I’ve always been challenged on how to store rail cars and locomotives when they aren’t on the layout itself. I’ve acquired most of my fleet from train shows and therefore I don’t have original boxes for 80-90% of the fleet – or any boxes at all for most of them.
Over the years, I accumulated a few shoe shelves to hold the rolling stock. One pigeon hole / mail box type shelf worked OK for boxed cars but the unboxed ones tended to want to roll out. Disaster!
I came across a good discussion on Model Railroad Hobbyist about this problem. You can read it, but one of the solutions proposed was a shelving system from IKEA, the ALEX drawer unit on casters. (IKEA US, IKEA Canada)
My wife and I went to IKEA this past Saturday and checked it out. I brought along an old bulkhead flatcar to test the drawers for size. It seemed to fit the bill, so we bought one. Warning – these are heavy, over 60 lbs., so lift with your legs! I noted they are built in Lithuania… interesting!
I started assembling it on Saturday night. My cats were very interested in the process.
I finished the shell of the unit on Saturday night. I put the drawer pieces in the unit and wheeled it into the train room to keep the cats off it during the night.
Millie likes to be up high.
The six drawers went together quickly. Note that three of the drawers have a taller front face so they are a little taller inside. The top three are shorter.
All of my fleet fits in one cabinet, except for the passenger cars.
I am probably going to put something on the bottom of each drawer to prevent the cars from rolling around and banging into things. Kitchen shelf liners seem the most obvious solution but people say that they strip paint off models. I intend to store my cars wheels down so that shouldn’t be a problem, but I may look at foam board with holes cut out for the trucks to sit in.
I want to think about how to organize the cars first. Right now I have grain cars in the top drawer, boxcars in the second drawer, etc. but that may not make the most sense for actual operations. I’m not going to commit to a particular sorting order until I actually operate with these.
This really helps neaten up the layout room and allows me to put the random collection of beat-up “blue boxes” and other ratty car boxes away in storage. Progress!