Looking for an easy, quick, alternative to setting up your model railway on the dinner table or floor? Here’s a low cost alternative that won’t break the bank.
I got this idea off my brother who is building a shed from pallets, yes really! While visiting him at the weekend and seeing his shed I had a brain wave, if he can build a whole shed with them why not a railway?
Pallets have lots of advantages for use as a temporary, or perhaps even permanent, flat top and perhaps even open-frame model railway baseboard. (If you’re confused about the different types see my guide to model railway baseboards).
- They’re stable, pallets by their nature can support a lot of weight so they’ll support your railway, buildings and anything else you care to put on it (model railway mountains anyone?)
- They’re practical, pallets can be accessed from all sides and you can get underneath them (for wiring, etc)
- They can be expanded, if your model railway layout grows (and it will…) you can easily nail or screw more pallets together to grow your layout.
Pallets are easy and cheap to get if you know where to look.
Warehouses, transport firms (especially road haulage firms) and DIY/ garden shops are great sources.
Alternatively, and closer to home, take a walk or drive to your local area and ask around.
Just walking around my neighbourhood, I also saw three houses with them in the front gardens after recent deliveries. A quick conversation and the pallets were offered free.
Once you’ve got one, or two, it’s also fairly easy to fit legs to them.
You can also cover the top with polystyrene sheeting – from packaging – to provide a flat surface into which you can carve rivers and streams and build up small hills.
One last thought, if you follow this tip, make sure the pallet has dried out first. I’d also coat the wood of varnish to protect against insects.
Why not have a walk around your neighbourhood and see if there are any going?
>A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.