How to Hang a Train Table From the Ceiling

Model train layouts are enjoyable to develop, but they can become complicated and quickly take over a space.
A train layout could be lowered to the floor only at playtime.A train layout could be lowered to the floor only at playtime.
Making a large, table layout requires a lot of time and detail work, and such a layout can't be boxed easily when completed. Having a model train table that suspends from the ceiling and can be raised or lowered as needed is an ideal way to store your creation intact.

Step 1

Set a stepladder under the ceiling location where you want to hang a model train table.

Step 2

Measure the train table, and note the measurements on paper.

Step 3

Locate beams or joists in the ceiling with a stud and joist finder or locator. Mark their locations with chalk or a pencil.

Step 4

Mark with chalk or pencil where pulleys need to be located in the ceiling above the train table.

Step 5

Screw four pulley brackets, with their pulleys, directly above the train table, preferably toward the table's corners, into the ceiling joists or beams. If you think the train table can be supported by only two pulleys, then use only two pulleys so that one pulley is at each end of the table. Do not screw the pulley brackets into only drywall or only plaster. As the table becomes heavier through added decoration and track, it will put too much stress on the drywall or plaster and could break.

Step 6

Drill pilot holes for eye-bolts into the train table directly below the ceiling pulleys. Screw four 1/2- or 1-inch eye-bolts into the pilot holes.

Step 7

Run the end of pulley nylon cord through each pulley and then through the eye-bolts until they are all connected. That task is done by running the end of the cord through pulley No.1 and then down and through the corresponding eye-bolt. Then run the cord from eye-bolt No. 1 across the edge of the table to eye-bolt No. 2 and then up to pulley No. 2. Continue the task using that method.

Step 8

Locate a place for a large hook in a wall close to where the pulley line resides. Drill a pilot hole in a wall stud for the hook, and then screw in the hook. The hook is for the free end of the pulley cord. Some pulley lines attach to themselves and run in a loop around the pulley. If you choose that system, the pulley will stop when the cord knot reaches the top.

Step 9

Pull the free end of the cord, and lift the train table. Raise and lower the table to test the lines, and then tie it off as high or low as desired.

Things You Will Need

  • Stepladder
  • Tape measure
  • Stud and joist finder or locator
  • Chalk (optional)
  • Drill
  • 2 or 4 pulley brackets with pulleys
  • 4 eye-bolts, 1/2 or 1 inch
  • Nylon cord
  • Large hook

About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.