Yard Art Notes–using Bachmann indoor track outdoors

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Bachmann has a very inexpensive indoor track that most large-scale railroaders have only because it comes in Bachmann train sets. It is bright silver, hollow (meaning not very durable) and is only suitable, for reasons we’ll get to in a moment, for indoor use.


For a static display of outdoor yard art where you are not trying to actually run trains, and you want the line to look abandoned and/or unused, nothing beats Bachmann indoor track.

First, as mentioned, it’s really cheap (as am I)! Since the RR scenes I create for my front yard can be subject to vandalism or theft (although I have not yet experienced either) I’ve not wanted to use brass track.

Click to enlarge, use back button to returnSecond, I want a totally abandoned and/or unused siding look for my yard art scenes. Bachmann track, when used for actually running trains, is only suitable for use indoors. When subjected to outdoor weather it quickly rusts and the line looks totally abandoned. Here you can see track that has been out not quite a year.


Finally, the hollow nature of the track makes it fairly bendable and since you get a lot of curved pieces in a Bachmann set I often find myself having to straighten out the curved pieces to something less curved to fit some pre-existing trackwork being used for my static display. However, straightening the track and dealing with the gaps this creates requires some simple tools and techniques to resolve.

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Site — NOT — Going Down on March 31, 2016

Lamenting the lack of interest on my part and apparently on viewers of the site, along with the costs of hosting, I had planned that when the contract with JustHost ran out at the end of March to let the site go offline.

Well, in the last two weeks I’ve heard from more site viewers than I had in the last two years and everyone asked me to reconsider closing TJsTrains.

One such viewer, Tom, offered to host the site on his server and the site transfer was completed by Tom yesterday and I am glad to say that the site will remain and will be hosted courtesy of GScale.net. See link and logo below the Top 10 Posts.

I really appreciate all the kind words I’ve received and I really cannot thank Tom enough for allowing the site to continue.

So now, I guess it’s on me to get some new content up on the site. If you have a garden railroad please feel free to send me a picture, especially if you have utilized the mountain building and trestle construction PDFs from the site so I can feature reader layouts from time to time. -Thanks!

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Yard Art Notes–Halloween 2014

I love Halloween and have since I was a kid, which is going back a long, long, way. In keeping with the holiday I and one of my daughters have been decorating the front yard in typical All Hallows’ Eve regalia.

Click to enlarge picture, use back button to returnWhich brings me to the wreck of the Soggy Bottom Express. As if crashing through the end of track barrier over a canyon weren’t bad enough, it turns out the canyon is home to mutant spiders!

It’s amazing how a few cheap props can make your layout scene seasonal.


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Wishing you all a Happy Halloween!

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Yard Art Notes–Using Figures Effectively

Click to enlarge, use back button to returnA few articles ago I build a “yard-art” piece using G-gauge pieces on a bit of leftover trestle I had lying about. The “Wreck of the Soggy Bottom Express” I called it. The first modification I made to it, in an attempt to bring it to “life,” was an engineer and fireman figure, both shown jumping from the doomed locomotive. But it really needed a little bit more action.

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