Train Table from Heaven

I still can’t even believe that this happened. I went to The Depot (amazing not-for-profit secondhand store/perpetual garage sale in Decorah) to donate a huge van-load of stuff that I have been collecting for awhile and didn’t want to have to trip over all winter. Even when I’ve got stuff to donate, I like to take a swing through and look for certain key items that I want/need for the house. This time around, I saw a sign for a “Train Table in Back: $10”. I figured it’d be one of those little wooden Thomas train tables, but anything that says ‘train’ catches my eye simply because of Olin’s obsession.

Yeah, well, it wasn’t a toddler table. It was a fully built, fully wired 4’x8′ bench with a contoured plywood base and an entire HO scale layout still attached. No scenery or painting, but a little bit of the base screen mesh hillside work started. I stopped someone and asked, “Are you sure this is TEN BUCKS?!” They assured me that it was, and I jogged back out to the sign, ripped it down, and went immediately to the cash register to claim it. I passed by an employee on my way, and she looked kind of surprised and said, “You’re buying the train table?”

“Heck, yes, I am!” I don’t think they had any idea what they really had on their hands. When you see the pictures, you’ll see why I jumped on it so fast.

Tim and I took Daddy’s truck to retrieve the thing, this morning. (And managed to lock the keys in the truck so we had to call a locksmith, but it took him about as long to unlock it as it did for us to load and secure the table, so it worked out well. The locksmith turned out to be a model railroader and told us a little about the table, though he didn’t know the creator, so that was actually kind of neat.)

After we got it home, in to the basement and reassembled, I got a chance to really examine the thing. It’s kind of uncanny how similar the basic layout is to the one that we were trying to recreated in foam and EZ-track. Actually, the fundamental layout is identical. The fella who built this just used the space that I was going to allot to a small ‘town’, a grain elevator and some cornfields to put in a turntable and switching yard, and a couple of sidings.

The trouble is, I don’t know enough about the nitty-gritty of model train wiring to understand exactly what I’m looking at here and what I need to make it function like it should. I know I’m missing some kind of main control/converter box, but I’m not sure precisely what sort I should be looking for. If you have any advice or suggestion at all, I would love to hear about it!

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