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Help with building a station platform...


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I'm looking at building my own station platform after not finding anything pre-built that I like.


I've purchased a few packs of the peco concrete edging...




I now need to construct the main platform top and also to attach the edging to.


I'm new to all of this so not sure what the best way is to go about this. I've done a bit of googling but can only find pics/video's on completely scratch building a station.


Any help is greatly appreciated



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My suggestion is that you use the edging you have purchased as a cladding rather than as a structural element.  That means you need to design the whole platform, not just the top.  Start by assessing what height you need - and that depends on whether you lay the track on an underlay.  In my case (00 gauge) I had cork floor tiles as a base and they are 3.5mm thick.  Then, using Peco 100 flexitrack, I needed a finished height of 18mm to the platform surface from the baseboard.  Next, decide what you will use for the top - I used some old plywood I had that is 5mm thick so needed a structure of 13mm to sit it on (I do not have any surface finish other than paint).  I am fortunate in having a circular saw table and was able to split some tile batten to give me that height, using a strip at the front and back of the platform to which I could attach the cladding.  One could use card, plastic sheet, balsa wood or whatever appeals for any of this but it depends on how tough/strong you want the finished article to be.  I decided that my platforms needed to be very robust and so they have proved to be.  Using tile batten as the base has enabled me to fix the platforms with screws from underneath the baseboard which keeps them in place but permits easy removal.  Also, there is a gap between them which permits wires for the lighting to be hidden in the space.  You need to think about how wide to make the platform as well as the length;  I think 50mm is a minimum width and probably 80mm if you have track on both sides.  It could of course be wider if you have the space.


I hope this helps.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Mark


Please don't try to build a platform up using the Peco edging - in my experience you'll get nowhere very quickly and for best results you need something that fits exactly into your build. So I thought you (and possibly others) may be interested in how I did my 00 platforms which are built from 3mm mdf with a cork top. They are light weight and so strong you can stand on them, also they're reasonably cheap. You can use this method for any gauge required.


Once my track was laid and glued down, but before ballasting, I used the tried and tested method of making a cutting template for my platform with pencil and paper (NB the more accurate the template the better your end result so take your time). You need a large sheet of paper (plain wallpaper is good) Lay the sheet up side down over your track and fasten securely (tape or drawing pins) then with the pencil, draw a line on the outer edge of the rail where you need the platform - it doesn't matter if its only a one faced platform as you can determine its width later - for island platforms draw both lines.


Remove the paper from your baseboard and it might be a good idea to determine the width of the platform you'll want at this stage (in 00 for a single faced platform you need 30mm as a minimum width but 50mm is the average, for island platforms the measurements are 50mm and 100mm and none of these would include buildings) Draw up these measurements to produce a template of your platform. For an island platform the width will be determined by the two lines on the template you're making. Now carefully cut out to your edge line(s)


NB. This next bit isn't entirely necessary but I found it of great value as the paper template does tend to get a bit crumpled with handling:


Transfer the template onto some stout card (I used 1mm greycard from Hobbycraft) to produce a stiffer more resilient one. Now cut out your new card template and test fit against the outside of the rail(s) you've just copied - it should be a tight accurate fit when held up against the rail with no obvious gaps.




Next stage is to again fasten this cut out template down to your baseboard.


That done, we have to mark exactly where our platform edge line needs to be to ensure none of our stock catches the edge when passing by. We do this with a pencil and your longest coach or wagon. Put the coach on the track, hold the pencil vertically on the side of the coach nearest your template somewhere at its centre with the pencil tip touching the card template, slowly draw the coach from one end of the card to the other and draw a line on the template. Now repeat this holding the pencil vertically on the coach side but this time near the end of the coach and draw another line.


You may find one line is exactly the same as the other or one will be slightly different than the other (it depends on the curvature of the track), whichever, the combination will produce an indication of where we need to cut - using the line or marks nearest the centre of the template ie furthest from the cut edge. (might be an idea to draw freehand over whichever line is nearest this point).


