Help Please....design a dbl-deck layout in its own Hand-House shed

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#61
Is it possible to include a turnout within the helix track structure, without too much concern?
I replied to this the other day and it seems to have vanished.

I can't imagine why there would be any big deal putting a turnout in a helix. People modify curves all the time to accommodate a turnout. Just adjust the roadbed accordingly, or use an appropriate curved turnout.
 

beiland

Active Member
#62
Cardboard Mockup

So I started on some cardboard mock-ups of my lower level subroadbed. I chose to start over in the corner where I wanted to place a turntable scene. I imagine that this will be a full sheet of 3/4 plywood set into that corner of the shed, and have its one inner corner shaved down to meet the narrowing portion the freight yard scene running down that side of the room.

I cut the cardboard about an 1.5 inches bigger in radius than the 24 inch radius of track (51" diameter) that I expect to place in this region (to give clearance from the backdrops that will be on the walls of the shed, and to give some clearance at the aisle edges.
(I wanted to maximize the shapes so I could tell if they would be to restrictive to moving around in the overall track plan,...can always make things smaller, but likely no larger).

I supported this big piece with some very stout steel brackets mounted to the 2x4 studs of the wall (note: backdrop sheets of masonite are not installed yet). I chose these brackets for there large size (16x18), and the fact that they have a 'open area' that will likely be utilized to further support my staging tracks just below that overhead subroadbed of plywood.

There is a really nice big open area under this cantilevered plywood subroadbed. It is also a very 'deep' lower level shelf to try and reach over to work on any backdrop, and/or upper level scenery. So while I feel the 3/4 inch plywood is strong enough to support the trains, scenery, structures themselves, it would not stand up to any climbing upon by myself. Then I thought, why not just make up removable, repositional, supports for the outer edges of this big deep shelf ( I represent just one such support with that cardboard upright in the photo. I imagine the real ones might just be 2x4 constructions, or perhaps nice big round PVC tubes.

I am also considering placing a long rectangular flat strips of 3/4" plywood between those metal brackets and the subroadbed sheet. This would lend additional support to the cantilevered subroadbed, as well as provide some clearance for the DCC bus wires attached to the bottom of the subroadbed.
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beiland

Active Member
#63
Cardboard Mock-up

So here are some photos of my 'mock-up'. This was done to get to get some relative ideas of shelf heights, potential shelf depths, aisle needs, support requirements, order of construction, etc, Its kind of surprising the number of new ideas generated, and yet to come upon further study. I would recommend this approach to a new layout design if one has the time.

Please excuse the number of photos I've included, as it is difficult to capture the 'overall plan' without a wide angle lense, or overhead photo as one sees with the plan drawing.

Iron Horseman's submitted prelim plan included as a general idea....
BELAND Tonapha, rotated view.jpg


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...(forget that tool box and stowage shelf in background,...just ran out of places to put the out of the way of the main plan)
 
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beiland

Active Member
#64
more mock-up photos

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That entrance opening between the two blobs on either side is a good 30 inches,...even with the turntable blob on the right at 52" and the other on the left at 50 inches.

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beiland

Active Member
#65
.....from the inside looking out toward the door.

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I'm a tall, relatively slim fellow, so I don't need big wide aisles. I find I can get along with a 18 inches neck-down between the peninsular blob and the two blobs at the entrance. Likewise 24 inches seems to be enough for the other 2 aisles. (this layout is for my own consumption,...not for multiple operators, nor visitors).
I do find i will have to be careful with placing my hands on my waist (elbows extended!) when structures are located close to the edges of the layout.
 
