Extending Track Across a Swinging Door

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Duration: 4:32

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In this video, National Model Railroad Association’s Master Model Railroader Gerry Leone shows how he extends his track across a swinging door to accommodate a layout that crosses doorways. When building a model railroad layout, a modeler must consider the doorways in the space. Some modelers can design the track around doorways to not block them, but many have to bridge doorways. There are many ways to do so; some have tilt-up sections that fold down to get out of the way, others completely lift up, and some modelers use swinging doors.

Leone created his swinging door track by building a deck with two-by-fours and quarter inch plywood. The two-by-fours are anchored to the wall with three large hinges. He added some rollers to the bottom of the table legs. These are casters found at any hardware store and epoxied to lag bolts. If the table sags, the wheels can be turned to correct it. Leone made cuts for track with a jewelers saw so the ends meet up perfectly. However, the track will move when the wood expands or contracts. A lock could not be made for the doorway track because Leone had to be able to move from one room to the other during operation.

Heavy duty magnets were used with an electrical box cover as the metal plate mounted to one side, a great surface for the magnet to stick to. An interlock was added with microswitches on both sides, so if the rolling door opens, it will stop the trains. Eventually, Leone will add occupancy detectors so that section of track will light up when a train is detected and the rolling door will not be opened. To learn more model railroad tips, visit the Model Railroad Academy website.