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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

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What is "Garden Railroading"?

Garden Railroading is the construction and operation of model railroads outdoors among living landscapes.

Is this the same size as Lionel?

No.  Lionel is 1/48 scale.  G ranges anywhere from 1/20 to 1/32.  A general rule of thumb is G is double the size of Lionel/O scale (1/48) and triple the size of HO (1/87).  Most people model G at 1/24 or 1/32 scale.  

This photo shows G, O, S, HO and N.



How Much Do You Leave Outside?

The trains are only out when the layout is in operation.  While most members carry the trains in by hand, some members have used pet doors to run the trains into the basement for storage.

The track stays down year round.  Some of the track has been in place for ten years.    As with indoor railroads, the track must occasionally be cleaned of dirt and grime.

Can Trains Run In Snow?

Trains can be run outside during Michigan winters.  Some members have snow plow cars while other members shovel the rails by hand and then run trains.  Working model "Rotary Snowplows" do exist, however the working part is more for show than functionality.

How Do You Deal With the outdoors ?

Tunnels are blocked when not in use to keep critters out. 

Weeds are kept down by use of landscape fabric under areas where weeds are undesired.

Plants are trimmed with a weed whacker.  Proposals of mounting a weed whacker on a flat car have been made but never attempted.  A chainsaw or model airplane engine would be necessary due to size restrictions and the inability of the track to provide adequate power. to drive an electric motor.

Erosion is controlled via retaining walls.

What Kind of Track Do You Use?

The track on the club layout is a combination of brass and aluminum. 

The brass is less expensive but more prone to corrosion and requires more frequent cleaning.  Brass track can be spotted by its gold rail appearance, which tarnishes to near black in color.  The tarnish does not affect electrical conductivity.

Where Do the Buildings Come From?

The buildings are a collection of kits purchased from hobby stores, scratch built structures, bird houses and children's toys (e.g. Fisher Price).  

And the Vehicles?

Many model car kits you find at toy stores are 1/24 or 1/25 scale.  Also, bank trucks are often 1/25 scale.