Control panel box

I spent this weekend building the controller box. This will house the section switches and the toggle switches for the turnouts. I’m not sure how I’m going to wire the layout yet but I want to do it slightly differently from The Depot. The Depot is wired for one engine only and as there are no sections as soon as you turn on the power it powers up the whole layout in one go. As such you can’t have more than one engine on the layout.

For the Town I wanted to get more experience with sections and have the ability to keep numerous locomotives on the layout while only running one at a time. I will add various sections and use SPST switches to turn power on and off. I’m still drawing up the power plan but hopefully I’ll have it nailed down this week. It may be that I figure it all out while I work around the layout.

Here’s the construction process for the controller box:

Using my supply of various board and strips of wood I assembled the controller box.

I used glue to keep the pieces together. I nailed the two ends together and then used power tools to cut them to size giving me two ends that were exact matches.
My weights came in handy once more. The angles of the box were such that clamps could not be used in certain areas. These weights fit the space perfectly and held down the top while the glue was drying.
The finished box before staining. I think it feels too big and bulky for such a small layout. I sanded it down and used wood filler to fill some of the gaps
I had a lot of spare strip wood of various sizes and purchased for moments like this when I needed to add more support around the back of the box.
I stained it and will leave it to dry for a couple of days. It’s not a particularly elegant piece of woodwork (and I’ve seem marvelous examples of control boxes) but it will work just fine for my purposes.


I’ve started with three sections but I realized I’m going to have to add more since I want locomotives to sit by themselves on spurs while other locomotives potter about. As such I may have to turn each spur into a section and power them individually as needed.

More work on the plan – this time adding color. I’ve sent it to the photo printers and will see how it looks when it comes back. I’m not finished with it and it will evolve further as I wire up the layout.