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How do you store and transport your Z


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As I'm at the serious track testing stage on my new Hakuho layout i needed to have all the locos and some of the stock down in the workshop. As I loaded up the show stockboxes i thought you might be interested in how i handle my Z gauge stock.


Now I know the vast majority of modellers will keep each model in its factory box but I do a lot of shows particularly in the spring and autumn and the manufacturers boxes are not really practical. At a show you need to be able to swap stock over quickly. more importantly, on Sunday evening at the end of the show, you want to get the stock off the layout and safely away ready for the long trek home. You don't want to be laboriously putting every bit of stock back into the correct box and then putting all the boxes into another, bigger, box


So the models are decanted out and are stored in some plastic drawer units that a discount supermarket chain (Aldi) get in about every three months.


This is the Japanese section on the wall in the home office




The drawers seem to be a fairly soft clear plastic with moveable dividers to stop things sliding about.


from top to bottom


Coaching stock


Freight stock

Steam locos




with the Shinkansens in the big drawer at the bottom


Now when the need to transport the stock arises it is deployed into my exhibition stock boxes. these are multi purpose as the USA and British stock can also use them and use easily available boxes as a a basis


Two of the boxes are barbeque toolboxes! available from a discount chain with the tools removed. These have enough depth to take two stacking trays of Z stock


new trays were made from acrylic sheet with sections long enough to take modern USA diesels and steam locos and 89 ft long freight stock.


Each box is colour coded so the red box is one with long sections in.


Top tray



Loaded with JNR and Industrial locos. Note the picture in the lid showing the loading plan. Pre cut sections of foam rubber protect the couplers and stop the models sliding about


Bottom tray. Coaching stock




Note there is room for expansion!


Obviously the top tray fits into the lid at a show so all the stock is easily accessible


More in a mo





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The other go-to boxes I use are sold as artist boxes filled with easels, pallets and acrylic or oil paints. I'm only interested in the box


I use two sizes. One type that can take three trays and a shallower one that only takes two. When I'm running the American layouts with trains often in excess of 3 metres in length in Z the three tray ones come into their own 


The yellow box loaded with Japanese stock-top tray




No foam packing in place


Bottom tray




Now I have the same problem with Japanese stock as i do with U.S and British stock. The huge difference in length between vehicles from the 1950/60s and today's behemoths so the purple box is designed for short wheel base stock


Again with no foam inserted yet




room for expansion again





So for a show the layout goes into the back of the X-trail with the seats folded flat. The flight cases containing the electrical gear, Control panels and tool box go alongside. The two steel folding trestle site on top of the layout flight case and are ratchet strapped down


The important stuff, the stock boxes,  are snuggled behind the passenger seat in a padded bag well protected from harm


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