Module Building


The Liberty Hi-Railers use Hi-Railers standards for module building.

The standard plans can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

Enhancements to the Standards

We have found some techniques to better the standards while still being compatible with other Hi-Railers.  Here are the tips:

1) Use Lighter lumber than the standards.  We often use 1x3s for the outer frame and 1x2 as supports.

The illustration is a typical 4 foot long module (not to scale) The 1x3s outer framing is shown in green. The 1x2 supports are shown in blue.

2) Use Wood Glue for all joints in addition to wood screws.

3) Use thin plywood like Luan for the top.

4) Glue the top down in addition to screwing it.

5) Build longer modules when feasible.  If you can transport a longer module, you can use the above weight saving techniques to reduce keep the longer module manageable for handling.  An eight foot long module can be used anywhere in lieu of 2 four footers.  Six foot modules must come in pairs. (They can be together to be equivalent to 3 four foot modules or they can be used on opposite sides to balance each other.

6) Deeper modules.  The standard calls for 24 inches in depth.  However our modules are often 30 or 32 inches deep, some deeper.  Note that if you cut a 4x8 piece of plywood into thirds you get 3 four foot by 32 inch pieces.

NOTE:  We are now recommending a new way to wire modules.  Please read about it here.  The old way of wiring is left below in red as reference.

7) Suggested wire color coding.  Suggested only, don't loose sleep over this detail.

Pin Purpose Color
1 Track 1 Power Red
2 Track 2 Power White
3 Track 3 Power Green
4 Ground (common for all three tracks) Black
5 Accessory Voltage (14 volts) Yellow
6 Reserved (Suggested to be wired straight through.) Orange

In addition is suggested that you simply add little numbered tags to each end of the wire.

8) Wiring plugs.  The original standard wiring plugs Radio Shack parts 274-152 and 274-155 have been discontinued.  We now use part number 274-236, 6-Position Female Interlocking Connector and part number 274-226, 6-Position Male Interlocking Connector.

9) The sixth wire. We suggest connecting the sixth wire as a through connection.


Deviations From the Standards

We have some deviations from the standards which are worth noting.

1) We do not require backdrop panels.  You may still use a backdrop but it is not required.  In general members prefer the additional visibility that is gained from the inside of the trains without the backdrops in the way.

2) We do not use Plexiglas in front of the modules.  Instead we use stanchions to rope off the layout approximately two feet from the module fronts. Some discussion of this is worthwhile.  Past experience has show that Plexiglas fronts tend to attract children to hang on them.  This is of course dangerous for the child and disastrous for the layout.  Additionally photography and visibility through the Plexiglas is generally less than desirable to the poor optical characteristics of the material.  Rope standoffs solve these problems.

In both of these deviations member are free to build their module to the standards to be able to operate with other groups, while simply setting up a little differently with the Liberty Hi-Railers.

Tips and Tricks


Do you have a tip that you would like to share? Send an email to .

As we encounter and solve problems we will try to share them here.  Sometimes the solutions are just whimsy like super wide corners.

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