Thakeham has literally been gathering dust recently, so I've finally got around to a job I'd been thinking about for a while - a storage box/cover. With no shows currently booked for future this might seem unnecessary, but it does allow me to safely store the layout (in the loft) free from dust or damage, as well as protecting it if it does go to another show.
It's made from hardboard as I had a sheet in the garage (no idea where it came from but it's not much use for anything else!), and fits the top and two open sides of the layout. The sloping front made it more complex than it needed to be but makes it easier to manoeuvre into small spaces like the loft or back of the car. It attaches to the layout with 4 bolts (two at the top of the backscene and one at the bottom of each side), these thread into captive "Tee nuts" embedded in small blocks of softwood, which have been glued behind the layout fascia.
With the bolts removed the cover just lifts away from the layout. The sides may bow a bit as they are unsupported, but it really doesn't matter. I found a gate handle in my bits box that makes a very handy carry handle - I've even managed to place it approximately over the centre of gravity!
Inside the cover the top (nearest) is stiffened by an off-cut of 9mm ply, while further ply and softwood pieces hold the joins together. The top sheet was bent down to meet the sloping sides and then boiling water poured over, which allows the hardboard to take on the curve shape. The layout name-board is just foam-core board, so is vulnerable but very light. It attaches to the layout with velcro so I put a strip inside the cover to hold it safely inside when stored.
The only down-side is that it has made the layout a lot heavier - the cover probably weights more than the whole layout! However it isn't exactly heavy and can be carried one handed, and just about manhandled into the loft.