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(or how you too can have a lightweight storable layout and enjoy Model Railways!)

Melton Model Railway Club have started to build and set up, two modules for domestic sized test tracks, one of which will be in HO as a 6 x 4 and the other in N scale as an 8 x 3 size. New member Aaron will also be setting up a pair of modules along the same construction at this stage in HO. These will be test tracks to allow our members to run a locomotive in or test some rollingstock over distances. The modules will give us some some portable layouts for exhibitions or shows and act as a diversion when anyone wants to take time out and run a train, if the other layouts are being worked on.

The limitations set are the size and easy storage but our aim is to make even such a small layout visually interesting as well as provide the above mentioned functions. We have seen a few layouts made of heavy materials on their sides in sheds which would be difficult for their owners to handle so interest would wane over time. The hobby is better than that!

We started with a pair of 3 ft by 4 ft (900 x1200mm) foam blocks. These are recycled items and should be fairly easy to obtain. If you cannot get the size you want, you could glue a couple together end for end with PVA glue and allow to them to dry.

We took the liberty of getting some left over earth tone sample pots and painted on accordingly. These will be “muted” with a single earth tone and base painted scenery. Our first step is to protect the edges of the layout with either Duct Tape ( which we had on hand) or better still using heavy duty “Hundred Mile an Hour” tape.

John Trevor and Aaron taping up the layout edges

The genesis of this project was came from an exhibition I attended in January 2008 in Warrnambool where there was a layout as a “work in progress”.

This layout used set track curves and flexible track with Peco Streamline points which helped the layout look more of a flowing piece of track rather than a geometric block of track, particularly in the yard area. The owner/operator told me that the set up of this was quick. Our club project intends to make the process quicker.

In these pictures, we used some Life Like sectional track commonly provided with starter sets but kindly provided by Adam to get a train running.

The setup for this was about only about 15 minutes including the track clean and if the bridging pieces over the two sections can be taken care of, this track could conceivably be glued by either hot melt glue or PVA applied to the sides of the ballasted sections.

However we have better plans in mind... and yes the train is actually running in the photo!