My "suitcase" Railway

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The layout started life a a desire to have a model RR when travelling. As I have a small car it had to fit in the back or the boot area. As I had a bit of "N" gauge around it was easy to decide on that scale. especially since I helped a friend build a coffee table Railway which we exhibited at Camberwell In 1991/1992 (I cannot remember the exact year). So I knew the radius of the track would make the curves tight, but I didn't expect to run longer trains and rollingstock.

Dimensions with the Railway closed:
  • 8107mm long
  • 2105mm deep
  • 5002mm wide

It is a simple construct - two baseboards hinged together. Note that the hinged section is not hinged at the baseboard level - that would stop any scenery. So I glued on two identical blocked of wood and some more untill I got the desired seperation.

I then worked out my trackplan - a simple figure 8 with a lop at one end and simple staion diagional with a passing loop and two deadend sidings. even in "N" the grades are steep, the curves are sharp - but it will be w working railway !!!

I had at all time to remember to conserve height. With the baseboards closed I didn't want too much to be removeable.

Now I didn't bother having a lock to make the two baseboards rigid - I usuall have laid it on a table or a flat floor to use. for the grades I cookie cut the baseboard where possible. for the brig section I found bits of wood that I glued on the baseboard for the upper level , the bridges are very low! With the track down I then started on the scenery.

You need some planning fo ryour scenery. On one side wher eI had a hill I had to keep the opposite side low. By building the scenery I worked it out. Therefore there are a few trees protected when the layout shuts up. The moutain also misses the bridges as well. You will notice one bridge is missing - it did have a issue when closed, and is awaiting new bridge sides.

The scenery is not complete - intendtionally. I built it to work on when on holidays, I it has not gone on every holidays !

Control is a small box with the approproate switches. At the moment the points are manually thrown, though I have provided for motor operation if I do it. All electrical blocks are on/off as you woul only have one loco running at any one time.

Loco are a moltly collection, and anything from Thomas - the SW9 SW7 from lifelike rult the railway. Other locos seem to work, but those switchers are great. I have a Arnold one as well.

By the photos you can see I have staged some shots, soem with the american stuff I have, and a few Aussie shots as well. Scenery wise I want Aussie buildings. That hinge nex tto the track I hope to disguise with a large building/factory.

To protect the layout I bolt on wooden covers for all four exposed sides. All I need to do is bolt a good handle on so I can carry it easily. The covers can serve another purpose as well, the long sides can be bolted to the back and the inside painted as a backdrop. One could also put on thin covers over the wiring as well making a complete box.

Hopefully this shows you can build a railway for small situations. This one folds up, protecting the layout when moved. It ha been to Tamania and Brisbane.

Lesson learned would be it is small and compact. Dare I say it could have been a HOn30 ( HOn 2 & 1/2) gauge or "Z" depending on your budget and space.

That doesn't mean this wouldn't work in HO. I am planning a three baseboard version, to be narrower but longer to be a shunting layout built along the same lines. Except I would have a seperate staging turntable as well.

But that will be another story........

The box is closed. missing a few bolts, but you get the idea...
Take the top & bottom off - there's a railway in there !
Take the ends off - we are ready to rotate it.
Opening the railway up.
Almost extended.
There ! Now I can lay it on the floor, ready to set up !
A quick look at the underside that was to outside.
A look at the hinge and how I raised the hinge to allow for scenery.
The Layout ready to set up.
I have connected the control panel.
A Close up of the panel - no diagram - usually work it out easy enough ! Now with some trains on the layout. An ore train is comming over the bridge while another shunts.
An ore train is comming over the bridge while another shunts. A blured shot of one switcher at the station.
looking from the other end. A quick switch to Aussie stuff.
Looking at a 700 & a VR "S" on the layout. Looking at a 700 & a VR "S" on the layout from another angle.
Looking at a 700 & a VR "S" on the layout. You can see the ZL as well The "S" star's in this shot.
Blured shot of the 700 heading for the tunnel.
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