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.

Details and Construction Information

Logo SLSPRR - (the S-my initial, L-granddaughter's initial, SP-South Plains) My granddaughter helped a lot with the scenery. I don't like scenery but she convinced me to add scenery for "show". When on display, there are clear fences along the front for track curve protection.

Lionel's original disappearing train layout was built so that only one train could run on it.  This layout uses MTH PS2 engines that run at a constant speed in conventional mode with the track set at one voltage.  The latching relay controls the isolated track at the bottom of the grade. A train going into the tunnel turns on the track and a train starting up the hill turns the track off.  The Burning Switch Tower in these photos was later replaced with a Lionel sign.

Train Sets that I run in pairs:
MTH 30-4047-1 Caterpillar F40PH Set (yel/blk)
MTH 30-4053-1 Caterpillar SD90-MAC Set (blk/gry)
MTH 20-2278-1 EMD GP9 pushing ChooChooCam F3 engine with banner "Restoration Sponsored by BNSF & SLSP Railroads"
MTHRRC 30-1309-1 2-8-0 Purple Steam engine w log car
Lionel 6-24154 Maiden Rescue
Lionel 6-14111 153IR Controller
Lionel 6-12915 Log Loader "164" repro
Lionel 6-12719 Animated Refreshment Stand
Lionel 6-12737 Whistling freight shed
MTH 30-9120 Gabe the Lamplighter

Folded for Transport

The folded layout can be rolled from vehicle to display location by one person.  Two people are needed to lift the light weight layout out of the vehicle and onto the display tables.

Folded Center

Here are the layout ends folded under the center for transport.  Most layout parts are packed inside.

Ends Folded under Center

The right side box is used for packing layout stuff.

Right Side End Folded

The left side box contains the hidden track controlled by the latching relay.

Left Side Folded under Center

The center box and left box have bottoms and the right box has a top.

Open for Packing or Unpacking

Exposed Interior for Setup and Test Running

Back Side View

Exposed Back View

The Tunnel inside walls are painted black for the ChooChooCam.

Exposed Center Back

Ascending back to back curved track at bottom and descending 031 curved track at top

Center Back Close-up 

Center View from Front

Exposed Center Front

The front view of the left end shows the Log Cabin in the upper corner that the ChooChooCam sees when the train starts moving up out of the bottom.  The surface track hides the stop area track.

Left end with Cabin

Exposed View from Right End

Exposed from Right Side

The Red Steam Engine is ascending toward the Right Tunnel.  This is the MTH RailKing Circus Engine that has been replaced with the MTH RR Club RailKing Purple engine.  The Red Engine didn't always like the "back to back" curves.

Exposed Start Ascending

Construction Drawings and Information

The following construction drawings were preliminary and changed as construction progressed.  The boxes are constructed of 3/4" Gatorfoam and the terrain is shaped insulation foam.  Plywood and plaster would be too heavy.  Wooden blocks are inserted in the foam portion of the Gatorfoam where screws are inserted.

Three Separate Boxes

Box Construction

Assembled Boxes 42" x 97 1/4" Total Size

Total Size

Track List
(16) Lionel® O O-31 curve 45°
( 7) Lionel® O custom cut straight
( 2) Lionel® O-31 cut curve
( 3) Lionel® O half straight
( 3) Lionel® O single straight
( 1) Lionel® O 40 in straight
Total of 32 pieces of Lionel/K-Line regular O track

Track Elevations Show the Visible Track at 5.5" Elevation

Track Elevations

Lichen Preservation Recipe

 1 bag lichen, 1 pint technical grade glycerin + 1 pint water
  Soak lichen in warm solution in Pyrex bowl for 2 hours. (in oven as low as possible)
  Dry for a couple of days.
On our train layout in the 1950's we had lichen "bushes" that were soft year after year.  That's why I use the above recipe on the lichen I purchase for my layouts.

Materials List

Gatorfoam 3/4" thick (2 4'x8'), yellow construction glue, construction foam Insulation
Lionel 031 track, Rick Johnson's rubber roadbed glued down with 3M Rubber & Vinyl 80 Spray Adhesive
1/4" plywood blocks glued to foam blocks (for securing track screws inside hidden area)
8 shaft mounted swivel wheels
Latex paint

Return to Main Disappearing Layout.              Click for Electrical Wiring tips.


Click here for my SSPRR Run Room