Double Decking

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Mountain Man, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I think I understand a bit if what double decking is intended to do, but I'm not at all clear about the who, what, hwere, when and how on a working multi-train layout. wall1

    Will one of our experts kindly give us a brief explanation of the subject, announce1
    including building, use, and how such use fits into a preconceived operational plan? It will be much appreciated. :thumb:
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think this question is so far reaching that a comprehensive answer would and has filled books. I'll start it off with a couple of answers to get things started and see where it goes from here.

    #1 For multitrain operation, get dcc. 20 years ago you could choose to spend $$$ for a command control system or you had to wire your layout in blocks to run more than one train, and generally if running dcc you need to have enough blocks to keep an unoccupied block in between every 2 trains you run, which means you need twice as many blocks as trains running. With dcc you can run as many trains as you have power supply capacity for and throttle availability and as many as you can keep track of.

    #2 for a double deck layout, you need to have a layout area established. Pros & cons of a double deck layout: Pro- a longer mainline run and more layout in a given space. Off hand I can't think of any other advantage to a double deck layout. Of course, that one pro is a big one. I'm looking a the concept of a double deck layout where all of it is visible, not a hidden lower deck for staging. Cons- It is difficult to build two decks where either one is at your ideal viewing height. You need at least 18 inches between decks and generally one deck will be too high while the other is too low. You need to figure a way to gain the elevation needed to go from one deck to the other without excessive grades. A helix is generally the method used, but in order to gain enough elevation for the train to have clearance at the lower level, the radius needs to be quite a bit bigger than the minimum radius that your equipment would normaly require. I think your helix would need to be 5' x 5' minimum. The limited vertical clearance between decks limits the height of the scenery.
  3. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    As far as multie level (Double decking) goes, there are two ways to do it. As Russ stated a helix to get from one level to another, but these levels are different to look at with the scenery. The other way is to have all levels in view on the same scenery block, this is the way I have always done mine. To gain height, from level to level you either go around the room climbing or the use of switchbacks can be used.


  4. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    So the purposes of double decking are essentially twofold:

    1. Someplace to store additional made-up trains and/or cars that can be called into service, and

    2. A hidden way to add a continuous loop?

    I have seen a couple of upper decks almost along ceilings in the magazines, but to me it just looks silly to have a narrow ledge around the top of your room with a train running on it. It looks more like a toy store display than a serious model layout.

    Shamus, I am familiar with your work from the other forum - I wouldn't imagine yuou would use a lower deck for your working dioramas?

    As always, answers appreciated as they will aid me in determining the final design of my layout. As I suppose it usual, it started out much smaller and is gradually growing into a monster. :rolleyes:
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    One more thing about double-decking: It's really only suited to around-the-walls or walk-in layouts that are built in place.
    Those would be purposes of a staging deck, which is more usually below the sceniced deck, though it can be above. However, there are many layouts with both decks sceniced, and there are a few triple-deckers.
  6. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Yeah...I just bought a manual on track plans and saw a few of them. Several of the layouts actually required stools every few feet to allow operators to see the uppermost operating deck.

    While I can understand what their goal was, it's not for me.

    On the same note, I have been considering some novel and unexpected ways to handle trackage going to "hidden" staging areas or making up hidden continuous loops. For some strange reason, everyone seems to handle it pretty much the same way, althogh I can't see why that has to be so.

    I'm also trying to work out a way to handle loaded and empty cars so that hidden trackage isn't required.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    There are "mushroom" layouts, where there are two decks, but from most positions, you can only see one. They're not quite as space-efficent as conventional double-decking, but many modellers who don't like the look of two decks accept the idea.
  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I plan to doubledeck my layout, when I find time. I lost about 200 sq. ft. of my layout room to other family requirements: luckily only the benchwork was finished. I redesigned the trackplan (sorry, I don't have one available to show :cry: ) and came up with a "Y" shaped main line. The stem of the "Y" runs from the existing staging to South Cayuga, with the right "arm" in place from there down to Port Maitland. The left "arm" of the "Y" is completed around the empty-appearing peninsula opposite South Cayuga.
    The existing staging is all stacked in the area shown, with that for Port Maitland at 36" above the floor, and bi-level staging for Dunnville at 39" and 44", the same level as the main lines there. These two lines converge near Negro Creek at an elevation of about 42", then climb to 44" at South Cayuga. Here, the two lines split, with the line to Elfrida crossing the Speed River on a downgrade, then plunging into a tunnel that curves around the outside corner of the room, ending up at about 39" above the floor in Elfrida. The line continues down on a fairly gentle grade, reaching 36" at Lowbanks, the same as the staging opposite Port Maitland.
    The other line that split off in South Cayuga crosses the Speed river on a curved viaduct built on a 2.8% uphill grade which continues up the peninsula opposite South Cayuga, curving around the end and then heading back towards Elfrida, all the while climbing. At the crest of the grade, just above the start of the town of Elfrida, the tracks will be about 60" above the floor. Track will continue around the room at that height, across another lif-out section at the doorway, and into another single-ended staging yard.
    Here's a crude drawing showing the layout room, which is about 560 sq. ft. My plans are to build a second level over the grey area in the drawing. The long peninsula opposite South Cayuga is the grade up to the second level, and is in place up to where the yellow area ends. There'll be a town at the crest of the grade, above Elfrida, and a larger city area over Lowbanks/Port Maitland, with more staging above the existing staging yards.

    The benchwork, probably 3/8" plywood on 1"x2" pine, will be supported on angle-iron brackets, bolted to the walls. These have already been fabricated, and are designed to also provide support for a number of 4' double fluorescent fixtures, which will be hung beneath the upper deck to illuminate that part of the layout already in place.
    When finished, the layout will operate as a point-to-point-to-point, with trains travelling between the upper deck and Port Maitland needing to be broken up and re-arranged at South Cayuga. This should provide lots of operation, in addition to straight run-throughs between Dunnville and both the upper and lower endpoints.
    I hope to take photos as construction progresses, but it's already over a year late in starting, with no target date even in sight. :cry:


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