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Traintresta

Portable home layout an option???

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I'm currently in the process of coming up with a layout plan that will provide me a long term project, and I am wondering if a layout that is portable within the home has any benefits or drawbacks that I need to be aware of?

 

To help understand my predicament, here is the criteria I am working to:

 

1. Using EM-2 gauge, hand-laying code 75 trackwork (scale and gauge non-negotiable)

2. Location will likely be Barnsley Exchange station and GCR goods yard (S.Yorks).

3. Currently confined to 8'x4' in the spare room, the room is about 7' wide, but due to an entrance door and boiler on opposite walls to each other, I cannot utilise the whole width for an L or U shape.

4. I could achieve up to 14' length and/or approx 6'-8' width for a layout on a temporary basis - hence the portability question.

5. We rent, and within the next 12-18 months are likely to be moving. Hopefully to a larger house, but no guarantees on space available.

6. Finally... the lack of a decent space to get a model interesting enough to fulfil my desires for a layout, has held me back so far from, achieving anything so I really want to get this right so that there is no need to start over unnecessarily.

 

So, anybody got any opinions that might help me figure out if this is a worthwhile idea or not?

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Hi 

 

Many of the layouts featured in this forum are portable, in that they are designed to be taken to exhibitions.I have also come across layouts in modelling magazines where people have used elements from a previous layout into their new layouts, so it is possible. 

 

A 4 foot wide layout is likely to give problems with access reaching  across such a distance, so I would be tempted to go for narrower boards which would also be easier to incorporate into a much larger layout in the future. 

 

You mention that you may have 14 feet in length to play with. This suggests the following options:

 

1. Fiddle yard - scenic board - temporary fiddle yard. In the future the temporary fiddle yard could be replaced by another scenic board or a longer fiddle yard 

 

or a terminus layout based on 

 

2. Scenic - scenic - temporary fiddle yard. Again the layout could be extended with more scenic boards or a larger fiddle yard in the future if space allows. 

 

You don't mention what era you want to model, but there are many prototype examples of through routes becoming terminus stations. Perhaps in your case you could do the reverse and start with a terminus and convert to a through station when space allows.

 

Hope this helps 

 

Nick 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Nick, thanks for the reply.  I think I must clarify that the 8'x4' space currently available only has an 8'x18-20" board occupying it so I'm not using all of that 4'.

 

Barnsley Exchange, for those who are not familiar, is technically a through station but pre-nationalisation it had very few through trains as it was an end-on junction between the LNER (ex-GCR) running south to Sheffield and LMS (ex L&YR) running north to Wakefield and Leeds.  So most trains would terminate at the station, however, there were through freights and a substantial engine shed (no turntable to worry about though), and there was an L&YR good depot adjacent to the station, the GCR was beyond that between the exchange junction and courthouse junction where the GCR continued to Manchester via Penistone and the MR ran south to it's connection at Cudworth.  Courthouse was also an end-on junction.

 

Now I am aware that to model it all would required a house sized layout room so I'm looking purely at the exchange station, either wartime or immediately post-war.  I would like to include the engine shed and the GCR goods shed, or a representation of it, although because of it's smaller size and position immediately adjacent to the station, the L&YR goods depot would be easier to model.

 

Here is the general area plan and a photo from Wikipedia showing the overall layout of the place back in steam days:

 

 

Barnsley,_Penistone,_Batley_RJD_3.jpg

Barnsley Loco Shed.jpg

 

In the photo above, the L&YR goods depot is off to the left, just past the station.  The Junction branches off tot he left and there the GCR goods yard off of that to the left again.

Edited by Traintresta

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You could do a lot worse than having a look at the Minories  track plan by dear old Cyril. Many layouts are based on it and it's almost bomb proof. If you add in an extra crossover then you don't have to run ECS. If you model steam then leave it out and if you run diesels then put it in. You can model it in a cutting with walls or on a viaduct with van/parcels traffic or without. It's the most user friendly track plan ever devised. The only thing you can't really do is reverse it as a mirror image as the crossovers don't work and that can make it longer and not quite minories anymore.

Regards Lez.Z.

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As Lez says, the Minories is a great idea, of if you wanted mainly Goods, then something like my Loch Leven that was later converted into Fiddlers Yard might be of interest.

You will see that Loch Leven was Rural, but after conversion to Fiddlers Yard it became more Urban.

