Author Topic: Building Railroads to Move  (Read 1636 times)

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Building Railroads to Move
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2021, 10:21:04 AM »
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Thinking more on this topic, while I admit that I'm not building my current NCR to move, I did take reusability into consideration when building it.

The whole thing is assembled with just screws. The old NCR was like that too, which is the reason I have stacks of pre-build leg sections floating around and ready for use on the peninsula.

When I tore down the Windsor St layout, I made sure to save as much wood as possible. Given the way the lumber market has gone, I'm glad I did!

C855B

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Re: Building Railroads to Move
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2021, 10:37:36 AM »
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... Given the way the lumber market has gone, I'm glad I did!

Apparently there has been some relief with this. I received a marketing e-mail from Menards over the weekend headlined "Lumber prices have plummeted!" with a graph (from whom? what scale?) showing a peak in late spring and a very sharp drop starting in July. Which is good for me, I guess, as we're just about to get into detail framing on our cabin and I was preparing for an especially sharp pain in the wallet. Unfortunately they don't seem to offer any products for lighting a fire under our contractor. :|

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Jbub

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Re: Building Railroads to Move
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2021, 11:57:24 AM »
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Apparently there has been some relief with this. I received a marketing e-mail from Menards over the weekend headlined "Lumber prices have plummeted!" with a graph (from whom? what scale?) showing a peak in late spring and a very sharp drop starting in July. Which is good for me, I guess, as we're just about to get into detail framing on our cabin and I was preparing for an especially sharp pain in the wallet. Unfortunately they don't seem to offer any products for lighting a fire under our contractor. :|

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Prices definitely have dropped dramatically. I was in the Orange box store the other day and a sheet of OSB was 15 bucks, it was 60 bucks in May. Of course when you compare it to May of 2019, prices are currently almost double from then. I was paying 8-9 dollars a sheet when I built my house.
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robert3985

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Re: Building Railroads to Move
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2021, 03:25:46 AM »
+6
It was Ntrak that got me back into model railroading after a long hiatus and I developed a love of taking modules to shows and interacting with onlookers.  After being kicked out of Ntrak and starting a new club with standards that diverged from Ntrak's "lowest common denominator" standards at the time, I decided that I would like to run my modules at home in a "home layout" setting that was designed for actual model railroaders and not little kids doing chin-ups on my module fascia, so I built some simple run-arounds so I could run trains through my modules.

Eventually, the club disbanded and I decided to take it a few steps further...designing a modular home layout that I could easily disassemble and take to shows (or portions of it) and that I could, if necessary, break down by myself, take out of the trainroom by myself, load up in the trailer by myself, setup at the show by myself and do it all again to get it up and running at home when the show was over.

Luckily, I had my youngest son to assist, but he has since moved far away and I feel lucky that I decided early-on to design my modules to be light enough and easily handled enough for me to move them my myself.

I also have diverged from "modularity" to "sectionality"...meaning that the layout only has common ends in a few places with most 12' or longer LDE's (Layout Design Elements) being sectional within themselves (being able to be set up only one way) but moved around because of their modular ends if I have to move, or eventually have more room to do my ultimate setup which will enable me to build intermediate and additional LDE's, placing them where they should be in the final setup.

Generally speaking, the largest section is limited to 6' long by 3' wide...and only a few sections are actually that wide, most being in the neighborhood of 24" to 30" wide.  I have found over the years, that I can move a 6' long by 3' wide section easily with my appliance dolly.  I can also move, with more difficulty, an 8' long by 3' section, but I only have one section that is that big.

A big part of the ease of portability is weight...or the lack of it, so I built my sections out of quality plywood and select pine boards using L-girder benchwork and splined Masonite subroadbed. All scenery base is Styrofoam and all skyboards are removable (along with their mounting studs) with no plaster scenery at all on the layout.  I do use 1/2" CDX sanded-one-side plywood under yards or large industrial areas since they are flatter than what I can achieve with splined Masonite.  Every section that I have is handily and relatively easily able to be torn down, loaded, transported and set up by me alone with my appliance dolly. 

Additional details are braced & gusseted foldable legs (stacking) on each section with proper bracing for steadiness, adjustable glides/feet for easy leveling, Ntrak style DCC wiring and color coded and keyed Anderson Power Poles for joining wiring between sections.

The ends of each section are 3/4" CDX sanded-one-side plywood that has strengthening gussets with fairly precise bolt holes drilled with Forstner drill bits to accommodate at least two LARGE bolts, washers and nuts which are inserted after the ends are clamped together with large C-clamps to get the registration exactly correct first.

No joiner tracks, no scenery dividers, 52" railhead to floor height, Code 55 Rail Craft double track UP mainlines with center sidings, Code 40 branchline and siding/spur trackage with hand-laid/bench-made turnouts powered by Tortoises.

