O Scale Model Train Layout: Storage and Set-up
train layout substructure

The O-scale train layout is designed to be stored most of the year. It is, typically, set up from mid-November to mid-February. The above photo shows the finished train layout without the black skirt. The underside, legs and rockers are visible.

The photo below shows what the model train layout structure looks like when it is first brought in from garage storage:

At that point, there is still much detail work to be done. These photos show the layout as it is being moved from the garage to the house:


All wiring is secured to plywood with clear packing tape. Wiring is connected via bus bars and quick disconnects.

The mountain is removable and stores separately. It consists of 3 pieces - a center piece with the track mounted to a thin wood frame and two lightweight foam side pieces.

All of the lower level tunnel entrances detach for storage. They are made of lightweight foam.

The plywood extension supporting the Lionel Hobby Shop detaches for separate storage. It is secured to the structure with two bolts with wing nuts.

The front of the lower level layout folds like a drop-leaf table. It's designed this way so that the structure will not be too tall when rotated 90 degrees. (It needs to fit through doorways.)

The 13-inch high backdrop at the rear of the layout has six caster wheels mounted on the back. When the unit is rotated 90 degrees, these casters allow for easy movement of the structure as it is rolled to-and-from the storage area.

The structure has reinforced metal folding legs for compact storage. The drop leaf-section has wooden folding legs.

The layout is quite heavy - requiring too much muscle to lift and rotate the platform 90 degrees. To ease the 'grunt' needed to rotate the unit, I designed and had fabricated two rockers made of 1/4-inch thick steel plate stock. After the layout is rolled into the house and into position (we use plywood ramps to traverse the front step and doorway sill plate), the rockers are attached to the layout with screws. Then a wood cross-beam is bolted to the steel rockers, forming a cradle.

The structure can then be rotated with little more than fingertip pressure. Once the unit is rotated into position, the folding legs are lowered. The cradle supports some of the weight and makes the layout more stable. Details can be seen in the photos:

Rocker cradle assembly - two black rockers, fabricated from 1/4-inch steel plate stock, connected by a wood cross brace - permit the train layout to be rotated from vertical position to horizontal operating position. These photos show layout in its horizontal, operating position.

The caster wheels are at the rear of the layout on the back side. The rockers are also attached to the platform itself.

Once the layout is rotated to vertical, the rockers are removed so that the unit will fit through doorways and can be easily stored.

In order to prevent marking/staining of the carpet in the living room, the surface of the rockers is covered with a layer of clear polyester tape.

The train platform - covered with a white tarp to minimize dust - is stored in my garage between two cars. It is secured with a wood brace which is anchored to the garage ceiling, to keep the platform from tipping over. The caster wheels are secured with wedges.

More Train Info & Photos

Main Page - Introduction
Overview - General description
Aerial photo - Large overview of layout
Photorama - Several pages of photos
Construction - Progress photos and descriptions
Inventory list - It continues to grow
Frequently asked questions - And answers to them
Tips for a better layout - Ten helpful suggestions
My grandson's layout - A simple model railroad for kids
GM Aerotrain - 1950s Train of the Future
Hiawatha - The first streamlined steam loco
PRR Consolidation - Pennsy's steam freight workhorse
PRR GG1 - The most famous electric locomotive on earth
PRR Mallet - Pennsy's big, powerful steam freight hauler
PRR MP54 - Serving commuters for over 50 years
PRR T1 - Sleek and massive Pennsy steam power

copyright Joseph M. Sherlock - 2000-19