Model Railway Baseboards – A Low Cost Alternative

Pallets and steam trainLooking 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 model railway baseboard:

  • 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 you’re model railway layout grows (and it will…) you can easily nail or screw several together to grow your layout.
Pallets make great temporary baseboards but if needed can also be easily adapted and fitted with legs for longer term use.

Pallets make great temporary baseboards but if needed can also be easily adapted and fitted with legs for longer term use.

Pallets are easy and cheap to get if you know where to get them from.

Warehouses, transport firms (especially road haulage firms) and DIY/ garden shops are great sources. Take a walk or drive to your local and ask. They’ll often give them away or let you have them for a small charge.

As an last thought, it’s also fairly easy to fit legs to pallets so if you set up your model railway on a baseboard with the intention of moving it to a “proper” baseboard later but it then becomes established and you don’t want to uproot it you can adapt it and it can become your layouts permanent home.

Have you built a model railway on a pallet? How did you get on?

Update:  This is one of a series of posts in my collection of model railway beginners guides, click on the link for more hints, tips and articles.

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Picture credit, pallet table – pierre vedel, pallets and steam train – Hec Tate

  1. I am using insulation slabs for layout use. They do not require framing as mine is 250 x 7 cm. They are covered by foil on both sides which enables DCC plus and minus (top and bottom) you only need to solder to the covering which is insulated from each other..simples ?? I would love to hear from anybody that can fault this. It lies upon a frame with 2×1 inch legs up against a wall..

    • Hi Philip, I’ve seen this done a couple of times and the owners – like you – can’t fault it. Do you have any pictures you can share? Thanks, Andy

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