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I am considering keeping some trains outside year round to have them instantly ready to run whenever I or my grandkids want to run something.

The layout I am building for them is pretty simple. It is a flat rectangle that will be 12' x 40' and will be 15 sheets of plywood mounted on 4" x 4"s and covered with green outdoor carpeting.



I am considering building some sort of shelters to house the trains - mainly to protect them from the sun and rain.

My thought is to cover the two upper and lower sidings to park eastbound and westbound trains.

I have neither the ability nor the inclination to build anything fancy. My first thought is to just build 3-sided rectangular boxes and cover them too with green carpeting but before I do that I thought I would see what sort of ideas others might come up with that might be nicer but that would still not require a lot of work or expense.

Piko makes the sort of thing I would like but it would be way to expensive to even consider something like that.

Any ideas?

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Jerry,
Plywood outside with carpet outside with sun and rain isn't going to last long the carpet because UV and moisture will rot and the moisture will cause the plywood to rot, you would be better off painting the plywood (let the kids paint it) and maybe slope it slightly to allow the water to drain.... :) :)
As for the storage shed hinge the storage shed "box" on the side of the layout, that will make it easier for the kids to just flip it over to cover the trains..... :) :)
 

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The other things to consider are the possibilities of vandalism or theft of the trains. If you really do intend to store the trains outside, make it a very sturdy tunnel/box, and lockable. Definitely not removable. Of course, this depends on what your neighborhood is like, and how well fenced your back yard is. Good luck!!
SandyR
 

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Another thought...instead of plywood, why not make an 'egg-crate' frame of 2x4s and1x3s, and cover that with 1/2" hardware cloth (the heavy-duty mesh that you see on the bottoms of old wooden screen doors). You can then cover that with the astroturf stuff, and it will drain well. You'd have to experiment a bit to see what size to make the egg-crate squares. Hope this helps!
SandyR
 

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Jerry,

Here's an article I did on my first trainshed a few years back. It worked quite well but was sold when I elevated and rebuilt the RR. While it is quite large and is six tracks the basic construction is very simple and can easily be downsized to whatever you need....

http://www.largescalecentral.com/articles/view.php?id=6

Sorry, please disregard. The photos seem to have disappeared...
 

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Jerry,
I agree with Dean that the plywood will not hold up to well with carpet on it. Why not build the layout on the ground and use some of your plywood to build a simple train storage shed that can be locked up and run your trains right out on to the layout. Best thing I did! Not hard to build and can be made to the size you need. Also I think the hardware cloth is a better idea if you build it raised but access to the center of a 12' wide layout may be a problem.

 

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Jerry,

I think I would consider the hardware cloth on a 2' grid of 2x4's with a solid support under the track. Also an over/under for the figure "8". This way you could leave some center access for those hard to reach tracks(anything over 2' for the kids.Put all your sidings off the lower cross track and cover these and one side of the mainline with a mountain that the upper level can traverse and just plug the portals for storage.You can more than likely cover the mountain with hardware cloth, heavy plastic, and than carpet for dry storage.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Posted By SandyR on 03/30/2009 1:53 PM
The other things to consider are the possibilities of vandalism or theft of the trains. If you really do intend to store the trains outside, make it a very sturdy tunnel/box, and lockable. Definitely not removable. Of course, this depends on what your neighborhood is like, and how well fenced your back yard is. Good luck!!
SandyR


While nothing is ever totally safe, in my case I live sort of in the middle of nowhere and I spend most of my time here in the caboose (currently 11:00 pm). I also bought and am installing a day and night motion detecting surveillance system plus the layout is illuminated by the same security lights that cover the caboose and back of the house.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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Building a storage shed was the single best thing I ever did on our railway. No more carrying engines and cars back and forth. I just have a bunch of trains ready to go--open the door, flip on the power, and we're running. At the end of the day, back the trains into the shed and close the door.

If you do it right it will be a major part of your layout--it will look great and work well. LeonPete did a beautiful job--his design is better than mine, which took me months to figure out. But neither one is all that expensive. I'm not a carpenter or a builder, I just used basic tools--shovel, circular saw, drill/screw gun, level.

