A few years ago I built a train set for my son, which folded to go under his bed. We moved house last year and in the summer I redecorated his new bedroom, and we got him a new bed - which didn't allow for the storage of the layout. In any case he was growing out of the simple train set, and it had some limitations including an over-tight curve on the inner track, so I had promised him a bigger layout in his new room.
We'd arranged the room so one wall was mostly free, and I figured the best approach would be a board that folded up against the wall. I'd suggested this for my Nephew and the concept (as built by my sister-in-law) seems to work well. I worked out the space available was about 7' 6" long by 4' 6" wide, leaving space to access bed and wardrobes even when the layout was down - which should allow it to stay up overnight. It's also a reasonable size for a layout I thought, so I doodled a few plans which he looked at, thought about, then he gave me his brief:
- A double track oval for running trains - and including his sister or friends
- A high-level track, ideally with bridge
- A big station with lots of platforms
- Goods sidings
- A second station
- A turntable and engine shed
It's ambitious but seems to work, so I got a couple of 8' x 4' sheets of 9mm Ply. I'd worked out the main board sizes I needed so I could get the timber merchants to cut it, which also meant I could get them in the car! The layout is made of 4 boards: 2 of 4' 7" by 2", one 3' 6" by 21" and one 3' 6" by 14", and all include some aspect of double-levels. Mostly cross-framing is using 2" x 1" timber but ply was used on the more complex sections, with smaller timber for screwed joints. Ply fascias on the outside are considered part of the framing, and the extra depth adds strength, while the double-deck section should add rigidity along the length of the board too.
This took me quite a while, which is when I realised I'd never built a layout this large or complex before! Anyway here are the four boards laid out together, the rising line and upper section are clear. The front and rear fascias have yet to be fitted, as they will be cut in two sections and bridge the gaps between the three boards, adding rigidity. Note that the front has developed a slightly curved frontage to push the middle board out, easing the curve on the rising line and maximising the access hole in the middle.