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This page was last updated on
08 January 2013

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Baseboards and Trestles

The baseboard is one of the most important components of your model railway.  It is the foundation upon which the success (or otherwise) of your model will depend.  There are various methods of constructing a baseboard and the correct choice will depend on how the final model will be used.
Some layouts are permanently built into a room in the house, while others are portable.  The most important design criteria of a portable layout are the size and weight of its individual components.  Obviously, such restrictions are irrelevant when building a permanent layout.
The most popular materials used for the board itself are MDF, Plywood, Sundeala and Chipboard, all requiring a suitable timber frame to make the board rigid and keep it flat. We have found that the best materials for the baseboard cover is 9mm thick MDF with  Plywood a close second.   They are much more robust than Sundeala and lighter than Chipboard.   Moisture absorption can be a major problem with Sundeala causing the material to expand and warp.   MDF and Plywood provide an excellent base for the track as track pins and small screws (for fixing point motors etc) are held securely.   ideally, plywood should be covered with cork sheet to provide a good track base. 

A 3D view of a baseboard with seperate cross braced trestles, move cursor over image to view the complete assembly with baseboard and optional controller shelf

Larger portable model railways may be constructed from two or more baseboards.  Where this is  the case, special care has to be taken on the design of the connection between the boards.  This will ensure accurate alignment of the scenery and more importantly the track.  Electrical connections between the various sections of the layout will also be required.  We have many years' experience in the construction and operation of both permanent and portable model railway layouts and we can use our knowledge to help you achieve first class results, first time.

 
This baseboard was designed on CAD (Computer Aided Design) and the complicated track bed shapes we cut out from MDF using a High Pressure Water Jet cutter to ensure total accuracy and excellent finish..

We can supply all types of baseboards, from simple rectangular units to highly complex open frame and multi level designs (see above).  

Trestles

All baseboards can be supplied with separate cross braced trestles, these can be supplied in any height.  Each set of trestles comprise two frames and a scissor cross brace.  The brace is simply bolted to the frames by M6 bolts fitted with wing nuts.  An optional controller shelf clips into place during assembly.  The baseboard locates onto the top of the assembled trestles and the completed structure is both lightweight, strong and very stable.  All trestles can be supplied fitted with castors enabling the complete layout to be easily maneuvered for access and cleaning etc. 

Note: All baseboards have timber frames.  Timber, in common with all natural materials can shrink and/or warp when exposed to changing environmental conditions.  Very dry or damp conditions can adversely effect the straightness of the timber sections and as a consequence the baseboard.  We take great care to select good quality materials but cannot guarantee the long term stability of timber sections.  Warping can occur on any baseboard, but it is generally  more of a problem on the larger sizes.

Prices

To get a basic idea how much your particular baseboard will cost, we offer the following as a guide. 
MDF covered baseboard prices are calculated on a figure of 11.00 per square foot.
There is a minimum charge of 40.00 per baseboard.
A set of separate, cross braced trestles (as shown above) are around 135.00, single trestles (for adjoining baseboards) are also available.
For an accurate, personal  quotation, please complete the appropriate details on the form on the 'request quotation' page on this website.
Any size, shape and number of baseboard(s) can be supplied.  Larger layouts are usually constructed in two or more sections.   Delivery charges vary, smaller packages can be sent by Royal Mail with larger ones being handled by overnight courier service.

 
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