Setting up a ceiling/wall train for son

Keith Ledbetter Mar 7, 2017

  1. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    Well ok maybe a little for me as well.

    First of all I have been out of model railroading for about 20 years now but as my son is 2.5 years old now he really loves them so I figured I would dive back in.

    I am building myself an n scale layout in the basement but wanted to do something fun for my son I could put in his room so I decided on a shelf train near the ceiling.

    I researched a lot of different options online. I really wanted a clean look that didn't need to be supported from ceiling, didn't have huge shelf supports sticking out, etc. This in and of itself took some effort. But what I decided to was us heavy duty 2" brackets on every stud underneath the shelf.

    Well lets backup. I first decided that I would use 5 ft curves. I really wanted to go 8 but after discussing with the wife she felt it would stick to far out into the room and I admit it probably would have.

    So I decided that I would do 8" shelves in 3/4" MDF with 5 ft curves. I ripped the straight sections on a table saw and cut the curves after marking with trammel points with a jig saw.

    I then put all four corners up first (I used a laser level to mark the level on the wall which I highly highly recommend for this type project) then I carefully measured and inserted the straight sections in between.

    I used two straight metal joiners on the top of each seam to make sure everything was perfectly aligned and level and then caulked the joints, painted everything the same color as the room trim, etc.

    All this took around a month of a couple hours here and there (those with a 2 year old understand)

    It turned out really well though and last weekend I rolled a 10 lb bowling ball around it to ensure it could handle the weight and it's rock solid.

    I still need to put the crown molding on underneath (hiding the brackets) but figured I would get it up and going before I do so.

    Last weekend I did most of the foam roadbed (finished it yesterday) So now I really just need to lay track and wire it up.

    I am going with DCC and Prodigy Advanced 2. I have purchased the first locomotive for it (Bachmann Spectrum Climax) and a couple cars. My goal realistically is to have it running by the end of March and then finished with all the crown molding, etc by end of April.

    I'll keep this thread updated as I go.

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    Let me know what you think!
     
  2. Doorgunnerjgs

    Doorgunnerjgs TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice! But just wait until he takes all the dresser drawers out to form a stack he can climb to get to the train! lol
     
  3. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Excellent!! Keep us updated as you go!!(y)
     
  4. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    Well the beast lives.



    A couple weekends, some cussing at rail joiners, hating suitcase connectors and a few beers and its largely complete.

    I still need to tidy up the electrical connecting to thee dcc station and add crown molding but otherwise good to go.

    It is beyond me n g scale how nothing is standard. On my loco (a bachmann Climax) the couples were nmra height. everything else is lower standard large scale practice, the everything is hook and loop then the loco has knuckle couplers so it takes forever just to connect cars. Seems ridiculous.
     
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  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Cool. The steam chuffing away should keep that youngster's attention.
     
  6. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    A few more pictures.

    First the inspiration for it all.

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    I'll use that for blackmail later

    and a few picks of the power connections and running it through the wall. I used 10 AWG for main bus and 14 AWG for feeders

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    I'll keep you posted as I finish up over the next couple weeks
     
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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hope this leads to a lifetime of railfanning and model railroading for that young lad. This can be quite a bonding tool for you both!
     
    Jovet likes this.
  8. f2shooter

    f2shooter TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice! I had to put my G gauge in the back yard so I have just completed track layout on shelf space in my office in N gauge. Man those things are small!!

    Rick H.
     
  9. Ed Slanina

    Ed Slanina TrainBoard Member

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    Cute son, awesome shelf train, I'm sure he'll enjoy it and you for a long time. Looking forward to your n layout
     
    Jovet likes this.
  10. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    Ya N is so tiny. I mean i love it because it's much more affordable and you can have a nice layout in a small space but man things like installing decoders, etc are so much more challenging. Even taking apart couplers, trucks etc. Just drives you crazy it's so small after you have played in G.

    I will keep everyone posted
     
  11. Les B49

    Les B49 TrainBoard Member

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    (Just joined the board, hence late comment!)

    I'm not sure if I've misunderstood something here. Are you saying 2" brackets underneath the shelf baseboard if sufficient to support the shelving plus a train on top? How wide is the shelving - especially in the corners? I would have thought you would need some support under the full width of the shelves.

    Nice job though. Maybe something I should consider...

    Regards,
    Les
     
  12. Doorgunnerjgs

    Doorgunnerjgs TrainBoard Member

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    Note the L-Brackets on tops of the shelves. This, in essence, creates a cantilever effect. As long as the shelves themselves are structurally sound enough to prevent warping or sagging, it should suffice. Will be interesting to find out how well it is standing up after 7 months.
     
  13. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    Standing up really well! Yes the 2" heavy duty brackets are working perfectly fine to support the weight and vibration. And yes agree the brackets on top are important as there will be a force upwards as well to try to "tip the shelve over". Those are relative small "normal" 2 inch brackets but all the brackets are screwed into studs. The shelves themselves are MDF which is a good material since it's indoor and climate controlled. The shelves themselves are 8" wide with the corners at their longest point about 15 inches or so from the wall. The corners are what I was worried about the most but agoan with putting 2 heavy duty 2 inch on the bottom and filling in with regular duty on bottom and top there is no issue whatsoever.

    Oftentimes we over-engineer this kind of thing. I was a bit concerned but have to say after over 6 months of abuse it's held up great and looks a lot better then some of the monstrosity supports I see out there (in my opinion at least) I have the crown molding to put below to cover the brackets but have yet to complete that job. It's purely aesthetic but will make it look a lot better. I will get to it soon as winter is coming so will have more indoor time!
     
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  14. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

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    I want one!
     
  15. 1to3for

    1to3for New Member

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    I am late to the party, but i love the idea. Really interested in how much weight this can hold. I never would have thought to put trim/moulding around the base to make it look better.
     
  16. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    We'll it's only been a year but I final did a couple weeks ago put the trim up. It looks really nice and finished. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to use this method again. I'll get some pics up over the weekend.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Doorgunnerjgs

    Doorgunnerjgs TrainBoard Member

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    So who enjoys it more Keith, your son or you? I always thought you did a great thing here and admired your work!
     
  18. Keith Ledbetter

    Keith Ledbetter TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I love it and think its awesome. As any 3 year old there are times where he is obsessed and wants to run it for hours and then a week will go by where he has no interest at all. Mainly he just wants to go the fastest it can and blow the horn and whistle but who am I kidding that's what I like as well.
     
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