The Ledge Train - Part 1

So....I have this ledge that runs around the great room of our new house about 9' off the floor. At the upstairs landing is a window that overlooks the room and while standing there one day I came to the realization that I needed to put in train.

Yes, a train. My wife had the same reaction.

After some negotiations, begging, and clever marketing I was able to get the project approved. Naturally, the project presents some interesting challenges.

First and foremost is cost. Obviously I can't let the budget run away on something that is going to be up a quarter of the year. Three months is all I've been able to negotiate: November, December, and January. Consider it a holiday decoration for now.

That brings us to the second challenge: the whole display has to be assembled and disassembled 9 feet off the ground. I've been working on a design for modular track sections mounted on half-inch plywood that "link" together via dowels and possibly power connectors. (More on that later.)

Last but not least are the corners of the room and the six foot gap over the foyer. The corners present a challenge because the minimum turning radius for an HO gauge track is 15 inches (I'll talk about the reasons I chose HO later). From what I have read, 15 inches is pushing it. I believe my plywood mount idea will solve the corner issue, but I need to test it.

For the gap over the foyer, I have decided to build a bridge (thanks to my buddy Trent for that idea.) Why not just go around the corners you ask? Well, there's an outside corner (see drawing below). A tunnel would be cool but I'm not allowed to cut holes in the walls.

Overall I think it will be an awesome project. I've always been interested in model trains and now I finally have a venue to get started on the hobby. Right now I've started designing the bridge and purchased my first set (an Athearn Union Pacific set with 4 cars, a power pack, and some track.)

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