Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are large scale trains? "Large Scale" is a term that denotes trains that are larger than 0 scale (1:48) but smaller than the trains that are large enough to ride on. Large-scale trains generally run on gauge 0, gauge 1, or gauge 3 track.
2. Do you leave them outdoors all the time? Most people bring their trains indoors when they are not running, even though most brands can withstand prolonged exposure to the elements. Some people have built tracks that run indoors through the walls of their houses or into an outdoor shed or storage area. However, the rest of the infrastructure-track, bridges, buildings-stay out year round.
3. Can a garden railway be built in areas that receive snow? Certainly. A garden railway faces all the same natural hazards as a full-size railroad, including rain, sleet, snow, and gloom of night. That's all part of the fun. People in the northern climes often have working snowplows to clear their lines. These can take the form of a simple wedge plow mounted to a locomotive's pilot or to a gondola car pushed ahead of the engine, to working rotary plows that will toss the snow 8' or more to one side.
Watch Video... (Marty Cozad's Railway)
Snow, of course, is one of those things you can't scale down. A moderate 6" snow scales out to 12' in 1:24 scale. Keep this in mind when expecting your plow to clear the track. Also, light, powdery snow is much easier to clear away than the wet, heavy stuff.
Sometimes there's nothing to do but get out a shovel and scrape it off yourself if you want to run trains. Another hazard is ice on the track. This is one that is difficult to overcome, and some days all you can do is go back indoors and finish that project you started.
4. Won't you get electrocuted if you run electricity outdoors? No. Our trains, like those in the smaller scales, run on low-voltage DC, usually 18-24V. Thus, it is perfectly safe to run your trains outdoors, even in the rain or snow.
However, the power pack should be kept indoors at all times and should be connected to the mains via a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which is available at your hardware store. That way, should something malfunction within the powerpack (which is unlikely), the breaker in the GFCI will trip and all will be well.