NEB&W Guide to the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society - Physical Facilities

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NEB&W Layout Table of Contents

  • At the old layout, we had some ratty but heavy-duty work tables on which to do modeling. We moved an unused set of shelves (with RPI's permission) and set them up in the room, with each member getting their own set of shelves. Each set was decorated with a magic marker with funny versions of railroad heralds.

  • When we moved to the new location, we realized we didn't have as much storage space except for under the layout. We came up with the idea of building roll-around modules, which were designed to be built as cheap as possible so members could afford them. (Over time, the flimsy construction of chipboard sides and Masonite front and backs evolved into something heavier-duty (i.e., plywood) but the basic design remained the same.
    The idea was that these would have shelves that slid out and could be used as work area. Other shelves got balsa strips to hold rolling stock. Then it was realized that the shelves needed a frame around three sides so items didn't roll or get pushed off.
    The basic shelf was just under 24 inches across and 18 inches deep (dimensions that could be cut with minimum waste from 4x8 sheets of material). This is just a bit bigger than a TV table and is a good dimension.

  • In 2003, when the open houses were still going strong, we built a modeling "pit" so we could work on models even when visitors were there. The pit had a raised floor, about a foot or so high, so when members were sitting at a work table, they would be closer in height to standing visitors. The pit was enclosed, so modeling materials could be left out but not reachable by visitors.
    The pit work tables were made as an open grid to hold a shelf from a module, which could be removed and put back into a module so someone else could put their shelf in place.

  • As temporary storage, we started using the box tops for photocopy paper. These have two fatal flaws - if they get wet (as can often happen on the floor of our layout rooms), they go to pieces. And you have train members not to stack them aligned, as they lets them telescope and crush the contents of the lower ones.

  • At first, the shelves were custom-fitted to the specific module they were designed for. Later, we came up with a generic design, with the idea being that any new modules will be designed to fit these shelves and not the other way around.

  • With curtains hanging down from the layout, the curtains would sweep across any shelf being moved to or from the modules under the layout. Tom Amrine built this rack to hold shelves separately.

  • The modeling pit worked for awhile but began to just collect debris as we would run around just before an open house and toss stuff into the pit in order to keep it out of harm's way. Once the open houses were stopped, we removed the pit and put in the Addison branch in this area. A new modeling table was fabricated, again with an open grid area.

  • In October, 2013, we invited down members of the "OPtober Fest" (a group of local modelers interested in operations). Tom Amrine spearheaded a major cleanup and reorganization with help from Kevin, Nick, Brad, Daniel, Greg, and others.