About Model Train Display Cases

Many people who operate model train layouts also want to display certain locomotives and cars that are either collectable or not suited to the layout. Some modelers buy wall-mounted cases that hold a dozen or more pieces. These cases are most commonly made of finished wood, but some feature clear acrylic or Plexiglas. A large variety of train cases are available from various makers. Hobby magazines such as Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman contain advertisements for display case manufacturers in every issue, and most of the companies have websites offering the products.

Enclosed Cases

Trackside Trains manufactures wall cabinets with sliding Plexiglas doors to keep the cars free from dust. The company offers a four-shelf cabinet for O and S scales that is 24 inches high, 36 inches wide, 3 1/2 inches deep in five types of wood: dark pine, natural oak, dark oak, cherry and natural pine. For the smaller HO scale, a similar Trackside cabinet is available, 24 inches high by 36 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches deep, with six shelves in three woods. There's also a smaller cabinet (12 by 24 by 2 inches) with six shelves for N or Z scale trains. Trackside cases for the very large standard gauge trains are the most expensive.

See-Through Display Cases with Doors

Model Railroad Supply offers an all-acrylic HO scale display case with a hinged door and dimensions of 14 7/8 inches high by 27 5/8 inches wide by 2 7/16 inches deep. Each of the five shelves is able to hold three cars.

Doorless Cabinets and Open Shelves

Open wall cabinets from Trackside Trains are constructed without doors; some are much narrower than the enclosed cases listed above. The company offers a six-shelf wall cabinet for O and S scales that is 36 inches high by 18 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches deep, with wheel grooves for both scales, in three wood styles. Its comparable HO scale wall cabinet (36 by 24 by 2 1/2 inches) is similarly priced. Trackside Trains also offers "train track shelves" without any casing. This model features shelves with grooves for the three different train scales. The shelves are available in three lengths: 36, 48 and 60 inches.

Plastic Display Cases

Carney Plastics Incorporated offers a line of plastic cases that are less expensive than wood or acrylic cases. The company sells two HO scale cases, one with a 15-car capacity and another that holds 32 cars. Carney has a narrow five-shelf (one car per shelf) O scale display case and a wider case model with space for three cars per shelf. There are also smaller cases for N scale from Carney.

Larger-Capacity Cases

Best Buy Displays offers a "Train and Hot Wheels Display Case" that accommodates HO, N, or Z scale trains. The case has six 39-inch hardwood shelves and a felt matted background with a hinged acrylic dust cover and wall brackets for mounting. Other manufacturers, including Zip Cabs, will custom-build display cabinets in any size. Custom builders provide a written estimate before the orders are placed.

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About the Author

Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.