To keep or to leave behind?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Travellar, May 30, 2007.

  1. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    After three years, I've finally made enough progress that my model railroad looks fairly decent. And after three years at one duty station, it's about time for me to negotiate orders and move to my next duty station.

    Which raises the question about my layout, do I try to pack it up, accept that there will be some damage to it enroute to wherever I move next, (hope I have as much room there!) and continue with it...

    Or do I abandon the layout here, start over at my next address, (learn from early mistakes), and hope that when I try to sell this house a potential buyer may actually WANT a model railroad table in the living room?

    Right now, I'm kinda favoring starting over. The drawback is knowing that I'll have little time there, and it would be six months before I could run another train, at a minimum! Well, that, and not wanting to leave the current track behind.

    I figure a few of you on this board must have moved before, so your inputs are invaluble to me!
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    You don't say what size your layout is - has a big impact on a successful military move. This is a quick summary of my military moves with train layouts.

    - Most houses with a small extra room available will fit up to a 4x6 comfortably. The 4x8 will NOT fit in many small bedrooms, and still have adequate space for aisles, book cases, or anything else - don't ask me how I know this!

    - The crates for overseas moves do NOT have an inside dimension of 8ft. This means an 8ft long layout section will NOT fit in an overseas crate without being place at a diagonal angle. Having the layout section on a diagonal will cause it to be stressed and likely damaged as the movers try to pack around it. This does not apply if your stuff is loaded straight into a truck, and not into the overseas crates.

    - The ideal way to protect layout sections during transport is to box them in plywood. I never had time to do this, along with all the other stuff I needed to do to prepare for a move. To prepare the layout, I simply removed the legs and braces, and taped them and the screws to the framework before hand. If you layout is less than a twin (75"), full, or queen mattress carton in length, and of a reasonable thickness, the movers can use the mattress carton to better protect the layout. They may have to split and tape two cartons together to account for the extra thickness and width, but it will still be much better than no protection at all.

    - I never got to the point of delicate scenery such as cast resin water or lots of trees that stood above the plaster mountain, so my risk of damage was really fairly low. The things I worried about most were the protruding toggle switch handles mounted on 1/4" wood paneling plywood fascia. But the mattress cartons worked as I never saw any discernable damage to the layout (lots to other furniture). Sectional track (Lionel) was removed and boxed before moving day. HO handlaid track stayed in place on the layout. The HO rolling stock was put in a home-made wooden box lined with foam rubber, which has worked out wonderfully (and I still use).

    Whether to build a new layout or transport the old is a tough decision.
    Things to think about:

    - Am I happy with the current layout? Or am I dissatisfied, and near the point of starting over anyway?

    - Is the layout likely to fit in a generic space in the new house? Or is it custom-fitted for an unusual space in its current location?

    - Is the benchwork strong enough to take the stress of moving? Will it fit through doors, hallways, and stairs reasonably well (4x8s don't - again don't ask how I know this!)?

    - How much delicate scenery do I have? Can I protect the track (and scenery) adequately by screwing wood spacers into the base board? Do I have the time, money, and energy to build a custom crate for the layout section(s)? Is the current layout worth the effort?

    - Will I be sick about starting over, and needing about 6 months to a year before I can run trains again?

    In the end, you have to decide what's best for you. My experience is that if you have the weight allowance to transport the layout, do so. Even if you end up breaking it up on the far end as unusable, you will be ahead of starting from scratch. A couple of times starting over from scratch, and all of a sudden I was without a layout at all for a couple of tours because the amount of work to be done in 3 years was overwhelming.

    just my thoughts
  3. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    Thanks! Like I said, I'm already pretty much of the inclination to start over, but you brought up several points I hadn't thought of before, as well as tips that may be useful at some future date.

    Let's see, my layout is based on an amount of extra space I had when I got the house... which would be five feet by, err, eleven? yeah, that's just a tad over eight feet. In the past, I've looked at the possibility of removing the layout from the house for shipping, and while I'm certain it can be moved without any true excess of difficulty, I'd never considered trying to get it in the door of my (as yet unknown) new home.

    My trains will be going with me. Well, my favorites anyhow. There are a few I've never been real happy with or able to use in the desired period, so if any get left behind, those would be the ones.
  4. wickman

    wickman Member

    Hmmm sounds like a question only you can answer personall I would have a real hard time leaving my layout and all that I've got into it.:eek:
  5. nscaler711

    nscaler711 Member

    what you could do if you want your layout in your new home could turn them into Modules by cutting it wih a Jig saw and then buil new legs for each module and thats about it
  6. Travellar

    Travellar Member

    Taking a jigsaw to it isn't a practicle answer, due to the way the original framework is laid out. However, the question now seems moot, as I won't be moving before next March. And then, quite likely, to Japan.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Keep what you can, or what you want, and see if there is a local organization who might want it... Doesn't necesarily have to be a model railroad club either - a church group, youth group, or even retirement home might be interested in a new activity...

  8. My solution, sadly won't help you.

    I keep smallish layouts (2x3, 30x54, 30x80) which transport easily, can be reset up quickly, and fit in a dorm, much less a small room. My 'benchwork' is a n old dining room table
  9. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    If you do decide to start over, then you may be able to sell the original to recoup a small amount of money to help start the new one. The Model Rail press often has ads from people wishing to sell layouts.
    Or, as noted elsewhere, you could donate to a suitable organization.

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