Bob’s train platform

Really short and sweet today.

Didn’t think I’d have time to post, but when this came in from Bob, it made me smile.

Just goes to show, if you’re short on space, don’t worry. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…

Folk have sent pictures of these before, but this is the first video:

Big thanks to Bob.

And don’t forget the ebay cheat sheet. Have a quick look if you haven’t been on it for a while.



63 Responses to Bob’s train platform

  1. Jim says:

    Very clever, Bob!!

  2. Dana says:

    What a neat idea! are those winches you’re using to pull the layout up and down? I used the same idea for my RR in High School to keep my layout out of the way in the garage, and I’m thinking of doing the same thing when I start resurrecting the RR again!

  3. Frank Cortese says:

    Great spacesaver! We are planning on moving to a smaller retirement house. Your idea would solve the problem of not cluttering the guest bedroom. It would be great putting in our garage. Would like to see more details of your layout too.

  4. Larry Vogt says:

    Hi Bob,
    Like you I am short on space, can you share more details of what you used to raise and lower your train table. Details like motor, cables, pulleys, synchronizing the raising and lowering, etc. Any help would be much appreciated.
    Thank you

  5. Charles Bolte says:

    Had this idea decades ago but never followed through.Great to see it in operation,wiring diagnosis and repair must be a breeze.You get to put your trains away after the day! “Your trains take up the whole room”……..What trains?

  6. John Humphris says:

    Take model railways to whole new level!

  7. Timothy Crump says:

    Love it!!! I’m planning a smaller version…I have a 10×10 guest bedroom….I want to do a 10x 5 foot layout that goes up and down. I’m going to use two garage door openers, the screw type, one on each end, and have it rest on decorative ledges on each end and the back wall.
    I want to finish the bottom to be enclosed, with reading lights, since there is a sofa bed under it. Now I just have to reorganize my garage to get my woodworking stuff out where I can use it…..all the while drooling over a third motorcycle…..which will take up more space!!!!

  8. peter benson says:

    Well done Bob looking good.

  9. ron from manchester says:

    Bob, love it, brilliant piece of work.

  10. Excellent idea Bob , nice layout also

  11. Jimmy Elmore says:

    That is simply tremendous!!

  12. Clementina says:

    Good idea but I do not see the pictures.

    Thank you and have a nice day

  13. Archie Yarbrough says:

    That is a great idea!

  14. Pete Evangel says:

    OH!!! I love this table! I the gears in my head turning now. I’m gonna look in my garage and see where this can go

  15. Bob I think you have a great idea with your table going up like that. That’s killing two birds with one stone. Great job.

  16. Bedros Anserian says:

    I had done it, in my apartment early 1980, yes you’re right it was saving a big place in my son’s room.
    Thanks and good job.

  17. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    Re; Bob’s layout. Very slick indeed! I know that my basement is too low for that…Just a thought, have you thought of suspending a subway line from the bottom side?

  18. Patrick S says:

    can you find out from Bob the manufacturer of the equipment he has installed to raise and lower his platform? I have a similar requirement and am also tight on space
    Thanks – Patrick

  19. Jeff Keene Sr says:

    This had got my think tank rolling again! Thanks Bob!!!!

  20. Jeff Keene Sr says:

    ….HAS got……..

  21. Andrew says:

    What a superb idea. I hope you have a ‘stop’ sensor so you don’t take it too high. That would be disastrous. Is it ‘O’ gauge?.

  22. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Bravo, Bob. Proves, again, that model railroaders are
    clever, creative, resourceful, people.

  23. Thomas says:

    Truely Awesome!

  24. Toni says:

    For Larry Vogt and Patrick S.: the items that Bob used are four winches, one for each corner. If you are in the U.S.of A., Harbor Freight has inexpensive winches starting at about $60 to $400, depending on pulling power.

    If your layout is not too heavy, a 2500 lb. Electric ATV/Utility Winch with Wireless Remote Control should work, you will need a power supply to run it with, (which may be the most cost for the set-up).

