G scale is a scale often used in model railways because of it’s size and durability. Garden railroads allow you to combine two hobbies, gardening and model trains making them fun for people of all ages. If you have experience running an indoor railroad then setting up a garden railroad will not provide you with too many headaches.
Once you have determined the amount of space required for your railroad you need to take into account two factors. Firstly for both smooth and realistic operation you want to have the largest corner radius as possible, preferably greater than 10 foot although you can get away with 5 foot.
Elevation of the ground also needs to be taken into account. Trains can struggle when climbing a gradient greater than 5% especially if you are running a lot of carriages and around corners. If your garden is not very level then you may need to build your railroad up of the ground using trestles.
Power and control
Garden trains can be powered using either track power or battery power. Most starter sets will use track power which will allow you to run a wide variety of locomotives without the need to do any conversions. If you want to run more than one train on powered tracks you will need to install a DCC system. Battery powered trains can be run off rechargeable Ni-Cad batteries and are controlled using a RC system.
If you are building your first garden railroad its best to start by purchasing a starter set containing track, power supply and a train. Extra track can then be purchased to suit the space you have available. Here are some of the popular G scale train manufacturers:
If you are on a tight budget or looking to save some money then its worth checking out eBay as some great deals appear from time to time, the eBay G scale page can be found here.
You should dig a small trench that is filled with gravel to provide a solid base and drainage, however this can be quite time consuming and is not completely necessary. Once you have planned were your track is going to run you should lay down sheets of newspaper then cover with a weed protection cloth.
Next you can begin laying your track on top of the weed cloth ensuring all joins are secure. At this point it’s wise to test your track to see if its working correctly before proceeding to the next step.
The track is secured into place using a gravel roadbed. Cover your tracks with the gravel brushing it between all the ties. Gently tap down on the track to ensure it is secure and remove any large pieces of gravel that may obstruct the track.
Garden railroad maintenance
To ensure your garden railroad runs without any problems you will need to undertake some maintenance, if performed regularly this won’t take you much time at all.