New layout in the works.

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by nolatron, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. woodone

    woodone Member

    You have two problems when you use a helex. First is the grade- 3% is realy steep- throw in the 19 inch raduis and it is like a 6% grade( or more)
    The curves make the wheels bind when they travel around the corners,
    the flanges are hitting on the inside of the rails causing friction.
    Hard pulling something up a hill like that.
  2. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    There was a thread about the :curse: service and other cruddy internet model train stores somewhere here, just can't find it...
  3. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Quick little video showing the layout and what I have completed so far on the helix.

    YouTube - Layout
  4. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    nolatron, what you're doing is really impressive and inspireing!
  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Posted these in the photo fun thread, but thought I'd post here too for some progress shots.

    Over the week I assembled my new Walthers Water Tower. Stills need painting. Super easy to put together, was only like 4 or 5 parts. I may just give it a flat finish and leave it white, so it stands out from the blue background some. I'll have to create a "Welcome to Elmwood" decal for it.

    Up next is the helix. It's actually turning out pretty good. I basically screw down some nuts on the rods, place on two metal brackets, and clamp the wood in place to get in positioned correctly. Then I pull the whole thing off, screw the brackets to the wood and put back in place. And 2 cross braces and then the top nuts and screw in place.

    Getting everything nice and lined up is a snap using this method. It takes a while (threading a nut down a 20" rod = pita). can't wait till I get to the higher levels, heh.

    Track is also super glued in place with feeders going to each level. No soldering is done due to the way I'm building it. The amount of feeders should help keep power flowing throughout. Even now I'm using a single feeder line to power everything and it runs fine. (see video above)


    And lastly, I got the basics down for the staging yard. Mainly so I can have some different types of trains to run up the helix with for testing. It'll be a five track yard with various lengths of sidings. A backdrop will eventually go into place right in front that coal train.

    In order to see what's going on, I plan on installing a 3 or 4 mini cams back there over the switches so I can make sure I'm stop the train in the right spot so I'm not blocking other tracks.

    I thought of just using some panel indicators, but I think I'd like to actuall "see" what's happening back there. :)


    And that's it for now. Over the weekend I went to the Great Train Expo and picked up retired Walther storage tank, another north island refinery kit to kitbash the refinery to a large one, and a chemical plant kit to also mix into the refinery.

    I did some shuffling of things around, plan on moving a yard to over the desk on the 1st or 2nd level perhaps, and made room for another yet-to-be-decided major industry. I'll have to get the trackplan updated to show all this. :)

    Okie doke, that's all for now.

    And thanks for the kind words madhatter!
  6. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

    Shawn, Very nice so far. Keep up the good work. Like I said, I'm very interested on how this turns out. I really like it so far. Thanks for the video also.

    I'm confused, why would the radius of the track change the grade?
    A 2% grade is a 2% grade, it shouldn't matter what the radius is.
  7. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    No, the grade stay the same, but the friction increases.

    Have you heard a train go around a sharp corner in real life? The flanges are pushed tightly on the rails which makes that squeeling sound we all love, that, in actual fact, is friction.
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    The rule of thumb I've read is:

    On a "conventional" curve (24" in HO, 13" in N), grade is effectively 1/2 greater. A 3% grade on a conventional curve is like 4.5% on straight track.

    I don't know what it is for broad curves, but obviously less.
  9. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Finally got around to updating the track plan to somewhat reflect the latest changes.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Level one will eventually feature a track that wraps around the room, cross the mainline at the helix and enters staging. Making staging the "end of the line".
  10. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Yup, another new name.

    Today while I was trying to come up with a story for a new industry on they layout, GERN industries, I decided to base my layout on some real world places. It’s easier to come up with stories and such when relating to real world places I found.

    So I picked Union Pacific’s Lafayette Subdivision. This sub runs between Houston, TX and New Orleans, LA (Avondale). The layout will represent the subdivision from Lake Charles to still fictional town of Elmwood (this may as I develop this).

    With the change of location from “midwest” to “southern LA”, I’ll have to change my mountain area. It’ll probably be changed to a portion of track that crosses the Atchafalaya Basin.

    [​IMG] I’d love to use BLMA’s upcoming concrete bridge for this section, but I was planning on double tracking this are for a passing siding. So I think I may make the basin half distance with the bridge, then switch back to land for a passing siding that’ll run through the curve as well.

