Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!


How To Create Support & Protection For Portable Layout

portable model train layout

Dan asks readers this question:

“I am currently putting together my first portable layout to display on Canada Day. I am using two 2×8 foot pieces of 2″ styrofoam SM as the layout surface which will run two separate oval tracks. My current struggle is designing a frame that the styrofoam will sit inside of and hold all together plus provide a No Touch zone and derail barrier. I do not plan on adding legs at this stage as time is limited. I will be setting it up on some fold out tables at our town hall.”

To submit a question use the ‘Ask A Question’ link below any post. To add a comment or to answer a question use the COMMENTS link below the post.

3 Responses to How To Create Support & Protection For Portable Layout

  • Randall Styxsays:

    One option would be to have six 1×6 boards – two at 8 foot each and four at 2 feet each. These are to stand on edge around the foam. Attach these to each other using 6 hinges. Four hinges would go inside the corners. The other two would go on the outside where the two foot pieces meet. When the foam is lifted out, the frame can then fold together; when the foam is inserted, the frame keeps the foam together. The support tables would need to be long enough to support not only the 8 foot foam, but also the frame on each end.

    For a no touch zone you could add 6 to 12 inches of Plexiglas to the top edge of the frame by either screwing it into the sides or cutting a kerf into the top edge of the boards deep enough to hold onto the Plexiglas.

    If at some time you want to attach legs to the frame, you’ll need to add some kind of shoulder or ledge to the bottom of the frame to keep the foam from falling out the bottom. That shoulder would be limited to the end pieces and the middle section of the 8 foot pieces so that the shoulders don’t prevent the frame from folding together. (The legs would attach to the outside of the frame.)

  • Petersays:

    Here is my portable show layout. I did not use styrofoam. It is comprised of four modules that sit on two 8 foot folding tables. The two long modules clip together one on top of the other and are light enough for one man, a 76 year old man, me, to carry them easily. Power for the tracks is automatically connected when the modules are clipped together, no plugs, sockets or wires. All of the buildings are packed in a box for transportation.

  • Petersays:

    The picture is an early version of the layout, I have many more building for it now. I run two and three rail, AC, DC and Digital on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)

Download Your Free Catalog

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video


Submit Your Model Railroading Questions!

Before you submit your model railroading question please add some feedback, answers or comments to other postings on this model train blog. What goes around comes around... so if you can help others in the hobby, someone else may help you.

Important - Please add plenty of supporting details to any question you submit (eg. scale, solutions you have already tried etc.) , as the clearest and best questions usually get the best answers. Also, please check your spelling and punctuation as all questions need to be approved by the blog moderator prior to publication. Approved questions are normally published within a week (if not sooner).

Submit your model train questions here.

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

A micro controller is basically a small programmable computer device to help the model railroader “make things operate.” It is clever way to realistically replicate the movements, actions and functions you are likely to see on a full size railroad.

Watch These Club Videos

Club members access helpful new resources each month: diagrams, video tutorials, articles, track plans and more. Watch the tour videos here.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Everything DCC



Model Train Help Ebook

Bringing Your Railroad To Life!

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Share With Friends


Submit Your Article

Would you like to write an article and have it published?

Preference will be given to articles that help others progress in the hobby, maybe suggesting an idea for their layout, a quick tip or two... or perhaps a little bit of good advice based on your model railroading experiences.

We are all in this hobby together, so the more we can do to share ideas and help each other, the better.

Submit Your Article Here

It’s YOUR Railroad!

Your rolling stock and locomotives might actually be the center of attention on your layout, but the scenic features that surround and envelop your layout is what's likely to make your train setup stand proud of the rest. Your selection of scenery and structures will add an element of customization that will make your railroad truly unique.

Scenery, structures, and fine detailing is a fundamental aspect of any good model railroad, particularly if it is intended to replicate a true-to-life railroading scene. How realistic or authentic you make your railroad is entirely up to you... and you alone.

Some enthusiasts like to replicate every tiny detail so as to accurately depict, in every aspect, a miniaturized version of a real life scene.

Others in this hobby adopt a more "free-style" approach and choose to mix and match accessories and features they personally prefer. Even though the purist will possibly be unimpressed with unrealistic or out of context elements, it is YOUR railroad layout so you can make it anything you personally want!

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.