Lower level staging transition...

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by iis612, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I am trying to figure out a space saving way to make the transition to a lower level staging yard. My track design is somewhat P2P, and I need to gain access to the staging yard from both ends. I have thought about casettes, but those seem time consuming. I have thought about using a long run from the ends, but it would have to curve back around eating up more real estate as the curvature would not match the dimensions of either end of the main layout level. Maybe using a helix at either end. It could be constructed so that the mass of the helix is under the main level?

  2. iis612

    iis612 Member

    That might chew up more space than I can seperate with. Back to the drawing board.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't remember. What scale and how long are your trains? I'm thinking that the least space eating solution would be some sort of sector plate slightly longer than your longest train. It would be mounted to slide up and down in alignment with both the main layout and the staging yard lead. You would drive the train onto the sector plate, unlock it and lower it down to the staging level, and then lock it in place and drive the train off. At this point, I'm not sure exactly how to engineer such a thing, but I will keep thinking about it and see if I can design a solution.
  4. iis612

    iis612 Member

    That would be a great option. I am running HO, and my longest train would be a 5 car passenger consist. I am very intruiged by this idea. I too will be thinking of the engineering of this. Drawer glides and a spring tension system are coming to mind. If I manage to come up with something, I will definately want to show it off. I can't wait to see what you come up with as well.
  5. iis612

    iis612 Member

    The other option is manual staging. I don't like this idea, but I have seen it used to some degree of success. I personally think it would become the bain of any operating session.
    Towards Russ's idea...
    I am thinking this should be a single unit on casters. Perhaps even motor driven with a constant tension pulley system using a geared down drill motor. Much the same fashion as is used by High-rise window washers. Or, maybe even a simple lever system using part of a scissors jack without the screw drive portion.
    I will see if I can get a rough thought on paper soon.
    The pro's of the single unit: Reduced construction time and cost, including that of the staging yards. Easier turning of trains in staging. further reduction in consumption of space.
    Cons: Engineering. A single unit could slow an operating session.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I was thinking along the line of drawer slides as well. As I opened this thread again, I noticed that you were thinking the same thing. I don't know that I would go to the expense of making it motor powered. I think I would use a cable and pulley system with a hand crank, kind of like a block & tackle in miniature. I think I would mount a ball bearing drawer slide at each end of the sector plate. I would mount the drawer slides to the wall by 1x4 or 1x6 lumber, and then drill holes adjacent to the slides just below sector plate that would act as stops to keep the vertical alignment in place with the mainline or staging yard. That way, when the sector plate is aligned in either position, the pins are installed to keep it in the correct position. When you want to move it, remove the locking pins, move it to the new position, and reinstall the locking pins. You could drill 1/4 inch holes and use steel pins cut from 1/4 inch steel rod from a home supply store.
  7. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I see what you are thinking. I like it too. The bad part is that there are no walls at either end of the mainline run to mount it to. It would have to be a stand alone unit, or part of the benchwork. If it where to be part of the benchwork, it would defeat the space saving function. Which takes me back to the single unit on casters. I see the sector plate itself as being nothing more than a braced 1x6x6 (appx.) being mounted into a simple frame. The simple frame being 2x2 constructed into 2 identical square frames, it's dimensions should be shorter than the sector plate. This is then set onto a roller cart which is not much more than 2 pieces of 2x2 in a horizontal position, wider than the frame for stability, and four more bits of 2x2 used for triangulated bracing. Because there are no walls at either end of the mainline run, the sector plate unit can be used as a giant turntable, and can be moved laterally to align with several different staging tracks. I have to see what I can get on paper. BBS
  8. iis612

    iis612 Member

    Keep in mind that this drawing was done by someone with 1 good hand, and it is not the dominant hand either. It is no where near scale, or even proportionally correct. Here is kinda what I had in mind.
    It also appears to be upside down...

    Attached Files:

  9. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I think there is definate feasability to this design. Russ, I would definately like your opinion. I welcome the opinion of everyone that has one.
    There is still the issue of attaching track power, track alignment, locking mechanism at either end to maintain alignment, hand crank system to raise and lower it...

  10. iis612

    iis612 Member

    As an after throught... It really does not need a system to raise and lower it. It can be done by hand, lift it up, set the pins, set it on the pins and drive the train off.
  11. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Just wanted to toss this link here, for purchase consideration but also design inspiration for something you can build yourself.

    It's pricey but it's a ready to run train elevator:

    RO-RO Train Elevator Display
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Matt, that idea would work. When I started suggesting things I didn't realise that you didn't have a wall behind the end of the mainline and the staging yard.

