Author Topic: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.  (Read 128 times)

Tony Bird

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Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« on: August 28, 2019, 08:06:53 am »
Hi,

When we go away in our small motor home I often take projects to draw; well more dimension sketches really.  It is the way I do my R+D, I have been playing with the designs of base boards for the 16 mm scale Module Layout group for which I built an entrance module.  Our 16 mm scale layout 'Rhydypenderyn' given its size (25'x 15') and the amount of scenery at a bit over half a ton is reasonably light.  When we go to exhibitions we are fortunate in have a lot of friend to help us erect and dismantle the layout; however when at home though both of us are reasonably fit we are getting older so manhandling the layout and its trailer is getting harder. I hope we still have a few more exhibitions left with Rhydypenderyn but facts have to be faced!

To this end I have started a design project which might also benefit the Modular Layout group.  The project is to design a new model railway layout that can be transported in a trailer smaller than the one we use now.  This trailer already exists, it is one we use when we are on extended holidays in our small motor home.  The trailer is a standard product which I had modified with a lifting top.

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The internal dimensions of the trailer are 1486 mm (58.1/2") long 883 mm (34.3/4") and 610 mm (24") high. So that is my project over the next week or so while we are away.  I will report developments or lack of.

Regards Tony.


Stoker

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Tony, you have a great little trailer there, and also a smart idea for adapting it and your layout to the realities imposed by the passage of time. I would make one observation however, and that is you may wish to modify the trailer a bit further to include an opening tailgate, possibly a drop gate / ramp combo so that you can make you modular sections roll in and out with board edge wheels. Barring that, you would at least be able to slide the modular sections in and out, without having to lift them up out of the depths of the trailers sidewalls.

Just a thought.
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Bonjour Tony,
You would not need such a large trailer if you would build a railway like this one  ;D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLlhoNwlaUk
Raphaël
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Tony Bird

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Hi Stoker,

I would make one observation however, and that is you may wish to modify the trailer a bit further to include an opening tailgate, possibly a drop gate / ramp combo so that you can make you modular sections roll in and out with board edge wheels. Barring that, you would at least be able to slide the modular sections in and out, without having to lift them up out of the depths of the trailers sidewalls.

A very good idea! Yes this thought had occurred to me but as I didn't design the trailer from scratch I though waterproofing the tailgate would be a problem and the ingress of water to both camping and layout trailer would be a disaster.

Having designed and built three portable 16 mm scale layouts along with three garden railways and made an entrance for the 16 mm Narrow Gauge Modeller ‘Modular Layout’; as mentioned the construction of a new portable layout is being considered.
 
The first portable layout known as ‘Rhydypenau Light Railway’ was an exhibition layout for our own use.  The second portable layout was for the ‘Cardiff Model Engineering Society’ to use on public open days.  The third portable layout known as ‘Rhydypenderyn Light Railway’ was an exhibition layout to replace the Rhydypenau layout, this is the layout we play with now.  The new layout being considered might possibly replace this layout as well as doing some R+D work for the Modular Layout.
 
The first garden railway replaced the CMES portable layout as land had become available for its construction.  The second garden railway known as ‘Rhydypenau Garden Railway’ is in our own garden.  The third garden railway was a new track which was raised on posts and erected inside the existing CMES garden railway.
 
The layout being considered will probably use elements of most of the above model railways design and construction as well as other ideas seen being used at exhibitions.
 
The design criteria being considered is as follows: light weight, easy to erect, have folding legs for support, be fairly inexpensive to build, oval in shape to allow for the continuous running of model steam engines, have an entrance and probably the most difficult to achieve; to fit inside a small trailer with inside dimensions of 1486 mm (58.1/2”) long, 883 mm (34.3/4”) wide and 610 mm (24”) deep.
 
Some initial thoughts: For easy of removing the baseboards from the trailer they will have to be stored on their edges as is done with Rhydypenderyn. There are two alternatives regarding the length of the baseboards; the length of the trailer or its width giving a maximum of 1486 mm or 883 mm.  The width of the boards will have to be either a maximum of 610 mm (height of the trailer inside) or half or less than this so they can be stored edge to edge one on top of the other, this is also done on Rhydypenderyn; this with the thickness of the boards will govern how many boards the trailer will hold.
 
I usually start with the design of the boards that will make up the curved ends of the layout of which there are usually eight.  The number of straight boards really doesn’t matter as long as it is a multiple of two.  So, first see how much room will be left in the trailer having designed these boards which will decide how many straight boards can be used.
 
So, will there be a single or double track?



In a few hours we drive North when in the evenings I will probably add more to these muses.

Regards Tony.
 

Tony Bird

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Hi Raphael,

You would not need such a large trailer if you would build a railway like this one.

Absolutely! I like it, a very petite railway. I have never played with such small model railways; it was a little too much like the work  I did in the horological trade that I worked in all my life.

Take care Tony.