  25. great work certainly opens up the theory you can put a layout any where.

  26. Rob McCrain says:

    Wow that is great. You would not need to permanently give up the space for your railway. Very clever. It seems quite stiff. You would think it would be all bendy and flexing, but it is not. Its great. Rob

  27. Jim L says:

    What do you do when one or two of the motors quit working? Hope you have a back up plan.

  28. Randolph scott says:

    Hi Bob,
    I have been trying to find a company that will do this, can you please help with a tel number or address for me, I live in Geelong in Vic.


  29. Kenny says:

    That is so cool. It looks like he used 4 electric winches for an off-road Jeep or truck. Don’t know how he syncronized them to work together though. Maybe a 12-volt convertor??? and a custom remote ??? I would love to do that in my basement but with a 7 foot ceiling it would be too low with my 12″ mountains and overpasses that I’m building plus the 4 inches of table bracing on the bottom too. Everyone would be banging their heads on the bottom of it if they walked underneath. . An 8 to 9 foot ceiling would be perfect for this. Most garages have an 8 ” clearance as mine does but my 4×4 truck wouldn’t fit under it so I would have to leave the truck outside in the snow and cold, plus no heat in the garage either so 6 months out of the year it would be too cold to go out there. Maybe at my new house when I sell this one someday. OH Well, Good idea though if you have the height clearance..

  30. Lindsay (NZ) says:

    Great Bob, but a couple of ideas, please don’t think I’m a killjoy but having worked in a job working with “braces and belts” circuitry for over 35 years, but what happens if one of the motors fails? I also think I would put a barrier on the outside of the table – only needs to be 40mm high to save all those precious trains, believe me this comes from bitter experience.
    A great layout and thanks for showing us all.

  31. Hutch1 says:

    I have been working on same concept for 4′ x 8′ layout in garage.
    Use one winch with cables and pulleys linked to winch. Layout is blue insulation board. Very light weight.

  32. Bill says:

    Curious about what the object is in the lower right of the video is at about 49 seconds.

  33. Bill says:

    Harbor Freight: be careful buying anything electrical or mechanical at this place. They have major durability problems.

  34. Rod Mackay says:

    I’ve seen this done using just washing line and pulleys, not much to go wrong with them! The problem in a garage seems to be dust though.


  35. Barry Pearlman says:

    Bob –
    Great idea and well designed. But no one has asked the most important question “How did you get the wife to go along?? 🙂


  36. markus muetschard says:

    Just the right thing to do. I see that you have 4 winches. How do you manage the balance? I have just one winch, so 4 cables are connected to one which is pulled by the winch.

  37. markus muetschard says:

    Power supply: I use a battery charger for which the electronics blew – and a winch a member posted about. It’s now just running on the rectifier bridge which can handle up to 55 amps on about 12V for enough time to lift it. The platform is 13×4 feet full of Marklin M(etal) tracks…

  38. Bob Smith says:

    Awesome! By the way..was that a Sounder Train I saw? Very clever what you did with the hide a way table.

  39. GOPAL DAGA says:

    As great idea for space savers. Love to create something like this in my layout. Let’s see!!!!
    GOPAL Daga

  40. Jeff Salisbury says:

    That’s a great idea for a small spot, good work.

  41. Roland Peters says:

    This is great. In the US, folks might want to check out a product called “Garage Gator”. It’s a two point lift system powered by one motor. Made for overhead storage, but I installed one in my garage last year to suspend my n- gage layout which I haven’t started yet.

  42. Cary Price says:

    I envisioned something like this for my G scale and putting in my garage. The whole thing seemed very complicated and eventually decided to do an outdoor layout. Great to see someone who followed through on it, especially with such a great design. Nice work Bob!
    Cary in KY

  43. Keith says:

    Fantastic idea.

