Getting Started

A small bit of space opened up in my house recently and I jumped at the chance to fill it with a railway. The new layout would have to be long and thin so a circular layout was out of the question and I wanted it to be portable so I could use it outside in the warm weather.

I model in both 00 and N gauge and for this layout I opted for 00 as I have a larger collection of trains in this scale. I decided to run on analogue control rather than digital as most of my trains either pre-date digital or don’t have the space for a decoder. For the track plan I went with a simple shunting arrangement known as an Inglenook Puzzle with a slight modification to fit a double road engine shed. The finished plan is roughly six feet long by just over one foot wide.

For the baseboard I spied a wallpaper decorating table at my local home store. It has a plywood frame, folds in half and has legs the fold into the frame. Unfortunately the surface of the table is made of a thin sheet of hardboard, I would not recommend it for a baseboard as it is serious headache trying to nail trackpins into it. I’m not close enough to any DIY stores or timber merchants to source a different type of wood so I’ve had to make do and mend. The table was twice the width I needed and after a handy bit of sawing and drilling I was able to cut it down to size and I finished it off by covering the top with a thin layer of cork.

One the cork was down I laid out the track to see how it will fit on the table. After a bit of manoeuvring I was able to line up the track so the joins were over the gap in the table where it folds in half. This done I marked out where the points were going to go and then took up the track so I could paint the areas under the points with grey paint. The reason for this that I’m going to try my hand at ballasting the track after it has been laid, a first for me, and the grey paint should cover up where there cannot be ballast due to the operation of the points.

When I was happy with this I nailed down the main trunk of the track and added some bridging wires where the table folded in half. As a next step I’ll be looking to add some point motors and then possibly move on to ballasting the line.

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