I worried about theft, and I still do. It's been up for about a year now, though, and we live in a semi urban environment 5 miles from Washington DC. Our house is on a pathway into a public park, a path people use to walk to our local hardware store, grocery store etc. I have not had a problem. Not saying I never will, but so far no. I even leave freight cars outside the shed, parked on a siding that runs behind it. So far so good. I expect someday I'll get some vandalism, of the stupid teenager variety, but nothing yet





 

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Discussion Starter #11
Posted By Dean Whipple on 03/30/2009 10:50 AM
Jerry,
Plywood outside with carpet outside with sun and rain isn't going to last long the carpet because UV and moisture will rot and the moisture will cause the plywood to rot, you would be better off painting the plywood (let the kids paint it) and maybe slope it slightly to allow the water to drain
As for the storage shed hinge the storage shed "box" on the side of the layout, that will make it easier for the kids to just flip it over to cover the trains.....

Hi Dean,

Plywood and carpeting may not be the best way to do it but it works for me. I am at an age (nd physical condition) where I expect the plywood and carpet to last as long as I do (at least in this hobby).

With treated plywood and treated wood the simplicity of construction is such that I can build it one section at a time and my experience in building my crawl space layout this way makes it very easy for me to duplicate outside.

Sometimes what is easy and that we have experience with is chosen.

With plywood my layout ends up square and with 2" x 4" framing all I need to do is cut my 2" x 4"s either 45" or 96" and pre-build one section at a time then slide it over and screw it down. I like the green carpeting much better than painted or stained plywood so even if I do have to eventually replace it, I'd still rather use it.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Posted By SandyR on 03/30/2009 1:57 PM
Another thought...instead of plywood, why not make an 'egg-crate' frame of 2x4s and1x3s, and cover that with 1/2" hardware cloth (the heavy-duty mesh that you see on the bottoms of old wooden screen doors). You can then cover that with the astroturf stuff, and it will drain well. You'd have to experiment a bit to see what size to make the egg-crate squares. Hope this helps!
SandyR


One reason I like and use plywood supported by 2" x 4"s is that I weigh around 325 lbs and my plywood construction is strong enough that I can stand, walk or crawl anywhere on it plus I can lay track and screw it down anywhere.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Posted By leonpete on 03/30/2009 2:41 PM
Jerry,
I agree with Dean that the plywood will not hold up to well with carpet on it. Why not build the layout on the ground and use some of your plywood to build a simple train storage shed that can be locked up and run your trains right out on to the layout. Best thing I did! Not hard to build and can be made to the size you need. Also I think the hardware cloth is a better idea if you build it raised but access to the center of a 12' wide layout may be a problem.





The importance of the plywood is the strength of it - the ability to support me anywhere on it. If it is strong enough I don't lose "layout space" to access holes. I have access holes in the crawl space but this layout will be too small to forfeit any space on it for access.

The importance of keeping it off the ground (about 36") is that it keeps me off my hands and knees.

As we get older, for some of us, we want our trains to be bigger and to bring the trains up to our level rather than for us to go down to the ground level. Also for me personally the "WOW" factor is much better when trains are running at eye level.

In this case the storage shed is only intended to keep the rain off of the trains and most likely I will not leave the locos outside. Either way they will be starter sets consisting of less valuable locos and rolling stock. This will only be a backup layout for use when I don't want to fire up the main layouts.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Posted By Jerry Barnes on 03/30/2009 7:14 PM
You can get metal signboard that is two aluminum layers, with honeycomb plastic inbetween. That you could cover with the carpet. Check with your local sign company.


Hi Jerry,

The nearest sign company is probably at least 30 miles away. I would probably lose in gas money anything I might save if the aluminum is cheaper than plywood and I doubt I could stand on it.

I just have a different perspective and for me plywood and carpeting has worked very well for many years.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Posted By lownote on 03/30/2009 11:39 PM
Building a storage shed was the single best thing I ever did on our railway. No more carrying engines and cars back and forth. I just have a bunch of trains ready to go--open the door, flip on the power, and we're running. At the end of the day, back the trains into the shed and close the door.





I like the look of your shed and would like to have something similar.

I would need/want two sheds each wide enough to cover two tracks and about 12 - 16' long.





Rather than be self supporting they would simply lay on the layout over the two sidings.

There would probably not be any need for doors but the back would be closed.

I would be interested in more details about how to build it.

Thanks,

Jerry
 
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