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Above layout storage solutions

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  • Member since
    February, 2004
  • From: Mile 7.5 Laggan Sub., Great White North
  • 4,196 posts
Above layout storage solutions
Posted by trainboyH16-44 on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 4:36 PM

Hello all, I'm currently getting toward a stage where I have to get rid of the old crummy shelving unit that stands between me and fulfilling the purpose of the Kootenay Division, and I want to transfer a bunch of stuff to storage above the top deck of my layout. (height of roughly 70-86") The whole hanging-a-shelf-from-the-ceiling thing is pretty easy, but I'd love to see what creative ideas you lot have come up with.

Post what you have!

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Building the CPR Kootenay division in N scale, blog here:

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Southwest US
  • 12,914 posts
Posted by tomikawaTT on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 6:50 PM

Not very creative, I'm afraid.

About thirty linear feet of my benchwork is on shelves along the structural sidewalls of my garage layout space.  The basic support is shelf brackets mounted in those slotted tracks that screw into the studs behind the drywall (with 2.5 inch deck screws!)  The same tracks and brackets support plain shelves (planks) both above and below track level.  Items stored on those shelves above the railroad(s) include coolers, construction supplies (steel studs) and miscellany in boxes.  Heavier items are stowed below track level.

For the space under the peninsulas I've acquired a bunch of Rubbermaid totes and a couple of wheeled cabinets.  The cabinets double as movable worktops.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 9,591 posts
Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, October 02, 2013 2:38 PM

Mine is only slightly more creative than Chuck's. There is a duct that is attached to the bottom of the floor joists in part of the basement overlooking my staging yard/workbench/Cascade Branch extension. Thus there is a cubbyhole between every joist on top of that duct.

I use it to store long stuff. The suspended ceiling of the train room is on the other side, so lots of space behind if needed. Rolled up plans, maps, my radius compasses, box of track templates, etc.

I'm gonna bet there's a lot less over layout storage than under layout storage. If it's a fairly high ceiling, it will lessen the visual impact, but for many of us, putting storage up there will serve as an undesirable interaction with the layout below. The spot I mentioned is small and located in the utility room so works OK, but I just don't have enough clearance anywhere else where the storage was more important than the layout.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    June, 2006
  • From: Baltimore, MD
  • 1,720 posts
Posted by CSX_road_slug on Thursday, October 03, 2013 6:01 AM

Two questions...First, is that area [above your layout] the only option you have for storage?  Second, does the stuff to be stored have any practical value, or is it mostly sentimental?  

I was faced with a task similar to yours when I realized I needed wider aisles in order to host operating sessions.  Three of the walls in the garage that became my trainroom were covered with plywood shelves - those needed to be eliminated.  My wife and I looked at each item/box stored there, and found that 70% of it was leftover construction materials, old car safety seats for toddlers [all our children were grown by now], and other such things that really was of no value to us.  The usable stuff we donated to a local thrift store, the rest I hauled to the county landfill. There was one standalone metal shelf rack kept available for half the items we kept; for the remaining stuff, I built homemade plywood dollies [using cheap casters bought in bulk] to store boxes under the layout, so they can be easily rolled out of the way if necessary.

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,290 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, October 03, 2013 6:31 AM

 I used to live in a place that had what they laughingly called a "walk in closet" - it has no place to hang anything, it was simply a windowless small room off the bedroom. I had a table in there with my computer, and I decided to build a small shelf switching layout in there. I put up those metal shelf rails on two walls, and was planning the third. I extended the track well above the intended layout height, and put a second row of shelves above the layout. Underneath this upper shelf I attached lights, and ran a small fascia around it to I wasn't staring right into the lights. On top, I used it as a place to store my large collection of railroad books and magazines.


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's


Visit my web site at for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: South Carolina
  • 1,718 posts
Posted by Train Modeler on Thursday, October 03, 2013 11:16 AM

I custom built wall shelf units without a back and routed out parallel "track troughs" for the locos/cars.  These are made of fine hardwood and about 5 to 6 feet long and 2 to 3 feet tall as space permits.   Lumber was I think basically a 1 x 3 size, I may have ripped the lumber, can't recall for sure.  Glued and nailed, etc.  Looks great and better than what is normally available.   Shelves are spaced about 4 to 6" and allow me to assemble parts of consists for visitors to view.  


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