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Building A Compact Model Train Layout

Aug 17, 2008
If you love model trains but you are limited on space you will have to consider trying something a bit different. Why not build a compact model train layout? A compact layout will allow you to still enjoy the model trains you love so much while not taking up too much space. The first thing you will need to figure out exactly how much space you will have to dedicate to your layout. If it is going under a bed or any place similar you should consider keeping it within a 4x6 area. This will still give you a layout you can enjoy while keeping it from within reason.

If you are looking for a scale that is easy to handle for young children then you should choose HO scale. It will keep it at a manageable size without getting too large. If you are looking for one for yourself then the N scale trains have a track that usually runs about 9mm apart and cars that are about 3 to 5 inches in length. The first thing you will need will be your board for the train to be mounted to. A piece of plywood that is 1/2 inch thick and cut to your necessary dimensions will do perfectly. You will also need a sheet of Styrofoam that is 2 inches thick and the same dimensions as well.

When these are glued together you will then have a solid base for your train that at the same time will be protecting your carpet with the foam. You will now need to sketch your train layout onto the plywood and see how it is going to fit. Make sure that you are adding enough parts such like switches and interconnecting loops. Once you have it all laid out you will be ready to prepare your rail bed materials. You can glue these into place with white glue.

If you will use road bed material made out of cork board will help to keep your train much more quiet. It can be a lot of work to do, but it is not really essential so if you do want to skip this step then you will not be losing anything important. You can now begin to attach your rail components. You should use small nails to do this. Make sure that you are using insulated track connectors to keep track sections that have switched polarity separated.

Your next step will be to attach the wires to their correct places. You will need to drill all the necessary holes through the base and you can then begin to attach all their components in the correct places. Once you have all these installed in the right places then you are ready to attach your power supply and try it out. If everything is working right then you have installed it all properly and you are finished. Your train should still be light enough to handle yet large enough to be able to enjoy. Have fun!
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car tricks and tips, compact model trains, and compact model trucks.
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