    I may also make the hidden staging a dead-end yard with trains entering in near the helix and simply terminating as they “continue on to Houston”, so the passing siding will basically take the place of the switch where the staging original is connecting too.

    Or who knows, maybe I’ll just totally rearrange the bottom level know that I’m starting to base sections on real places.
  11. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Staging Level Revamp

    I’ll update with some pics tonight, but the staging level has been totally revamped. I completely removed staging and will turn this stretch of track into industry space for the upcoming GERN processing plant (a superior paper kit).

    The span on the lower level that crosses the window will be turned into a water way, representing Lake Charles (the actual lake), where I-10 and the UP mainline crosses it. This spot on the layout has the biggest gap between support posts, so I may cut the benchwork out here, and drop it about 1″ for the water area and have a nice double track bridge. I’ve always loved the pics of DoctorWayne’s bridge, and hope to sorta recreate this look.

    Staging will be moved to the wall over my desk, and connected to via a removable bridge span, for both upper and lower levels.

    I’m also debating on whether or not to put in a small 2-3 track yard someplace for the local trains. I’ll have to do some more reading on how local freight could be handled. I’m fairly clueless when it comes to operations. I’ll have to go back and read Track Planning for Realistic Operation again I think.
  12. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Pics, yay!

    Here's the lower level where staging was. It'll be the home of GERN's new processing plant. The area above the track will be at 1.5" high on risers. The track is on a 2% grade riser, making it's way to a 2" rise.



    Next up is where the Lake Charles water way/channel/river/whatever-is-called will be. The track will already be a 2" high, so that may be enough for me to have some decent banks here. Otherwise, I could drop the benchwork here an inch. Probably won't have to though.


    Here's a view of the Helix as of today. Another turn or two in a half and it should be done. May need a little tweak here and there, but using screw nuts should make that relatively easy.


    And then just a parting shot of new track services buildings in Elmwood. The highway here will run along the branching track, and then turn into the backdrop.

  13. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I've seen some one else use the threaded rod and lag bolt method for building a helix. Except he suspended his from the top level of his benchwork by drilling holes for the rod and bolting it from the top. He also mentioned that the threaded rod and bolts allowed him to make minor adjustments to get the smoothest climb up as well.

    It's a pretty clever way to build one, as is yours. Excellent work.
  14. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Nolatron where did you get that white riser from. It looks like foam. Im talking about the ones in 5 pics from bottom up. Thanks
  15. nolatron

    nolatron Member

  16. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Nolatron more questions on the woodland scenics risers if you dont mind. How would you order them to get to a 4" rise? They have some that say 4" rise but are 24 inches long. I need to go from 0 to 4 inches over a 16 foot span.
    Im not sure how to get that. Looks like you went (im guessing) 8 feet for a two percent grade, two inch rise. do you use two pieces to get that high? Thanks
  17. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Nolarton I may have found my answer. woodland scenics also has incline sets , which is what I think I need. Thanks
  18. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Here's the start of my swinging staging bridge thingy.

    I first screwed a 1x3 to the wall, to a wall stud. I then attached two heavy duty doorhinges, and to those a piece of 2x4.

    I then bolted a 5 ft piece of angle aluminum to a L Bracket and attached to the 2x4. To the aluminum I attached 3 pieces of 2x2 wood braces. The same I used for the main layout supports. I then attached a 4" wide piece of thin plywood on top. I now have a 4 track staging yard that will swing out of the way of the door when not in use. Yay!

    The lower staging yard will be completed once I move my computer stuff to the other side of the room under the layout.

    While standing out on its own, the bridge does sag a little, but I have support brace on the layout and on the wall to support the end of the bridge and keep it level.

    Turnouts will most likely have to be manually operated due to the lack of room underneath for switch machines.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  19. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Some of the latest progress shots. First the Helix is *just* about done. All I need to do is connect the track from the top of the helix to the top level and it'll be all done. yay!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And some progress shots of the lower level where the future GERN facility will go. This is a Walther's Superior Paper kit. It was relatively simple to assemble, and I gave it a spray of boxcar red for some color. Still having some painting to do on the storage tanks and stacks, though.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  20. nolink5750

    nolink5750 Member

    nolatron, it's looking real good. Hey, when you get that helix done how about throwing another video up in the post :thumb:

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