Model Railroad: The Bench Work Is The Thing!

Model Railroad: The Bench Work Is The Thing!

The most vital component of your dream train layout

I cannot stress enough how vital good bench work is for a model railroad.   While some of the train layouts dad built for me when I was a kid had decent enough butt joint-style bench work (a more leaner framework than the more complex L-girder-style), my last layout was simply a four by eight piece of plywood slapped onto an old homebuilt table originally intended for home school use featuring the wobbliest legs you could find.   And structural integrity was nil; after some major track rebuilding and the construction of an elaborate mountain built at one end made out of chicken wire with newspapers dipped in plaster of Paris across them anchored in two plywood “tunnel portals” in front with a specially-shaped piece of plywood in back with a large access hole cut into it in case a train should derail inside, I looked down at that homemade table holding it all up … and discovered cracks at all four joints in the original table work!   Betcha by golly wow, Prince, but was that ever an unpleasant surprise!

Moral: dad was just plain lazy to slap that four by eight sheet of plywood on top of that table (whose top part came from an old model railroad, irony of ironies).   What dad should have done was build either a butt-joint or l-girder frame with sturdy legs to plant that baby on built with heavy construction on top in mind.   Not the half-baked fiasco I got saddled with for what so far has proven to be the last model railroad I have had in my life.

The best way to prevent this is by the purchase of a book I’ve mentioned in a previous post entitled “Run Your Train On The Floor?” * How To Build Model Railroad Benchwork, by Linn Westcott; edited by Rick Selby.   You will get the whole enchilada there for butt-joint, l-girder, and just about any other style there is to make your model railroad not only sturdy, but 100% relaxing too!