I love collecting and displaying large-scale trains. I also love showing off my 1956 GMC pick up at car shows, or even at the front of my driveway at home. I decided to combine the two and make a mobile display layout!
The layout is an easy build. My truck has slots on the truck bed sides, for wood rails to slide into. I use ¾” plywood board with 2 x 4 pressure-treated boards under it for support. I cut small 2×4 pieces, about 6” long, to place under pressure-treated boards as extra support. I eventually added 1 x4 “stiffeners,” to keep the board from bending when I lifted it in and out of the truck (see photo below). (Note: the board has come in hand as a makeshift box cover when I need to haul construction materials.)
I fastened the track onto the plywood base, so it stays in position while I drive. I keep the trains and other decorations in the bed of the truck. When I get to the display location, I set everything up quickly. To power the track, I use a spare car battery with a power inverter, which allows my transformer to control the trains. I hide the transformer in the truck bed, under the plywood, so I can walk away from the display without worrying about the controls being tampered with. The car battery provides many hours of operation and enjoyment.
I’ve done displays for Halloween, Christmas, and a few other major holidays. It’s a small layout, and having it displayed on the truck makes it a nice height for viewing. Watch a video of this layout!
For those interested, the truck is a ¾ ton, with a V8, original running gear, and Hydramatic transmission. I added disc brakes. See more photos in the photo gallery below.