Model Railroad Custom Benchwork
The process of how to get started with us.
Below you will find the information that takes you step by step, from preplanning to delivery of your custom layout, built in our shop, installed at your desired location.
Thanks for Your Interest,
There are primarily two ways we normally do the preplanning stage. (#1) . We travel to the customers job site. We take pictures of the train room and measurements of the room size. Also the entrance to the train room, doorways, hallways, stairways, etc. Since our layouts are built in modular form, the measurements assist us in how big each module can be. While we are at the customer’s location we can get input from the customer about what he likes and would like to have incorporated in his layout. With that information we come back to the shop and draw a preliminary plan of what we think the customer wants and what we are confident will work and can be built. This becomes the blue print that we quote prices and do the actual building from. (#2). The customer can take pictures and measurements of the room size noting any posts or corners and desires for the layout. We take the information given and draw a plan to scale. After we draw the plan we send it to the customer for his approval. He may decide he would like a few changes, so he marks in the desired changes, and sends it back to be redrawn. We continue the process until we come up with a suitable plan, which then become the blue print to quote and build from.
We prefer (#1) because it is quicker and tends to be much more satisfactory to both parties.
Building The Bench work
After we have both agreed on a plan and price and a down payment on the bench work has been received, we begin the construction. We construct the bench work with free standing bases using 2x4 and 1x4 spruce lumber. The grid work and modules are built using 1x4 spruce lumber and 5\8 underlayment grade plywood for the deck of the layout. We draw the track plan on the deck and cut the elevated part of the layout. This allows us to create the over and under by placing the elevated part on 1x4 vertical risers. We can easily create two to three levels, however the more levels we build the less you will be able to view the bottom level. After the bench work is done we begin the under layment for the track, using a vinyl product. The vinyl bed helps to deaden noise and is an attractive product.
Track, Switches, Decoupler installation
In doing the track work we use your desired track, which most recent track and switches allow us to use the square footage of bench work more effectively than with (for example) Lionel track. Especially areas like freight and passenger yards, and industrial areas. We do recommend Ross and Crutis Hi Rail switches and gargraes track which are the best on the market today and which allows us a larger variety to create effective areas on the layouts.
As we lay track we put feeder wires in at approximately every 6 to 8 feet for the power to the track. Then using color coded 14 ga. wire we go around the entire loop and connect to each feeder wire. This system works well in keeping the voltage at an even level throughout the layout. We also incorporate any switches and decouplers needed in the layout as we lay track.
We use Z-Stuff switch machines offered with Ross switches or the Tortoise slow moving switch. We are willing to entertain the idea of others that are available.
Wiring and Control Panel
After getting the track laid and our feeder wires installed we begin to wire the layout as mentioned generally using a different color for each independent loop. We then tie those loops into central control panel. The color coded wires assist us in tracing wires and also making it easier to assist customers after installation, referring to specific areas. All wire are run from the central control panel to operate track loops, decouplers, and switch machines or accessories.The control panel is scratch built by us, using a oak wood frame with a Plexiglas face generally ivory or black in color. (Other colors available) The control panel has all high quality toggles and push button switches. We can provide a rotary and on and off switch, which also let you connect two or more loops to run from the same handle or have all separated loops each having its own handle. Each loop has it’s own volt meter and circuit breaker in case of derailments causing shorts. We also offer walk around control such as DCS. or TMCC. Track schematics on the control panel are done with different color pin stripping for easy following and identification.
After the completion of wiring, everything is tested for proper operation and functionality, any needed changes or corrections are made in our shop before moving to the scenery stage.
Scenery Stage of Layout
After everything is properly running and functional, we move on to the scenery stage of the layout. In scenery we have two options we can offer. (#1) This is what we refer to as “Basic Scenery”. All of our scenery is built with Geodesic Foam products. We make hard shell using two part foam being applied to bubble wrap and screen. On this hard shell we have molds to form rocks using a two part resin. With this operation we can create valleys, hills and mountains. We can create rivers, lakes by dropping down the plywood and using a two part plastic for simulated water. We can then paint the different areas according to what that area is, rock, slope, or flat places with grass and etc. Basic scenery includes all the mountains, rivers, simulated water falls, hills and valleys with painted surfaces. Flat places are painted with an earth color and covered with a grass product. We have several different trees available to choose from at an extra cost. Trees can be pick out and included in the contract price. Our simulated water falls are made of a silicone product with quilt batting backing. Option (#1) includes no roads, people or buildings.
(#2) Option is all of the above with any amount of roads, people, houses, buildings, and accessories, with detailed scenery. We also offer animation scenes and real running water falls. Prices are quoted on each individual layout. Bridges, trestles are custom built by us for our layouts or for individuals wanting just trestles and or bridges only. We also offer a 36” Precision Turntable built by us, sold in our layouts or separately. The bridges and trestles are made of the specified wood of choice. If no wood is specified we make them from white spruce wood. We make any style, according to the customer’s preference.
Delivery And Installation
Everything is built in modular form in our shop to the customers desired completion stage, such as #1. Just Benchwork, #2 Benchwork, track and wiring. #3 having benchwork, track and wiring, with scenery either basic or detailed. We also offer a partial amount of the above parts done in accordance of the customers desire. We work with the customer in any way that he would like to do the layout.
After we complete everything, we take the modules apart marking all wires carefully. We have our own truck and trailer to haul our layouts, transporting it to your location. We carefully place the separate modules in your train room and put it all back together. The smaller wires are in plugs for each module and are just plugged back together. The 14 ga. wires are put back together with a quick clip. After we install and connect everything and touch up scenery, we test run and fine tune everything. Installation normally takes two to three days depending on the size of the layout.
Model Railroad is committed to make your model railroad dream come true.