    I think for train safety, you should put a hole between the rails at each end of the sector plate so a train can't roll off while you are raising or lowering it.

    For powering the sector plate, 2 wires soldered into an RCA plug with jacks on the layout to pull power off of, or any sort of 2 wire plug that only plugs one way to protect against polarity shifts causing short circuits would work. I would also put an on/off switch wired to the last 3 feet of both the mainline and the staging yard lead so that you can shut off the power to those track when the sector plate is not hooked up. I'm not sure how high from the floor your main layout or the staging yard will be. If it is low enough, You could pick up a fairly inexpensive tool cart from Harbor Freight, Sears, or a home improvement store to use as the basis of your cart for the sector plate. If a cart is low enoughto fit a collapsed scizzor jack on the cart but below the sector plate and still have it line up with the staging yard, you could bolt the scizzor jack tightly to the bottom of the sector plate and also bolt the base of the jack tightly to the bed of the cart. Then just use the jack to raise and lower your sector plate. Put a couple of guide plates at the end of your benchwork to secure your cart to so that it can't move in relation to your layout when you are transferring trains to or from it, and you should be good to go.
  13. iis612

    iis612 Member

    Russ, you have some great ideas. I had not even thought about a way to keep the train secure on the plate while it is being moved. That kinda goes back to what I had said about it not needing a mechanism for it's motion. It would seem that for safe use it would need something like the scissor jack or a block and tackle.
    I also like your idea of using polarity specific power, especially the RCA jack. It is also a great thought about the power switch for the track section. I would hate to go into auto-pilot and send a train 54" to it's demise.
    I think I might have to stop at one of those discount tool places and look into the tool cart idea too.

    That is a cool gadget. I don't have the walls to mount it to though. Have you ever seen any reviews of that product? I would love to know how well it stands up.

  14. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    Matt, not sure I follow your idea...

    But I will make a couple of suggestions anyway.

    1. If your staging area is on wheels and you could swing it end-for-end, does this mean that you wouldn't need a double ended yard?

    2. About protecting the cars from rolling off while you move it around. I was thinking about a thin peice of metal in the shape of an L mounted across each end. Suspend it with springs so that it would block cars from rolling off the ends. When you "crank" it into position the out board part of the L would press on some blocks on your layout that would push it down as you move the cart up. You would need to adjust the block so that the L would be below track level when the tracks were aligned. I hope this is clear.

    Good luck and show use what you end up building.

  15. iis612

    iis612 Member

    Kent, That is a good idea. I will have to dream up a way to implement that.
    Let me clarify the intent of this device... It is not staging on wheels, it is a, well, train elevator. It will carry a consist down to staging and up to the layout as needed.
  16. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    Ok, don't laugh....Unless you have to.

    I have tried to create a picture with paint.wall1

    The right side of the drawing is supposed to be a enlargement of the part that goes on the cart with the edge of the table that helps to depress the 'car retainer'.

    This may be of use to you in some form.sign1


    Attached Files:

  17. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I see what you were saying now. BTW, that pic wasn't bad. You should see some of mine... That metal retaining flap would be fairly easily implemented. I might even be able to use wood rather than metal.
  18. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    After sleeping on it.....

    I do my best think while I am not awake.:twisted:

    Instead of moving the cart up and down, why not build at the same level as the rest of the yard. You would just slide it in and out to get access to the cars on it. The posts on the ends to push the 'car retainers' down would need to be done as ramps so they would be depressed as the cart was slid in.

    You might need some lever to finish retracting the 'retainer' after the cart was pushed in all the way. May that could be integrated into the finial lock-in-place hardware.

    The more I think about it the more I think that maybe I should build one of these for my layout.:cool:
    You can always use more storage and this would allow you to keep the spacing tight between the storage area and the main bench work.

  19. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I wish I could put the staging at the same level as the layout, but I have run myself out of room. It has to be underneath. I am even considering scenicing the lower level (at some point) and making it part of the over all mainline run too.

  20. Grindar

    Grindar Member

    going back to the elevator idea, I'm thinking basically a detachable siding, with a vertical piece of wood leading down to the staging yard, upon which you put a rack for a rack and pinion gear and electric motor, which could be run by a spare power pack or something. Maplin has these
    Discount RACK AND PINION SETS. Buy online @ Maplin.
    I'm sure something can be found in whatever country you're in. maybe a solenoid for a lock under the shelf for when it's in the upper position? Gonna want a high torque, low speed motor...anybody got any suggestions?

    But that's only one real extra piece to the benchwork, and a little bit of wiring to make it powered track, same wiring can power the motor. Maybe the shelf could be made of sheet styrene to help with the weight?

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