need some help on my shelf layout

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TruckLover, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Hi guys, with the purchace of my new laptop computer, im able to get rid of my bulky computer desk to free up ATON of room in my room lol. I will also be getting rid of my dresser and TV. Goin to put my clothes in the closet and im getting a 42" plasma screen TV.

    My dad suggested that I should build a small shelf around the room. The only reason he said this was because of home much ive been complaining an dtalking about building the layout i planned a few months ago. So I went with his idea and though up a cool plan.

    Ill have a 15"-18" shelf that goes all the way around the room. Ill mount it on 15" heavy duty shelf brackets. It will be 48" off the ground.

    Where the shelf will cross the door I want a lift out section. I have never attempted one before so im going to hope you guys can help me thru it when I get there.

    I also am going to have a under layout staging yard. I plan on a 3% grade going down from the layout to the yard and back up from the yard to the layout. I will use the WS 3% inclines to achieve the climb and the decent.

    My question is, how much room should I leave between the the layout and staging yard? I think i can get away with 6" between the levels. Will that be okay? I know that might be a little difficult to set-up the trains but...... What would you guys suggest?
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    6" is tight. Will the staging yard be 15" wide as well? The problem is, if you ever have to reach over one train to get to a train in the back, you are likely to bump the train in the front causing much frustration. If your staging yard is only 3 tracks or less, this may not be workable. If you are planning more than 3 tracks, I would try and get at least 9 inches of clearance. You could try a switchback to divide the grade down to the staging yard.

  3. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I want to have 6-7 or even 8 tracks in total for the yard. The yard will act as storage for my trains as well as building them. I see your point in the clearace and i was affraid of that lol.

    The switch back idea, how would I go about doing that? that would give me alot of extra room to make the decent from the layout and the climb back to the layout
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    How big is your room? You could turn the room into one giant double track helix. A 3% grade will drop or rise 3 inches in 100 inches. That is roughly 3 inches in 8 feet. If you have a closet in your room, you will need to treat it just like you do the door. The amount of wall space you have between the door and the closet in each direction will determine what you need to do to get down to and up from a staging yard. Give us the measurement from your door to the closet door in each direction, as well as the size of your closet door. I'm presuming that you entrance door is somewhere around 30 inches. How much space does your closet take up? Is it a single door or double doors?
  5. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I dont know if that would work or not. My room is 12'x12' sqaure with a "walkin hallway" if you will. the closet is on the left of the "walkin hallway" and is 5'x24"

    here is a drawling of my room. The bottom wall has a window but that wont matter in any of this as the layout will run right across it.


    What I was planning was to have the decent down to the staging yard start at the top wall (12'x12' square not the walkin) and have the staging yard on the bottom wall and have the train climb back up on the right wall. I would need to do some kind of switchback or helix tho im thinking because 12' will only get me 4" down with a 3% grade using Woodland Scenics Incline Sets.

    How would I do a switch back. I would like to keep the minimum radius to 24" to run my big diesels. So the decent would start along the top wall and run all the way down the left wall down to about 6" or so im thinking and then I would have a switchback?

    Do I even need a staging yard? I mean this is going to get complicated and im going to have track going everywhere now lol.
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Since you are using shelf brackets, would your staging yard be supported as another sheet of wood(or foam) from another set of shelf brackets?

    My first thought would be to start the decent along the left wall, across the bottom wall, and make the staging yard under the right wall. It would be a stub-ended yard, but that is fine for storing and setting up trains. You would effectively be reducing your grade by 1/2, or would be doubleing the space between the staging yard and the layout.

    You could also make the right wall a switchback, and then come back again and make the staging yard along the back wall or left wall. Again, you would have a stub-ended yard, but this frees up more space or reduces your grade even more.

    If you are planning on using foam for a layout base, keep in mind it's thickness eats into the space you have between levels.

  7. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    I guess a stub ended yard would work okay for me. I kinda wanted the train to be able to pull in the yard and drop off the train and come out with a new one but...... You give some good points. I did want to reduse that grade a little bit too. Only the actual shelf layout itself is going to have a foam base. The staging yard will just be on plywood on seprate shelf brackets below the layout.

