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I’m gonna be starting my HO layout my wife gave me permission to build it so it folds up to the wall and I was just wanting to know if anybody had any suggestions for something that does that so I can put buildings on it

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We tried something like this when my brothers and I was younger. We tried folding it down over a bed. Never had much luck with it as we did not understand molly bolts and wall anchors :(

To fit two story buildings and trees, you'll need around 12", so why not build a shelf instead?

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One major consideration is going to be reach for the purposes of maintenance, modeling, recovering crashed trains, etc. It's generally not wise to expect to be able to reach more than 2.5 feet from the edge of your layout and many folks will say that 2 feet or less is wiser.

Assuming 8 foot ceilings and a layout that is mounted between 3 and 4 feet off the ground, you're limited to a layout that's 4 or 5 feet deep. So, if you're going to do the fold-from-wall layout you probably need to plan a cutout or liftout in the middle so you can reach the back of your layout.

On top of all this, you're either going to have to make your buildings removeable or build your layout hinged a foot or more from the wall.

When I was a kid we had a fold down layout. IIRC, it was around 4x5, hinged along the 4 foot side. IIRC, it just barely could fold up against the wall. However, the reality was that it stayed setup all the time and eventually became a LEGO play surface.

As others have said, if you can get the approval for a shelf layout or a permanent table you'll be happier. You can do a lot of hobbying in a long 18" deep shelf.

Currently I'm doing my layout on a 9x5 standalone table (accessible on two long and one short sides) in the attic with plans to extend it along a wall in the future. Nothing that I have planned would work on a hinged tilt-up layout.

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You've already receives several valuable suggestions.

Several things come to mind that you may want to
include in your planning.

1. The completed layout with buildings will likely be
somewhat weighty. For that reason it may be
desirable to break it up into 3 sections. I visualize
a 'dog bone' sort of track plan that has two 'fat'
sections at either end to provide for adequate turning
radius and a slimmer section in the middle. Each
section would be easier to lift than a whole layout. This
plan also answers to the problem of easy access to all
parts of the layout.

2. The folded up layout will present a very unattractive
vista to it's room. Some sort of 'curtain' or other
'cover' would be needed to hide the wiring and framing.

3. The buildings and other scenic affects as well as all
track and accessories would necessarily be securely
attached to the layout. In normal practice, buildings
and the like are simply 'placed' in their space, held
only by any wires for lighting.

4. You would need a 'storage' cabinet to house the locos
and cars which would have to be removed from the
layout before 'lifting' it.


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Folding layout?

I’m gonna be starting my HO layout my wife gave me permission to build it so it folds up to the wall and I was just wanting to know if anybody had any suggestions for something that does that so I can put buildings on it

Many folding layouts have been built, but you've already realized one of the big limitations involved. Everything has to be either firmly attached, or else removed, before you can fold it up. Structures can be screwed down, I do this even on my "don't-have-to-fold-it" bookshelf type layout. (see photo #6 below. The orange things are screws.)
However, there is another big limitation on fold-up layouts, and that is their thickness, or rather their forced lack of thickness/height. Tall buildings, mountains, grades, etc. all have to fit into whatever limited space you have between the layout, and the wall, when the layout is in the folded-up position. Either everything on the layout needs to be pretty flat, or the space you fold it up into needs to be quite thick. And then there's the trains themselves. Since they can't be screwed down, every single last car, and locomotive, will need to be removed, and stored somewhere else, before the layout can be folded up. They will, of course, all need to be put back on the track when the layout is folded down, and you want to run trains. That whole procedure gets really old, really fast.

One very clever approach to a folding layout is "The Murphy Bed and Credenza" railroad designed by master track planner John Armstrong. It's in Armstrong's book "Creative Layout Design." The book is old, and probably out of print, but you could probably find a used copy online. The "Murphy Bed" portion was a 4'x 7' railroad that used a clever folding leg support system that let the layout fold up into an enclosure about the size, and shape, of a floor-to-ceiling-bookcase, minus the shelves. The Credenza part did not fold up. It was about the size of a small dresser, in fact you could actually use a dresser. The flat top was devoted to a storage yard where trains could be parked when the Murphy Bed part was folded up. This did away with the, "take-em-all-off & put-em-all-back-on" nonsense with the trains. If you must do a folding layout (which I don't recommend) then "The Murphy Bed & Credenza" might be a good choice. One downside is that it required a fair amount of skilled carpentry to construct.

Instead of folding up at all, how about a bookshelf layout? I use this design for my own layout. I copied the design from an old Model Railroader Magazine article. Mine is a two-level, N-scale railroad, with books across the top shelf, the railroad on the two middle shelves and more shelves, for general storage, below. My basic section is 4' long, 16" deep and 16" high. (Photo #2 shows a standard section. The top surface is the actual bookshelf. It is supported by the arches.) The photos below show some scenes on my layout. A multi-shelf design might be a selling factor with the "marital manager"(wife) since practically every home needs more storage space. Finished, and glassed in, it could even go in a living room, but only a bachelor's living room. (Been there, tried that, overruled!) :laugh:

The pdf files attached below the photos, give a lot of information on building a first layout in general, and on shelf layouts in particular.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Tree Games Landscape House

Machine Radial arm saw

Mountain Tree Landscape Hill Plant

Soil Tree Geological phenomenon Rock

Property House Brick Wall Scale model

Furniture Architecture Bridge Bench

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf


View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf
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