Hidden staging

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Smithy, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Smithy

    Smithy New Member

    Hi All

    I have been lurking for about a year now. This is the first time I have a question that has not been answered by someone else.

    I am planing a N scale layout on a closet door 28x80. This is going to be mounted on the wall farely high(50'') as my workbench is underneath it.

    My problem is I am too short to reach the back of the layout if I put a hidden
    siding there for staging. Has anyone put hidden staging at the front of a layout?

    I don't think I have enough room across the front to drop the track below grade.I had planed to have a drop-down front to handle derailments.I can't figure out how to do this with no grade.

    Can someone please help?

  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    How deep is the planned layout? Could you put the hidden staging in back of the accessible mainline and leave room between it and the wall for an access hatch?

    Or, could you make the hidden staging "open staging" and merely put it against a back wall, perhaps near the workbench area? There's no rule that staging tracks HAVE to be hidden.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Fred...

    That's an interesting idea, but I am having trouble understanding the concept - hidden, at the front of the layout, on the same level as the layout itself... :confused:

    I guess you could tuck it into some buildings of landforms at the front, but then your operational part of the layout becomes a "canyon" with the wall on one side, and the hidden staging on the other.

    Most shelf type layouts that you are describing that have layouts tend to have a lead to staging come off one end or the other. Is this a possibility for you? The other possibilty is to put it at the back, build "bomb-proof" trackwork, and then have a stool handy in case of derailment...

    You might try your question in "Track Planning" to see if anyone has other ideas.

    Hope that helped.

  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    On many track plans I have seen, staging tracks aren't "hidden" in secrecy behind a backdrop--often there may be some scenic divider between staging and layout but it isn't hidden from general view, just from the layout.

    The best bet might be to make a yard off to one side--maybe 6"-12" wide and 6 or so feet long--to use as a staging area. It will be visible, of course, but accessible. And yards aren't exactly bad things to have on a model railroad!

    Another thing about layout access: when possible, DO NOT build a layout portion you won't be able to reach! If you can't reach it for staging you won't be able to reach it when it is part of your mainline...
  5. Smithy

    Smithy New Member

    Hi, Guys

    I had thought about putting the siding at the back in an exposed "cut" but still had the problem of short arms. Due to lack of space I have no access to the back. I just had a wild idea about trying something in the front. I could't make it work so I thought I'd ask the pros. Guess I can park it in plain sight and wait for a crew change! This is all still in the planning stage so it's no big deal.

  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    On a layout that small, "hidden staging" can also mean a removable cassette that can be attached to one side of the layout to load trains on or off.

    Did you already have a track plan in mind (one that requried hidden staging) or are you still toying around with ideas? If we know a bit more about our layout objectives it could make things clearer.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Can't remember where, but I saw a neat article about "vertical staging" that used this very concept. The guy had built some train length cassettes (with a coupler at one end to prevent roll-offs) and stacked them on shelf brackets along a wall, like a bookcase.

  8. Tad

    Tad Member

    I have a layout that is built on a door.


    If you look at the upper right hand corner, there is a wye. It leads to my staging yard that it is on the front of the layout.


    I built the staging yard on a 1" 12" x 8' board with 2" foam glued to it. I made 3 sets of legs to support it. The staging yard is built so that it can be taken down. I made cleats on both the end of the staging yard and the edge of the layout and use spring clamps, the ones that look like big pliers, to connect them. I put quick disconnects on the wiring. There is one piece of sectional track that is in use for a connector. I can park the trains on the layout, unplug the wires, remove the clamps, and lift the staging yard off of the legs and store the staging yard and the legs underneath/behind the layout when it is not in use.
  9. Smithy

    Smithy New Member

    My living space is quite small 8x16 feet.The layout door winds up being over the workbench and the foot of my bed.I was planning on mounting brackets on the wall and let the layout sit on top loosely so I could take it down to my workbench to build it(my workbench is another door).

    My original trackplan was a classic oval with a small yard and some industrial spurs.I was thinking about adding a siding to the oval for staging. I realized I could'd reach the back so tried to think of something else.

    I am planning on 40's to 60's era so short locos and cars will make trackwork easier.My operation plan was to stage a train on the siding and then make up another train in the yard ,switch the spurs and then swap trains.

    After reading all the replies I am thinking about putting a spur across the narrow end and hiding it with a viewblock.Having short trains will allow me to use this as a fiddle track.

  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Fred, since you say you are still in the planning stages, would you consider a narrower layout? You could have an L-shaped point-to-point that would actually be longer if it could go around 2 walls. You could have switching on one leg of the L and a small yard on the other.

  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Open staging could be next to a yard as the trains would look like they was ready to depart a busy division point yard and awaiting crews.David Barrow once used open staging on his CM&SF if I recall correctly..Tony Koester also talked about open staging in one of his Train Of Thought columns but,I forget what issue of MR.
  12. Smithy

    Smithy New Member

    Thanks Val, I could't see the forest for the trees! There is no reason I have to have a loop. I got so fixed on the oval idea that I didn't realize I don't need one.Youv'e opened my eyes! I can do a point to point layout just as well. I was mostly intrested in switching anyway. With my 28x80 space I can take the front 18 inches and treat it as a shelf layout and still have 10 inches in back for scenery.If I do an industrial setting I can build a lot of structures in N scale(I have been saving cardboard for months):)

  13. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    That's great Fred!! Glad I could be of assistance. :) :)

    Don't forget to keep us posted with your progress!!!


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