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Thread: Transporting Multiple Modules

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    Default Transporting Multiple Modules

    Hey gang,

    I am working on designing some more modules to build. Great, right? The problem is, is that the two modules I own take up the entirety of my hatchback. Not wanting to make two trips to and from shows, I am looking into the possibility of renting a U Haul trailer to do the moving. This has some benefits as I can fit larger modules into their standard 4x8' trailers.

    I am sure other people do this, so I thought that I would ask how do you stack modules into the trailers? Did you make custom shelving built specifically for the trailer?

    Please feel free to chime in even if you use your own trailer.

    I appreciate any/all the feed back!
    Bo D.
    B&O Keyridge Subdivision
    I'm not allowed to run the train, the whistle I can't blow. I'm not allowed to say how fast the Railroad Train can go.
    I'm not allowed to shoot off steam, nor even clang the bell. But let the damned Train jump the track, and see who catches hell!


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    I use the sandwich method. I have 3/4” plywood end plates for my modules. I set two modules on the ground on their sides and screw the end plates on. When I load them in the trailer, one module sits right side up and the other sits upside down. I use short boards to separate the sandwiched sets in the trailer, and I strap them all to the wall. With a dolly, I can move over twelve feet of module per trip in and out of a show (my modules are 6’3” long each).
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    There really are three ways to transport multiple modules safety:

    1) make them self stacking
    2) make a rack/cart to slide them into
    3) build a crate

    Racks and crates are fairly self explanatory, except to note that the crate method may or may not use the module itself as one side.

    Self stacking modules comes in basically two forms, a box or a stack.

    Boxed modules almost always come in pairs with the scenery facing the other module in the pair. For n-track modules, and other modules with skyboards, many people use the skyboards to form the box. The skyboards are perminantly bolted to one module and bolted to the other module for transport ( in other words two sides of the box are the module itself and the other two sides are the skyboards. ) For modules without skyboards, most people build “transport endplates” to cover the track ends of the modules. Boxed modules may have two open ends or may be completely enclosed. I have seen wheels attached to boxed modules, but most are transported with Dollys.

    The stack method usually involves some protrusions from the module that allows the pieces to stack. The basic difference between boxing and stacking is that stacked modules all face the same direction for transport. The last time I saw this done was for a club owned yard module. It looked like the club had cut a 1x6 or 1x8 into several keyed sections. The keyed sections were screwed to the front and back of the module below the level of the top surface with the keys for the module below extending below the bottom of the frame. In this case there were wheels attached perminantly to the bottom of the bottom section on the stack.

    I do have two sections of a module that stack, but most of mine are transported either in boxed pairs or racks. The one pair of sections that stack are identically shaped, but not mirrors of each other. They effectively have transport endplates attached to facilitate stacking.
    For decoder installation and JMRI services, please visit http://www.bentraildigital.com
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    I have a 5 X 8 trailer I bought for hauling my (and club) NTRAK modules. I built one rack which holds 4' standard modules. It holds 3 modules and fits crossways in the front of the trailer. Then I have 2 racks that are fitted for my convertible corner, which is 3 pieces with 2 being 5 ft long. The second rack has blocks to hold standard 4 ft modules in place as well. Those 2 racks fit longways behind the smaller rack. The 3 racks are on wheels and I have a ramp (look for a wheelchair ramp). The ramp folds and fits between the racks and the door for transport. This system works well, because in most cases, I can roll the racks in to the setup area,so I can move 9 modules in 3 trips. I have a load binder as well, so if I don't need all the racks , I can lock the ones I need in place in the trailer. I also use the racks as storage shelves for the modules in the garage, so they serve double duty.
    One member of the club has a pair of modules that use the box system pbender mentions. It works pretty well, but the box is too heavy and awkward to be moved by one person and also requires quite a bit of time to assemble/disassemble (this one has end plates AND backboards). I can load/unload my 3 racks (modules on/off racks and racks to/from the trailer) in about the same time. But in theory you could get 4 modules in your hatchback, which eliminates the trailer up to 4 modules. The other issue is you can't just use any 2 modules for the box.....they have to be designed so you aren't crushing your scenery when you put the box together.....your plans may not work. But if they will you eliminate the cost of the racks and the trailer.

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    Oh no! I have never seen modules transported before and I thought I was so smart coming up with the box concept all on my own. Well, there goes my patent rights I'm glad I didn't write up a big how-to and embarrass myself thinking I had invented the wheel all over again☺ I guess I'll go back under my rock again. At least I know that it is a doable thing!
    Earl
    New home, new scale! Ain't retirement great?

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    I don't know how this thread has avoided a moose stampede. Hey! @Moose2013, are you out there?
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Moose dreading day Moose has to try to disassemble layout and move it, so Moose kinda sort avoided reading this thread. Sorry...

    Now, for those missing photos ...

    @RailKing50

    U-Haul Shoom-Haul!

