22nd Street Road and Rail – the Journey

When we moved to Australia in 2012, I had to dismantle my amazing shelf-layout of model trains in Reno. The shelves ran throughout the second story of our home on Fescue Court. Taking about two years to build, the layout ran through walls, in and out of the attic, through bathrooms, and back into my home office. When my daughter lived with us, I used to wake her up in the mornings by parking a freight train in her room and blowing the whistle.

Computer-controlled, the gauge was “O” and I ran mostly Mike’s Train House trains (“MTH,” a competitor to Lionel Corporation). The trains went into storage for the time we were down under. At one point, I calculated about a $50,000 investment all told. I am down from that now, and they have probably depreciated even more, but such is a hobby!

Upon our return from Adelaide, and now with the new home and its HUGE basement, I have the chance to run them once again! This page will document the “journey” of my collection of 100+ cars, 25 or so locomotives, and a variety of structures and gadgets. Please revisit this page often for newly uploaded photos!

22nd Street Road and Rail Photo Log

Photo LogCommentary
I ordered my bench-work from www.mianne.com, who built it to my specifications. What I wanted, and got, was a hardwood I-beam design with hardwood legs, assembled with cams and cam-dowels much like what you get from Ikea. The entire 8' x 8' setup arrived in two boxes, each weighing about 40 pounds. Amazing!
In this picture, you can see the legs with the levelers installed. You can also see part of the train collection gathering dust along the southern wall of our basement. The levelers were very easy to install, using the pre-drilled hole and then the leveler nut supplied by Mianne. To the right of the legs are the various 4 foot and 2 foot I-beams which, when connected together, will form the lattice of the bench-work itself. Note that the skeletal design and parts does not include the table top, which I will have to buy separately.
Alright, so here is a wider shot of the basement and the assembled cars and locos gathering dust. Among them are the various structures and gadgets that will be set amidst the track once that is laid. This spot in the basement is perfect for an 8x8 layout. It will allow for about 3 feet all around for walk-around train and layout management. The television is there on purpose: While I work away this winter I can catch up on television shows!
I turned around and took this picture of the "other end," the northern end, of the basement, crowded with everything that was moved from the southern end. Stay tuned. We have ordered a super-duper treadmill for that space and will organize the weights accordingly. Along the walls are the books we have decided are "keepers" from 50 years of accumulation by two old academics.
The I-Beams prior to cam insertion. Note the pre-drilled hole. The cam goes into the hole aligned in such a way as to receive the cam dowels (see next picture). Then, they are tightened to achieve a fit that is far better than screw-and-glue, and removable to boot!
Here are three of about 35 I-Beams with the cams installed. In the next picture you will see the leg assemblies with the cam dowels and guide pins installed, ready to connect to the I-Beams.
In this picture you can see the hundreds of parts involved with the bench-work shipped from Mianne. Remember, I had asked for a design that allowed me to take down the bench-work should we ever move again. The days of disposable train layouts are over!
Above I mentioned the cam-dowels. Here is a detail shot of a cam-dowel screwed into a leg, awaiting the guide pins and then the I-Beam connection. They are amazingly easy to screw in; in fact, I could do many of them by hand, with only a slight torque of a screw-driver (a number 3 Phillips head) to ensure a tight fit.
Okay, so here we see all the legs with cam-dowels and guide pins installed. Time for lunch! By the way, the entire thing took about 6 hours to put together, including time for a wonderful lunch provided by my bride.
Watching me all the while were Macy the Schnauzer, and Markie the Cat. "Supervising," I should say. Macy is over 9 years old and doing well. Markie is one year old this October.
Here is a leg with two, 2-foot I-Beams attached. It really is a simple matter of lining up the hole on the I-Beam with the cam-dowel and guide pins, sliding it on, then tightening with a Number 3 Phillips screwdriver. The strength is amazing. When done, I will be able to walk on the bench-work, even at my current "fighting weight" of 320 pounds!
Fast forward somewhat to an assembled table section. There will be two such section, one each in opposite corners of the overall table. In the next picture, I share with you the schematic of the overall table design. Note the combination of 2 foot and 4 foot I-Beams.
Mianne supply a color-coded schematic of the design ordered. Purple indicates the 4-foot I-Beams, while yellow is of the 2-footers. All made with a combination of poplar and MDF board. Poplar, by the way, is grown in managed forests both in the northeast and northwest of the USA (and probably Canada). The wood is hard but with a light grain and therefore highly resistant to splitting. Remarkable.
Halfway! In this picture you can see the juxtaposed tables mentioned above, with the furthest corner completely attached. You can also begin to get a sense for the walk-around space I'll have.
Almost done! I have only a couple of 4-foot I-Beams to add, and then the table is finished. BY the way, I specified an unusually high table - 45 inches high, to be exact - to allow me to work the trains with a minimal amount of bending over, to dissuade the "little ones" from jumping on the layout, and to provide for extra storage beneath. The ultimate table will feature curtain ruffles around the front and sides, with an open back. Curtains are better. You can part them and get under the table for eventual wiring and trouble-shooting.
And here it is! DONE! About 6 hours of relatively easy work. Playing the background was a YouTube video of Mianne's founder, Tim Foley, explaining various aspects of the design. It is without question, the nicest bench-work I have ever had for trains. The table top will be of 1/2 inch poplar plywood. I intend to use a sound-deadening material used by tile layers as the means of minimizing train noise. The exact track layout plan is still in development, but stay tuned. This log will be updated frequently.
And all of it was just in time. On Monday morning, we awoke to two inches of white stuff. No more lawns to mow! Let the winter hobby commence!

About Dr Joseph Russo

Born and raised in Woodland Hills, California; now residing in Laramie, Wyoming (or "Laradise" as we call it, for good reason), with my wife Cindy, our little schnauzer, Macy Mae, and a cat named Markie. I hold a BBA from Cal State Northridge and an MBA from the University of Nevada at Reno. My first career was in business, for some 25+ years. In 2007, I shifted gears and entered the helping professions as a mental health counselor. I earned an MA in Educational Psychology and a Doctorate (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. In my spare time I enjoy mentoring young and not-so-young business and non-profit executives as they go about growing their businesses and presence. I also teach part-time at the University of Wyoming, in both the Colleges of Education and Business.
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