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Lionel Christmas Layout for 2010

All photos by Glenn Koproske December 4-11, 2010

I wanted a platform that was manageable to handle and up off the floor. The layout also had to be able to be easily taken down and stored. After considering foam board, plywood, and panelling, I selected exterior sheathing. This is a black material 1/2" thick, 4 by 8 sheets. Lowes had two-packs of folding plastic sawhorses reasonably priced. These have notches for 2 by 4's, so I bought 8 foot lengths of lumber. It all went together in minutes, no tools. The black tarry sheathing was messy to carry and haul.

I did not want 96 square feet of pitch black surface area. I went to the returned paint shelf at Lowes and came home with a gallon of tan latex paint for 5 bucks. Look at the difference it makes as it is being painted on. After it dried, the texture of the sheathing came through and added interest. Stay away from green paint at this point of building such a layout. Shades of brown work best, the lighter the better. You can always add scenic material later.

Here the basic size of the layout is being established in the available space of the basement. The two side panels are in place and have been adjusted for the middle 4 by 8 sheet to be put in.
Yes, that is a flying pig hanging from the ceiling. It works too. You might notice only one shop light fixture and a bare bulb lamp. Inadequate lighting.
It was very important to provide adequate aisle space all around the layout. That area of the basement had to be rearranged to provide clearance.

Ali Shahriary is pictured here working very hard at making the layout take shape. Note that more flourescent lighting has been installed. I stood on a ladder and had to install hooks into the floor joists above centered over each sheet of the layout base. Then I hung more lighting fixtures. Ali hooked everything up and laid out all of the Lionel O-27 track. Everything fit perfectly and thanks to Ali, we made tremendous progress in just one night.

Fred Houska is meeting up with the Division Superintendant Derrick. Fred built the elevated loop.

Fred Houska laid out the carnival area and we drilled holes in the sheathing board to pass the power connectors up from underneath. Each of the rides have their own little power bricks and a 90 degree plug at the far end.

All the track had to be screwed to the trestle bents, and the trestles had to be screwed to the layout base. I put a lockon on it and it runs very well.

A Christmas train of gondolas filled with presents rolls by the back side of the carnival area.

A view down the long extent of the layout. We go from the carnival and turn to the left and travel on both sides of Plasticville. There are two lines where a trolley and a workmans car go back and forth between bumpers
I stapled a few strings of small Christmas lights around the perimeter of the layout. It adds a nice touch. I put them on their own foot switch.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse on their handcar on the elevated section. This is a great feature and I love this motorized unit.

This is the yard in the other wing of the layout. The switches are there for appearance because I do not need to operate them. Putting sections of track in between makes the yard look full and gets all my rolling stock off the shelf and on the layout.

These are all my operating signal accessories lined up and ready to be installed.

This scene is from the end of the yard with the inner and outer main lines. Illinois Central is hard to find in Lionel. I love this train and the engine runs very well at this time.
However, I did not pay attention to what Division Superintendant Derrick is doing. He found the rerailer and is figuring out how it goes on the track. Uh oh.

Derrick is happy that he got his rerailer installed. Remember the Illinois Central train coming around the bend? Where do you suppose it ended up? Yes, it ran up the ramp.

Here is the control table. There is a ZW type R, a KW, and a type S, made only in 1947. The ZW operates the two main lines. The KW operates the trolley and the motorized workers car. The S runs the Mickey Mouse handcar on the elevated trestle. I power the track with illuminated lockons. The green lights on them add a classy touch to the appearance of the layout.

When I was a boy, Magne-Traction came out and that was a feature you saw in the full color catalogs. That enabled engines to run up the inclined trestle sections. It also kept the train on the track when you roared around an O-27 curve at full speed.

To young and old, Lionel trains are like real trains. Because they are fun. You can see a Dept. 56 Lionel train store in the background.

Here is a full view of the layout in the basement. It was built in 2 days. I shopped for the materials at Lowes on a Saturday, and by Monday it was done.

Robert's Lionel Trains Dream Layout is the inspiration for this layout I just built.

Visit Robert's Lionel Trains Layout!

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