So far it’s just a thought experiment, but Dave Doe recently put me in contact with Maurice Hopper, who, it seems, is a bit of an expert on building layouts that really travel. When I mean travel, he doesn’t bung them in the back of his estate wagon and cruise out on the interstate. No, he carries them on the Eurostar and crams them into the baggage storage on buses.
For his first travelling layout, Maurice built an exoskeleton from the Rexroth aluminum framing system (in our correspondence, we call it AL so we don’t get in any disagreement on the spelling of aluminium). I had been thinking the same thing, although I was leaning more toward getting my nephew to weld up some plain square extrusions, rather than having fancy re-purposable pieces. However, he also suggested that it is useful to reconfigure the exoskeleton for legs or for supporting the lights. A bit of imagineering and time on the Rexroth website figures the cost would be about $300, which is probably about how much my nephew would charge me. Well, it’s worth thinking about.
In the meantime, Dave went on to suggest that I should really try to bring the layout with me to Sedan, rather than shipping it separately. Apparently, others who have shipped their layouts separately have had all sorts of troubles with crossing borders. I had thought that this would make the layout too small, but a scan of Air Canada’s website indicates that as long as I am travelling on a major route, I should be able to pay $100 to take an oversize bag up to 292 cm (115 in) in linear dimensions. Thus a four and a half foot by two foot module could still be 35 inches high. That’s plenty of volume.
In other words, shipping a lightweight layout as baggage is entirely feasible.
In other words, the plot thickens.