    They will all fit into your hatchback as there is no photographic evidence that your hatchback isn't some kinda of really kewl mega hatchback, like a Pacer!

    00U0U_fGuINiAzVqh_1200x900-610x458.jpg

    Now cramm'um in there and quit yer belly aching... The moose has spoken.
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    I should take some pictures. But the posts here are right.

    List of most common to least common, and my $0.02 on why:

    1) Single module, slid in the car flat. Everyone starts here.

    2) Two modules, slid in flat, or on their sky boards. Hey, someone had to build a second.

    3) Two modules, face to face, with some sort of end plates to make them a box. Pros: Offers scenery protection, takes up less space in car, easier to hand truck. Con: Outsides get beat up more. Scenery spends more of it's time not flat (e.g. sideways, or upside down) which makes it more prone to damage.

    4) A "coffin" around an individual module. Heavy, durable, stackable, and surprisingly popular considering to me it's full of mostly drawbacks. See heavy again.

    5) A "rack" of some sort. I've seen metal and wood ones of various designs. Usually on wheels, usually 3-5 modules high. Pros: Scenery stays flat and protected. Easy to load unload. Really the best way to "baby" modules. Con: Pretty much requires a trailer with a ramp door. There is more "wasted" space with this method, that is they will take up more volume in the trailer.

    6) Self-stacking, but still flat, modules. I've only seen this once, but I have a plan to build some of my own. Almost all the pros of #5 with somewhat less wasted space. But complex to build, and absolutely requires a trailer with a ramp door.

    If you want to see it all in action, find a club going to a local show and offer to help with setup or tear down. With any non-trivial amount of modules you'll see most methods, and them put in sedans, mini-vans, trucks, trailers, and so on.

    How much do you want to spend? How good are your woodworking or metal fabricating skills? Can you store a trailer when not in use? Can you reliability rent a good hauler locally? How many modules do you need to transport now, and in the future.

    Me, I'm taking 12 modules to the show next week in a trailer. And yes, I'm certifiable. Some will be in racks, some are paired with end plates, the bridge has its own set of wheels. Lots of options.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    Hi Railking50,

    Our Ntrak club has a trailer with five rolling units. Each unit is on casters and has shelves for 5-6 modules. All the miscellaneous small items are in suitcases.

    If you only have two modules, I'd make a box by using the skyboards as sides. One module flipped over on the other one. You have to be careful when packing and unpacking, but it provides a secure transport with minimum weight. We drilled matching holes in the skyboard and frame, put T-nuts in the frame and bolts thru the skyboard. It might be worthwhile to add wheels to one end of the bottom module...if case your brakeman doesn't show up on time.

    I have a single traveling module. I used one end plate with a handle and the other end has 5" wheels. I roll it from the car into the RR shows like a two wheel dolly. The ends are 3/4" plywood and protect the scenery and plexiglass very well.

    Good luck with your modules.
    Happy Modeling

    Bruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    I don't know how this thread has avoided a moose stampede. Hey! @Moose2013, are you out there?



    ....... dramatic pause.....



    Quote Originally Posted by Moose2013 View Post
    Now, for those missing photos ...
    @RailKing50

    U-Haul Shoom-Haul!


    Thanks @Railroader for bringing back an old thread where there aren't any pictures! I was safe, but now it looks like you threw me under the bus..err... moose stampede!


    Quote Originally Posted by BruceNscale View Post
    If you only have two modules, ....
    I am up to 5 modules now and I rent a 5x8 trailer to move them around in. I'll post some pictures this weekend....... Scout's honor @Moose2013 !
    Bo D.
    B&O Keyridge Subdivision
    I'm not allowed to run the train, the whistle I can't blow. I'm not allowed to say how fast the Railroad Train can go.
    I'm not allowed to shoot off steam, nor even clang the bell. But let the damned Train jump the track, and see who catches hell!


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    Quote Originally Posted by bicknell View Post
    4) A "coffin" around an individual module. Heavy, durable, stackable, and surprisingly popular considering to me it's full of mostly drawbacks. See heavy again.
    Now, I only have a single module right now, but this past summer I did go this route for my one module. I built a carapace that does double-duty as a dolly, in that it has wheels at one end and a handle at the other. It basically fits like a shell over the module, protecting scenery, and bolts into the module's frame using the same bolts that I use for my legs. There are two ledges or rails near the top of the shell so that I can slide my skyboard in, and the legs go on the skyboard since it now acts like a drawer. Using this, I move all module components at once. The only tricky thing is getting into and out of the car, as I roll up next to the rear bumper and then lean it over, tilting in. That much works fine, the problem is that my bumper doesn't have any rugged wear layer to its finish so the paint has been getting nicked. I keep a towel in the car to place over the bumper, but that isn't as effective as I hoped.

