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Ask MR: How far apart should L-girders be spaced?

By Steven Otte associate editor | July 27, 2021

There’s no fixed dimension; it depends on the width of your layout

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A typical L-girder benchwork installation is seen under MR’s Wisconsin & Southern project layout
A typical L-girder benchwork installation is seen under MR’s Wisconsin & Southern project layout
Model Railroader magazine’s HO scale Wisconsin & Southern project layout is built on L-girder benchwork, the components of which are labeled in this photo. Model Railroader staff photo

Q: When building benchwork for a model railroad 24 inches deep by 6 feet long, how far apart should the L-girders be from each other? I was studying the graphic drawing of benchwork on the top of page 91 in the book Popular Model Railroads You Can Build (Kalmbach Books, 1977, out of print), and was thinking that 18” inches would be correct, but I wanted to be sure. – Richard Young, Norwalk, Calif.

A: Your subroadbed and terrain will be supported by short joists mounted perpendicular to your L-girders, and you can space those wherever you need to in order to avoid interfering with switch machines, wiring, and other under-table items. It doesn’t really matter how far apart you put your L-girders, as long as they’re far apart enough to provide stability to the joists. With a 24” shelf like you’re planning, anywhere between 12-20” should be fine.

Send us your questions

Do you have a question about model railroading you’d like to see answered in Ask MR? Send it to associate editor Steven Otte at AskMR@MRmag.com.

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