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Is Kato Track Weatherproof?

David asks:

“Just wondering. Is N gauge Kato set track weather proof. And, if not, why? Thanks?”

5 Responses to Is Kato Track Weatherproof?

  • leon zaharissays:

    I am not sure if it is weather proof, but contacting KATO would be the first thing I would do to find out as the issues will always be moisture, expansion and contraction of the track as soldering the track would be a no, no simply because expansion can damage the track and switches and dismantling the soldered track to replace a switch can damage the switch too.

  • Richard Aubelsays:

    I have no idea if Kato N guage track is weatherproof but my first inclination is to think it isn’t because I have never seen a garden railroad in N scale. In fact, I don’t know anyone who has their N scale railroad outside of their house.

  • David Smithsays:

    May I make a few points about your project. Above all else, you want reliability. This is a long term and expensive project. I know that we live in a plug and play world, but you need to have some patience and do your own research for your own particular use. Make up some sample lengths of track bed (weather resisting timber will do) and attach Kato and some different brands of rail to it. Have test pieces out in the sun through summer and through a bushy or tree shaded area that may stay wet much of the time through winter. You need to test for a full 12 months. If you want to use points, you need to be able to develop a way of wiring them that doesn’t rely on the rail parts or tabs contacting for continuity (ie: each part will have to be wired separately back to a relay in a weatherproof box. Also, work out how you can easily remove your points from the track for cleaning and maintenance. The Kato plastic road bed may be UV resistant (though I doubt it) but also the atmospheric conditions, tree gunge, fungus and bacteria at your locality may also attack it. You should also wire up the test samples how will for your layout so you can see how it will perform long term. For your track bed structure, the recycled plastic patio boards look like they are worth investigating. You will also have to find cleaning products that are compatible with your plants and lawn. I wish you well in your project.

  • Frank Bsays:

    As indicated by others, N scale is never recommended for leaving out of doors for all the reasons mentioned above.

    However, I suggest that a good option would be to build the scenery of the layout, but set the track sections in fixed channels (bricklaying mortar ?), so the rails can easily be lifted and taken indoors after running sessions.

    Tuck the wiring in capped and sealed hidden conduits, so everything is there and ready to be easily connected for the session.

  • David Stokessays:

    N scale needs squeaky clean track – one bird “attack” would be the equivalent of 7 metres of ready mix concrete – put that into perspective and a human hair is a 2 x 4, and a leaf stick about 6″ in diameter. To ask locos to plough on through that sort of debris is asking a bit much.

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