 

Total Length 9ft and details can be found in the relevant  threads.

 

First Loch Leven.

post-9335-0-74417100-1368570182_thumb.jpg.90e94e0306112850525fb1882a5dcb8f.jpg

 

post-9335-0-99179000-1368987809_thumb.jpg.18ce49acadef69ab31d38d941d58a9d8.jpg

 

Then converted to Fiddlers Yard.

post-9335-0-57478100-1386020047_thumb.jpg.09bf0b87b3d6c152d63213fcf7ea60f9.jpg

 

post-17302-0-47849600-1385830574_thumb.jpg.e437462681a917a6c5d1560ccf85b03e.jpg

 

post-12576-0-54685900-1439847406_thumb.jpg.20875546de7e2e82898f1be90ee79464.jpg

 

post-9335-0-93452300-1385921147_thumb.jpg.f4c6b9ba27d9ef47370d63238f9d67d8.jpg

 

Good Luck.

 

 

 

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For several years, Buckingham was a portable layout, set up only when an operating session was going to happen.

 

There are some very useful ideas and hints in the Wild Swan and Peco books about how it was arranged but basically, Peter Denny made up a timber frame into which the other boards could be slotted when not in use. The main board lived on top of the frame and all the stock was shunted onto it when the layout was dismantled.

 

He wrote that it wasn't ideal but was better than no layout at all.

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27 minutes ago, Andrew P said:

Andy this is about the size I have at the moment so very appealing, and as I would like to concentrate more on goods traffic this is much more fitting, as it would allow me greater operational flexibility than running a few coaches back and forth.  Does the fiddle yard extend beyond the 9' scenic section?

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Traintresta said:

Andy this is about the size I have at the moment so very appealing, and as I would like to concentrate more on goods traffic this is much more fitting, as it would allow me greater operational flexibility than running a few coaches back and forth.  Does the fiddle yard extend beyond the 9' scenic section?

In L/L it was within the 9ft, i.e. 3ft 3 inch Fiddle Yard and 5ft 6 inch scenic. but on Fiddlers Yard I just used the Layout as a giant Fiddle Yard, (hence the name) for shunting stock, BUT you will see that a single Track disappears through the walling, this was to a single Track that folded out for an extra 12 inches or so to exchange stock at shows. However, I did leave provision for the Tracks centre bottom in the pic below to carry on to a proper Fiddle Yard if required.

post-9335-0-57478100-1386020047_thumb.jpg.378b75d7c8b2cde67a190059e2bc71bc.jpg

 

post-9335-0-62262500-1381787813_thumb.jpg.c52b2183088ff8a1699725f5430eda0d.jpg

 

post-17302-0-47849600-1385830574_thumb.jpg.1f2764f13e89b604da15451b970af253.jpg

 

post-9335-0-07312600-1383169624_thumb.jpg.d39f5f181da190852e251e4e1d520f5d.jpg

 

post-9335-0-42554000-1383240008_thumb.jpg.d48fc90e667765a9af81e81371313243.jpg

Edited by Andrew P
ADD A PIC
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6 hours ago, Traintresta said:

I'm currently in the process of coming up with a layout plan that will provide me a long term project, and I am wondering if a layout that is portable within the home has any benefits or drawbacks that I need to be aware of?

 

To help understand my predicament, here is the criteria I am working to:

 

1. Using EM-2 gauge, hand-laying code 75 trackwork (scale and gauge non-negotiable)

2. Location will likely be Barnsley Exchange station and GCR goods yard (S.Yorks).

3. Currently confined to 8'x4' in the spare room, the room is about 7' wide, but due to an entrance door and boiler on opposite walls to each other, I cannot utilise the whole width for an L or U shape.

4. I could achieve up to 14' length and/or approx 6'-8' width for a layout on a temporary basis - hence the portability question.

5. We rent, and within the next 12-18 months are likely to be moving. Hopefully to a larger house, but no guarantees on space available.

6. Finally... the lack of a decent space to get a model interesting enough to fulfil my desires for a layout, has held me back so far from, achieving anything so I really want to get this right so that there is no need to start over unnecessarily.

 

So, anybody got any opinions that might help me figure out if this is a worthwhile idea or not?

There's absolutely no reason why a home layout shouild not be portable; all mine have been. At the moment I'm contemplating a rather larger layout- possibly a modified Minories- so it's something I've also had to think about. 

