Xmas Tree Train Table II

MC Fujiwara Dec 24, 2016

  1. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    Sorry I haven't been posting much lately.
    For five years I freelanced at home, which allowed a lot of modeling time: very easy to pop out to the garage while "on break" to spray paint a single coat, or make a few trees, or glue together some walls.
    Since the start of 2016 I've been working full time in San Francisco, which has cut drastically into my train time (darn you, FTE with health benefits!).
    I shut down my layout design / construction business & website, & really haven't touched a train for almost a year.
    But I still had all this train stuff in my garage just sitting there...

    Back when I was a wee tween/teen in the mid-late 80's, my dad & I built a 44"x48"ish N-Scale Code 80 DC train table upon which stood the xmas tree.
    For 25 years it looked like this:



    My mom got very tired of those toilet paper tube tunnels.
    When I first got back into the hobby in 2010, I tried to scenic / revive it, and got to this point:

    [That's my brother, who wrote & recorded the music that has mesmerized / moved you to madness throughout all my model railroad videos]

    You can see the refurbishing of the original xmas tree train table in one of my early threads here.

    But last year, after taking down the tree, I knew it was time to move on.
    Mainly because trains weren't moving very well, & the training scenery wasn't very moving, and also because it was a beast & PITA to carry out the back french doors around the house to hoist up into the garage roof over the cars.
    So I salvaged everything I could & ripped apart the table.

    In an attempt to use up much of the scrap wood & model train stuff I have stockpiled in my garage, I designed a 40"x60" N-Scale layout with much more of a roundy-round consideration:


    It's singled track mainline (simple ops!), DCC (simple wiring!), & can be separated into two 30"x40" sections--easy to carry through doors (finally!) --& the sections are secured by endplates, with scenery facing inward for protection.

    [Groovy plus: use legs that raise the layout to 50"-56" track height, remove the xmas tree stand, & you have a decent island/peninsula layout. Also have a 12"x60" yard designed to attach to the front to add capacity.]

    Started in early November & was hoping to finish by xmas, but only got as far as trains running, ground paint, rocks, etc.
    All structures are salvaged off of the 1985 version.
    Hopefully by next holidays all the ground cover, bushes, trees, & new structures will be in place, all with fab LED lighting.
    I'll probably publish an article or two in the coming year (my kids, now well into double digits, seem to require more funds than when toddlers), but I wanted to share a few photos to get some feedback & to maybe inspire some people to start planning now for the next holiday season.

    1"x3" framing covered by 1/2" birch ply base (used to be a baseboard for a queen mattress frame my dad made 15 years ago):


    My dad had built a solid box to elevate the tree stand. I just used 1"x2" T-girder posts for the feet, plus the posts that frame the inner fascia also act as supports for little nubs near the center of the stand that press down under the weight of the tree:

    Fascia, ramps, & elevated mine track base are cut from 1/8" birch ply:

    Used some of the surplus 2", 1" & 1/2" Pink Foam to create landforms, then attached plaster rock castings:


    Turned out a few turnouts short, so not all trackwork went in before the landscaping, but desperate timing calls for desperate measures.

    Notice that the xmas tree stand is pinned to the supports with metal rods: really secures the entire table keeps the track aligned better than just the 1/4" bolts underneath.

    Got all the track laid & wired, with Adafruit slide switches controlling the turnouts, & it was time for first trains!

  2. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    Spray-bombed most of the track a few nights ago. Had to keep the garage door open for ventilation, but was below freezing that night, so had to put on longjohns & beanie ("toque" to our friends in the Great White North, which is a beauty way to go):


    Turned one tree stand leg into a mine tipple:

    Still need to add some small windows to the stand leg to look like the top of the tipple.


    The other legs will have green scrub pad trees or rocks attached to blend things together.
    Still much work to do.

    Free-moN experience came in handy: the two sections stack over each other with scenery facing in for protection & secured by endplates:


    Careful calculation left a very slim space between the sections:


    Trees will be fun.
    But at least it all fits easily in my car:


    & I can carry it all by myself!*
    *not recommended

    But I got it to my parents' place before xmas ("On time!") & set it & the tree up, so that's a 2016 win in my book:


    Trains run great.
    Will decorate tree & run light cord under tunnel lift-out cap.
    Working on some structures to add, & will take table back before New Years to finish up the scenery.
    Theoretically will have whole layout done before March, but we'll see :scared:

    Thanks again for any feedback.
    While I haven't been posting, I've definitely been lurking & marveling at all the wonderful work you are doing.
    Very inspiring!
    Hope everyone stays warm & cozy while spending time with loved ones this holiday season.

    Fab ventilated boxcars designed by Mark Watson / CG N Scale: http://www.cgnscale.com/products.html
    Wooden 20-Ton Coal Hoppers designed by Chris Schmuck, available at Republic Locomotive Works: http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/magazine/mrh-2013-03-mar/20-t-coal-ca...
    Late 1800's / early 1900's wooden & leaf-spring trucks by Eric Cox / Panamint Models: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/panamintmodels?l=36&s=0&section=N+Scale
  3. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    It is good to see you back AND doing trains again! The layout is an awesome testament to the time your dad and you spent on the early one.

    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas! Even if you have a FTE with benny's......
    MC Fujiwara likes this.
  4. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    I like it...a lot !! (y)(y)(y)(y)(y)
    Hardcoaler and MC Fujiwara like this.
  5. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Great to see you re-emerge MC! Any chance we'll see you at the Sacramento show?
  6. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the kind words, all.
    Rick: Originally wasn't going to make it, but daughter just got accepted to soccer Olympic Development Program tourney in Arizona (no parents allowed), so weekend just became relatively "free."
    Currently in talks with The Dispatcher as to my route / job assignments for the weekend.
    If possible I'd be up early Sat. morning with Shoofly (30 deg. bend) & two 45's (the slough scenes with long trestles).
    Would be lovely to see you all & run some trains!
    Ryan Wilkerson likes this.
  7. Ryan Wilkerson

    Ryan Wilkerson TrainBoard Member

    We'd love to see you at the show MC! Since the Sacramento Jan 7-8th show is usually at the Craneway, it would be right to keep with the annual tradition. http://trainshow.com/sacramento/
    MC Fujiwara likes this.
  8. CarlH

    CarlH TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for sharing this. I love your idea to disguise one of the tree legs as an extension of the building. Your work inspires me to try something similar in the future.
    MC Fujiwara likes this.
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Very cool. Really neat concept, great outcome! :)
    MC Fujiwara likes this.
  10. utcke

    utcke TrainBoard Member

    Arrggg. And again... Eagerly waiting for updates...
    BoxcabE50 likes this.

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