NB. Before you cut along this new line there are some considerations: You mention using Peco platform edging! The line we have determined shows where the edge of the platform 'nearest to the rail edge' is, ie the nearest point to the edge of your passing railway stock - nothing can go further out than this line. So, we have to take into consideration the width of anything we intend sticking on the front (eg your Peco edging) As a tip, I actually inverted a piece of edging strip and used this as a guide to draw the new line and then stuck embossed plasticard stone onto it but you will find it far easier to use if you clip or file off everything on the back of the edging strip to give a perfectly flat face to stick onto your new platform. As a note for anyone else using this method you do need to measure the thickness of any material you intend sticking on the front face of your platform and transfer this dimension to the template otherwise the platform will stick out over or onto your track.


Cut out your new template and test fit again. When your happy, place the template on a piece of 3mm mdf and draw round it. Now carefully cut this out making sure you cut to the inside edge of the line very closely. When done gently sand the edges and again test fit.


Okay more measurements: The platform height (its very top surface) in 00 to conform to UK standards will need to be 12mm above your rail tops. It doesn't matter what if anything your track is mounted on, what we need is to establish the rail top height from the baseboard and work accordingly. Place a straight edge across the rails where your platform is to be sited and measure the gap between the bottom edge of this and the baseboard (write it down - mine was 10mm). Now consider; What are you going to use for the platform top? Are you just going to use the 3mm mdf for the top, or are you going to stick something onto it as I did? I used 3mm thick cork to represent tarmac but, whatever you decide to stick on it the overall thickness needs to be determined (write it down) - in this description I'll use my cork and mdf measurements and you may need to substitute your measurements for mine.


Now some critical sums; The wall height formula;- Basboard to rail top distance added to 12mm (rail top to platform top). Subtract from this the total thickness of anything that is going to be stuck on as a top platform surface (in my case a 3mm structural mdf covering plus a 3mm cork represenation of tarmac).

So this works as - Gap from baseboard to rail tops = 10mm. Add to this 12mm from rail tops to platform top = 22mm. Subtract from this the 3mm mdf and the 3mm cork = 16mm (yours maybe different but you're aiming for a figure when calculated that will give you a total of 12mm above rail height when everything is stacked together). So this calculation determines the height my platform walls need to be - 16mm.


Now you need to cut some long (in my case 16mm wide) strips of 3mm mdf, ideally long enough for one complete length to cover the whole front and one for the back - doesn't matter if you can't as they can be joined. You will also need some for supports, again 16mm wide chopped into bits about 40-45mm long.


Okay a few piccies to show how I then went about putting it all together;-


First the supports are placed under the top - each one 3mm in from the edge, glued with neat pva and spaced approx 45mm apart - You can use as many as you want, more the better really. You can easily fabricate a simple 3mm width jig from off cuts for placement of the supports by sticking one piece face to face with another leaving a 3mm gap at one edge.

NB make sure its the right way up (that's the underneath uppermost) you don't want your supports on top of the platform.




When this has thoroughly dried (24 hours) time to glue on and clamp our 16mm deep walls





Next is to test fit in situ;-





Now the 3mm cork topping (use rolls. lay it out flat, pva all over the mdf, place in position carefully, weight it down (I used housebricks) leave to dry for 24 hours, then trim the edges with a sharp craft knife - be careful not to break out any chunks of cork.




Now the Peco edging; File all protrusions from the back to give a level surface and stick them on the front making sure they're level with the top surface (you may need clamps until it dries) and don't worry if the bottom of the edging doesn't reach the bottom of the walls as the ballast or wall covering will hide it - the top edge is the important one. Work your way along butting them together until you've covered the whole length, which should give you a nice neat platform edge. If you want, mitre the corners for a real neat finish.




When you've done this it's time to dress the wall; I used Slaters embossed stone plasticard sutiably painted and weathered (these can reach to the baseboard). Again, work your way along until all is covered.




End result (before completion/painting);







So there you have a 'how I did it'. This platform is about 4'6" long, custom built and fits nicely, exactly where and what I wanted. I eventually PVA'd it to the baseboard and air-brushed the top to imitate tarmac and am pleased with the outcome. Worth noting I did, by accident, walk on it when it was in the shed for spraying - not a mark and I'm over 13 stone. Overall cost I don't know but it consisted of 2-3'x2' sheets of 3mm mdf, 2-rolls of 3mm cork, Peco edging, Slaters plasticard and a tub of PVA - so not much really and certainly much less than anything RTR - which wouldn't have fit anyway.


Hope this helps and if you find something not clearly described? please give me a shout.


Sorry it's a bit long winded.....



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