    The switchback would work best if I could do it in the bottom right or left corners of the room. that way I could ensure a wide enough area for the radius i want. I could still start it on the left wall as you mentioned and have it decend down till it hits the lower left coner and put a switchback there and have it run all the back to the left wall. That should give me planty of room between the levels right?
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Josh: where is the door into the room? Is it next to a corner or in the middle of the wall? I made a liftout section in a J shape because I have a set of stairs coming in next to the wall and a doorway in the middle of the wall.
    I made mine to hook over the benchwork at each end and supported by a set of shelves in the middle.
    You don't have to have staging yards underneath. You could actually have one that looks like a second yard.
  9. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Thanks so much for the idea of a J shaped liftout. I have a window and a donut entrance (90 degree angle to the window, but within the window span) that need to be bridged. Previously, I was trying to figure out how to make 2 interlocking liftouts. Now I see a single L shaped liftout that fastens in 3 places might be an alternative worth considering. Have to think some more. Thanks for the idea, and I apologize in advance for temporarily hijacking the thread.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Josh, the trick with a switch back is the "tail" track has to be long enough for the entire train to clear the switch. I don't know how long your trains will be; but, for it to look right with big modern diesels, you will need fairly long trains. That would mean that you will probably only be able to go about 1/2 way around the room before you put in your first switch back. You will probably need at least 2 switch backs and maybe 3 or 4 to get your trains down to 9 inches below the mainline. The other thing to remember is that you will need to transition your grades to level at each switch on the switch backs. If you try to run the grade through the switches, you will put a twist into each switch because the diverging route will be going in the opposite direction as the main route! Twisting switches will always result in derailments every time you try to go through them. One other thing to consider is to use a steeper grade. Athearn (Genesis or r-t-r), Atlas, Kato, Bachmann Spectrum, or P2k locomotives are all good pullers and should be able to handle a 4 1/2% grade. They won't look good doing it, but if you are going down to hidden staging, it won't matter what they look like. I think I would increase your minimum radius on the run down to the hidden staging to 30 inches for more reliability. Just remember to transition all curves ( both vertical and horizontal). I forgot to mention, use a #6 or #8 minimum for your switches in the switch backs. The more you do to smooth out the track work down to the hidden staging yards the less problems you will have with them. In my opinion, problems with derailments on a transition track between hidden staging and the mainline would be a real pain to deal with.
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    My liftout

    Fred: the thread where I built my liftout section is:
    I had to cut it because it wouldn't turn up without hitting the overhead ductwork. That's after making a work-intensive splice in the spline roadbed.
    (I should update the photos a bit!)
  12. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Thanks for the link. I hadn't thought of spline for the liftout. I was planning on a box beam of 1/4" plywood with 2" foam glued inside. You've given me more to think about!
  13. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    If it were me, i would drop staging. Its nice, but it sounds like you don't have the space. the only thing i can think of is if you have your layout around the room, you might be able to have a long ramp going either way that will allow you to go up and down through staging.

    Personally, i'd just make it so that it doesn't look like trains are going in a circle, so i'd have like a tunnel or something. I'd just build a regular visible yard that doubles as a staging yard.

    In fact, if you are doing point to point, then you might not even have to worry about staging, you just need a yard to go to and from.

    it depends on your actual track plan. I would plan out what i want then change it so that you can add the ramps or whatever you need.
  14. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Hi David, my door is at the top of the drawling in the "hallway"
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    sign1sign1 dont worry about it Fred, it may be helping me out to :mrgreen:
  16. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    hmmmmm lol i guess i dont know what a switchback is then lol

    I was thinking of starting the decent in the top right corner and haveing it run all the way down to the bottom left corner. At the bottom left corner of the drawling I planned on haveing the train turn around while continueing the decent at the same time. A 28" radius would work I think for the turn around. After the turn it would run back down the bottom wall into the bottom right corner where it would hit the entrance to the staging yard that runs along the entire length of the right wall.

    Would that work? I dont know what the grade would be but it would give me roughly 36' of decent down to the yard which will be 10" below the layout.

    Do you guys think that this will work?
  17. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    i had thought about not doing a below layout staging yard but I plan to store my trains in the yard so the yard will have a total of 8 10-12' tracks to store some trains on. It will also serve as a yard to build trains in to for some more switching :mrgreen:
  18. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Why not just make a large yard like that part of the normal layout? You can do some classification switching with a small switcher locomotive. You can store most of your cars on such a large yard, and just make space for any trains you'll be running comfortably in one sitting.

    Instead of an undertable yard, You can make "moveable staging". Its basically a wooden box with track and no roof, with openings on the end. near your yard you can have a track that the moveable staging attaches to.

    You simply store your trains in the long wooden boxes, and when you want a train, you can just hook that box to a spot on the layout.

    Its almost totally hands free, and it eliminates the complicated track work while still giving you all the advantages. All you'd need to do is build a storage area for these specail train boxes in the benchwork, which is really no trouble at all.

    Just a thought.
  19. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Josh, a switch back is a track running up or down a hill that goes through a switch and then continues down the track to clear the switch. The switch is then thrown,and the train reverses to go on down the track in reverse the next section. If there is another switch back section, the whole process is repeated with the train backing past a switch, the switch is thrown and then the train goes forward through the switch and on down to the bottom or up to the top as the case may be.
  20. Harold Cole

    Harold Cole Member

    Josh,here are a few things i did for my shelf layout,maybe some of what i did will help you.

    Attached Files:

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