  44. Dan Hulitt says:


    Wonderful idea to maximize your space. Probably keeps the missus happy, and we know a happy wife is a happy life. Just wondering, were you a submarine commander in an earlier life? You could relive those up scope and down scope moments we all love to watch….or I do anyway.

    Well done.

    MN Dan

  45. Brad Lane says:

    Great Job! Brilliant use of space and mechanics!
    Monon Brad.

  46. steve joyce says:

    My dad did the same thing. He had his layout in garage and hoisted it up so my mom could park her car

  47. Gary E Freeland says:

    Hello Bob,
    I have been considering doing something like this for sometime in my garage to build a great AF Layout. Currently my garage is being used to house a few classic cars. I am short on floor space. I believe that you have spent a lot of time and effort to design and build this system. It really would be a great advantage to me to understand the lifting system, table, and parts list. If you could help me, I would be willing to pay a little something for all your help. I am an engineer by training, and you have done a great, great job!

  48. I agree with all the positive comments. If Bob posts a general reply to all the questions please post it for us. Sorry to hog Bob’s train time but it would sure help many of us.

  49. Mike says:

    That is crazy good! And, so easy to get at all of the cabling under the board.
    I am sure a lot of us would like to know what powers the table up and down.


  50. Joe Gennari says:


  51. JERRY RYAN says:

    I have the same system for for my layout in mys workshop except I have to raise and lower by hand crank because having it mororized would not be convienent.

  52. Ian Impett says:

    bob excellent, well done it looks very busy.

  53. BruceY says:

    Lovely. That’s the idea I’ve had in my head for years. Only on smaller scale with one hoist and a 5×8 N scale layout. I did have a hollow door layout with rope and pullies. Loops in pulling rope would get looped on a hook when raised up. Then had one each corner short metal cable with carabiner to act as safety device. Good job

  54. Ken Cutmore says:

    Hello Bob:

    This whole idea is excellent and nicely thought out.

    A question for you:
    The layout appears to be “O” gauge…… where did you get that O gauge passenger equipment?
    They are replicas of cars manufactured by Bombardier in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and supplied to Ontario Government’s “GO Trains” used in the Toronto vicinity’s commuter trains and for many commuter lines all over North America.
    Athearn, perhaps among others, have made HO versions of these cars, but it’s the first I’ve seen in O gauge.

    By the way, during WW2, this same factory produced ‘Hurricane’ fighters for the RAF and RCAF and ‘Helldivers’ for the U S Navy. After the war, they went to manufacturing Brill transit buses and subway cars. Presently, in addition to GO Train cars, they are building articulated streetcars for Toronto’s ‘Toronto Transit Commission’ (TTC).

    Nice work Bob!

    Ken Cutmore

  55. george courey says:

    Bob, an awesome layout. One of the best logistical ideas I have seen. I would like to do the same in a basement area. Would you please provide more detail re the wynches you used; the type of cables, and the way you attached the cables to the table? Also the, what appears to be, the remote wireless controller. What do you have on top of the plywood top? Did you use a very light fibre or styrofoam sheet? Do buy separate folding table legs or are there tables beneath the layout base?
    Thank you for any info you share with us.

  56. george courey says:

    Alistair, you have a fantastic site with terrific info on all aspects of model rr ing. Thank you for sharing with us.

  57. William says:

    Always wanted to do that with the Christmas tree and train board !!

  58. Steve Ruple says:

    Awesome design, you did an excellent job in planning out the design, love it !!!!!!

  59. Richard Martin says:

    Bob indeed has it sorted, those hoists are available on the net around $150AUD and are single phase 240vac , fitted with limits so it wont go any higher than needed, good choice here.

  60. George L. Stamatiades says:

    THAT”S A WOW!!!!!! and a half
    Please provide all information asked by all.
    in the interest of not missing the details please forward to email.

  61. George L. Stamatiades says:


  62. John Bullock says:

    Wow… yet another idea that will “elevate” my model railroad hobby! Great video!

  63. Frank Vozak says:

    Great Trains Idea

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