I have been inspired over the last few days to finally get around to completing the track work for my layout. The last component being this little three-track staging yard above my work bench. The construction when pretty painlessly and was done in a couple of afternoons. While photographing the construction process, I realized that I desperately need to upgrade the lighting in my train room, but that is a project for another day.
(Note: Click the images to view them at a larger size)
The first step was to remove the decorative molding from the wall and install the brackets which would support the base. The overall length of the yard is eight feet so I spaced four brackets appropriately and added a fifth to the layout directly underneath the hole where the trackage would emerge.
I then cut 2" thick foam core to the appropriate shape and rolled on flat black latex paint to the visible sides which included top, bottom, and front edge.
After the paint had dried, I fitted the two sections to the layout ensuring that everything was clean and level.
I then measured and carefully glued the track and cork roadbed to the foam using Elmer's white glue and held it in place with thumb tacks until the glue had dried. I decided to lay both the track and the cork at the same time, which I find helpful in ensuring that everything is aligned correctly.
The cork may be an unnessicary step, but in my opinion track laid directly to the foam base tends to look a bit unfinished. I like the clean, purposeful look that the cork provides.
The final step (after running wires to the track from the main bus line) was to install a couple of Caboose Industries ground throws. I've always wanted to use these as I like the idea of throwing a switch in a manner that mimics the real thing, but I find their size to be a bit of an eyesore for realistic modeling purposes. The staging tracks turned out to be a perfect excuse to sneak a couple on the layout!
Here is a pretty bad photo of the far end of the staging tracks. I had created a number of these bumpers about a year ago in preparation for the yard going in so attaching them now was quick and easy!
And finally we have another terrible photo and a view of the overall view of the yard. I'm really pleased with the look of the final product. It looks good above my work bench and makes the rest of the layout look pretty unfinished in comparison. I guess I've got my work cut out for me!
- Have plenty of thumbtacks on hand when laying cork and track. This allows the process to go quickly and minimizes the amount of stopping and waiting for glue to dry before continuing on with another length of track.
- a quick coat of paint to cover the foam base goes a long way to making a staging yard look good. Staging may not be the focus of your model railroad, but who says it needs to look bad?
- Doing small projects (such as assembling and painting track bumpers) as time permits helps to speed up the time investment of a build and is a great way to maintain momentum on a project.