Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Discussion of model railway baseboard design and construction
Jkelly
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Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Jkelly » Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:51 pm

Hi all,
I am building a new layout in the garage. The garage is a busy place with bikes coming in and out etc. so my parents have allowed me a maximum size of the layout to be 11ft x 4ft. I find 4ft in length to be a bit hopeless so my Dad has agreed to allow a layout of 6 feet in width, with the last 2 feet folding upwards at a 90 degree angle. This means that when not in use, the footprint is only 4ft in width, but in the evening etc. and I can open it out to the full width of 6ft to run some trains. To clarify: 11ft x 4ft of the layout will be permanent, the rest of the layout (11ft x 2ft) would fold upwards when not in use.
My question is: can the rest of the baseboard support the weight of a 22square foot piece of ply with a model station on it? The baseboards will be using conventional pse wood for frames and topped with 9mm ply. The extra width is important to me, and the plan is for a 00 gauge branchlike complete with 5ft long fiddle yard, middle sized through station (resting on the foldable section), depot and some industry, maybe even a small dip in the baseboard to allow a bridge.
I am aware of the extra challenges posed by a foldable design but I feel the extra width really makes a difference, allowing me to build a model railway, not a trainset. It provides an operating well (access to the rest of the layout) and of course wider curves. I have done research and know roughly what is needed - blocks at each end with strong hinges, the legs of the collapsable section would have to be hinged etc.
Thank you for any advice as how to proceed.
Jonathan

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Mountain
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Mountain » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:28 pm

The fixed portion should be able to carry weight if it is made with strength in mind. Boards do need a framework of support unless they are sufficiently thick enough to enable them to keep their rigidity, and to do that means that they need to be thick and heavy. Better to use a frame.
Have you considered the possibility of using an old table tennis table? It is just a thought that comes to mind that could be looked into as these fold upwards ad also have wheels. The one my brother has folds in such a way that there is room for a little scenery on the boards... Though he needs it for playing table tennis with his friends. It is just a thought, as sometimes these are given away by churches with youth groups when they buy new ones, and the repairs needed can be relatively minor to make them function again.

I have a foldable portable layout but mine is in 7mm narrow gauge, and is small. When it is in use, it is 7ft x 2ft and consists of a small oval of track with two passing loops and a siding.
The legs are fairly simple (They look more complicated then they are). The main board has two sets of legs and the other board just has the one as it relies on the main board for the other.
Initially, I had the track come right up to the edges of the baseboard, but in the eat we had during the summer before last, the railheight slightly differed. I am glad I found this out before I started to progress so I could impliment plan B. Plan B has been a success. It uses short sections of track to bridge the gaps and the layout track on both boards are set back to allow for this. I used old Lima railjoiners as they add more support and are hardier. (Peco or Hornby will do, though may need replacing more regulary). The link tracks are placed in position where the boards meet and the railjoiners are slid in position.
I use the split hinge method to join the boards. I will add another post to show the bridge track and the board split hinge joints.
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Mountain
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Mountain » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:34 pm

Just to show the split hinge joints and the link tracks method to ensure the track lines up correctly. Note the pic of the whole layout, that there is a gap on one side of the track where it crosses the board where the link tracks go. The other side has the link tracks in place.
Attachments
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Last edited by Mountain on Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Tom@Crewe
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Tom@Crewe » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:52 pm

If your layout ends up 11' x 6 ' (I think that's what you mean) you will find it very hard to reach the middle and side against the wall to fit scenic's and reach any stuck trains. you may be better off with a long thin shunting yard.

I started a 6 x 4 hinged to the wall on 6' side and had to scrap it in the end, lean over the kitchen table and measure how far you can reach to see what I mean!

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Bufferstop
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:59 pm

If your four foot width when folded is an absolute limit You'll need to make the fixed bit four foot minus the depth of the board and frame at the hinge. The hinges will have to be on top of risers strongly bolted into the frame, unfortunately at 11ft long you will need at least one preferably two hinges in the run of the 11ft. Study the hinges on a decorators table to see how you offset the hinge. They do it upside down but it's the same geometry. If it means that there will be a couple of risers sticking up in the middle of the scenery, you'll have to invent a reason for a couple of removable blocks of flats(modern image), or ruined towers (anything pre 20th Century).
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Montfort2
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Montfort2 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:34 pm

Last edited by Montfort2 on Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Flashbang » Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:25 pm

11 foot x 2 foot (3353mm x 610mm) folding is a very long length. Certainly nothing like Track Mat sizes as suggested above! Timber framing of at least 2" x 1" inch (Approx 44 x 21mm) and better if 3 inch deep by 3/4 inch (69mm x 18mm) wide is used.
You will need several hinges along the top of the long edge to support the layout both when raised and lowered. I would be looking at around four 3 inch (75mm) door butts used as the pivot hinges and then will need these to be mounted onto wooden blocks, slightly thicker than the fixed baseboard top to rail top. e.g. If the fixed baseboard top to rail top height is 6mm consider hinge blocks of 10mm thick. This allows the rails at the joints to be lifted above each other. Next to consider is how you're going to hold securely the hinged 11ft x 2ft baseboard in its raised position? Then consider support legs for the hinged section. Drop down hinged legs fixed to the rising sections underside framing may be the best, but you could possibly use trestles? Finally consider how you're going to reach the whole layout when in use. You can roughly only reach around 2ft 6inch without damaging anything. You will need to clean rails and rescue derailed stock at the rear/further away parts!
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Montfort2
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Montfort2 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:43 pm

