G scale model train – Cary’s

Cary’s been in touch with his G scale model train update:

“Hello Al and All,

I’m seven years into my G Scale model train garden layout and was finally able to finish laying track and start scenery work this summer.

I picked a nice, shady location for my layout but it also comes with a lot of maintenance. After clearing the site this Spring of leaves and branches, I realized I had some drainage
issues and had more digging to do. Drainage and keeping my ballast in place will be trial and error forsome time to come.

I then proceeded to set the 1/24 scale buildings I made over the last 6 years during the winter months so this summer was a real milestone I have been looking forward to for a long time.

G scale model train

This summer was my first chance to run my trains a lot. Most of my layout is on a 3.5% grade so I had some reservations as to how my locomotives would actually perform. I’m using a 10 amp power supply with only one attachment point for about 120 feet of track. Voltage drop is not a problem but pulling those hills and wheel slip is a problem for two of my four engines. I’ve built my accessories for the Steam Era, but my diesel runs the best. Sealed trucks, heavier, longer and two motors seem to make for more reliable outdoor operation. My little LGB steam 0-4-0 runs well, heavy, powerful and NO idler wheels. As with all other aspects of this project, the plan keeps changing, so I'll need to give some serious thought
to my next locomotive purchase.

I don’t understand how dirt and small rocks manage to climb the walls of my buildings. I’m using a tank sprayer on my ATV to clean buildings and water plants.

G scale model train

Early in this project I realized that hauling my trains in and out of the house would add greatly to the prep time so while my layout is open for the summer I leave the rolling stock on the storage tracks and put my locomotives in a weather proof tool box. In the Winter I bring in the trains, power supply and smaller accessories. I intend to leave the buildings out year round, we'll see how that works out.

I need plants that grow in the shade and that the deer won't eat. Animals, weather, tree branches, drainage…. why again did I want an outdoor train layout ???? Hey I'm a big kid playing in the dirt with my train set and having a blast!

I’m cleaning the track with a pole sander and 220 grit drywall sanding screens. Even after sitting outside all winter, just a couple of swipes and the track is shiny and ready to run. But this needs to be done every time I run trains so some sort or track cleaning car is on the list for this Winter’s projects.

G scale model train

All in all this has turned into a great hobby that I believe will hold my interest for some time to come.

Running trains is not a simple flip of the switch, it takes about 30 minutes of preparation but I love working back in the woods. Now I’m shifting to the gardening part and look forward to seeing my layout fill in with plants over the next few years. Next summer I’ll be adding roads, vehicle bridges, crossings, a few more buildings and water towers, I like water towers!

I hope you’ll check out the video, I had great fun putting it together. Thanks to Al for the work he puts into his blog, seeing other’s projects and sharing my own adds a very enjoyable dimension to this hobby.

Happy Modeling!


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Cary – what an amazing G scale model train project – and I couldn’t agree with him more: when it comes to trains, we’re all big kids.

If you want to see his progress, his last post is here.

That’s all for today – except for one quick question from Danny:


Enjoying your guide book, l have a question, maybe some members could help with.

My old track from the 70’s is code 100, and I just acquired a lot of code 83 from a Friend. I must have lost some of my Code 100, so I asked my hobby shop about combining them,and they said no problem.

I asked about joiners that could adapt with 100 and 83, but the guy at the hobby shop said they don’t make them anymore, but there was no problem with using both together.

Does any one have experience with this,I am having some problems with combining them. Thanks for any advice.


Please do post a comment below if you can help Danny, or let Cary know what you’re thinking.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

28 Responses to G scale model train – Cary’s

  1. Peter S. Maylott says:

    Peco’s SL-112 joiners combine Code 100 and Code 75 rail and should suffice for Code 83 Rail. Their other rail joiners (fishplates) are suitable for Code 83 rail.

  2. NJ Mark says:

    Cary I would suggest mosses for your garden railway. Other shade loving stuff like ferns, hosta, rhododendron, azaleas would be way too big and hide the layout (deer love hosta but they have natural spray repellents available). The dirt etc on the buildings are from dust, humidity and rain working in concert to mess things up.
    Your work is grand, keep on trucking. Cheers! NJ Mark

  3. Malcolm Hodgson says:


    I think I know why you wanted a garden Railway and put in years of work…….

    Because it looks epic! Great video and modelling. When it all plants in and settles down scenically it will look even more awesome.

    Thanks for sharing

    North Wales

  4. Gene says:

    What happens on a rainy day?

  5. Bob Baselice says:

    There are still plenty of manufacturers out there who make them!
    Here is a link to the Code 100 to Code 83 rail joiners.

    Have Fun!


