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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right now, sadly I don't have a large backyard to build the live steam garden railway of my dreams. What I DO have is a 5x9 porch with a concrete floor. I recently bought a roundhouse Millie (one of the last!!) and am trying to figure out how to make the most with what I've
got. I have some 6 in x 1 in cedar boards with (nonflammable) acrylic staining and was thinking of just putting together a small slightly elevated oval with some plants in the middle. What is the community's thoughts of running live steam on a layout with a wooden base?
Train Steam engine Wheel Rolling Vehicle
 

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Right now, sadly I don't have a large backyard to build the live steam garden railway of my dreams. What I DO have is a 5x9 porch with a concrete floor. I recently bought a roundhouse Millie (one of the last!!) and am trying to figure out how to make the most with what I've
got. I have some 6 in x 1 in cedar boards with (nonflammable) acrylic staining and was thinking of just putting together a small slightly elevated oval with some plants in the middle. What is the community's thoughts of running live steam on a layout with a wooden base?
View attachment 64520
Right now, sadly I don't have a large backyard to build the live steam garden railway of my dreams. What I DO have is a 5x9 porch with a concrete floor. I recently bought a roundhouse Millie (one of the last!!) and am trying to figure out how to make the most with what I've
got. I have some 6 in x 1 in cedar boards with (nonflammable) acrylic staining and was thinking of just putting together a small slightly elevated oval with some plants in the middle. What is the community's thoughts of running live steam on a layout with a wooden base?
View attachment 64520
Sounds good I run on plywood painted with roofing paint
 

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I built two portable tracks of luan plywood and ran live steam at train shows for almost 20 years, The wood was coated with epoxy and spar varnish. A couple of alcohol fires and some overheating with coal in a low ash pan melted some ties but the wood was unscathed. I especially like your idea of plants in the middle. I am designing some planter boxes for my current raised layout in our screened room to give a garden effect. Be sure to post some photos of what you do.
 

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Nice loco!:)

If you want, you can mount strips of tar roof paper as "draping" of the boards, since(at least in Sweden) its covered with fine stone gravel. So it gives a very plausable road bed look. If you want, you can add even more gravel. For outdoor use, the proven method is to mix the gravel with the kind of very fine "concrete" like stuff you use for housing tles in kitchens and bathrooms.

A good source of just the right size roadbed material, is bags of different sizes an colors of decorative gravel used for fishtanks. Visit you Zoo shop, and be sure to look at the catalogue of what the can order for you! The selection is quite surprisingly varied!

A maybee not so proven method, is just to use generous amounts of regular paint as a base "glue" underneath surface. I use a variation to this method, when making coal stacks and coal loads for wagons and locomotives. I first shape some styrofoam, and then use a lot of matte clear varnish to glue the stuff together. The matte varnish is completely undetectable once it dries. For styrofoam, the varnish has to be water based - else the styrofoam will "melt".

This is actually what I'm planning for myself, since all track so far has been mounted on boards. (Long story.)

Adding a few plants, fences, bridges, a tunnel of sorts, telegraph poles, signals and a station building, as movement references, makes the running look much more varying and dynamic.

For a while I worked as a film & TV producer. The firts thing I learned, was to introduce as many static reference objects as possible, to make the movement in the picture as dynamic as possible. And we are all programmed to give attention to movement, as opposed to static visuals. (I would guess, probably for survival purposes, since moving animals and people, generally are more important than trees and stuff.) Especially at the far end of your track, the train will look much more slow, nearing "static", unless there are closely placed reference points. (Catenary has this nice effect. But wooden telegraph poles are more romantic - and cheaper to make!)

A bit surprising, I've found that lighting actually adds a lot, even in daylight!😄 If you can add lights to your locomotive and coatches, do so! The actual relatively few number of hours we run our trains, makes it very feasable to just use a battery or two in every coach.

I haven't tried lighting inside buildings yet, but I suspect that would also look nice. (I know it did in my childhood's HO scale days.)

Rule number one with any layot build, is to get something running as soon as possible. Because that energizes the continuation of the layout build! I can not stress this enough.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all of the suggestions. The nice thing about the 6 inch wide boards- theres space to line the sides with some 1/2 inch moulding to create a shallow trough, and then I can easily add some loose ballast. Definitely agree with lighting, I'm looking for working loco lamps that would fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bought working head (and tail) lamps from SLR, so now the waiting begins.

