Q: How much does it cost?
A: It depends on your budget. Many people begin with a starter set which is frequently the most inexpensive way to start. You can always add track, locomotives, railroad cars(known as rolling stock), and buildings as you expand and can afford them.
Q: Can you run a garden railway in all types of weather?
A: Yes. Large scale trains are made to be operated outdoors in all types of weather, including rain and snow without harm.
Q: Won't I get electrocuted if I run electricity outdoors?
A: No. Large scale trains run on low voltage DC, usually 18-24 volts. However, the power pack should be kept indoors at all times and connected to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet. LGB offers a speed/direction controller that can be connected between the power pack and track and left outside if desired. More and more people are getting away from electric track power and using radio control or strictly battery power. Either one of those methods require much less track maintenance and NO electric wires (No more Cleaning TRACK).
Q: How do I keep the track clean?
A: Track needs to be cleaned in order to insure electric conductivity and to prevent derailments. There are several ways to do this. First, brush off and pick up and dirt, sand, leaves, or other debris that can cause a derailment or interrupt the flow of electricity. LGB offers a track cleaning block and a track cleaning locomotive. AristoCraft also offers a track cleaning caboose that has a cleaning block between its axles. You can also use a drywall sander with a soft pad. Scotchbrite pads from 3M also work well. If you use radio control or battery power cleaning the tracks is much, much easier.
Q: Can trains be left outdoors all the time?
A: Most people bring their trains inside when not running them even though most manufacturers make their equipment to withstand the weather. Buildings can either be left outdoors or brought in. If left outside, they need to be weather proofed by painting them. The biggest problem isn't the rain, but the sun's ultra-violet rays.
BOOKS/MAGAZINES AVAILABLE TO THE BEGINNER:
1. “Beginning Garden Railroading.” By Garden Railways Magazine
2. “Garden Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby.” Pub. By Kalmbach Publishing Company
3. “Garden Railway Magazine” (A MUST FOR ALL OF US!)