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All very cool!

Nothing so grand as many of those in this thread, and it's been posted several times before, but there is a recent addition - on the floor -


- Mike

All very cool but this, that’s neat the curved glass shelves for the entire train! NICE 👍 💪

I am a little shy with my collection; rather not post publicly. I do set up some passenger equipment up in the TV room along the ceiling 😁 . Right now my PRB and Key 14 car 1940 Daylight is on display. Wife allows it …fir now 🙄😂



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Last edited by Erik C Lindgren

Well this is a great thread, the pictures of all your collections are super.  Mine are more modest and are in two parts.  I have a glass front storage case in my office/den for mostly early and pre-war trains + plus a modest collection of clockwork boats (mostly Suitcliff).  Then I have train room shelves for much of the rest, but even so a fair amount is packed away in plastic containers...(really of no use to anyone but I do  not have the room to display it all)

This is the glass front cabinet downstairs.  My wife found this cabinet (no insides) at an antique fair when we lived in Boston for one year.  We refinished it and put in glass shelves.

Train Cabinet

Upstairs in the train room, I have sort of surrounded the layout with shelving.  This plain, white pine painted shelving came out of a drug store that was closing in Dayton, Oh...his business was in the basement of the office bldg where my wife worked as a nurse for a pediatric group.  She found out he was leaving and asked about the shelving (it was perfect for trains as it was narrow, designed for small boxes and bottles).   She negotiated a very small price, given we agreed to remove it from the space before a certain date (which we were going to do anyway)...So it became my train display shelving.  We have had it now for over 30 years.

Layout Overview

Here is a better view of the main (longest) wall display.

Train Room Shelving white shelves

Last year I wanted to display some sets I have acquired and used Snyder shelving on the remaining open wall.

Train Room Shelving Snyder shelves

Best wishes and Happy railroading



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"I like that. Homemade or kit?"

Bought it from a vendor in the Orange hall twenty years ago. He has since retired. He was a former shop teacher with a full woodworking shop in his basement. It had to be custom ordered, so I returned to the area to pick it up two months later. Its 6' wide and 3' high with glass doors. Being limited by available space, this was all I could put up in a shared room. Everything else is stored in boxes that are in Iris tubs (as usual). These sets are my "cream of the crop".

@PRRick posted:

I have a glass front cabinet I use, but I'm out of space. I'm hesitant to install shelving due to dust. Does anyone dust their collection?

No photo but I use a Rainbow canister vacuum (Looks like R2-D2)  that runs the dust through a water bath. Have a nice circular soft bristle brush that gently dislodges the dust as it's being sucked up. The water bath ensures that unlike most, the return air is clear and dust proof. Great little machine.

Last edited by c.sam

I run a couple air cleaners all the time to keep the dust under control and it makes a big difference. I also try and touch everything once a year and manually dust with canned, air or run through my compressed air “train wash” built into my layout that we bought 20 years ago, or I even use a basic super soft duster and wipe things manually with baby wipes if needed. Once you get them clean and keep the air filters going it is not hard to keep the dust under control.

Wow, compared to most of the prior posters, my collection is *much* more modest, but I *am* proud of my effort to squeeze much needed storage space into a basement wall alcove behind the drop-down backdrop covering the wall behind my layout, just big enough (barely, for now!) to hold the rolling stock not currently in service on either the main layout, or my test track.

The first shot was during construction and before I rehung the backdrop (the picture visible behind the shelving is a paper mock-up I printed earlier and pieced together while designing the backdrop, which I attached to the wall before installing the shelves):

The second shot is with the backdrop rolled down over the shelving:

Construction of the shelving was very simple -- 1X4 dimension lumber, with two grooves cut into the top of each shelf to fit the rolling stock wheels, and small vertical dowel sections at each shelf end to keep the items on the shelf, with vertical 1X2 strips screwed behind the shelves and secured to the wall. Here's a detail, from before I added the background and relocated the sign:



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Here a write up on how to build train shelves inexpensively and explaining why they were build this way.  I have made the shelf spacing ( 4 1/2 inch opening) as close as practical to maximize use of space


Train Shelves - Economical, Wall Friendly and Moveable

Three wall, easy to build, economically, wall friendly and moveable train shelves were made in the 1980's and were installed in a hall ways and/or a spare bedrooms of three prior houses and the current house.  Each shelve is made in two sections each to allow moving thru doors and up stairs.  They also stand on the floor and are held to the wall by two 1" x 1" angles screwed into a wall stud per section, meaning only two small holes in the wall are required.  The shelves are backed with 1/8" Masonite, with some strips of white felt glued to the back, to protect the wall.  The shelves have router grooved surfaces to hold the train wheels and keep the cars and engines from rolling off.  The design has one wider 1" x 6" wide shelve, one half way up and one wider 1" X 8" top shelf to allow display of wider accessories or other items in addition to the typical train cars and engines.  Some of my shelves have track sections and are powered to allow lighting of train cars.

