Train Storage Shelves


I found myself, as many of other Marklinists, buying more trains than my layout could handle. As I expanded my layout I built passing sidings and several mainlines for running multiple consists. Unfortunately, as my collection expanded my desire to put a new addition on my layout began to present space problems. Soon my passing sidings became storage sites for these new loks and some of the mainlines as well. As a result I couldn't run routes using TPL or multiple consists.

What I needed was to find a way to expand my collection and to be able to run both my new and my older loks on the layout. So I have designed and built a moving storage yard with three levels. I purchased a rack from the Grainger Company (Bryan Adams, a fellow Marklin enthusiast works for the company) consisting of five easily movable (up/down) shelves, made of chrome stainless steel, and on wheels. The rack is 60 inches high and each of the five shelves is 72 inches by 24 inches giving me plenty of additional storage space. The shelves are easily movable up and down which makes it very versatile.

Since the rack is on wheels I can easily move it out of view into a storage room or move it from one ramp to the other. I simply shift it from one siding to the next when I want to store or move a consist onto or off my layout.

I covered each shelf with 1/4 inch plywood so that I could screw the C track to the board. I now have 18 storage sidings, each 6 feet long. Great for long consists that you don't want to separate.

The rack, as I call it, allows me to move loks and consists on and off the layout with relative ease. In fact, it is fun moving a consist and its lok onto the rack then changing loks for a new consist. No need to power the rack since it gets its power when I connect to the mainline.

I used C track for ease of construction. (I was never a C track fan, but after using it for this project I wish my entire layout were C track.) I realized, however, that if I only backed a consist onto a siding I would only need C track at the head of the siding where the lok would stop and could use M track for the rest. I used the C track because of its good conductivity for digital loks. I didn't need that conductivity for the passenger coaches or freight cars in a consist. I will be replacing 2/3 of the originally installed C track with M track and will use the C track for my main layout wherever possible(especially in hard to reach places).

Initially I had two 3-way switches and two turn-outs on one level. I removed them because they reduced the length of the siding. I only need to connect a single siding to the layout so having switches served on purpose.

I also have contact tracks on each siding but that presents a problem since I will have to run a ribbon cable back to my other S 88's and I haven't quite figured out how to do this.

To reach the upper level shelf I built a 4% grade ramp which rises 6 inches above the layout. I added a stone facade to the ramp and railings to make the ramp more realistic.

For me, this system works well. Hope it gives some of you ideas about getting more use out of your layout and loks.


There are pictures of the storage shelves for my trains.


Robert Frowenfeld and Peter Pastore helping me with the constructing of shelves for storing my trains. The shelving is chrome wire with movable shelves.


John Hagedorn and Bryan Adams examine the lower level.


There are nine sidings on each of the three levels. This is picture of the lower level in the construction phase. Orginally I used foam board for the shelf surface. I changed to 1/4 inch plywood so that I could screw the C track to the board.


A good view of the unit which is 72 inches long, 24 inches wide and 60 inches high. There are five levels but right now I am only using three levels which connect directly to my layout. I intend to use TrainSafe tubes on top and bottom shelves for storage of special trains.


This is the upper level. Each level is covered with Noch grass. I used C track for ease of construction and for good contact.


The upper level orginally had two 3-way switches and two turnouts. These reduced the length of the siding and so I removed them. Now all nine sidings on the three levels are 72 inches long.


Most complete consists fit on a single siding. Some longer consists were separated with the lok on a different siding. That also allows me to pull a consist with a variety of loks.


I built two sidings from the mainline to connect to the shelves. The middle shelf needed a ramp to connect so I used Woodlands 4% grade ramps to rise to 6 inches above the layout.


I simply disconnect the bumper at the end of the ramps and snap on two lengths of straight C track. There is enough rigidity to hold a lok and its consist. It is easy to snap apart when I am finished. I just move the shelving to another siding and reconnect. By not anchoring the track on the ramp I have enough play to connect and disconnect. C track holds its shape very well so there is no unwanted track disconnects when I move the entire length of track on the ramp an inch or two. I intend to build a more secure ramp from the layout to the shelves.


The Bavarian Royal State Railways (K.Bay.Sts.B.) B VI express passenger consist is being pushed up the ramp to the upper shelf siding.


This is a view of the unfinished side of the 4% grade ramp. I have railings lining the ramp which makes it look realistic.


Crossing the "great divide".


The Bavarian Royal State Railways (K.Bay.Sts.B.) B VI peat transport consist backing onto the middle level shelf.


The Bavarian Royal State Railways (K.Bay.Sts.B.) B VI peat transport lok moves onto the middle shelf siding.


The upper shelf yard is starting to fill up.


I have moved the shelving over to another middle level siding. The shelving is on large wheels making it easy to roll and move. Although the wheels have brakes I only use them when I store the shelves away from the layout.


The Bern Lötschberg Simplon (BLS) Ae 6/8 #205 lok and consist moving onto a middle level siding.


Moving from the layout to the middle level shelf.


A better view of the two ramps. Note the railings.


The middle level shelf is slowly filling up.


The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) Ae8/14 with consist moving up the ramp.


There is an uncoupling track just before the end of the ramp. For long consists such as the Ae8/14 consist, I uncouple the lok from the consist and then move the lok to another siding and use a switcher lok to move the consist farther back on its siding.


The middle level shelf serves its purpose well.


Plenty of room for loks and consists on the shelves.


By storing trains on the rack I now have room on my mainlines and passing sidings. See the proof below.


Empty mainline and passing sidings.


More empty mainline and passing sidings.


The Rack under construction.


The three levels of the rack.


The upper and middle levels of the rack.


The upper level of the rack.


The three levels of the rack.


The ramp to the upper level under construction.


The upper level is 51 inches high so I had to go from the layout level of 39 inches (or about 1 meter) to 51 inches. Again I used the Woodlands foam ramp system to do this by first rising to the upper storage level using a 4% grade and then from that level rising to the 51 inch height again using a 4% grade ramp. I covered all of my ramps with Faller "stone" sheets which I simply glued to the face of the foam ramp.


There are three sidings that can be used to connect to the upper level so I can have three consists waiting to enter or leave the layout. To reach the desired height I used tree Woodland foam starter ramps that rose 1 inch over a 2 foot distance.