Narrow shelf layout

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by mvrrowner, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. mvrrowner

    mvrrowner New Member


    I'm in the process of designing a layout for a small basement room. Currently I have a 30x80 door for the n-scale stuff to run in circles, and a little switching. (no scenery... hee hee) Somewhere deep in the depths of the basement is a room about to undergo a transformation into a train room. The room is 13'x8' and I'm interested in getting the maximum run I can out of this little space.

    I was thinking about going around the walls of the room multiple times, with a helix in one corner to gain the height needed between each level.

    Here's the lowest level (draft 1) showing the staging and a switching area. The helix will go in the bottom right corner, over the staging return loop. The actual room is 13 feet wide, while the drawing was 12 feet. How often do you find extra real estate?


    Just looking for some pros and cons about a narrow plan like this: 8 inches in most places. Min. clearance between levels, etc.

  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Have you thought about using a nolix instead of a helix? Helix's use a lot of space.

  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    How do you get into the room and into the center of the layout?
  4. mvrrowner

    mvrrowner New Member

    First, I had to google nolix, but now I think I know what that is. I would like to go around the room with at least 3 levels. 36", 46", 56" so I would need 2 nolixes (nolii??) right? Atleast I can stack the helix in 1 corner.

    The door is in the left wall near the bottom of the original drawing, where all those extra brown lines are. Looking at that wall from inside the room, I planned on some hinged drop-down thingys... see attached image... sorry for the crude paint shop!
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Nolix = "No Helix" - height is gained simply by having a (continuous) grade around the enitre room. That way, it can all be scenicked and used for operations, rather than having a space eating helix in one corner.

    An 8x13 room though is a good sized space. Do you have a plan for all those multiple layers? Are they required for what you want to get out of the operational layout? Alternatives include twice (or even three times) around with some scenic and/or grade separation. You'd probably have to go deeper than 8", but it would still be doable without a helix.

    To answer your original question, a few drawbacks for narrow shelves:

    - minimal room to hide scenery/backdrop interface
    - train *may* plunge directly to floor in the event of derailment :eek: ;)
    - limited scenery options, including forced perspective
    - good quality backdrops almost certainly required as they will be prominent

    However, many of these challenges have been overcome. The advantages include reduced reach, lower benchwork cost, and more space available in the room for operators. :thumb:

    Hope that helps.

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Don't forget to put on some sort of lock on the entrance door from the inside so that no one can open the door when those drop down sections are up and the layout is in operation.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Either that or use a "kill switch" or better still aviod the entrance.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have a 2' shelf in HO. With my tendancy to fill with track, my wife complains that there's no space for scenery behind the back track.
    I feel that a narrow shelf makes the layout look longer.
    Do you have plans for the middle of the room? You could push a peninsula out there for wider scenic bits or even a bit of extra grade. There were pictures once of a peninsula that had 2 different levels of town -- the backs of tall buildings on one side became lower buildings at a higher grade on the other side.
    You need to think about the door. Even a kill switch won't help if someone opens the door while the Sunset Limited is crossing it.
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I just noticed that no one has offered advice on spacing between levels. I think 12 inches would be the minimum spacing required for anything that is to be visible and have scenery. Probably 18 inches is better so that you don't end up feeling like the "sky" is restricting the height of your buildings! You could use as little as 6 inches between levels, but then all but the top level would be a long tunnel. The other problem you will have with multiple levels is that either the either the lower level will be too low for comfortable viewing unless you are sitting, or the top level will be impossible to see without a step ladder. With 3 levels, you may encounter both problems.
  10. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I have 12" between my staging level and my main level of my layout. Its tough to get into the back of the staging level if a car derails on the tracks but it works for me. I just made sure to put plenty re-railers on all the tracks.
  11. seanm

    seanm Member

    Don't forget about lighting for multi level layouts. Lighting and a valance can eat up 4-6 inches. You don;t want to have to see the lights that are lighting the layout. There are some really thin strip lights but that can get expensive.... I have heard people using christmas tree lights, but never found that bright enough.
  12. Taka

    Taka New Member

    Use LED rope lighting, more than bright enough to light up the shelf and very concealable.

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