Retractable Layout?? is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Hey guys,

Well I received a basic BNSF loop train set for Christmas, as my wife knows that for a long time I've been thinking about getting back into the HO model RR world. With the new addition to our family, I also would like to have a hobby I can do at home.

I'd like to start a 8' by 8' layout in my garage, but I don't want to start parking a car, or any of my toys outside. So I thought about designing a layout that could be retracted up so when I was done playing, I could park a car back inside.

Has anyone tried this? Obviously I'd have the tedious job of removing the cars since the layout would likely wobble from side to side on the way up or down, and I'd make the legs so they could either be quickly removed, or fold under the layout.

Have any of you tried this?

What did you do, and how did you like it?

What would you have done differently?

Last edited by a moderator:



Good point, I though about screwing a coffee can to the inside/bottom of the layout with some sand inside to level the table. It won't be enough to leave the cars on, but it should keep things under control. Once its done (Yeah - right) I could add something more permanent.

I thought I'd lift it up by hand with rope, or use a $100 electric winch. I'm lucky enough to have access to a full metal shop (work) so I can make any bracketry, or braces out of scrap.


Railroad Photographer
There was an article in one of the hobby magazines quite some time ago, I recall the system of pulleys and cables. No idea which magazine or when, maybe the Kalmbach index of magazines might help. If someone else has already figured it out, it could be a help.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.