Reply to "2-rail Layout building"

Roo, et al

I love the concept of this thread, it is very timely for me.  To kick off my own small contribution, here's a pic of my first portable-layout section:

It is 400mm wide and approximately 1350mm on its longest side, 1180mm when measured along its centerline.  I have been messing around with this idea for a very long time, went through heart surgery and marriage break-up which threw some major spanners in the works but I am finally moving ahead once more.  In the beginning I made up a list of Givens & Druthers which helped me realise that I was more interested in railfanning than operation; big steam locos at the head of big trains is what I like best, followed by waterfront scenes and dense urban industrial, with operation coming a distant third - if I ever get to #2 then #3 will naturally follow anyway.  I needed large curves for those big trains but I lack space in which to build a permanent layout so a sectional portable layout is what I came up with.  The sections are all the same shape, and eight will make up an octagon able to fit a circle of track of radius 1500mm.  There is also space to fit easements where a curve meets straight track.

Scenery is to be foam blocks glued onto each section, protected on the sides with 3mm plywood fascias cut to match the contours of the foam.  A kit of hot knife and free-hand sculpting cutter arrived from Hot Wire Foam Factory a month ago (gosh they are such nice people to deal with!) and I built my own vertical hot wire cutter for dealing with the big 8'x4' sheets of foam I purchased from my local hardware store.  I'm thinking three layers of 50mm (2") foam under the track base to give me enough depth for 'vertical relief' below track level then a strip of 12mm ply for the track base and more foam above & cut around that.  I'm hoping to keep the finished weight of each section below 15kg (33lbs) - nasty back problems can totally ruin my day if I try lifting anything heavier than that.

Sorry, where are my manners - translation of metric to imperial: layout sections 16" wide x 53" on long side, 46.5" measured at centerline, track radius 59".

The layout section was built using a jig to ensure that every section is the same.  Each section is built upside down so that all the framing lies perfectly flush.  The blocks at the rear of the jig are removable wedges - once complete, the wedges are knocked out and the section pops out with no effort.  I am using 3mm plywood webs and gussets with 10mm square pine along top and bottom edges of all the webs, with the exception of the 12mm ply end-plates - I made these thicker so that I can match-drill pairs of sections and insert alignment dowels.  There are no nails or screws whatsoever, everything is glued.  A bare section weighs 2kg (4.4lbs) and is extremely strong & stiff.

I am currently waiting for the electrician to finish wiring up my shed, which includes a decent-sized workshop 8m x 3m, before I make the rest of them; should be about two weeks.

It would probably be sensible to start my own thread to show the finer details of construction, and post highlights here.  Next installment will be a track plan.  Until then, regards, Paul - Whangarei, New Zealand.

 

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