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After living with a layout in the attic I took the plunge and started at ground level.

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I had wasted space at the side of my house and a local shed builder made me one to fit the space.

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It’s 16 x 16 x 9 x 16 which means it narrows at one end and has interesting angles on one side.

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After the shed was erected (just after Easter) I had to wire it, put in insulation and sheet it with plywood.

 

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The very awkward corner became the location for a helix as I wanted to use the under layout space for storage and the helix could get the trains to the upper level.

 

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Bench work was then built round the walls.

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I started to cut out track beds from plywood sheeting

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The wood frames stacked on their sides are for the middle section which I shall only erect when I have most of the construction work completed on the wall benches.

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The Clerk of Works is on guard at the door.

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Still “Cookie cutting” plywood for track beds

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Chaos seems to rule and I am running out of space to work, you have to move stuff to cut and the process seems endless.

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So that’s what has been keeping me busy for the last few months. No model making and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms.

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My consultant on this project is Anthony who continues to be a great help in the move to DCC as well at advice on the build in general -long may his patience last.

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That's amazing Kirley that you have achieved so much in so short a space of time. It's always great to have a pal within the hobby to help you and Anto has the experience of building his own layout to give you so it's a win win situation all round. Please keep us all up to date with your progress. I will be watching this with interest and most of all anticipation for every installment =D.

 

Rich,

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Fantastic looking set-up Kirley. Looks like its going to be a great layout. By the way, what radius curves are you using on the helix?

 

The Helix is 4 foot wide, I used flexitrack starting on the outside, and coming in equidistant for the next two tracks. Test runs have proved positive so far but I have not tried a rake more than five as yet. Inspiration from Everard Junction on You Tube.

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Planned to do something like this for years. Sitting here green with envy ! Looks a fantastic job & am delighted you chose to share the photos of building it for those of us who don't have an idea where to start. Best of luck with it & thanks.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Layout Update(1)

Progress has been slow on the layout. I’ve started on the storage tracks as a good place to practice as it will be out of sight once the main layout level goes on and all soldering attempts will be well hidden.

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I have 3 tracks coming from the helix and each split into 2 additional tracks each running for over 12 feet before coming back together as the tracks turn the corner at the back of the shed. This is to allow an engine to run around a rake of coaches and be able to PULL the train back up the helix.

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I have used electrofrog points for the first time and will be using DCC system so again the storage section was a good place to start.

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My big mistake was testing track and points with DC power. All went well until I soldered in the track droppers and switched on DCC power. I have short(s) in the system and had to undo a lot of the track work to identify where the problem is. It was a hard lesson to learn and I’m still looking.

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  • 1 month later...

Finally got my electrics worked out (for the moment) and started track laying on the main level of the layout.

The lifting bridge took time to get right.

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I find wiring points tedious and doing a batch at a time seems to be easier.

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At last I managed to get a complete loop and started to run, sorry TEST trains. It’s that long since I have been able to run anything it’s been a delight just to sit and watch them go by.

I’ve tried to do a video on some of my test runs and will try to upload them. Please let me know if it does not work.

[video=youtube_share;x593EVd1oGk]

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If you get the leeway at some point you might even consider a single-leaf bascule bridge..

 

..there's a few about on railways. You can see how they work by looking at the ones on the North Wall Quay - http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/55484776.jpg - the pegs on the ground locate in the holes in the quadrant, keeping everything in line as it rolls back and lifts the span.

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55484776.jpg

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Looks good.

 

What sort of loads can go up the helix? Could the 201 pull a full rake of mk3s up it?

 

David: I have attached another video showing a Hunslet rake and a 201 with 6 Mk3’s using the helix. Using the helix demands having all the factors right, a Diesel Locomotive, carriages with good wheels, good couplings (I can see why Anthony uses Kedee's resulting in every coupling being the same and at the same height). Speed up the helix is something which I need to prefect, too slow and the Loco can lose traction, to fast and you have the risk of derailing.

 

Josefstadt: When I was building the helix I used a Jeep and it pulled 3 carriages up the helix. It is DC and has yet to be converted to DCC so I have not been able to try it out again. However the Experts would suggest helix’s are not for Steam Locomotives.

 

 

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That's pretty decent performance alright! Could adhesion be increased by making the railhead rough on the helix? Like rubbing it with coarse sandpaper or a file?

 

I wouldn't do anything like that if you want to maintain smooth running, especially as the trains are climbing with little room for big derailments when the only alternative is crunching on the floor below.

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I wouldn't do anything like that if you want to maintain smooth running, especially as the trains are climbing with little room for big derailments when the only alternative is crunching on the floor below.

 

Plus, you'd have problems with dirt collecting where the sandpaper has scraped the surface of the rail...

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I wouldn't do anything like that if you want to maintain smooth running, especially as the trains are climbing with little room for big derailments when the only alternative is crunching on the floor below.

 

I don't mean hacking the track to bits. When I was a kid I had a small layout with steep gradients on a sharp curve. So I rubbed the railhead lightly with a file to reduce the shiny smoothness of the rail. This noticeably increased traction and had no effect on smooth running or increase in derailment. Might be worth a try on a test track or a short part of the helix.

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I don't mean hacking the track to bits. When I was a kid I had a small layout with steep gradients on a sharp curve. So I rubbed the railhead lightly with a file to reduce the shiny smoothness of the rail. This noticeably increased traction and had no effect on smooth running or increase in derailment. Might be worth a try on a test track or a short part of the helix.

 

I still think it's drastic action and not something I would go for personally. One thing I would look at is how freewheeling the rolling stock is. I notice that a lot of modern rolling stock is not as freewheeling as say, an old Lima Mark I. Check back to backs etc. I ran a new 201 on A4Mallards layout with three sets of Dapol Megafret container wagons (each set = 2 wagons, so essentially 6 container wagons) and it ground to a halt in the corners where there was an incline. The wagons are poor runners, not free at all, and i reckon the 201s could do with more weight and 12 wheel drive because a Bachmann 66 pulled them and more no problems.

 

Either that or re-do the helix if it's causing too many problems. Big and annoying job that though!

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