Recommendations for modular Christmas layout (track clips and storage methods)

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  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • 3 posts
Recommendations for modular Christmas layout (track clips and storage methods)
Posted by RobNordic on Monday, March 13, 2017 8:04 PM

Hello all,

I am building a modular Lionel O gauge layout, using tubular track to stay true to the look and feel of my post war trains. This is a Christmas layout that will spend 11 months of the year hanging in my garage. I plan to use 1/2" plywood base, 2x4 frames, and cork track bed. This is not a realistic layout, just fun for the holidays. My questions are these:

 

1. Should I use track clips in additions to screws?  Clips are a bit unsightly, but rather cheap. Since I will be moving my layout yearly and it has to tolerate the temperature variation in my garage, I figured that clips wouldn't hurt. Overkill?

 

2. Any recommendations on how to best preserve the track when stored in the garage?  I am worried about rust from the humidity.  Thinking about applying some 3-in-1 oil before putting the layout away each year using a track cleaning car and cleaning it before using it with another track cleaning car.  

 

Thanks,

Rob

 

  • Member since
    April, 2006
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Posted by fifedog on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 5:19 AM

Nordic - First off --->Welcome.

I used the same cuts of wood for a Christmas layout at the bank my wife worked at.  It was 12x3, and built in two 6ft sections.  They were stored in a back room, behind a door, and stood on end (back-to-back, maybe  9-10 inches wide).

Screws should be suffice.  Wipe a thin coat of CRC 2-26 to clean and protect the track.  Suggest securing a couple cheap handles within the benchwork to help you carry the layout back and forth.  Also, take the time to trim the outside edges with some nicely finished pine, or paneling (bare lumber will become distracting over time).

 

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Posted by scrambler81 on Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:31 AM

 Will this be on the floor, or up on legs? Just curious because if it is on the floor, 2x4s seem like overkill. Mine is 6'3" by 6'3", with 1x4 frame and 1/2" plywood deck. I trimmed it with oak, using a tongue in groove method of my own design, along with screws and glue. It is rigid as heck, and has been carried in and out the last 16 years, not to mention 2 truck rides and a stay in storage when we were moving. I considered modular, but it was my first attempt at building something like this, and I was afraid that might be more complicated than I wanted it to be. I will admit, it does seem to gain weight every year.

 I never thought to treat the track, but it hangs in the garage 10 months a year, and I live in New Jersey, yet I haven't had any weather related trouble. I did have mice one year, and the area directly below their camp suffered some rust on the side of the track, I assume from urine. All in all, I went simple and it has performed very well.

 

  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • 3 posts
Posted by RobNordic on Thursday, March 16, 2017 4:22 PM
Thanks Fifedog. I had to look up CRC 2-26. That seems like a great idea. Cheers for the response regarding the clips/screws too.
  • Member since
    March, 2017
  • 3 posts
Posted by RobNordic on Thursday, March 16, 2017 4:35 PM
I can image that 6' x 6' is pretty heavy. I am doing 4.5' x 11' total; so, three sections roughly 4.5' x 3.5-4' each. The dimensions kind of stink for buying wood; but, I want to make the best of use of my area and run three trains (one elevated and two "on the ground"). Thanks for the picture. The wood trim is nice. My layout will be on the ground. I plan to use my planer shave down the 2x4s to make them more like 1.25" x 3.5", giving me nice square edges and a nicer grain. I'll use 1" x 4"s for the cross supports underneath to save on weight. I plan to hang mine vertically on the wall; so, I want the stronger outside frame.

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