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Car Carrying Trays

Storing rolling stock and transporting it to and from the railway is a daunting task for even the most enthusiastic garden railroader. Our club has over 100 standard gauge cars and over 100 narrow gauge cars on the roster. During our railways operations, we are required to move over 60 cars to and from the railway. To solve the problem, we use car carrying trays that are stored on racks in metal storage sheds. One shed holds the narrow gauge rolling stock, the other the standard gauge equipment.


We use old, plastic, bread trays; but the similar ones could be made from pine boards with a thin plywood or hardboard floor. The floor and sides of our trays were lined with 1/8 inch foam, sold in rolls by Home Depot for floating floors. Two pine boards were cut for the front and back of the tray, and four slots were cut in each about 5 inches apart. Hardboard dividers were then covered with strips of the foam and cut to fit in the slots.


The process of foam covering the trays and dividers was messy, time consuming and expensive. While 1:22nd scale, narrow gauge cars fit between the dividers fairly easily, the details on 1:29th scale standard gauge cars caught and tore the foam. The pine boards and foam-covered, hardboard dividers also added extra weight to the trays; so they were removed. Although our bread trays are still lined with foam on the bottom, this would not be necessary if the trays had a solid floor.

Our plain dividers now are cut from either corrugated cardboard or hardboard. The hardboard is more durable, but heavier and more expensive. Loading an empty tray is now much easier. Place a divider against the side of the tray, load a car, add another divider, another car, another divider, until the tray is full.

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