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beiland

Active Member
#66
...last of the photos

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I believe I am going to make the upper level 'peninsula area' a relatively narrow abbreviated scene involving some nice logging and mining scenes that can be worked with tight turning small locos that I have a number of. Mountains, trees, trestle bridges, etc,...built of lightweight foam construction and hung from those ceiling rafters rather than requiring any support from below.
 

tootnkumin

Active Member
Staff member
#67
Can't get much better than that to see how it will all fit (including yourself). Should be able to get ample support off the rafters for the peninsular upper level. Was going to say, you're thinking outside the box, but obviously most will be done inside this time:)
 

otiscnj

Active Member
#68
The aisles seem a little bit too tight for me, but that doesn't mean they won't work for you. Years ago, I had a layout with one 24" aisle, and it was OK, but I wouldn't go any tighter. If you're planning to operate solo, then that's different. Have you considered a window for the right side, so people can view the layout, if they can't come inside?

A slightly different idea, if you're going to double deck the space, anyway, would be to reduce the width of the middle peninsula, by eliminating the 1/2 circle, and turning it into a switching area. That way the aisles could maybe be 1-2" wider, each, as well as the sections along the wall. Not that I always believe it, but as somebody said one time, less is more.

Have you considered a mushroom or linear helix design, along the 3 walls, behind a removable backdrop?
 
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beiland

Active Member
#69
The aisles seem a little bit too tight for me, but that doesn't mean they won't work for you. Years ago, I had a layout with one 24" aisle, and it was OK, but I wouldn't go any tighter. If you're planning to operate solo, then that's different. Have you considered a window for the right side, so people can view the layout, if they can't come inside?
Does NOT show that well in the photos, but the aisle only necks down to 18 inches at the extremes between the center blob and either of those on the sides. It then widens to 24 inches between the peninsula and the shelfs on the sides. This could be widened, but at the moment I don't think it is necessary. With no extensive bench work under this lower level track subroadbed, things seem even more 'open'. As I mentioned before I feel i will only on occasion need extra supports under this lower level shelf, and that will be provided for with 'temporary supports' that will e removable and re-positionable.

A slightly different idea, if you're going to double deck the space, anyway, would be to reduce the width of the middle peninsula, by eliminating the 1/2 circle, and turning it into a switching area. That way the aisles could maybe be 1-2" wider, each, as well as the sections along the wall. Not that I always believe it, but as somebody said one time, less is more.

Have you considered a mushroom or linear helix design, along the 3 walls, behind a removable backdrop?
linear helix....no thank you, mushroom ...no thank you, peninsula...possible narrower at its origin, but definitely still providing the full 48 inch loop at its head.
 
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beiland

Active Member
#70
Well I have some time to reconsider some of my plans as I am currently on a ferry headed to Nova Scotia. A friend who invited me up to his second house in the UNESCO site of Luenberg, NS to escape the heat of FL. I couldn't resist,...a month in cooler weather.

In am aware that the 24" radius curves don't appear kosher for te big steam articulates, but I if I must comprise the 'appearance' vs the acual capability to negioate those curves wth these modern model articulates, then I may have to op for the 24'inch curves. BTW the nelix will be 30" radius.

If I remember properly I ran both an Rivarossi Allegheny and a several Broadway articulates on my old Atlas 'Central Midland' layout that had 22" max turns.?
 

tootnkumin

Active Member
Staff member
#71
To gain some greater ailse width next to the blob, or a bigger radius in it, consider narrowing the side shelves at those points. 2" off each side shelf gains you 4" in the loop, 3" gains you 6".
 
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otiscnj

Active Member
#72
How about attaching the peninsula to the left side of the layout? Would give you one long aisle, instead of a 'Y' shaped pair of aisles.
 

beiland

Active Member
#73
How about attaching the peninsula to the left side of the layout? Would give you one long aisle, instead of a 'Y' shaped pair of aisles.
But then you have a shelf on that side that is way to deep (access under?)
 
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beiland

Active Member
#74
Minimum Radius curves

I went looking for some discussions on 'minimum radius' curves one might expect to utilize on an HO scale layout. Here are a few I found on Model Railroader...

