Exhibiton Layouts

  miktrain Deputy Commissioner

Location: Adelaide SA
I have noticed over the past two years, both attending the Liverpool show in 2012, and watching a few videos of this years Liverpool event, that there seems to be quite a large number of quality layouts, all lacking a back scene or having back scene's that a plain blue. Seems to be the standard that they are no more than 300mm high. Most of these seem to be operated from the rear as well...

...The lack of or pretend back scenes really distract from what is other than quality. I know that here in Perth, judging points for back scenes makes up 20% of the points. We also tend to operate from the front of the layout, which promotes interaction with the public. It makes it a lot easier to communicate in a very noisy environment, without having to shout.
Unless it is really good I find the back scenes to be distracting and it is much easier to operate without them, the layout looks much bigger without too. I agree about operating from the public side, there is much more interaction, if you run wireless then you can also stand behind the public and hear all the ooos and ahhs and learn which bits they like or not.


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  prewett Junior Train Controller

Location: Albury, NSW
Our exhibition layout is 22m by 2m it has four controllers, as DC only operation, and there is only three of us we have never put it on display, I would really like to.

As it can be configured to fit a location, the last time we displayed in November at the Wagga show it was 14m X 2m.


  Lazarus Train Controller

Location: Missouri, USA
Hi Lazarus,

I see that you are in MO, so you are in the correct location to probably see how it is done!

My reading of the US Model railway press is that many people use slow motion turnout motors with these high density foam baseboards. I suggest that you search the online forums on Model Railroader as well as the "free" model rail magazine... Model Railroad Hobbyist.

From what I've seen, there are two methods, both are a variation on the same theme. First attach tortoise (or similar) to thick styrene (say 2-5mm) or gatorboard or MDF (you get the idea).

The first variation is to rebate into the top of the foam the thickness of whatever you have used so that the assembly sits flat under the turnout. Obviously a bigger hole underneath for the motor. Put assembly into hole and secure with a suitable glue. Lay the track as per normal with a suitable hole for the throw bar rod.

The second variation is to lay track as per normal, drill a hole through the foam for the throw bar rod. Attach the assembly to the bottom of the foam with suitable glue. My recollection is that most use 25mm foam for yards and the 100mm foam for "the country".

The above are my recollection, but you will be better off looking into those resources for "proper" instructions as opposed to my memory!!! Smile

Good luck!
Thanks for the input. That sounds like it would work quite well.
  Thumpa Chief Train Controller

Location: That's on a need to know basis.
Our exhibition layout is 22m by 2m it has four controllers, as DC only operation, and there is only three of us we have never put it on display, I would really like to.

As it can be configured to fit a location, the last time we displayed in November at the Wagga show it was 14m X 2m.



Have you spoken to the EMRC about displaying the layout in full configuration, at the Thornleigh Brickpit venue?
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
As previously pointed out, there are several ways of "skinning the proverbial layout cat". At the 2013 Modelling the railways of South Australia convention, Gavin Thrum presented an inspirational brief on a small layout that is easily transported and easily expanded. His brief was well detailed on how he built his layout and also inspirationally, he had it on display at the convention.

I recommend you get in contact with the MRSAC organisors and see if you can get a copy of his notes.

In summary, the layout he presented is a three-part modular layout that are permanently joined and bi-fold onto each other for storage and moving. Each module was about 1metre long and about 0.3m wide and had gas struts to hold the legs in place. Extremely cleverly and elegantly designed layout. When set up, the layout was 3 (or so...) metres long. Using the same design principles, you could extend this layout virtually infinitly.

I really recommend following this up as a thought on how to achieve (or modify) your layout aims.
I've finally gotten around to posting some photos of Gavin's layout that was shown at the MRSAC. This first photo shows an overview of the layout.

This photo shows the structure that hides one of the hinges that allows the modules to fold up. The hinge is hidden in the bridge. The bridge is removable for transport and storage.

This photo shows some of the brilliant detail on this layout.

This big building hides the concealed staging/fiddle yard.

Lastly, this is the hidden concealed staging/fiddle yard.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Can sort of play  "snap" wit that nice foldable layout with the bridge hiding the hinge, I have a layuot  wit that as well, now I'm envious as mone is well off even half finishing.

See   http://dth.railpage.org.au/folding/3fold/index.html  for more

I must say whaen I saw the ohoto  of Gavin's Layout I looked twice as I thought I had not finished my layout, and that looke so similar it's erie, but it is built to a better standard, so that my challange to almost equal that layout Smile

Should try to book it into a show to have a deadline to work to !

David Head

  PICHhobbies Locomotive Fireman


At the moment, I am constructing an exhibition layout. It is 4.8x1.8m overall, but is inn a vague L shape. Just an example- A full sized scale version of Murtoa in western Victoria, comes to around 16 metres in length.  The largest I have seen is about 20-25m in length, but only 1.2m in width, at the widest section. It was, at a guess, a full scale model of a station in Britain. For point motors, I tend to drill a hole in the board in the area of the centre of the 'tie bar' as it is called in America, at the hole in its centre. I drill one at where the hole is both at both sides, whether it is set to divert, or stay straight, and then connect the holes with the drill so there is a straight through section. I then put the bar of the point motor through that and into the hole in the points so it is level with the top of the sleepers, or 'ties'. I attach the point motor to the base of the board.
Just my 2 cents worth, but i think it is worth a try, even if just with a spare set and a spare section of MDF.


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