SLSPRR - Portable Layout for Train Meet Display

Modern Version of Lionel's Disappearing Train Layout

One train disappears into the tunnel and a different train exits.

This is a light weight layout that folds up to fit into a 1992 Ford Bronco.  It's been displayed at several Rocky Mountain Division train meets in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Estes Park, Colorado.  The accessories can be activated by the audience.  The tunnel in the center hides the secret.  When on display, there is a clear plastic fence on the front.
Center Section
The Refreshment Stand and Crossing gate are controlled with momentary switches in lower right corner.

Crossing Gate End

The Whistle and Diesel sound buildings are audience controlled.  The Maiden Rescue is controlled with the IR Controller as the train exits the tunnel.  The kids learn to reset the maiden quickly.  The Log Loader is a pain sometimes because the trains have to stop to load logs.  It can be unplugged.

Maiden Rescue

For the best "show" two train sets are run together.  When one train enters the left tunnel portal, the other train exits the right tunnel.  MTH PS2 engines will run at a constant speed in conventional mode with the track set at one voltage.  A  latching relay controls the isolated track at the bottom of the grade (under the crossing gate). A train going into the tunnel turns on the track and a train starting up the hill turns the isolated track off.
One popular pair is the two Caterpillar sets MTH 30-4047-1 Caterpillar F40PH Set (yel/blk engine) and MTH 30-4053-1 Caterpillar SD90-MAC Set (blk/gry engine).  One little boy at Estes Park came up to me very serious and asked, "How do the trains change colors when they go in the tunnel?"  The kids figure out there are two different trains before the adults.  Some look under the table the layout is sitting on to tray and figure out what's happening.

Set Engine 1925

Set Engine 76

Another popular pair is the MTH 20-2278-1 EMD GP9 pushing the postwar Santa Fe F3 with a ChooChooCam in the front (banner says Restoration Sponsored by BNSF & SLSP Railroads), and the MTHRRC 30-1309-1 Purple Steam engine with the log car.  For the ChooChooCam I bring a small portable TV so the kids can see themselves and part of the inside of the tunnel.  One woman saw the purple RailKing engine and decided she had to have a purple engine.
Choo Choo Cam

Purple Steam

Steam engines running on this layout must be the smaller engines.  The snow plows had to be removed from the diesels.

Hidden Track Exposed - These photos show a Lionel Burning Switch Tower in place of the Sign.  Several people came by to say, "Your layout is on fire".

Setup for Test Running - The swivel wheels allow rolling folded layout.  For meet display the layout sits on two tables in an L with the Power under the table.



The back of the layout is at the bottom of this photo.

Back View

Drawing Shows Track Elevations that are Fairly Accurate

Track Elevations


The top track inside the tunnel is descending and the bottom track inside the tunnel is rising.

 Center Back


All the wiring is "plug and play" for fast set up.



Close up of rising track with back to back curves and curving descending track.

Back to Back


From the Front is Front Surface Track and Inside Descending Track

Center Front


The front view of the Crossing Gate End shows the Log Cabin in the upper corner that the ChooChooCam sees when the train starts moving up out of the bottom.  See surface track and a bit of the hidden track.

End with Cabin


The bottom of the photo below is the Maiden Rescue end.  The swivel wheels in the above photo and photo below are on the bottom of the folded layout when I roll it into the back of my Bronco for transport.

Swivel Wheels




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