I have to agree with Phoebe Vet about "minimum" radius. Having done it myself, I can assure you that all my equipment WILL run on 22" diameter curves, and I have some long 6 axle diesels and 85' passenger cars. Now, is that ideal, from both an operational and appearance perspective? Probably not -- that would be closer to the 1:2.5 or 1:3 ratios suggested by Paul. But, given the space constraints or my layout area, I have two choices, give up the longer equipment, or tolerate the substandard appearance. I chose the latter.

And in response to one of the OP's questions above, yes, I have my loco maintenance area inside one of the return loops at the ends of my layout. Again, the design might not please a purist, but it works for me, maximizing the use of available space.


As for radius, I've done a fair amount of track design and suggest John Armstrongs "Track Planning for Realistic Operation". That has been one of the track planning "bibles" for years and while it doesn't off much in therms of 101 track plans, it gives you the tools and understanding how to design a track plan and fit it in a small space and get the most out ofi t.

If you are going to go with HO, I'd personally suggest squeezing in the biggest radius possible above 22 -inches. 22-inches is a "train set" snap track standard radius meant to fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood, but if you use flex track you can up your radii a little and still keep it within the confines of your space.

Every little bit makes a big difference at that size, so if you can manage 24 or 26 inches, it will reap benefits later on when you see some longer freight or passinger cars you just wish you could run, and since you designed a decent minimum radius, in most cases you will be glad you did later on. 1971-present = more and more longer cars and engines, even if you pick and choose what you like, chances are some will be long! I couldn't resist those 1970's Vert-a-pac cars from ExactRail and they are long approx 85-89 foot cars!


Regardless of my final trackplan(s), I think my 24" radius curves at the three 'loops/blogs' will be acceptable, along with my 30" radius helix.
 

beiland

Active Member
#75
To gain some greater ailse width next to the blob, or a bigger radius in it, consider narrowing the side shelves at those points. 2" off each side shelf gains you 4" in the loop, 3" gains you 6".
I think I will make the 'waist' of the peninsula blob narrower by several inches on either side. That will give me 26-28" aisles along both 2 sides of the layout. Only the necked down aisles areas getting back to those rear aisles will reach a minimum of 18",....and only for a short distance.

The photos of the cardboard mock-up are deceptive about this narrow aisle as it does not depict a direct overhead view. That makes it appear to be a longer narrower aisle space than it really is in real life walking thru it.
 
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beiland

Active Member
#76
Aisle Width

One other matter concerning aisle width. I do NOT intend to have a vertical fascia/front-faced 'partition' dropping down from the front edge of the lower shelf layout board to the floor. A partition such as this would certain make my narrow aisles seem much more narrow and restrictive. I am not going to have to have permanent vertical supports out at the edges of the subroadbed board. As I have mentioned before there will be 'repostionable, part-time' supports at these outer extremities where called for on a part time basis.

This will make navigation of my legs and my rolling chair possible, in the style of someone sitting at a dining table,...the table of the lower subroadbed.
 
#78
A couple of thoughts here. Regarding a fascia first; if you have track too near the edge of the layout with your narrow aisle widths, you will have a floor model. I use 1/8" masonite extending about 1.25" above the edge. The combined width loss from both sides of the "squeeze-point" is only 1/4". I would recommend this approach. You might also have access to scrap plexiglass that would also work. If you are on a really tight budget, cereal boxes (or something similar) would work and can be painted so as not to look too unsightly.
Secondly, minimum radius. While I don't have any tight radii on my current layout (28" minimum), from past layout experience, 22" will work for almost all commercially made, four or six axle diesels on the market. Many Athearn blue-box locos will also work on 18". I cannot comment on passenger or steam as I have no experience with them. Aesthetics of running them on tight radii is a compromise that we sometimes have to make.
Not too sure what you meant regarding the vertical supports, but I recess mine 6"-7" inward to allow "toe-room".
Concerning aisle widths; 18" is a bit tight but doable. I would make a mock-up just to be sure. I have one squeeze-point of 22" that I do not rub against when passing, but I did when I mocked-up 18". Like you, I do not have other operators and don't envision it ever happening, so tightness shouldn't be a major concern except as noted above.
Like I said, just a few thoughts.