When the layout gets broken down, numbered end protectors are screwed on the section ends to protect the rails from being ripped up during transportation, and after the section is on its feet and ready to be moved into position, only then are the end-protectors removed and put in the "end-protector bucket".

Portions of this sectional layout have accompanied me through five moves (nearly 30 years) and it continues to grow, now being a 23' X 9' island layout when set up at home, and a 28' 5" X 15" island when set up at shows.  There are sections I don't use at home on the ends that make a "crew quarters" at shows for the operators to escape to which I don't need at home nor have room for.

I chose to make it an island layout since it is easier to modify an end than modify an LDE or two if I made it "around the walls" for a specific room.

Although I would prefer to have space for a layout that had both square footage and permanence, my lifestyle has demanded that I move every five years or so and my choice to make my layout easily portable has been a big advantage for me.  Also, since I am devoted to a specific era, location and road, I don't feel as if I am being hemmed-in by not having to destroy my layout when I move.

Photo (1) - Basic 6' X 3' Layout Section, With 3/4" CDX Sanded-One-Side Plywood for Ends, Select Pine Boards for L-girders and Gussets, Redwood Baluster 2X2's for Skyboard Supports & Cross-Supports, 1/8" Masonite for Skyboards (NOT SHOWN - Integral Folding Legs With Redwood Baluster 2X2's and Select Pine Bracing, Flowing/Curved Front Fascia Made From 2 Layers of 1/8" Masonite, 1" High Splined Masonite Subroadbed Attached to Benchwork with Pine Risers)

Photo (2) - Non-Typical 6' Corner Section Showing Lightweight L-Girder Frame, Removable Skyboards, Sturdy Gusseted 3/4" Plywood End Piece:


Photo (3) - Same Corner Section Overall View:


Photo (4) - Same Corner Section Showing Splined Masonite Subroadbed (for two mainlines & center siding), Pine Board Risers & LARGE Bolt/Washer/Nut On Far End Piece Holding Sections Together:


Another advantage of Sectionality of your layout is the ease with which you can get at the underside when it's called for.  When I tore out my old rat's next DC wiring and replaced it with new DCC wiring, being able to set my sections  up on their edge, C-clamped to a 6' banquet table made it a helluva lot easier than if I had to crawl around underneath, dripping hot solder blobs on my forehead.

Photo (5) - West End of Echo Yard Section While Converting To DCC Wiring:


Photo (6) - Here's the Whole Layout Waiting To Be Set Up After Moving To My New Residence:


Photo (7) - The layout at the Evanston Roundhouse Festival a few years ago:


It took me a few years to come to the conclusions and specifications for my portable layout and having experience in both Ntrak and other modular protocols.  So far, this has been best for me and I've enjoyed both the model railroading as well as the carpentry.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

learmoia

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Re: Building Railroads to Move
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2021, 11:26:30 AM »
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Counterpoint: a well designed layout makes optimum use of the space that it inhabits. Therefore, a different space should require a different plan, and reusing an existing layout runs counter to that.

Now, I know that's incredibly theoretical, but from a practical standpoint, I think there might be some value in "starting over". But also realize that I say this as someone who had a LOT of fun with a reused section of someone else's layout, and currently has that same piece occupying an unused bedroom of his house while it's waiting its third home.

I've been curious of the viability of a semi-modular layout, where towns or scenes are sectional, and the in-between areas are custom built to the layout space.

So when you move, you pack up the sectional portions, and dis-assemble the in-between areas.
Move everything to the new location, and put the modules back up where they fit, then build new 'in-between' areas.

That assumes you want to continue the same prototype/area over a long period of time.
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Building Railroads to Move
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2021, 12:33:36 PM »
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I've been curious of the viability of a semi-modular layout, where towns or scenes are sectional, and the in-between areas are custom built to the layout space.

So when you move, you pack up the sectional portions, and dis-assemble the in-between areas.
Move everything to the new location, and put the modules back up where they fit, then build new 'in-between' areas.

That assumes you want to continue the same prototype/area over a long period of time.

That's pretty much EXACTLY what @SAH has done!
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=40799.0

BCR 570

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Re: Building Railroads to Move
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2021, 09:24:33 PM »
+2
My layout had to be built in sections which could come up in the elevator to the 12th floor.  While I had no plans to move, the layout was designed and built to be able to be dismantled if necessary.  This included the following initiatives:
- sectional benchwork sized to fit in the elevator
- layout mounted on shelving uprights and brackets
- sectional wiring with terminal blocks at ends of each section
- half length rail joiners at benchwork joints which could be slid back
- quick disconnects for LED lighting between layout sections

Lo and behold I ended up moving this summer, and the layout was taken down and moved in about four hours.  We will see how well it goes back together!


Tim

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BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
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