Tony Bird

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2019, 05:35:23 am »
Hi,

Well having thoughts over the last week or so about the designing and possibly making a layout; my intentions are when back in Cardiff is to make a couple of prototypes curved base boards.  I cannot see that a layout of any length that would have double track will fit in the trailer. The minimum width being for double track is 13” and 9” for single track.  I have made some drawings for single track boards. These boards will be made from what materials that I have and the intention is to use the bullhead rail that was lifted when new track was laid on our garden railway. I know that I have the following timber:  Baseboard tops 9 mm (3/8”) plywood, legs 20 mm square (3/4”), edging 32 mm (1.1/4”) x 12 mm (1/2”) known in the UK as door stop. I will make both the 36” long curved boards that will fit across the trailer and the 48” long ones that will fit along the trailer.

Home in a few days.

Regards Tony.



Hero

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 08:30:02 am »
...as I didn't design the trailer from scratch I though waterproofing the tailgate would be a problem and the ingress of water to both camping and layout trailer would be a disaster.

Hi, Tony,

My railroad trailer solution is a bit different from yours, but similar in that I had to consider waterproofing and use of space.

This spring I acquired  a 7.25" gauge electric train set (as some say, "Go big or go home."). No home-built layout at all needed here, as some 60 miles away there is  some 2000 feet of ground level track to play on. However, the train came in a homemade, flimsy 5x8 foot open hauler made from an old snowmobile trailer. I needed a shoehorn to fit the two steeplecab locos (4 feet long each), driving car (3 feet long), and three gondolas (each 6 feet long) into the little box, and even then I could only tow it on sunny days (electric models and water don't mix).

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My solution? Buy an enclosed trailer! Mine is 6x10 feet, easy to load, waterproof, and suitable for a ramp, and is a vast improvement over the original.

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Perhaps you might consider a small fully-enclosed trailer.

Here's the train in operation, after worry-free transport:

https://youtu.be/kbLaHU6M_xY
Bob

Tony Bird

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2019, 08:45:50 am »
Hi Bob,

This new layout that I am designing and possibly making is to replace in perhaps a year or so's time our existing 16 mm scale layout which travels in a 6' x 4'6" box trailer.
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My wife and I are not quite as strong and agile as we once were and we would like to continue exhibiting our models as long as possible.

Take care.

Tony.

Hero

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2019, 09:03:43 am »
Ah! I see.

Perfect for those not-so-agile people, too.
Bob

Tony Bird

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2019, 09:25:40 am »
Hi,

We returned a little early because of the weather in Mid-Wales. So, for insomniacs in the forum a cure! I have download a video that I edited while away.

https://youtu.be/D2_fyIV1G3k

Regards Tony.

Tony Bird

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2019, 10:20:42 am »
Hi,

While away after some thoughts on the pros and cons of different designs I did some drawings using the construction decided on which is basically the same as I drew for the 16 mm NGM modular layout group:

https://youtu.be/RfXwlMD0tLo

Though for the prototypes I won’t use a jig and the timber is what I had in stock. The first prototype as yet not finished is for boards that will transversely fit in the trailer. The other prototype will be of the same construction and be the longest that can be cut from a 1220 mm (48”) long piece of ply. Both prototypes will be 200 mm wide 8”, the production ones could be wider after deciding how thick the edging strips will be. The following photographs will I hope show the construction so far.

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The last photograph shows how they might be stored in the trailer using up 475 mm (19") of the 600 mm (24") height available.

I will report further progress.

Regards Tony.

Tony Bird

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2019, 11:38:03 am »
Hi,

A little more work has been done on this project; two of the shorter curved base boards have been made and it was decided to join them together with hinges using the same system that is used on our Rhydypenderyn layout.  When flat they are kept ridged by a bolt and wing nut.  This bolt goes through a jig drilled hole and is bushed with an aluminium tube. So, the two boards make up 90 degrees of a circle so four will be needed.  When folded and edges fitted, they will be about 120 mm (4.3/4”) thick so when two are stacked one above the other and the same done with the other two boards they will have a total thickness of 240 mm (9.1/2”) and this with a little more for packing is how much of the trailers 1486 (58.1/2”) length they will take up.  The next job is to fit folding legs under the boards.

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Regards Tony.

Tony Bird

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 10:53:15 am »
Hi,

The first of the folding legs has been made.  The design uses the same length 60 mm (2.3/8”) of 25 mm x 25 mm x 1.7 mm (1” x 1” x 1/16”) aluminium angle for all the fittings this makes them easier to cut and use.  Hopefully the photographs show how the legs work; if not please ask.  The other leg will be a bit more refined with shaped angles.

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Regards Tony.

Dr.Rev.DelmarMacReady

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 07:41:27 pm »
I'm always amazed at how well designed these modular layouts are...And yours is quite well designed! It has gained momentum, and I expect you'll have it done in no time.
Keep us posted on the progress!
Bennydaheeb

Nick

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Re: Designing and maybe making a portable model railway.
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2019, 08:51:46 pm »
I'm taking notes and always learning from you Tony  ;)

Thank you for sharing
Nick

 

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