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Discussion Starter #1
After watching many model railroad videos we've come up with a theme and how-to. We're going to go with a post apocalyptic steampunk theme in HO. We're also going to build on 6 foot folding tables for mobility. My last layout got destroyed when we had to move. That's not going to happen again. Plus we now live in an apartment. I'll be making wheeled racks we can slide the tables into for transportation. Our first section is going to be on 4 tables.

I work 12-14 hour days 5-6 days a week so progress is slow. So I won't be adding updates very often but here's what we have so far.

The first picture is the first of our "benchwork." I'm going to put 2" foam on the tables so I can dig down and to deaden the sound.

The next 4 pictures are our track plan. I find I work better with a loose idea of what we want then adjust and modify as I go.

The last is our current rag tag fleet acquired with a starter set, some swap meet stuff, and some stuff given to us.
 

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Before you go too far...

Good luck and before you go too far...
Decide how you will align the tables and clamp them together, as floors are almost never level.

I've added a removable section to my shelf layout which has two tracks crossing the split.
One track, I kept both ends short of the table and use a 6" piece of sectional track to connect the shelf rail to the new section rail.
The second track, I ran both ends right up to the edge of the table with about 1/16" gap, which is larger than I wanted.

As for the shelf-section connection, I have an overlapping metal piece solidly connected to the new section. When the shelf and new section go together, a hole in the metal lines up with a hole in the shelf, and I put a screw in. This way the new section cannot drift away from the shelf.

In the bottom of the picture you can see the 1/16" rail gap, I plan to ballast it all.
In the top of the picture is the removable track section, which I cannot ballast in the traditional sense. It also depends on rail joiners for power unless I add some flexible jumpers or under table power connection.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
More on the plans

Thank you Dennis for your words of wisdom. Definitely ideas to consider. With all my research I'm thinking about using plug in electrical connectors at each end of the tables. This will let me get away with only one power drop down for each track. I'm also planning on using c-clamp locking pliers to hold the tables together. As for jumping the gap? I keep going back and forth on the method. I like the 6" jumper track for ease of set up. I also like the nip the rails right at the gap for the look but I can also see me getting very frustrated with trying to get all the gaps lined up perfectly every time I set it up. I'm also thinking about getting adjustable foot pads so I can adjust for uneven floors. Everything will be attached so the whole thing can be be moved with minimum fuss, except for the actual trains of course. I'm thinking of using Velcro for the buildings for light replacement or adding interior detail later. All of this is subject to change as time goes on and I'm presented with better ideas.
 

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If people put lift up bridges on layouts, how come we don't put small lift up sections where our modules meet? Wouldn't have to cut and replace track when we have to move it?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First frame.

I had spent many hours fretting over how to protect the 2" foam for the top of the tables. With moving the tables I could just see the foam getting gouged. I finally came up with this idea and today got the first one built. I also got the foam cut to size and started digging out around the edges of the foam.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We got a little farther.

We got the foam glued in and the roadbed glued down. Now we need to get some more stuff before we can go any farther with the roads. I'm thinking things like track and connectors and wire might be a good place to start. :D Meanwhile we'll figure out exactly how we want to do the landscaping and work on some other things we have.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We got a little work done on our layout this weekend. My wife as able to finish her lighthouse, I added the cross ties to a bridge we were given, and deciding we didn't want the panels on the side we decided to use the material for a roof. My wife did most of the work on the roof.
 

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Tell your wife very nice work.👍
 

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That is probably one of the cleanest assemblies of a kit I have seen in a long time. The bridge is looking awesome, very sturdy looking. The roof.....excellent.
On a side note.....I think it is absolutely wonderful that your wife is involved in the layout as well. I could get no one in my family to share my layout. My ex hated my trains....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you for the kind words. You made my wife's day. I feel pretty lucky she wants to be my partner in railroading.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
More stuff

My wife found a lot on facebook market for $20. I think it was a pretty good haul. The engines don't run but the two big ones try to. A little tlc should get them going. The switcher needs major surgery. There are several cars. The one sitting on the bridge has hopper dump doors that open when passing over the dump point on the bridge. Then the other car with the rubber bands goes with the dump site it's sitting on. There are two electrical contacts on the other side for activation. Some repairs needed there. Then there's the station and light tower, both needing a little work. A bunch of track. I was going to use 6" sections for crossing from one table to the next but since I got all this I think I'll just use the 9" sections. A box full of signs, power polls, track elevation trestles, and a few other miscellaneous items. The hoist which I'm toying with the idea of using it to lift over a sea wall to load ships. The powerpack which seems to be working just fine with the testing I did on it. Oh, and a basket to carry it all in.

She also found the 3rd table for the benchwork.
 

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