Vertical Freight Car Storage

Storing a typical 1/8th scale freight car takes from 7 to 8 square feet of storage space in your shop or car barn. And that assumes you are NOT storing them on stands. If you have lots of indoor storage space you are all set. But if you are like many of us - garage, shop, and shed space has some real limits.

One solution is to try to make better use of the space you do have. And here's a solution I've been using for almost 18 years. Store the cars vertically.

A car standing on end typically requires less than two square feet of floor space. In a perfect world a typical 10 by 16 "barn" style shed could store 80 cars in this mode. In reality, you need a place to walk and move cars around, so don't bet on the 80 number.


Example of boxcars stored vertically
Too bad this doesn't work well with locomotives.

Storing cars this way requires the use of special dollies. The goal is to be able to store the cars with the trucks, couplers, and details left on them. It would be too much work to remove these between run days.

Another goal is to minimize or prevent cosmetic damage to the cars during storage, loading, or unloading. The dollies are designed to protect the paint and details. One requirement is to insure that the "B" (brakewheel) end of each car is always up. There are less details to deal with on the "A" end.

Also, each type of car requires a dolly adapted to only that car or car type. Notice that some require the use of straps either during storage or to hold the dolly on when changing modes. Hopper cars only need a "C" clamp to hold the dolly on.


Special Dolly for Gondolas

Gondolas (especially long ones) present their own challenges as they won't stand up on their own. They need an extra brace and a strap.

Underside of a Gondola Dolly
(You also get access to the bottom of the car)

Changing modes from standing to rolling is usually not difficult. You only need to lift half the weight of the car. One or two persons at most can do it. Or if you are old like me, using a winch or hoist really helps. I also use the winch to lift the already standing car up into the storage barn.