What has everyone used as a barrier to keep trains from falling off the track/table
I've used polycarbonate sheets a few inches high in the past. Always a nice look.
I would also vote for polycarbonate.
For the layout that I am building I am planning on using wooden dowels or chopsticks as 2-3inch fenceposts planted into my 2inch foam board with probably two strings of fishing wire wound between all the way around the edge. Anyone else seen this technique used to reliably serve its purpose? I got the idea from someone who had a ceiling layout thread on this forum months ago
Why are they falling off? That's what I would be concerned with.
My ceiling layout 7' off the floor....no guard rails. Our layout is 45" to 60"+... no guard rails. Good track work, realistic speed, and paying atttention is all you need.
When you are running your layout at a show, it's not the operator going to fast that your worry about, it's some wise guy in the public messing with the trains that can cause some concern. Long ago at the Boys club we used Thick PlexiGlass that the Union Switch & Signal donated, you can see thru it and it keeps things decently safe.
Well he didn't say it was a portable layout or a club, but that I understand. He said trains falling off.... that shouldn't happen on its own
I'm pondering the same question. While I don't expect trains to just fall off their track, accidents happen when I or others, especially grandkids with that itch to touch, are moving around the layout. I like the idea of a fence-like barrier because that's what you see along tracks out in the countryside.
Are these polycarbonate sheets found in craft stores, big box stores?
I build display cases on the side. Here is what I have learned from hard knocks: You can find the plastic sheets at big box stores. I had trouble cutting them nicely on my table saw until I bought an expensive saw blade. Now the sheets cut without any chipping on the edges. A handsaw also works, without the chipping problem as it is the speed of the blade that causes the damage. A MAPP gas torch will briefly melt the edge making it clear again, rather than white. Propane is not hot enough to melt the edge before the plastic starts to burn. For your application, the clear edge is cosmetic. Gluing is done with a solvent and a rough edge causes bubbles in the joint. Superglue usually causes a white fog to appear on the plastic near the joint.
Also, bending can be done easily and safely in the sink under running hot or cold water. One side of the sheet expands or contracts depending on the temperature. And water is easier to control than fire...can't burn your house down with water.
About grades of plastic. Lowes sells three. Black label is the cheapest and will shatter if you bend it without heat. Blue is better. The Red label leaves the least mess when cutting, doesn't shatter, and bends by hand without breaking. But I would use hot or cold to do the job so the sheet wants to stay after you screw it around the curves on your layout. Home Depot's stock is always scratched because it is displayed flat and rubs about when customers search through it.
That being said, I used 1/4 inch plywood on the edge of my layout. It doesn't bother me. I like varnished wood. We recently had a near accident when a command equipped engine launched forward, crashing into the wall instead of off the table. I wouldn't build a layout without an edge wall.
I use superelevation to the tracks on curves and run at speeds where the trains won't fly off the sides.
That works pretty well, I've found.