Willie

PS. How's the helix coming? Or did I somehow miss that post?
 

beiland

Active Member
#79
A couple of thoughts here. Regarding a fascia first; if you have track too near the edge of the layout with your narrow aisle widths, you will have a floor model. I use 1/8" masonite extending about 1.25" above the edge. The combined width loss from both sides of the "squeeze-point" is only 1/4". I would recommend this approach. You might also have access to scrap plexiglass that would also work. If you are on a really tight budget, cereal boxes (or something similar) would work and can be painted so as not to look too unsightly.
A few weeks ago I was at an estate sale of an 'artistic type' that had lots of thin, clear plexiglass sheets. I bought them all,.. anticipated I would need some. I now have plenty. On the outer edges of my bottom shelfs, I want to have a minimal height fascia of masonite,....just enough to hide some things attached to the underside of that subroadbed and/or the thicker foam subroadbed where it might be utilized.
The fascia above the lip of the subroadbed will be a strip of clear plexiglass to keep the trains 'on the table top' rather than the floor.

Secondly, minimum radius. While I don't have any tight radii on my current layout (28" minimum), from past layout experience, 22" will work for almost all commercially made, four or six axle diesels on the market. Many Athearn blue-box locos will also work on 18". I cannot comment on passenger or steam as I have no experience with them. Aesthetics of running them on tight radii is a compromise that we sometimes have to make.
That's the way I look at it also. My shed size, combined with what I want to fit in it just seems to dictate my 48" max circular blobs. And i have to provide some extra diameter to these blobs to accommodate the 24" radius track.So the blobs are minimum 51" in diameter

Not too sure what you meant regarding the vertical supports, but I recess mine 6"-7" inward to allow "toe-room".
Concerning aisle widths; 18" is a bit tight but doable. I would make a mock-up just to be sure. I have one squeeze-point of 22" that I do not rub against when passing, but I did when I mocked-up 18". Like you, I do not have other operators and don't envision it ever happening, so tightness shouldn't be a major concern except as noted above.
As I have posted before, aisle widths "do NOT show that well in the photos, but the aisle only necks down to 18 inches at the extremes between the center blob and either of those on the sides. It then widens to 24 inches between the peninsula and the shelfs on the sides. This could be widened to 26-28", but at the moment I don't think it is necessary. With no extensive bench work under this lower level track subroadbed, things seem even more 'open'."
As I mentioned before I feel I will only on occasion need extra supports under this lower level shelf, and that will be provided for with 'temporary supports' that will be removable and re-positionable.
This photo shows a VERY minimal supports under this lower shelf. Of course there will be a few more 'repositionable uprights' than shown, but they can be as much as a foot recessed. that allows plenty of room for the roll able chair and my legs to fit under. So my 'toe room' is considerable more.

http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=62436&d=1500591093&thumb=1
(those lower level supports are just folded cardboard 'beams')



PS. How's the helix coming? Or did I somehow miss that post?
I separated off the helix construction into its own subject thread. I have some pretty good ideas as to how I am going to build it, but constructions can't happen for a month or so, as I am on 'holiday' up in NS, Canada, then on a 'guys' reunion dinner pursuit down in MD
 
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#80
All sounds good. Whooops! I forgot that the helix build was a separate thread, I'll check there if I can find it, to see your progress. By the way, your building is almost the exact same size with the exact same concept that my previous layout was. Mine was 13' wide and I used that extra space for 28" aisles except at the blob, which was 21". I had built a "lean-to" on the back side of my barn. It was OK for me, but the low side ceiling was only 5'7" which proved to be an inconvenience for some of the few visitors that I had!
Enjoy your stay in NS.

Willie
 



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