Do you build a Layout

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Aberdabr, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. Aberdabr

    Aberdabr New Member

    When building a layout do any of you need to build it so you can dismantle it? That you can pack it away safely?

    I am sooo not there yet but I see that many of you have permanent locations for your trains. ( see a train room in my future)

  2. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    That all depends on what you want.

    I know for this year like you...I'm "building" my x-mas layout on a plywood base except I'll be using a 1x2" frame to stiffen it up. This way, when the season is over, once the tree is down I can pick up the 4 x 6 frame and plywood deck to stow it away until next year. All the buildings and such are little ceramic houses with lights that my wife loves which will just sit on the plywood.

    My permanent layout is not, or rather will not be meant to be dismantled. At least that is the plan.

    There are gents and gals who build modular layouts which can be tranported to different trains shows and other locales. As they are built with this in mind. The possibilities are pretty endless.

    There are many posters who have dedicated "progress" threads as our individual layouts get started. I suggest you scope them out to your hearts content, ask your LHS for ideas, pick up a couple of books and mags all to give you some ideas about where you would like to head.

    It can get complicated, but don't let that deter you.

    Most of all have fun!
  3. Aberdabr

    Aberdabr New Member

    What your wife does is my total intent. I am on a 4x4 a few buildings some snow.. but next year I will have 4x6 I also want to put elevation to the platform. I might be thinking too much for a temperary Christmas scene.

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I started to build my current layout so that it could be separated for working on, but I got carried away and separation will be a lot of work -- there's a 16' x 2' section and the others a slightly smaller.
    My last layout was made on sections no larger than 4'.
    My wife's Christmas layout was almost 4'x8' and is a monster to move, but it will go through doors. The 4x4 or 4x6 are quite reasonable for moving. Our 4x8 is leaning against the garage wall as we no longer have room for it inside.
    People often make layouts in 2x4 sections; with traditional building methods this was the limit that some of us could lift. The other consideration was fitting it in a car to take to shows, which some of us also do. Are you near a big city that might have a show before Christmas?
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    My old HO 4x6 (how many years has it been since I took it out?) was sectional. I didn't have the room to have even that size of layout set up permanently, so it separated into 2x4 sections that were (still are) stored vertically.
  6. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

    Not at all! There is an old trick N gauge folks use of putting their layout on a hollow door (35 bucks at any Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) then putting folding table legs on it. I have seen the same thing done for the Xmas Season. The table legs don't have to be the standard height. The fellow I am thinking of had 18 inch legs on his HO scale door layout. He put lights in the houses, movement to some pieces and had a nice winter scene.

    When the season was over, he trotted the whole thing out to his garage, wrapped it in clear thick plastic and hung it from the rafters.
  7. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I would be heartbroken if I had to dismantle a permanent layout, like if I moved. I have another approach: A table layout that can be hoisted up and out of the way. So far, it has worked out well. Check it out at the web site in my sig to get the idea.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Aberdabr-You might take a look through the "Modular Forum" that is found about 3-4 froums down from this forum in the same section. You will hear the terms "modular" and "sectional." They are similar in that a large layout is built from smaller sections that are easily transported to set up at train shows, in malls, etc. The difference is that the ends of modules are made so that they can be arrainged in any configuration and everything will hook up and the tracks align. A sectional layout always goes together the same way. If you don't have a large dedicated space for a layout, or you want to build something for Christmas this year and then add to it next year, but still be able to disassemble it to store away in between Christmas seasons, the sectional or modular designs might be perfect for you. Also if you have a certain space available for a permanent layout, but have additional space that can be used temporarily when you are operating the trains, but needs to be kept clear when the trains are not running, sectional or modular designs can be used for that temporary expansion and then taken down and stored under the layout when not in use.
  9. Aberdabr

    Aberdabr New Member

    pictures from Aberdabr



    Here is some pictures... not the best but you have an idea if I did this uploading right. :mrgreen:

  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Aberdabr: the loco you have is 119, one of the 2 golden spike locos from the joining of the UP and CP.
    The model looks like a Bachman one (a lot like the Walt Disney one I just got). The coupler on the back is called variously horn-hook, NMRA, X2f, or *#@$%$#. (NMRA and X2f are wrong, but common.) It's been the standard train set coupler since the late 1950s.
    If it's like mine, one side picks up from 2 tender wheels, the other from 2 tender wheels and 2 on the front truck; there are rubber traction tires on the rear drivers.
  11. Aberdabr

    Aberdabr New Member

    Thanks David. I still dont know how to connect the train together.wall1

    I am afraid of breaking it.

  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You should just be able to put the cars on the track and push them together. The couplers should automatically link up, like shaking hands.
    Each coupler should have a sideways half circle opening; the outer part of that opening fits into the opening on the next coupler. There should also be a bit that sticks out in the other direction so that the couplers slide past each other as they come together. If you don't have all these bits, the coupler may be damaged.
    There's also a possibility that you may have a different type of coupler. Can you get a photo of the ends of your loco and some cars?
  13. Aberdabr

    Aberdabr New Member

    Well I am hoping to have a working train by Sunday... I will be quiet till then since I am the only person in my whole family (including extanded) that can cook, I mean really cook... so I got to put all this to the side so I can focus on pies!

    Thanks and see you after Turkey day


  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Abby,

    From what I can see in your pictures, you have something very similar to what is in my basement right now for my 2 kids (3 and 6 yrs). It looks like you have two 2x4 foot sections with the long edges together.

    As I contemplate doing a Christmas layout, I was thinking about modifying my 2x4 modules to each be a "1/2 donut" shape. That way, the tree can poke up through the middle, while still giving enough real estate to do a convincing Christmas village and train track.

    The two halves can then be taken apart and boxed together for storage until next Christmas.

    As David said, the easiest way to get the cars hooked together ("coupled") is to put each on the track separately, and then push them together. The couplers should automatically engage. To get them apart, push the cars towards each other to create some slack, slide a small screwdriver between the couplers and twist them apart. Or you can simply lift one car up and set it back down somewhere else...

    Hope you're having fun...! :)


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