Duckunders and lift outs

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by xpt rail, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. xpt rail

    xpt rail New Member

    Hello all.This is my first post.I'm in the process of building a layout around the wall and i'm trying to decide whether to have a duckunder which i'm not keen on or a liftout section or even a liftup bridge.I would like some pointers as to which is the best way to go.Thanks
  2. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Liftouts are handy, but difficult to keep aligned if its constantly in use. The rail ends tend to get damaged and misaligned over time. They also bring a bit of danger to the trains because no matter how careful you are, someone will forget to replace the bridge, or someone will think the bridge is removed and walk right into it.

    Duckunders often sound like a bother, but people duck down more often during the course of a day than they think. I considered a liftout once, but then remembered that any time I drop a pencil I have to duck, anytime I get into a car I have to duck, and that I didn't really jump into and out of the center of the layout that often, so a liftout was really just a needless project and a spot prone to failure. I suggest a duckunder, as high up as you can make it and with minimal benchwork thickness beneath it. Unless of course you have severe back troubles. Some people I know also use a rolling desk chair which should bring the height of your head down to about 3 1/2 feet if you bend your head down slightly.
  3. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I would go with lift out sections. I can't remember where the thread is, but one gentleman made a lift out section using bridges, it looked quite neat and was nicely done.

    Regarding people forgetting to put the section back or the fact that it is there but they don't notice it tells me that they need to wake up, and look what's going on. And besides, there is always a way to make something fool proof.

    Most layout's I've visited use a lift out section- much easier on the back!!

    Kanawha's idea about the desk chair is quite a good one though, and if you decide to use a duck under I would use one.
  4. Tomytuna

    Tomytuna New Member

    Well My 2 cents worth...I now have a duckunder and my BACK & KNEES hate it we are expanding layout and building lift out which will be made to look like bridge...We will be installing a circuit which will break when bridge is out preventing trains from continueing onto floor ( ouch $$$ )..Would love to have link to person who made liftout that looked like a bridge..I want to see how much support etc, so anyone with idea's,,i'd love to have some help..thanks Tom
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I actually reconstructed my layout to eliminate a duck under I THOUGHT wouldn't bother me. But, after a while, it became annoying, especially after gouging my back, bumping my head, etc. I installed pading to avoid injuries but still bumped the benchwork causing freight cars to derail and building details to fall off.....enough! Never again!
  6. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

  7. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    I sense the unbridled optimism of youth. sign1sign1sign1
  8. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi xpt rail,
    Putting your bench top at 50" height improves the duckunder clearance and provides a more realistic viewing angle.:thumb: :)
  9. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

  10. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Hi xpt rail, I have my tables at 50 inches and ducking under is still hard. If your worried about track alingment, I saw on the net where the person glued pcb ties to the roadbed and bridge and then soldered the rails to the ties(cutting the ties in the center to avoid a short) which looked pretty sturdy to me. I think that is the way I will go. I had mine as a duck under when I first started and it got old real fast. I think a lift out or lift up is well worth the little extra work.

  11. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Most often the one who forgets to wake up and pay attention is you, because you become complacent to your own warnings. lol
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If the 3 feet to either end of a liftout section is powered off of the liftout or draw bridge as the case may be, and it is set up so that those 3 feet go dead when ever the bridge is open, you won't have a problem with trains going to the floor. The reason for 3 feet is that some models like p2k E units and PA's will coast pretty far when power is turned off.
  13. xpt rail

    xpt rail New Member

    Thanks everyone for the informative ideas and links to other sites
  14. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I have three areas on my layout where I can pop up to adress a derailment, work on scenery, etc. I don't like them, but I think duck unders or pop-ups the lesser of all evils. I am forgetful. I can't help it and I will not remember to put the lift-out back. MRR, I believe, did an article on a circuit that would make the track section go dead if the lift-out wasn't in place which was a good idea. I have found that a roll around stool makes getting around a duck under much easier. My layout is pretty high (48" at its lowest) so getting under it isn't too bad if you're scooting around on your backside.
  15. IandOFan71

    IandOFan71 Member

    My advice would be to use a hinged lift bridge. That is what I use on my layout and it works great. Sure it takes a little more effort to align and maintain alignment of the tracks but it's the way to go. It's been pretty easy to remember the bridge beacuse it is only down when the layout is operating. I'll describe my bridge as best I can. On the hinge side I've attached a hinge on both sides of the track and made sure that the pivot point of the hinge was at the joint of the track and not the joint of the bridge. This way you only have to put a minimum gap in the rails at the hinge. On the other end of the bridge I built a saddle out of wood blocks so that when the bridge came down it would be a nice snug fit. I also keep a set of rail joiners on the non hinge side of the rail and keep them slid back on the rail in the up position. After I put the bridge down, I simply slide the rail joiners so that they splice to the rails on the main benchwork. This serves two purposes. It maintains alignment and also supplies power to the bridge. It's really not that hard to do. I'll post some pics as soon as I figure out how to make this a little clearer. Good luck to you in whatever you decide and keep us posted.

  16. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member

    [​IMG]What would an automated-motorized, "lift bridge" duck out be worth? Would anyone pay the $200 +/- cost if a company built a precision motorized version of a "doorway lift bridge" for HO or other scale track?
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    No, I would not pay that. Sorry.

  18. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Well, Walthers is asking $750 for a operating container crane.....
  19. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    What about a horizontally swinging gate? I don't think that option's been mentioned yet.
  20. gfmucci

    gfmucci Member


    Triplex: Which make/model/scale triplex do you have - or do you have several? I saw an MTH O at my LHS today - WOW! It's the first two-motor steamer I've seen.

    To stay on topic, any duck-under that would hold that beast without sagging would have to be reinforced with an I-beam.

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