need help

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by wilsonb03, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. wilsonb03

    wilsonb03 New Member

    I just got in to model railroading and I got a 10' x 12' building that I am going to do it in. I want two levels about 2' feet between each level. I am doing it in HO with code 100 track. I don't know what grade to use or even on how to calculate it (6' horizontal = 3" vertical). If anyone could help me I would really appreciate it.
  2. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Wilson!

    Welcome to the hobby, and welcome to The Gauge!

    To go up 2 feet at 2% (a reasonable grade - you can go to 3%, but you will limit the length of your trains), you have a few options:

    1) Helix - a big corkscrew kind of ramp in one corner of your layout room.

    2) A "No-lix" where your entire (or most of it) layout is built on a grade around the room.

    Anyway, here is the calculation:

    Grade = rise/run

    2% = 2/100

    Since you want to go up 2 feet,

    2% = 2 feet/ X feet

    It is a straightforward calculation here, so your run = 100 feet.

    So your helix will have to contain 100 feet of track. If you go the no-lix option, you will have to go steeper, since you do not have 100 feet of run around the walls before you get back to the starting point (10+12+10+12=44 feet).

    If you have a plan already, you might want to post it in the Track Planning forum for some suggestions and advice on how to work in your elevation change.

  4. wilsonb03

    wilsonb03 New Member


    Thank you for your help. I guess I don't have any other options but to go with a helix. I don't exactly know how to do it though.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi again Wilson,

    If you are just starting out, I wold suggest that you concentrate on getting a good track plan set, and also on some of the basics, like benchwork, wiring, and so on.

    You can get help with a plan in the Track Planning forum (link in my message above...).

    In the meantime, if you want to get the trains running, you can always set up a loop on a table in your new railroad space. I had a 4x8 table for about a year while I planned and did research.

    Here is a great layout in a room about the same size as yours... Hamer/Hamer.htm

    The layout is only one level, but there is lots to do. I have operated it with Mike a couple of times, and it really keeps you busy!

  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Nothing Beats Pencil And Paper

    Hi Wilson, I hope that I'm not adding to your confusion but there is something that has been overlooked here. Percentage of grade is better calculated in inches rather than feet for modeling purposes. For example, a 3 inch rise of track in 100 inches of track run equals a 3% grade.

    While room dimensions give you the size of the layout you can accomodate they do not give you the amount of track that can be placed in a given space. This is depedent on the the the actual configuration (shape and size) of the layout its self and weather or not the track doubles back on its self or crosses itself and the number of times that it does so.

    Just for example, a layout in a 10x12 area shaped in the configuration of an "E" could in theory give you a minimum of 1100 inches of track run. To rise 24" in that distance only requires a grade of only slightly more than 2%.

    What I would do is obtain or make some graph paper in the scale of 1 inch = 1 ft. Define your 10x12 area on the paper. Next, define the shape of your layout in that area and then draw in your track plan. This way you can determine how many inches of track run will be required and you can adjust and configure your grade accordingly. Please post your layout plan here for us and you'll get tons of advice on how to accomplish what you want to do.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You didn't mention what type of railroad you are making. A logging road would run shorter trains up and down very steep grades. There is a book I got from the library once titled Railroads Of The Cour De Lenes ( spelling). I don't know if it is still in print, but it was about railroads operating in the Idaho panhandle. They ran some very steep grades. In fact there was one picture taken around 1910 if memory serves of a 2-6-6-2 mallet pulling a max load. The train had six cars behind the locomotive, and that was a maximum load without helpers! What you are interrested in modeling will determine what sort of grades will look right.
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, loved my short visit to your neck of the woods back in '89. Spent a couple of weeks chasin' deer and armadillos at the Army Depot.:thumb:

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