Upside-down Roadbed

I built some upside-down roadbed this evening.  Check it out…


What you’re seeing in the photo above is ½” plywood roadbed hung from the 2×12 floor joists that form the ceiling of the crawl space in my home.  I thought I’d try something a little unconventional in order to use the crawl space for the layout and for storage.

Here’s the back-story.  The plan for my layout is to have two long shelves on opposite walls of a narrow room.  The two sides of the room are separated by a crawl space where the track loops back.  The conceptual drawing below (not to be confused with a track plan) helps to illustrate this. 

layout schematic1 copy


The shelf on the left side of the drawing is the International Paper plant.  The shelf on the right side of the drawing is the yard.  A track goes from the bottom left to the bottom right side of the drawing by way of a 180 degree turn-back under the crawl space.  Hence the upside down roadbed.

You’ll notice in the top photo that I’ve left some room for 30 inches of double track  to extend into the crawl space in front of the roadbed I’ve already installed.  This will facilitate the staging of a cut of boxcars loaded with wood chips, and a cut of tank cars loaded with few different chemicals.  There was no way to fit all of that into the visible part of the layout so I’m addressing it with hidden tracks.

The connection to the North Tonawanda yard from the paper plant will be finished when I build the benchwork on that side of the room.  For now, I’ll use the first 6 feet of this connection as a tail track and place to stage the train coming into the plant at the beginning of an operating session and leaving the plant at the end.

I’ll tack some flex track onto the roadbed tomorrow.


3 thoughts on “Upside-down Roadbed

  1. Very cool use of a crawl space! Does the track have to descend at all to go into the crawl space or is it tall enough to line up with the rest of the layout?

    • Thanks for the feedback, guys.

      I built the layout so that it was just below the top of the crawl space: around 49 inches from the floor. I’m going to wait and see how badly the dust builds up on the track. If it’s too much to address with the occasional use of a vacuum cleaner, I might create a tunnel with a strip of poly stapled to the bottom of the joists.

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