I think it depends a great deal on the way the layout is likely to be used.

A layout in the spare room could presumably be left up most of the time and only taken down and stored when the room is needed for other purposes, such as when guests are staying. In that  case speed of assembly would not be too important.

On the other hand the fourteen foot length with, I assume, an option of  the 8 ft width being used for an L or a U, rather implies the layout being put up for operating sessions in the main living room. I think in that case assembly and disassembly needs to be very fast and straightforward, even more so than for an exhibition layout, ideally taking no more than ten to fifteen minutes from storage to operation and back again. I don't think the scale and gauge would make a lot of difference provided you have a system for joining baseboards that is simple and reliable especially in terms of tracks lining up. 

There is a balance between larger but more unwieldy baseboards requiring fewer joints and smaller more portable baseboard involving more joints. I knew one layout, originally designed to be put up in a through lounge on various bookcases and sideboards, with two 36 by 18 inch baseboards, two 36 by 12 inch baseboards  and an eight foot folding fiddle yard.   I only knew it in its later years but had the distinct impression that in the end it became almost entirely an exhibition layout and was normally only put up in the living room for debugging or practice sessions. It's also interesting to read Peter Denny's accounts of his portable layouts and in particular of Buckingham mk II when he was a married curate living in a modest house with only the living room available "The disadvantage of erecting the layout in the living room was that it completely immobilised the room, with the result that the railway was only put out when somebody wanted to come and see it"  

I have seen a few fairly ingenious solutions to this such as having the main baseboard in some kind of cabinet with removable boards (often stored beneath)  that are plugged into it for operating sessions. However it's done though I reckon that any layout that's going to be put up for operating sessions and then taken down does need to be genuinely "plug and play"  

 

FWIW my current H0 layout uses a "Foldingham" hinged tapered baseboard that just needs to be swung out and locked  (using modified furniture  connecting blocks) and a simple fiddle yard bolted on the end.  The scenic section is 1600mm (62 ins) long

569789460_LeGoudron204aerial(best).jpg.591320494ec5ff47d1cdd2bbefb923f2.jpg

 

When closed it forms an open box  with a lid to box it up completely when it's not being used. 

450918677_legoudron2017006.jpg.77533e90817464a80c4d9fe226db8ce4.jpg

 

 

It's not a patch on Andy's Fiddlers Yard but, with three goods sidings and a passenger station,  is surprisingly interesting to operate. It can also be used without a fiddle yard as a shunting layout and in that form used to sit on the back of my office desk until the scanner, printer, monitor  etc. needed the space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello,

 

since the late 2000s I've building my homelayouts according to the FREMO recommendations. So I can go to FREMO meetings or exhibitions with my modules, and in the case of a house move I don't have to tear down the layout. So I was able to reuse most of my layout after the my house moves in the last 3 years.

 

Markus

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I'm doing exactly that with mine. My modelling room is a box-room only a little over 7' long. My layout is (or will be when I've put the track down) 14' long (+fiddle yards) and set up in the lounge on running days.

 

I've divided it into 3'6 x 17" sections in such a way that I can set up 2 at a time in the work room for working on with the other two stored underneath. Construction is mostly 6mm ply with 18mm ply ends with steel dowels for registration.

 

Documented on what is currently the last but one page in the Willington in EM thread.

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1 minute ago, sharris said:

I'm doing exactly that with mine. My modelling room is a box-room only a little over 7' long. My layout is (or will be when I've put the track down) 14' long (+fiddle yards) and set up in the lounge on running days.

 

I've divided it into 3'6 x 17" sections in such a way that I can set up 2 at a time in the work room for working on with the other two stored underneath. Construction is mostly 6mm ply with 18mm ply ends with steel dowels for registration.

 

Documented on what is currently the last but one page in the Willington in EM thread.

This sounds akin to what I am trying to achieve so I will go take a look, thanks.