Flashbang wrote:11 foot x 2 foot (3353mm x 610mm) folding is a very long length. Certainly nothing like Track Mat sizes!
You're right ! :D
Last edited by Montfort2 on Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jkelly
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Jkelly » Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:41 pm

So thank you for all the advice, it was far more speedy than I expected.
To clear some things up, the idea is to have an operating well in the middle that is 7 feet in length, half of which is 3 ft wide, and the other half is 2ft wide. Unfortunately I can't seem to post pictures on this forum but if you have 'Model Railway Operation in Accordance with Prototype Practice' by Cyril J. Freezer, it is broadly following plan 9 on pg. 91. Therefore the fold would take place at the two furthest ends of the board, 2 ft wide respectively. The plan is for 8 blocks then, with 4 strong hinges in total.
In order to keep the folded piece of board upright I presume a 'hooked' piece of wood could join the board to a latch type deal somewhere on the garage wall, joining the two together.
I feel that I am really not articulating this well at all, but I can't seem to be able to post pictures here? When I eventually work out how to send them I will send pictures of my plans so you can see what is really going on.
Thanks again for all the advice and links etc. and a Merry Christmas to you all.
Jonathan

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RAF96
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby RAF96 » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:44 am

Consider making both boards 3 ft wide and both folding up into an inverted V shape. You could still have your access ‘well’ and sturdy enough hinges to give adequate support. Consider gas struts to aid lifting and control dropping. When folded down the whole could rest on separate or inbuilt folding trestles. The latter would however add more weight to the table portion.

How would Dad feel about a one piece board suspended from the roof on a pulley system (widely available) that could be more central in the floor plan avoiding the need for the centre well.
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Flashbang
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Flashbang » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:45 am

To add images got to the tab at the bottom of the text area and click on Attachments then Add Files, this will take you to your PC/Tablet etc. You need to navigate to where the image is stored on your device then select it and it will upload. However, if the image file size is too large it will fail. So then use a photo software tool like MS Paint and resize it to a smaller file size, save it as something other than the originals file name and then select it via the Attachments/Add file/Select the one required and Open options and try to up load that smaller file. Alternative save the image to a free web photo hosting area and use the provided URL which is then copied and pasted back here int eh text box.
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Dad-1
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Dad-1 » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:52 am

Jonathan,

You will need to learn how to negotiate ..... After all the garage IS Dad's domain.
Remember a grand size is at times a handicap, my mantra is small is beautiful.

Here is an example only 6'x3' of keeping storage space underneath a garage wall mounted layout.

Image

Underneath this there are 3 bicycles, a lawnmower, a compressor on wheels, plus several
sheets of plywood against the back wall and the odd tin of fence paint.
This is fixed, but if you didn't want too much height in your scenery such a layout could be
hinged against the wall.
I wanted height and an even higher back scene so there is no way this example could be
folding.

Image

Certainly it's not mission impossible, but you may find planning and building more interesting
than even running trains.

Geoff T.
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viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Jkelly
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Jkelly » Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:25 pm

Here are some relevant pictures. Each box represent 1 by 1 feet
Attachments
20191226_171438-2124x2832.jpg
20191226_171411-2832x2124.jpg

Jkelly
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Jkelly » Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:37 pm

These pictures obviously show the garage. I hope they highlight why keeping the permanent width at 4ft is important to allow bikes, humans and dogs in and out (the table you see is 4ft in width, well 3ft and 10 inches).
As you say, the garage is Dads domain but it is also a graveyard for the immense amount of clutter and crap that endlessly gets created! If you can believe it, my Dad and I cleaned that garage only a month ago, it was spotless then! The extra dimensions were a result of some negotiating with my Dad, none of my parents care about it so long as it is unobtrusive to the regular use of the garage and kept tidy. My last model railway lay on the table seen in the picture.
The whole thing has been dismantled for 6 months now, and I do want to get cracking on the new layout. Once the baseboards are down progress will be swift as I have a lot of track and buildings from my last layout.
Thanks for helping me to send in pictures, and to everyone who has shown me their own layouts and advice it is really appreciated.
Attachments
20191226_172638-2832x2124.jpg
20191226_172716-2124x2832.jpg

Tom@Crewe
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Re: Semi-Foldable Model Railway

Postby Tom@Crewe » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:11 am

You Can also think about the height of the layout, My layout is 1300mm high to make more storage underneath, fit my computer and printers underneath. This means that depending on supports for the railway bikes could fit underneath.....

Image


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