model train set on track

Trains for the Hospital

e*Train Issue: Apr 2010   |   Posted in:

By Don Fries TCA 96-44387

About 6 years ago, my friend (Tom Smith, now deceased) and I placed a toy train layout in the pediatrics wing of our local hospital.  (See original article here.) Since I volunteer at the hospital, I have an opportunity to regularly check on the train’s performance.

We did secure the approval of the department’s manager prior to building the layout. Tom was a good carpenter and fabricated the table, which measures about 30 inches by 60 inches. To facilitate moving, the table is on lockable casters. Side rails were added help keep the train on the table in case of an accident.

I initially put a K-Line Switcher and several Lionel cars on the track. Both the engine and the cars had 4-wheel trucks. That was a bad choice. The nurses or some adult had the task of putting the engine and car back on the track. The KISS principle as initiated. The 4-wheel Lionel Industrial Switcher was put to work pulling Marx plastic cars. Four-wheel Marx cars were used and plastic wheels were a must. The plastic wheels eliminated the shorting that metal wheels and axles can cause.

The Marx plastic couplers would either uncouple or break. This problem was solved by connecting the cars with a small metal chain. The transformer is hidden and is set for a given train speed. When turning on the layout, the train runs at the proper speed. An operating billboard is the only accessory and is operated by a pushbutton.

If you have any questions, you can email me at [email protected]