And now I'm paranoid...do I need to worry about a line temporarily priming, and the locomotive making a run for it? I was planning on running at pretty sedate speeds. What's a reasonable height/margin of safety. I could get 1 or 1.5 inch moulding but I also don't want to obscure the train too much.
 

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Millie is an excellent locomotive and you will be able to meet your goal of sedate running. I would suggest a few runs on blocks (ie pieces of 2x4 under the buffer beams) on a table at a comfortable height so you can observe how she operates with differing amounts of gas and throttle settings. With experience you should get long runs by keeping the pressure below the safety valve blow off point.
Next I would just set the oval of track you plan to use on the concrete floor of your porch and run the loco around that which may satisfy you and can easily be put away between runs. Once you gain experience you could do more such as build the raised layout you are talking about.
The two wood ones I built had raised edges but they were mostly for stiffening the sections longitudinally. My third portable was built from aluminum frames with an aluminum sandwich top and no "curbs". Most of the portables and other raised layouts I have seen, including my current non-portable one, have no curbs and there are seldom accidents.
Take things slowly, learn how your locomotive operates and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Good advice, between work and relationship, my free time is a bit erratic however will run her in as soon as I have a chance. In any event, progress has started on the actual layout. Need to still build the other half a circle, a straight section where the station (with working lamps - thanks for the recommendation Pauli) will go, as well as support for the truss bridge. Also everything will need to be finished on completion, still havent decided on spar varnish or some sort of exterior oil. Will probably be a couple of weeks before I have a chance to get more work done, but will prob start running the engine in in the interim. Also I realize this thread has deviated off topic so feel free to move to another forum if appropriate.
 

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G Guage track, 1:22.5 (maybe 1:20.3) trains, 1:24 models (finding a working engine).
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Good advice, between work and relationship, my free time is a bit erratic however will run her in as soon as I have a chance. In any event, progress has started on the actual layout. Need to still build the other half a circle, a straight section where the station (with working lamps - thanks for the recommendation Pauli) will go, as well as support for the truss bridge. Also everything will need to be finished on completion, still havent decided on spar varnish or some sort of exterior oil. Will probably be a couple of weeks before I have a chance to get more work done, but will prob start running the engine in in the interim. Also I realize this thread has deviated off topic so feel free to move to another forum if appropriate.
Why are you putting your track inside the wood ?channels?
 

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The OP said he wanted to retain ballast with the curbs.
Millie is 108mm (about 4.25") wide and the steps are vertical pieces, no wider. If his ties are 3 1/2" wide the front and rear buffers will be very close where the ties are closest to the curbs. The buffers are above the rail head and curved on the bottom corner so, depending on the height of the curbs, he could be OK. It will be interesting to hear the report of his first run.
 

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G Guage track, 1:22.5 (maybe 1:20.3) trains, 1:24 models (finding a working engine).
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This reminds me. Are we meant to bank our turns? If so, what angle of degree should it be? I had planned to lay the track flat, but could easily bank it 1/2 or 1 degree in a turn. Well, once I find the right 4/5ths minus (to scale).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
There is plenty of clearance

Wood Office supplies Office equipment Typewriter Hardwood


That said I had some apprehension about placing my nicely finished pine outside, so I opted for a simpler solution. I'll hold these pieces in reserve, maybe for a future portable indoor display.

My extraordinarily modest empire as it stands right now.
Wood Flooring Composite material Hardwood Wood stain


Unfortunately i missed planting season by a healthy margin. Come spring I'll plant some clover and herbs, maybe some moss and a small cottage to round out the scene. The next projects in the mean time are some rolling stock and a station halt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I did.... It's in the post you just replied to. A slightly different angle, although Im not sure why you think a 1/2 inch lip would cause clearance issues when lgb track itself is a 1/2 inch high. If rolling stock has detail parts that drag beneath a railhead thats probably an issue with the train and not the track.

Wood Automotive design Toy Gas Office equipment


No, a c19 probably would look silly on r1 curves. Other rolling stock that would probably look silly include an aster Garrett, a big boy, a Hudson, an accucraft k4, an lgb Mallett. Luckily british narrow gauge tank engines and four wheel stock look OK, which conveniently is what I own and am building.
 
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