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Old 10-15-2019, 11:41 AM   #1
Old Robert
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how to make a train table?



good morning!

THANK YOU for all the helpful advice! I am still in the learning curve.

I am making a SMALL setup for one grandson, because they think they don't have a lot of room

the other grandson has a BIG clean basement, so I thought I would have some fun!

OK, i have my Lionel trains from my childhood, and access to a local store with LOTS of stock.

1. what is the best and easiest way to set up a nice big train table? sheets of plywood with support legs?? I hope to build this with my nice son in law. size? 5 by 7 feet? they have a good size basement.

I do have a good amount of track, and the supports for a second raised railway. I have 3 locomotives, could get more, some street lamp styled lamps, a tower of lights, a rotating light, etc. I have a Lionel ZW and a KW transformer. I have remote control electric switches from my childhood, etc. As a kid, we used the 2 big handles on the ZW for 2 separate trains, and the 2 other levers for various lights and switches, etc. a very nice setup, my Dad was wonderful!

I think this could be a fun project!!!

I thought we could make a table, and then slowly add the trains to it!

i would love any ideas!

best regards

bob
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:01 PM   #2
seayakbill
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A good starter is 5/8 inch plywood, 2x4 legs and crossmembers, 1 inch pink foam on top of the plywood.

No matter what size you choose it will never be big enough. if possible I would make it wide enough to accomodate 072 curves. That gives you the flexibility to operate the big steamers.

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Old 10-15-2019, 03:56 PM   #3
Millstonemike
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You may want to envision a layout (e.g., track plan) before hammer and nails. That will dictate the dimensions of the table.

You can download the SCARM track planning s/w. You only need to pay for the license if you exceed 100 pieces of track (and other objects).

Or look up suggested layouts ...

Last edited by Millstonemike; 10-15-2019 at 08:18 PM..
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:36 AM   #4
Bryan Moran
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5 x 7 is really small, and will be all curve. I have a small basement and what is considered a small layout at 17 x 7 1/2. With that I have small runs, my trains turn pretty quick.

I built my layout framing 1st using mostly 2x4's. I had some spare 4x4's which is overkill but they were spare pieces. Then lay the plyboard on top. fasten with wood screws. 5/8 seems right. I have too thick of foam insulation on mine I think in some spots. Don't need much. I think my height is 34 inches or so.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:30 PM   #5
Yellowstone Special
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Interesting that you get to build a small layout table and a not-so-small layout table.

For my layout, I used 1/2" plywood for the deck, which is plenty thick, with 1/2" Homosote on top of that, which helps decrease the noise. For the legs and. bracing, 2 x 4s worked very well. The layout will have been up and running for 8 years this Christmas and was built sturdy enough to dance on. Flathead wood screws are the way to go.

Just one more thing (remember Lt. Columbo? ): Building train layouts for your grandsons is indeed a worthwhile and satisfying project. But they may become bored with old post war or pre-command control stuff as they get older. With mine, I eventually added newer locomotives and command control (Legacy). Another alternative would be Lionel's Lion Chief II system.

Something to think about and good luck with your builds.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:26 PM   #6
santafe158
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Originally Posted by Yellowstone Special View Post
Just one more thing (remember Lt. Columbo? ): Building train layouts for your grandsons is indeed a worthwhile and satisfying project. But they may become bored with old post war or pre-command control stuff as they get older. With mine, I eventually added newer locomotives and command control (Legacy). Another alternative would be Lionel's Lion Chief II system.

Even in my 20's I get bored watching trains go in circles, command control or not. I recently acquired some basic Lionel accessories with a Postwar set I bought and have discovered that even the simple things can add a lot of fun to running trains. Coal loaders, log loaders, etc.. are all pretty readily available and can be a lot of fun to play around with.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:31 PM   #7
Millstonemike
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I will be using 7/16" OSB for the deck: ~$9 per 4' x 8' sheet at my HD or Lowes. I really don't see the need to use $30+ plywood for this application since it's going to get painted. With 2" x 4" framing underneath spaced at 24" ctr-to-ctr it should be more than strong enough for a person to walk on.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:09 PM   #8
Old Robert
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to millstone mike: what exactly is 7/16 OSB?

to Bryan Moran: thanks! what size would you suggest? I envision having 2 separate trains, like I did as a kid. one track was elevated, would never interfere with the other. I had also a siding, and a figure 8, and a tunnel. i had many lights, and a tunnel. I will absolutely have lights scattered around, etc.

for your setup, how many 2by 4 pieces do you use to hold up that table? i will have my friend design the frame, since I can't !! ha!

the guy at Northeast Trains this morning suggested plywood with Homasote on top. they did a GREAT job refurbishing an engine and a reversible gang car.

i would like to hear any advice from anyone!

thanks!

bob

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Old 10-16-2019, 04:26 PM   #9
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to millstone mike: what exactly is 7/16 OSB?..
Oriented Strand Board, 7/16" thick. Can be found at Lowes or Home Depot. 4' by 8' sheet is $7.25 at HD.
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:57 PM   #10
gunrunnerjohn
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After doing several with OSB and a couple with plain plywood, I'd recommend birch multi-ply. 1/2" birch multi-ply is not all that expensive, and it will not warp in your lifetime! OSB can end up looking like a washboard. I bought my 5 x 5 sheets of birch multi-ply for $24/ea. Thinking about all the time and money you'll end up having invested, it makes sense to build on a good foundation!

20190621_180408.png

I topped it with 1/2" Homasote to keep the noise at a minimum.

20190710_173454.png
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