Following on from the recent post on fitting a garage out for a railway, here’s another railway builders experiences of having a railway in the garage.
Personally, I’ve always imagined model railways in garages or attics.
Going back to my early youth when Hornby Virtual Railway was the best way to create a layout, I always loved the attic set up. It just has the natural feel of something tucked away. And Garages have the same effect (Though there are a few downsides).
Having moved house where my railway played centre stage in my bedroom, it was certainly a change to have it outside in the garage, just out of reach. We moved at the beginning of winter so everything was kind of placed to create space. Space being on my table.
In the garage, especially your parents garage, housing other things takes priority until it all finds a home. So when I did have the space to set up my railway, it was placed in a corner, with two sides flush on a wall. This worked well as its always been against a wall.
The underneath is open so there is plenty of space for storing my other model railway goods when they are not on show. The railway is easy enough to put together, with only the cold of winter being the only real deterent. But that is really the only two downsides. The first one is no longer an issue and soon neither will number 2 be.
The upsides certainly outway these downsides.
For one, its your own space: no dogs, parents, tortoise’s or fish to distract you.
Just the cold and your ideas. It sounds weird but time moves really slowly outside. Making a layout in 30 minutes when it feels like 2 hours is certainly bliss, in the fact you have more time to mess. Setting up the railway is always easy as the table only has a few basic configurations; nothing fancy like you see at shows, just a good bog standard to loops and a few sidings (Admittedly I have yet to check if they work).
The track works fine in the cold.
Hornby is built to last. Well, their sets and railroads items certainly are, and with most of my fleet made up of either Railroads engines or train set tanks, its a win! Robust, strong and taking no punishment, they are certainly a worthy engine. I do have a Bachmann Pannier which is the pride of the line, as well as a Dapol ‘Screamer’ Austerity. (Why is it a screamer? Get a Dapol engine and give it some welly!)
In the area of ‘Do the engines work well in the cold?’ They certainly do! They have had about a year off the the tracks and to run them in the cold when they are cold really tests their spirits. But they run well and smoothly, and when given a proper warm up, the Bachmann is doing its slow crawl as smooth as ever. Wagons aren’t really effected to be honest.
I think if I was to do anything different, it would probably be bigger garage, bigger table. That’s really the only issues. Everything works as it’s supposed to and they are in a water tight, well sealed garage. As long as they are warmed up before a video, there are never any issues. I’ve repaired to engines in there since I rebuilt the track (Though they still have some work to go).
All in all, if you want to build in your garage or in a cold space, go ahead. As long as you treat you engines with care, as you should anyway, there won’t be any issues. If I happen to get some, I’ll let you know.
And as ever, if stuck or have any questions, google it! It never hurts! [or check Model Railway Engineer, Andy ]
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> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.