escape route. if i where to lay the track on flat boards, water would defiantly get trapped between the sleeper because of the way peco 00 track is manufactured. these boards will receive an additional two coats of preservative before any track is laid.
Have managed to put down 25 meters of decking in the garden and woke up this morning to find we have had a down pour of rain over night, and theres not a single area with surface water laying on it, all that extra work in getting things level and correct certainly pays off, on another note, the planning officer popped out to check things yesterday (thats the wife) and her first comment was, "spose its alright", "is it gonna stay that colour?" she was referring to the colour of the boards that the tracks will be pinned too, they are the colour as straight from the builders merchants, i been told that colours for decking are available, so what i'm asking now is, what colour would you recommend for my track bed?
I was going to use brown, but then thought that i wont be able to see the brown timber sleepers against brown track bed, so any advice would be gratefully received. Many thanks for all the replies todate, PS i'm dreading doing all the soldiering work to each piece of track......
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Show us some photos if you can, it sounds interesting.

I suppose the wood is quite new and stands out quite a bit. If you are feeling adventurous, you could paint it brown to blend in with the garden and do a strip about 2 inches wide in grey to simulate ballast under the track.
I would be happy to post some photos here, if i only new how to, (can any one point me in the right direction to do this?). Sounds a good idea to paint a grey strip on the boards, but i'm not sure if its possible to paint over brown preservative? think it may be best to just go with one colour.
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Click on the link below which takes you to a thread at Model Rail Forum that instructs how to post digital images:-

We are all curious to see what you have done as you seem to have moved forward in record time and you could have your Hornby Live Steam up and running by the end of the weekend at this rate (soldering skills permitting)!

Mind you, you can tell England are about to win a cricket test match as its started to rain!

Happy modelling
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I have to admit that i am enjoying myself building this garden railway, i hope it all works when its done, i have posted some photos on geocities you should be able to access them via this link i hope you find it interesting. I don't think it will be up and running that quick, if this link is not sucessfull, i will try the one gary has mentioned above
Click here to view Thunder's pictures.

Asda are selling England World Cup gnomes for £4.99.

Happy modelling
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Thanks for making the link for me Gary, its taken longer to post those photos than it did to lay the track bed.
Regards John
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Just a quick update. All the track bed is now in place, and coated with brown preservative, I now need to let that soak well in, before laying the track work, and doing the dreaded electrical connections, I need to order a fair amount of OO gauge peco 100 flexible track, any suggestions where best to purchase this? I cant make my mind up as to wether i should do any balasting or just put the track down onto the bare boards, would balasting last through the winter, and is it really worth the effort on a garden layout
any ones thoughts on this would be welcomed...
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The cheapest place I found for track was RoS...

How are you soldering it?

Not track to track I hope. That won't allow any expansion in the heat and cold. What you can do is use normal fishplates to join the rails, and then solder copper wire between each section of track. This could be done in your workshop or even on the dining room table (in a zig-zag, then unfolded outside). About 2" wire soldered under the track should maintain a perfect circuit even if the fishplates loose conductivity.

If you would like to ballast the track, add the ballast once the track is laid. Wood glue (PVA) goes a milky white colour in the rain and cold so it is not recommended for outdoors. Use a cement mix to set your ballast instead.
Thats an idea i have not thought of!!! soldiering wires to the track before laying them, i will give it a try, should be ok on the straight sections but not sure how it may work when forming the curves? I'm now seriously thinking of using granular roof felt (like the type you get on shed roofs) for balasting, any one tried this? was it succesful?, My track is on order from RoS, and while i was on their website, i noticed that the Bachman 9F is shown, i now got to dig a bit deeper, as i got to have one, i reckon it will look great trundling around the garden, with a rake of goods wagons. when its actually is released.
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