  6. Paul O says:

    Excellent work Cary!
    Iā€™m sure you enjoy being out there watching your trains run; great satisfaction after all the work you put into the layout.
    Great video! Thanks for sharing it.

    Paul O

  7. Cary, great layout and great vid. It looks and sounds like Kentuck. With all the shade, you should be able to get moss growing as was suggested.

    Danny, within the past year I bought transition track pieces(about 6″ long) of 100-83 track from the Walthers catalog. My main lines are 100, but the yard will be 83 code. If you have older cars with “pizza cutter” plastic wheelsets, the large flanges may bounce over the ties of the 83 code track. More prototypical steel wheels would greatly improve the performance of those cars and eliminate any bounce.

    MN Dan

  8. Joe Gennari says:

    Great Layout! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Vinny Q, says:

    Outragious layout and project. Continued good luck getting it done season to season. Outdoor maintanance is hard enough , and then add electric trains and connections and track surface. I love what I saw in the video, but I would say that the cabbose is backward. I have always had my caboose (plural) running with the raised roof toward the rear of the train?

  10. Ed Correa says:

    For wheel slippage try Frog Snoot. I do not remember the exact name of the product. But a Google search will find it. Yes it is called snoot. Going to purchase a jar for myself to use on a couple of my locos.

  11. Kevin McArdle says:

    Could you show a diagram of the layout? Beautiful job.

  12. Stosh Polodski says:

    Awesome! I check me emails every morning; always look forward to the stuff on here. Made my morning! Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  13. Steve R. says:

    The layout looks great & the video is awesome. You have a nice area for the layout also. I have several “g” scale trains also and always thought of making an garden railway, but I haven’t got the ideal area for it like you do.
    Great job!!!!

  14. Very impressive. A nice large layout. He must be located in a warmer state. Are his engines powered by batteries and on remote control? The buildings and towns are very realistic. Very well done.

  15. Steven Joyce says:

    Really enjoyed that video of gearden railway

  16. Gerry says:

    Very nice. I had hopes and dreams of putting in my own garden railway system using 1/29th scale (mainly USA Trains) but health problems curbed that idea. So I sold off all of my G scale but still have the dreams.

  17. Benjamin Wright says:

    Fantastic! Love it! I think it would be awesome to have a garden railroad. Great job! šŸ™‚šŸ‘

  18. Lee Hirsch says:

    To Cary, great layout. Stuff up the sides of the buildings is probably from rain, wind and critters. Add temporary power feeders to 3 places and see how your engines run then.
    To Danny, when joining, make sure you are leveling the tops of the rails by shiming the smaller rail. Keep at it. Lee

  19. Don says:

    Superb video and thanks for sharing.

  20. Timothy Morlok says:

    Danny, some manufacturers also have short sections of track that transition from code 100 on one end to code 83 on the other end so that there isn’t an abrupt change in rail size. Also, I don’t remember when manufacturers switched to N/S from brass, but if the 70’s code 100 is brass I would not use it except for storage or staging tracks where conductivity is not going to be a problem.

  21. Ron Nelson says:

    Cary very nice layout I had one in Illinois with 400″ track. A track cleaning engine is the answer. Had one down here in Fla but salt air and hot wearther and sun changed my idea so now I’ve gone to N scale. Ron in Jensen Beach, Fl

  22. Gary Burgin says:

    Great update Cary, look forward to seeing what you have accomplished each year, Gary Somerset, Ky.

  23. Mickey Palumbo says:

    Great video, have a friend with “G” gauge outdoor setup, has same problems with steam, keep telling him a “big boy” (2-8-8-2) will do it! His answer, “What do you think I am-rich”??šŸ¤£

  24. John Bennett says:

    Fantastic thought at one stage it was full size. Well done. John Bennett UK

  25. Roger Calhoun says:

    To Cary, loved the layout and the music. You could try heather for some of the landscaping. It grows slowly enough so it would be easier to keep up, and the leaves and flowers are small enough they won’t look too out-of-scale. They can also be trained with Bonsai techniques. Look for varieties that do better in acidic forest soils which it appears you have.

  26. Jim MacLean says:

    Great stuff Gary. More proof that Mother Nature sure does provide the very best scenery. Jim from CB.

  27. dave says:

    would love to see the snow plow, some were posted here last winter-way cool
    love seeing your work
    west palm beach fl

  28. Jim Jerele says:

    Hey Cary, job well done. I have visited With Cary several times during the earlier construction phase. I saw Cary on here in one of his earlier post several years back and sense I have a daughter that lives in Crestwood, I searched Cary out and made contact. Cary is a meticulous planner. Good to see you have trains running, Cary. Nicely done video.
    Jim Jerele, Ft. Myers Beach, Fl.
    Home of the 1,000 sq ft IN-DOOR G-Scale layout, the J&G SL RR.

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