Layout Construction

Raise High the Benchwork, Carpenters

I built the D&NE benchwork high for several reasons. First, it makes for nice viewing with track elevation at 50″ and higher. Second, it’s easy to shove double stack storage containers on rollers under the layout. Third, I wanted to roll myself under the layout — in a low-rider office chair — so work down under isn’t such a chore.

That’s me in my low rider chair connecting DCC bus wires.

I recently adjusted a few joists for the new pop out. Easily done from the comfort of my roller chair. Stringing DCC bus cables and tying in the feeders – easy! Installing switch motors. Well, that’s still a pain but made easier from the chair.

My good friend, the late John Peterson, had a roller chair at the duck-under entrance to his layout. I didn’t really appreciate it until I was a little older myself. My knees thank-you, John.


4 thoughts on “Raise High the Benchwork, Carpenters

  1. Thanks for sharing this – it’s a good reminder that as we get older, the things we need to do on a layout become physically more of a pain in the neck, or back, or elsewhere. Given that many people build model railways over a long period – often many years – it’s something we should be thinking about when we’re planning our layouts.
    I started my current layout – Port Rowan in 1:64 – seven years ago, and it probably has another three or four years worth of work before I can consider it “finished”. With a project timeline of a decade or more – even on a simple layout like mine – I’m glad I gave some thought to this when I planned it. Those building one of the so-called “lifetime layouts” that certain influencers in the hobby advocate, that timeline could be 25-30 years. It might be difficult for someone in their 30s or 40s to imagine what it will be like working on their layout when they’re in their 60s or 70s – but they should at least try, and plan accordingly.
    – Trevor


  2. I started my layout with a 60” average height rail height. I now realize that was too high. As a result of a planned move I tore it out. Now, I am back at it but looking at 50” to 52” height.

    The height you picked may be ideal in my old age.



    1. Glad to hear you’re going to start the layout again. I remember that episode on your blog a while back. You had a great start! Can’t wait to see the reboot.



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