Construction is 1" x 4" straight pine #2 lumber with grooves routed in for train wheels.  It is usually less expensive to buy 1x 4 x 8 ft long #2 common pine boards at Home Depot and pick through them to find straight boards.  Knots are not that important to me as they can be filled in and painted over.  I used 5 min epoxy glue(fingered on)  to coat the knots to keep them from bleeding through the white paint which I chose to make the trains show out better. The length of the shelves can be any you like up to 8 ft with this type of shelve boards.  I place the shelves with a 4 1/2 in open space between each shelve.  Mine are 7 ft 2 in tall and have 16 shelves with the bottom one 3 1/2 off the floor (about the height of my baseboards).  They are nailed together with two 2 1/2 inch finish nails per shelf each end and have 1/8 " Masonite, nailed with 3/4" roofing nails every 6 inches on each shelve, on the back to keep the shape square, keep the shelves from sagging and to keep from marking wall.  Pieces of white felt are glued on the back of Masonite to keep from marking wall also.

I filled knot holes and nail holes with DAP Plastic Wood Latex Based Wood Filler (update- I now seal the knots with 5 min epoxy to better hide them when painting, too), Natural and primed the shelves and backing Masonite with Kilz primer probably oil based but would use latex now.  I chose to paint the shelves glossy off white latex paint.  I think the light color makes the train engines and cars show up better and makes the room brighter and more cheerful.  I use a 3 in x 12 in piece of clear Saran Wrap on the shelf where an engines go to keep the white shelf clean of grease from the wheels.

View of one shelve shown below   The 8 inch wide shelf is shown on top and one 6 inch wide shelf is in the   middle with the picture framed pictures and milk car and cattle car accessories.  There are some powered track to operate the accessories and operating cars on this shelf.


View below shows joint between two half's of shelves. ,  Holes were drilled in the ends of both side boards and two, 3 inch finish nails, with heads sawed off, were inserted in the holes to allow the two sections to be secured.

Notice the grooves for wheels routed with veining bit on all shelves, a 6 inch wide shelf is one half way up 16 shelves.  Also note the picture shows the joint between the two shelve sections that are aligned with cut off finish nail to keep the sections secure.


Some 6 inch wide shelves allow display of extra accessories and figures.


Photo below shows powered track to allow lighting cars


Next picture shows shelf legs setting on floor, showing cut out for base board.  Extra, a Boxcar Willie LP record.


Top shelf is 8 inch wide to hold other train items


Over all view of all 3 shelves which were moved to from the house to the new 2010 train/all purpose room over a new two car garage/shop.


The two large shelves on the left and right of the picture above were in the halls and spare bedroom of my present house for many years until the train room was built making the spouse very happy!

Notice in last picture I have added two more small shelves under two windows for more trains.  One never has enough trains and thus shelves.

Small shelf under window shown below.


All shelves are standing on floor and held to wall with 1in X 1in angle brackets screwed into studs.  Shelves come apart to allow removal and moving to another room or house.  Build once for life!

Some train storage on the shelve hints are below.

Post war locos with Magna-traction are put on a section of steel track to act as a "magnet keeper" and hopefully help save the magnets.

For engines with traction tires I keep them off the wood or track to protect against flat spots.

I also store all cars and trains with the couplings open to "save the springs".

I use a 3 in x 12 in piece of clear Saran Wrap on the white or light colored shelves where greased engines are stored

I do not know if any of this makes a difference but I feel better.

Update: May 2020 :   A fourth shelf section was built and is the last section of trains shelves.  I have noticed a couple of knots are showing as slight yellowish through on some of my three original 30 plus years old shelves.  I have searched for a cure to hide sappy knots and some Kilz B-I-N shellac based primer is recommended but does not always work.  I have purchased my boards at Home Depot and the choice of #2 cheap lumber is of a much lower quality than in days past and this lot had several knots on about one half of the boards.  I have decided to not buy the expensive shellac based Kilz for this small job and have decided to use cheap Harbor Freight 5 minute clear epoxy glue, to seal the knots.   I applied it thinly with my finger tip.  We will see in a few years if it works at keeping the knots from showing thru.

I now have four larger sections plus two short sections under the windows, totaling 425 linear feet and built my last shelf section.

Picture below shows all train shelves, with new in May 2020 longer shelf section the on right




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Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

Sorry that my pictures got posted before I could comment. I’ve the advantage of having a friendly neighbor who has lots of top notch woodworking equipment in his shop and knows how to use it!  After we built the 16x8 layout, he decided a red oak rail around it would add a finishing touch. So of course when I asked about shelves, we made those out of the same material. The shelves are 110” each, and hung on the wall using industrial rated z-bar (400lb rating). I considered grooving the shelves, but I really wanted to be able to power the locos on the shelves, so we ended up using FastTrack instead, and I’m glad that we did!  The look of surprise on folk’s faces when the locos on the shelves start up and light up is priceless!  They’re all Legacy, so they stay put, and I don’t move them even an inch!  I was also concerned about flat spots on my traction tires, but then realized the shelves are more of a staging area for my locomotives and not a display space. I typically rotate them out every 3-4 weeks, and so far, I’ve had no issues. The next project (we start tomorrow) is to build shadowboxes (6” depth) under the two ends of the display. Each will be 85” long and 28” high, with only 3 shelves. I know that I could have fit 4 in each, but I like to have more room to see the rolling stock (and dust it) so I’m splitting the space between only 3. Will send pictures when those are done. I’m planning to use LED Lightstrips in aluminum channels mounted on the shelf above to illuminate the trains.  It will likely take a few weeks to finish, as we’re both pretty meticulous. I’ll end up with another 42 feet of display space though, so it will be worth it!  Sorry that this didn’t make it on the same post as the photos.

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