Anti-duck-under Lift -up Module

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Isambard, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. Isambard

    Isambard Member

    Our club ( is planning the introduction of a portable hinged lift-up module to reduce the need for duck-unders, which are becoming more onerous as some of our members grow in size (unfortunately), and all of us age - pitiful cries of aching backs and knees are heard every session!
    The self-contained module would feature a four foot long hinged deck just wide enough to support two or three through-tracks, supported by vertical sections at each end (so as not to depend on adjoining modules) and with a floor level bottom channel acting as a conduit for the DCC Loconet, track power bus and 110 volt utility cables running between the adjoining modules. A concern we have is that the module is likely to be heavy, probably more than 60 to 70 lbs and a bit of a monster to move when going to and from shows.

    We'd appreciate hearing any comments, recommendations or references.

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Isambard,

    I am a once and future member (kids and other commitments got in the way this year) of MR did an interesting lift-gate article in the past year or so - I can't recall which issue. You are right though - likely to be heavy.

    The best $29 I ever spent when I was a student and moving all the time was on one of those "hand trucks" from Canadian Tire. Still have it, still use it, and my back is thankful.

    One other thought that occurs it to build in some wheels/handle so that it can be moved without additional equipment. If you mount castors on on side at the bottom, when it is tipped, the wheels will "engage" and allow you to roll the gate.

    Hope that helps.

  3. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    This is an excellent idea. I hope you post your results here when you have a final product.

    You say the lift gate will be four feet. Does that mean the entire module, or the actual section that lifts out? I would think a full length of four feet should be enough, with perhaps a three foot hinged section.

    Also if the bottom 'step' that contains the wiring and the side supports folded down into one piece and the top 'hinged-bridge' section were two seperate pieces you'd cut the individual weight down considerably.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Don't we have a thread showing a module with a hinged bridge on it?
  5. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

  6. JeffGerow

    JeffGerow Member

    Our HO Module group (NMRA "Hub" Group) uses just such a bridge -- and conveniently, our module coordinator just put a picture on the website: Main.htm

    Go to "Modules" - then "Bridge"

    It is pretty heavy, but a two wheeler moves it easily, we use bolt "feet" to allow for height adjustment (castors would be a bit squirrel-ly). The track hinges from the semicircular construction on the left, the right is wedge-shaped to help the track center as it goes down. A switch on the right is depressed when track is down, allowing electricity to modules on either side (we place gapped connectors one module away on each side, to keep trains off the floor). The track at the junctions is attached to printed circuit material and screwed into the roadbed/deck, to allow for adjustment in track alignment, far too necessary.

    If you're interested, my module is "Clark's Falls"
  7. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Wow, that looks like it works rather nicely. With some additional design integration it could even include a counter weight so that padestrians could lift the bridge quite easily.

    Your module is nothing short of breathtaking. Good work!
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    A few things to keep in mind, if you don't want to rely on adjoining modules for the support of the bridge section, the bridge section will be the weak point on the module. You will need to have the two ends of the module well reinforced and supported. I would suggest that the overall length of the module should be 6 feet total, with a 3 foot bridge and 1 1/2 feet on each side. This recomendation is presuming that your club requires modules to be built in multiples of 2 feet. Each of the end pieces should have four legs with cross bracing to give them solid support needed to keep the whole thing from going all "wonkey" when the bridge is lifted. The hinges must have the pivot point above the tops of the rails in order to allow the bridge tracks to lift up & away when openning the bridge. If you use some brass door hinges with removeable hinge pins, the hinges will automatically align that end of the bridge when assembled, but allow for the pins to be removed to make the bridge module a 3 piece module for lighter weight of the individual pieces when transporting. A frame made with aluminum "L" extrusions will reduce weight, but can be a bit pricey if you don't have someone in the club with access to scrap aluminum. If your club needs to have cords pass through the module, the best solution is probably the molded rubber pieces designed to protect cords from traffic that is used at most convention centers during shows.

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