Club Layouts

HO Modular Traveling Layout

Construction of this layout was started in 2006. Various modules have been updated since then. It is commonly referred to as the suitcase layout due to the style of contruction of the modules. It's maximum size is 14ft wide and about 40 ft long depending the number of modules used.

Trains are controlled using Digitrax DCC hardware. A DB-150 for the staging yard and a DCS-210 to power the main track split into two power districts.

Each module measures 2ft x 4ft except the 4 corner modules which are about 2ft 6in square. They each have a cover that is secured by four latches and has a handle on one long side for carrying. One pair of legs fold into the bottom of the module. Bolts align the modules and they are held together with speed clamps. Cables interconnect the modules for the Loco-Net and track power. Digitrax Loconet throttle jacks are spaced around the layout on both the inside and outside. Often members operate from the outside of the layout and allow patrons of train shows to control trains under their supervision.

We have about 20 straight modules, 2 modules with 90 degree curves and 2 modules with 360 degree curves. At one time the layout was a double track loop. As several members health made crawling under the layout to get to the inside operating area increasingly difficult it was decided the method of access to the interior had to be changed. A lift or swing bridge idea was investigated. Another idea was proposed and adopted. Change the layout from a loop to a bent dogbone. This was done and has worked well. The original dogbone ends worked but had some issues so new end were constructed. These are a little smaller, lighter, and quicker to assemble. Time will tell how well they perform.

A typical module:
Module Closed

Module Open

Across the front side of the module is a 6 inch wide by 1/2 inch plywood board that holds the 2 main line tracks firmly in place. There may be switches to spurs and sidings leading to the back part of the module depending on the members chosen design. The tracks that cross modules are typically joined with a short removable piece of track.

Some members have only module, others 2 or 3 or none at all. However, all club members may operate trains on the layout whenever it is set up. Trains vary from 1800's vintage steam powered trains to 50+ car freights, to modern high speed passenger trains like the Eurostar or Frecciarossa.

Pictures of the Modular Traveling Layout


Layout at a recent work session.
Traveling Layout

Below are links to YouTube videos of the setup and teardown of the traveling layout at a recent work session. See how it's all done in under 4 minutes!! (That's the video duration, not the actual working time.) Just a bunch of experienced worker bees!!