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Temporary Table-Top Displays

By Paul D. Race

Portable (Temporary Table-Top Displays - Many collectors and hobbyists display their holiday villages on dining room tables, spinet piano tops, or other items of furniture covered with a white cloth. Whatever you do, make certain the table or other support is very solid--more than one collector has had a collection damaged when somebody bumped a card table. If you use a spinet, of course, you can't have a running train (but you might could use a Bachmann trolley that goes back and forth on a single line of track).

Using the following checklist can help keep your display be more interesting (and safer).

    • Make certain that the table you are using is stable.
    • Before you put down the white cloth, spread the train tracks out to figure out where they will go.
    • With the tracks in place, lay hardcover books you won't be needing for a while any place you believe a building or two would look nice, or where you might want a hill. This will add vertical interest to what is otherwise a flat display. (Don't be tempted to use little boxes - books are way more stable and far less likely to bounce your collectibles to the floor when someone bumps the table.)
    • Remove the track but keep the books in place.
    • Arrange a white tablecloth or heavyweight sheet (non-fitted) over the table. You'll need to leave some slack around the books - don't let a wrinkle or two bother you. If you have something to clamp the cloth on in "back," use it, to reduce the chance of it getting "snagged" on someone's clothing and pulled off the table.
    • Place the track back on top of the sheet. Make certain that the sheet isn't stretched too tight between the "hills" for the track to sit solidly on the tabletop for its whole route.
    • Hook up the railroad's power supply to the track. Run the locomotive around the track once to make certain it is ready to go, then remove it.
    • Set the buildings and accessories where you want them to go and run any wiring for them. When you must run wire under the track, make certain it goes underneath the track at a 90-degree angle. Your train can handle going "up and down" a little a lot better than it can handle being tilted to one side because of a wire running diagonally underneath the track.
    • Plug the town and accessories' lighting circuits in and make certain they work.
    • Run the locomotive one more time to make certain everything is ready.
    • Set out the rest of your accessories.
    • Put the rest of the train on the track and enjoy.
    • If you bought a bag of fake snow to sprinkle on the town do that last, then make certain the tracks are clear of the stuff.

    If you have display tips to add to this list, (or comments on this list), please let us know.

    Click to see new and vintage-style  Lionel trains.
    Click to see new and vintage-style  Lionel trains


Visit our Sister Christmas Pages
Buyer's Guide Pages
Visit Family Christmas Online Click to return to the Old Christmas Tree Lights Table of Contents Page Free plans and instructions for building your own vintage-style cardboard village. Big Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes Classic O Gauge Trains
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads


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