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On 08/06/2019 at 18:40, Andrew P said:

In L/L it was within the 9ft, i.e. 3ft 3 inch Fiddle Yard and 5ft 6 inch scenic. but on Fiddlers Yard I just used the Layout as a giant Fiddle Yard, (hence the name) for shunting stock, BUT you will see that a single Track disappears through the walling, this was to a single Track that folded out for an extra 12 inches or so to exchange stock at shows. However, I did leave provision for the Tracks centre bottom in the pic below to carry on to a proper Fiddle Yard if required.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/post-9335-0-57478100-1386020047_thumb.jpg.378b75d7c8b2cde67a190059e2bc71bc.jpg

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/post-9335-0-62262500-1381787813_thumb.jpg.c52b2183088ff8a1699725f5430eda0d.jpg

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/post-17302-0-47849600-1385830574_thumb.jpg.1f2764f13e89b604da15451b970af253.jpg

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/post-9335-0-07312600-1383169624_thumb.jpg.d39f5f181da190852e251e4e1d520f5d.jpg

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/post-9335-0-42554000-1383240008_thumb.jpg.d48fc90e667765a9af81e81371313243.jpg

Andy, what size points did you use?

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I think it can be done, the large layout is in the garage>

I have a 5 x 1 in my room, which I'm currently working on, hand built track. Shunting plank, Scottish timber.

 

Regards Jeff

IMG_2136.jpeg

IMG_2137.jpeg

IMG_2138.jpeg

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I must confess that my current main layout is large (by British standards) but I lived with an 8 foot 6 inch by 15 inches layout for well over a dozen years.

 

It was a 7mm narrow gauge layout so in relative terms, compared to EM, it was quite small.

The whole font was scenicked and a line to a fiddle yard sneaked off at the back half way along.

 

The only suggestion which I would make, from experience, is to hinge it at the middle.

This allows it to be set up quickly on a table or desk top and to be removed as quickly as you can get the stock off.

 

One of my current layouts, deliberately designed for portability, follows this principle and works well.

You probably won't be interested in the modelling, which is simply N gauge commercial offerings.

There is nothing original in the design but I did give a little background on my Inverness Citadel thread.

 

Ian T

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3 hours ago, ianathompson said:

I must confess that my current main layout is large (by British standards) but I lived with an 8 foot 6 inch by 15 inches layout for well over a dozen years.

 

It was a 7mm narrow gauge layout so in relative terms, compared to EM, it was quite small.

The whole font was scenicked and a line to a fiddle yard sneaked off at the back half way along.

 

The only suggestion which I would make, from experience, is to hinge it at the middle.

This allows it to be set up quickly on a table or desk top and to be removed as quickly as you can get the stock off.

 

One of my current layouts, deliberately designed for portability, follows this principle and works well.

You probably won't be interested in the modelling, which is simply N gauge commercial offerings.

There is nothing original in the design but I did give a little background on my Inverness Citadel thread.

 

Ian T

Fortunately the 8'x4' space I have can be permanently occupied, and in common with several posts above your suggestion that this amount of space is highly satisfactory has got me thinking about just sticking with it and i've developed a plan which will occupy this area and achieve most of my aims, with a view to expansion in the future.

 

Funny though that you should suggest folding in the middle, my wife suggested we buy a wallpaper table to set things up on.

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1 hour ago, Traintresta said:

Funny though that you should suggest folding in the middle, my wife suggested we buy a wallpaper table to set things up on.

 

Can i seriously suggest that you do not do this!

Forty plus years ago I went down this route and it was a disaster!

 

 

The thing was very lightly constructed and rapidly developed a dip which put the centre a couple of inches below the ends.

It would quite happily have sufficed for pasting wallpaper but it was not a recipe for a successful model/

 

I don't doubt, at this remove, that it was an ultra-cheapo version but unless their design has moved on I would avoid them like the plague.

 

Ian T

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The main problem with something that's 8x4 is that it isn't very portable. It's actually a very large chunk of railway and you can't really get that much on it. Even worse if you cut it in half as you are then talking about raised or folding hinges and that's not all that easy if this is your first rodeo, If I were you I would also stay well away from wallpaper paste tables as they really are NOT up to the job and they act like a sound board just to add to the problems they will present you with.

Regards Lez.Z.   

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Posted (edited)
On 12/06/2019 at 22:42, lezz01 said:

The main problem with something that's 8x4 is that it isn't very portable. It's actually a very large chunk of railway and you can't really get that much on it. Even worse if you cut it in half as you are then talking about raised or folding hinges and that's not all that easy if this is your first rodeo, If I were you I would also stay well away from wallpaper paste tables as they really are NOT up to the job and they act like a sound board just to add to the problems they will present you with.

Regards Lez.Z.   

