Model Railroad Train Table Module

This is a functional, proven design that offers a durable lightweight model railroad train module which is easy to construct, transport and store. All surfaces should be glued. I highly recommend Tightbond Wood Glue for the wood and styrofoam gluing.

Model Railroad Modular Table Frame:
The sides of the frame of the module are made of 1/2" x 3 x 47-7/8" long plywood. You may make these longer if you desire, however, be cautious not to make your modules too long as they are much harder to handle and store. The ends of the frame are made of 1/2 x 3 x 23-1/2" long plywood. Again you may make your module wider but it could affect structural strength if you exceed 30". To finish the frame, you will need a 1 x 6 x 24" long. This piece must be hard wood, I recommend oak or maple. Cut the 1 x 6 at 45 deg angles to make 4 pieces triangular shaped, each with two sides 5-1/2" long, these sides must be 90 deg to each other. These will be the corner braces. The corner braces will insure your frame is square and structurally sound. It also serves as a table leg support. Insure that braces are secured to both sides and ends and make sure they are flush with the bottom edges of the frame. When assembling the frame, insure that the end pieces go inside the side pieces. This will lend to aesthetics when modules are attached together.

Frame = Opaque
Corner Brace = Orange

Styrofoam Supports & Crossmembers for your Model Railroad Modular Table:

Styrofoam supports are glued and nailed to the inside sides and ends with brads. Crossmembers run across the frame from side to side. Styrofoam supports should be made from 3/4" Square stock and run around the inside of the frame as shown.

Styrofoam Supports on inside of Sides = Red pieces

Styrofoam Supports on inside of Ends = Green pieces Cross members must run parallel with the ends and be somewhere between 6 to 8" apart. These cross members shown in yellow in the above drawing should be made from 3/4 x 1/4" stock and be inserted like floor Joice so they stand up as shown. In addition they should be made of hardwood such as oak or maple. See illustration above and photo below.

Next glue 3/4" stock by length to suite for crossmember supports. These supports not only support the crossmembers but also support the top piece of styrofoam. Glue as shown in illustration below. Supports are shown as transparent.
After all is glued into place, glue a sheet of 3/4" thick styrofoam to the top of the joice and styrofoam supports and to the sides of the frame. When this piece is glued in, the top of the styrofoam should be flush with the top of the frame. See cut away illustration below.

When dry, turn the unit over and cut pieces of styrofoam to fit in between the joice. Glue these pieces to the bottom of the top styrofoam and to the sides of the joice and sides of the frame. This, when finished, will give you a 1-1/2" thickness of styrofoam with joice supports and makes an extremely strong, lightweight surface.

When the glue is dry, coat all styrofoam surfaces with a mixture of 3 parts of Tightbond glue to 1 part water and let dry. This will harden the surface of the styrofoam and do much to prevent damage to the styrofoam due to bumping and scrapes.

After this is dry your module is ready to decorate, lay track, wire etc. Track must be glued to styrofoam. In places where you may want something like trees to stick out of the styrofoam or other objects to be fastened, it is a good ides to drill a 1/2" hole about 3/4" deep and glue a 1/2" dowel into the styrofoam, then drill a hole in the dowel for the item to be affixed. This dowel will offer stability.


There are many ways to go when it comes to legs. Most module layouts are higher than standard legs so you may want to make your legs. One good way to make inexpensive legs is to laminate two pieces of 3/4 x 1-1/2" thick pine by length to suite. By gluing these two pieces together you avoid warpage. Laminating them together will give you a 1-1/2" square leg. There are many ways to fasten your legs to your module. One way is to simply build a wood pocket that you affix to the bottom of the corner brackets on the module and simply slide the legs into the pockets when you want to set up your table. There are also many brackets that you can buy at the hardware store or on the Internet that will accommodate mounting legs.