    Anyways, with this dolly/shell design, I technically now have the ability to stack another module on top, if I wanted to go down that path. Maybe I'll take some photos next weekend at the train show so you can visualize what I am talking about. I tried to keep it lightweight but even though I used mostly 1/8" tempered hardboard, it still turned out rather heavy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    Maybe I'll take some photos next weekend at the train show so you can visualize what I am talking about.
    Maybe?

    How about "definitely" because what you have describes sounds really kewl and a lot of people (and meese) would like to see it...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    Sorry railking, l didn't intend to throw you under the hooves. Interesting thread and I too hope for pics. I thought I might use corrugated plastic (like they print signs on). Picked up 2 sheets 36x72 at Home depot for about $13 ea. I plan to put a piece of roof drip edge on the front edge gapped 1:4 inch to allow me to slip the skyboard in there avoiding the need to bolt and unbolt modules except for the endplates. Sorry moose, no pics till I get a few more posts under my belt!
    Earl
    New home, new scale! Ain't retirement great?

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    Here's a timelapse from a 2017 meeting of my modular group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evZO_l_KIUI - you can see most of us do the sandwich technique with end plates for landscaped modules and just self-stacking modules for staging yards.

    Hope this helps,
    Heiko

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    So how I transport modules is completely dependent on what I am taking. I can fit my two straight modules in the back of my hatchback with a rack that I designed and built. See picture.

    25073136_1689654094398348_8892800880936284549_o.jpg

    While this works well for the trains and I..... I can't take anybody else in the car as the trains and supplies are riding shotgun with the modules taking up the entire back area with seats folded down.

    With the addition of the yard module and return module, I have upgraded to a 5'x8' trailer with 2'x4' boards across the trailer allowing for them to stack in there. I am still tweaking this method as I have experienced several broken items during transport. My next step is to replace the wooden 2x4's cross members that the second layer rests on with ratchet straps to help reduce the effect of bumps in the roads. The thought behind the change is that the straps may help absorb some of the bumps during travel rather then transferring it straight to the module like the 2'x4's do.

    54519645_843765445974138_8611402925899513856_n.jpg

    Ok @Moose2013 I kept my promise, you can call off the Moosepede . You and your buddies will have to find something else to do today now!
    Bo D.
    B&O Keyridge Subdivision
    I'm not allowed to run the train, the whistle I can't blow. I'm not allowed to say how fast the Railroad Train can go.
    I'm not allowed to shoot off steam, nor even clang the bell. But let the damned Train jump the track, and see who catches hell!


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    Quote Originally Posted by RailKing50 View Post
    I kept my promise, you can call off the Moosepede . You and your buddies will have to find something else to do today now!
    Dag'gum'it, now what are the boys gonna do? Oh well. Hmmm, straps? What about using foam to absorb the bouncing and vibrations of road travel?
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    Single axle trailers can bounce significantly when light. Double axles prevent this due to the way the two axles are hooked together. There are basically two choices. Add weight, I’ve seen people line the bottom with concrete pavers when hauling light delicate cargo. Strap it down, cargo is best when it moves with the trailer.

    We have a show next weekend. I’ll try and get pictures of my racks and some paired modules with end plates.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    A "rack" on wheels. Easiest on the modules, good protection from the weather (I use stretch wrap when it's going to be really bad), quick to transport multiple modules when you can't park close to the layout. But takes up the most space in the trailer, and for storage when not in use.



    A mated pair, these happen to be two of our four club yard modules. Plywood end caps are attached with screws. Scenery is well protected, but 90 degrees to it's normal orientation which can lead to some damage. Easy to move by hand truck. Packs a lot of modules in a small amount of space. If the back sides are designed properly can be stacked. We like using the eye bolts as they are easy to turn by hand and they keep the module out of any standing water on the ground. We epoxy on a large fender washer.

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    Leo Bicknell

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    Here's this weekends setup. If you watch fast you can see a lot of different ways they are packed!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyA6s8jcct8
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose2013 View Post
    Maybe?

    How about "definitely" because what you have describes sounds really kewl and a lot of people (and meese) would like to see it...
    Yeah okay so here are some photos to show my module carapace. I was trying to keep the weight down so there's not much in the way of stiffeners; it's mostly a tempered hardboard box that bolts onto the module, using the same bolts that I use for attaching legs (through the same holes). The rollers on one side of the upper ledges are there so that the painted skyboard won't get skuffed coming in and out.

    Before I built this carapace, my design intent was to use handles (cabinet pulls) to carry the module in one hand and the skyboard plus legs in the other, however that didn't really work because the velcro straps couldn't handle the weight of the legs. Perhaps I could try to install a different kind of strap, but the other thing is that the module seems to get heavier every time I touch it. This carapace gives me such an easier way to move the module.

    Also included: a look at my N-Trak module, Boyce Junction, which represents the interchange between WP&P and N&W.

    module7059.jpgmodule7062.JPGmodule7075.jpgmodule7076.jpgmodule7068.jpg

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