Hi Lez, thanks for the reply. this certainly isn't my first rodeo as such, but more specifically a concerted effort to follow something through beyond early stages.  I'm more curious about the merits or drawbacks of a portable layout in the home be as I’ve

 never done it, but a fixed layout I have.

 

To clarify, the 8'x4' space is where I currently have a 7'8"x18-20" board set up, but I could use the width of 4' if I so desired, although I'm well aware of the perils of such a wide board.  That space would not be occupied by a portable layout except for storage, so the idea of a larger space then becomes available, but only on a temporary basis. However, the feedback I have received here has me leaning towards sticking with my permanent space and not going portable yet, perhaps with a view to expanding portable in the future.

Edited by Traintresta

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I would recommend anyone to build their home layout with removal in mind. A few times I have had the sad duty to help "rescue" a home layout after the owner has passed on. Even after cutting the scenery etc it's almost impossible to remove the boards without trashing the trackwork etc. 

 

So if you are planning on a house move etc plan your layout to be easily dismantled from the outset. Also means that when you cannot make use of it in the future it can be sold to someone who can :)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, RedgateModels said:

I would recommend anyone to build their home layout with removal in mind. A few times I have had the sad duty to help "rescue" a home layout after the owner has passed on. Even after cutting the scenery etc it's almost impossible to remove the boards without trashing the trackwork etc. 

 

So if you are planning on a house move etc plan your layout to be easily dismantled from the outset. Also means that when you cannot make use of it in the future it can be sold to someone who can :)

Fortunately I always build with removal in mind due to my status as a renter, something I learned from many house moves as a child, but I hadn't ever thought of selling it on if I becomes unsuitable so thanks for that little tidbit.

Edited by Traintresta

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On 11/06/2019 at 19:18, phixer64 said:

Whats the purpose of the smaller one if you have a layout in the garage?

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The smaller layout is a test bed, and a I wanted to have a go at building mown track.
Also, with the larger layout, being in the garage, depending on the weather etc, I still get to run some of my locos and stock.

 

Regards Jeff

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Posted (edited)

I started a small layout in 2015 intended as a cheap fix to run the locos I have had gathering dust out of action for the last few years, we knew we would be moving a couple of times between then and now, so I needed something small and easy to move around, plus having a daughter (now having 2 daughters!) needed to be quick and easy to store when out of use to keep out of harms way, so I can have it setup or packed up in about 5 minutes. Its a first attempt at a half acceptable layout until I have time money and space for a bigger project.

 

Its an 8x2 layout, which can split into 2 4x2 panels. there is minimal wiring underneath - only to connect the track circuit, lighting, and a few point motors. These are connected via an RS232 under the board. The 2 boards are clipped together with 2 cheap catches as visible in the photos which hold it nice and tight. There are 2 guide lugs underneath to line it up.

 

Larger buildings such as the loco shed and warehouse are sat in place, so can be removed when storing, the smaller objects such as fueling point and cabins etc are all glued in place, and the yard lights just unplug from their mounts. I built the boards myself using parts from B & Q, its started to sag in the middle because I never got round to fitting crossmembers underneath, nothing too noticeable and doesnt affect operation, bit of a make do and mend job. Since I started the project I have moved twice, Ive had it upstairs, downstairs, outside, and has been set/packed up countless times. Ive had no issues with it and found it to be very effective.

 

I've attached a couple of pictures in its early days to give you an idea plus one of the latest pics. It spends 90% of the time packed away.

 

I do have a thread on here, which I havnt updated in quite some time, called Woodfield Road.

 

Probably a shock horror to most modelers as it goes against most conventional ideas and standards, but as done exactly as I had hoped, so I hope this is of some use.

 

*Edit* Ive also had it up and down the loft hatch a few times via a ladder with no issues, and moved it between houses in the back of a 2001 Corsa with room to spare, so quite practical.

WP_20150513_002.jpg.5b8cd504ff6cb469a86f272e2a645767.jpg62395416_448240339338109_9120599267667345408_n.jpg.307a74b2e0d507c8129b9ba043cf2031.jpg

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WP_20150513_002.jpg

Edited by 508EMU
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That’s a very interesting input, thanks for sharing your experience as it’s certainly got me thinking. I have a slightly more permanent set-up in mind but a lot of what you’ve just said has definitely put the portability issue back in my mind as I know it’ll be a factor. 

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