While planning the Peshekee River Railroad, I had some significant challenges to overcome. My home has limited space and my railroad would have to share my workshop. I do woodworking so the dust levels are high. The layout will need a way to be protected when doing my woodworking. The location for the railroad dictated that the layout would be above 55 inches and on a shelf to clear all my tools and equipment. With such a height, I also decided that the bench work should be modular so I could take sections down and work on them at the work bench. I also wanted integral lighting and backgrounds. The benchwork design evolved into a boxed frame design with an open front. When doing wood working, I would be able to drape a curtain on the front to limit exposure to dust.
The design centers around 48 inch modules each with four “U” shaped 13.5 x 15.5 ribs 16 inches apart. I used 3/8 plywood but 1/2 inch could also be used. All dimensions are given using 1/2 inch plywood. Each rib is notched at each corner of the “U” to accept horizontal braces. 3/4 inch holes were drilled in the center of each leg of the “U”. These holes allow power leads to link to adjoining modules. Smaller 1/4 inch holes for alignment bolts are placed 3 inches from the larger holes. Another alignment hole is indicated at the bottom of the”U” (back of the module) but I have since found it unnecessary, as the others provide more than sufficient alignment and holding power.
These ribs are turned so that the open faces out, spaced 16 inches apart and connected together with 48″ x 2″ strips of plywood on the back and front. I use finish nails to hold everything while the glue sets.
Front braces (48″ x 2″) are also added to the front.
A rear panel is added. This rear panel becomes the base for the backdrop.
Once the module reaches this level of construction it may be mounted to the wall. to keep the mount simple I used a “French Cleat”. A french cleat is a length of 3/4 plywood cut lengthwise at a 45 degree angle. One half is attached to the upper rear brace and the other is attached to the wall. When the cleat on the module is placed on the wall cleat they lock together.
Another small piece of 3/4 inch plywood will be required on the lower brace to maintain the 3/4 inch distance and keep the module level. If your wall is very uneven (like mine), a bolt/nut combination could be used. This allows for very small adjustments to make sure the layout is level.
Sub-roadbed is added by using risers as is typical in L-girder benchwork.
At this time I have all the modules assembled and mounted to the walls. Most of the track is in place as well. I originally intended to use CFL lighting but will be using LED strip instead. More updates will be forthcoming.