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 Dbl-deck Layout in its Own Train Shed

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
railandsail Posted - 10/11/2018 : 11:30:20 AM
I want to build a double-deck, around-the-wall, peninsula style layout in a 12x16 Handi-house shed I have prepared for the job.

Why its Own Shed [/B]
Over the years I have seen many really nice train layouts that had to be cut-up (and destroyed) in order to remove them from their home place, due to either the owner's having passed away, or his moving to another residence. Very often they are rather a custom fit in their home built environment, and thus aren’t likely candidates for a new special location. I'm even currently in possession of a very nicely detailed waterfront scene that had to be cut out of an estate sale layout, and I am hoping to incorporate it into my new layout, but I see problems on the horizon.

With these experiences in mind I decided that I would purchase a stand alone Handi-House shed, and build my new layout in there. Then if I should change residence again, I can simply load that shed onto a trailer and move the whole layout to a new location. Or if I should pass away my wife could sell the layout and shed as an entity, and the buyer could move it to his new location.

I retired to a trailer home here in St Augustine, and it had an almost full length carport attached to it. I thought why not pull that new shed into the back portion of the carport and take advantage of the extra shade provided by the carport cover over the shed. It was a tight fit, and in fact to get a 12 foot wide shed into my carport I had to move all 5 of its support columns out a distance of 1 foot (had to pour concrete footer for those new column locations). I also had to remove 3 big beams attached to the underside of the shed in order to get enough clearance to fit under the carport's roof (I had initially given considerations to chopping the peak off of the shed), but became convinced I'd rather trim the height by modifying the bottom. I needed only a few inches, but it became a major undertaking. And I did this all by myself at the age of 74 using skid pads I made and a come-along attached to a tree in the back yard.

I have now just finished insulating the entire shed and installing a ceiling fan and a small air conditioner. My interior dimensions with the insulation all in is now 11 inches short of the overall dimensions of the 12x16 shed, ie; 11' 1” by 15' 1”

I want to build a dbl-deck, around-the-wall, with a peninsula layout. At first I was wondering if the peninsula might project out from one of the 'long walls' of the shed, but I am now convinced that the peninsula needs to project out from the 'back narrow wall' of this shed that sits at the opposite end from the opening door at the other end.

I intend to have a helix (likely single tracked) to move the trains between the 2 decks. And since the helix’s take up so much room, I intend to make the helix structure in its own 'box' external to the interior of the shed. This will be like a 'winged box' structure hung off a rear corner of the shed, about 5-6 foot in size to house the 26-30 inch radius helix. There will be two small holes in the shed's metal siding to allow the train to enter and exit the helix. At the moment I am imagining the train will enter the helix at an opening just off center of the shed's wall at the rear of the peninsula, and proceed its upward climb to the top deck, where it will reenter the shed over near the a perimeter (side) wall.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
railandsail Posted - 01/19/2019 : 12:03:13 PM
Finished up most of the metal benchwork yesterday. Was going to start cutting some of the plywood decks (staging ones first) this weekend, BUT first I need to cook up my version of chili for our neighborhood chili cook-off, then we have the football playoffs tomorrow,...sounds like a busy weekend.

First image,....just a working copy sketch as final dwg not done yet

Up at the helix end of the layout there are now 2 crossbeams that stretch all way across the plan,...the one shown here at 3 feet from the wall that supports the lower main deck with turntable, etc mounted on it.

There is a second beam up at the upper deck that will likely be only 2 feet deep, and support the timber mill, etc. That beam is seen here with a piece of plywood laid across it and the wall beam (angle iron in this case)

This image mocks up the 3 levels, with a paper plan of the staging level at the bottom. I believe it can be seen that I have an adequate space between the 2 main decks, and plenty of clear space for backdrop images on the main deck level.

Maybe a little difficult to tell here, but I feel the space between the main lower deck and the staging tracks is going to be quite comfortable. AND you are going to be able to reach in from either side,..almost unimpeded.

There are VERY FEW vertical post to content with. First this one at the center of the crossbeam that supports that center, AND the 2 beams stretching down the peninsula. Worked out nicely how they bolted together.

At the end of the peninsula,..

railandsail Posted - 01/19/2019 : 11:51:27 AM
've been working on finishing up my 'metal benchwork' the last 2 days. I'm sorry that the photos can be a little confusing because of all the backgound mess in the shed.

Basically you will see that I have completed the 3 levels of square tubing that surround the walls and will support the cantilevered plywood decks. ....upper deck, lower main deck, and staging level below main deck. The center peninsula beams are just mocked up in these photos. I finished the proper bolting of them today, but did not photo them yet.

I'll be cutting some plywood decks starting next week.

I'll have a few better photos next week, and I need to do an updated dwg of plan.

Hopefully you can tell it is pretty minimalistic overall for supporting 3 decks, and it will allow side access to the decks with very little obstructions (probably have to get some plywood decks on it before that becomes obvious).
railandsail Posted - 01/19/2019 : 11:47:27 AM
Metal Bench Work Puzzle

One item that has taken up time just recently is finalizing the rest of my 'metal benchwork',....such as the apportionment of my dwindling supply of square tube beams that support much of my deck work, and the final number/length needed for my staging level.

As I mentioned I picked these beams (old sign post) up over at a metal scrap yard, and they came in a whole variety of lengths. So I am trying to best match my needs vs what usable lengths I have.

I'm also reviewing how I might best support all the plywood decks, particularly the main deck with a very minimum of vertical post to the floor. This will really open up access to the staging tracks and work on the underside of that mail deck.

I'm also reviewing what other 'metal beams' I will be using on some of the inner (isle side) of the deck edges, since I do not have enough of those square tube beams to do all of those edges as well. And perhaps I do not need that heavy duty of a metal beam on those edges.

I plan on cutting all those remaining metal beams in the next few days in preparation for mounting the staging level ones and the cutting the plywood decks for staging.
jbvb Posted - 12/22/2018 : 9:32:49 PM
I've used both 1/16" brass rod and Humpyard Purveyance (www.humpyard.com) levers & push/pull cables for manual turnouts on my layout. But I use a DPDT slide switch to power the frog and lock the points in position.

Andy Keeney's 'Nashville Road' thread on this site shows how to remotely mount Caboose Industries ground throws on a shelf at the layout edge. I've seen someone else use slide bolts from the hardware store with push/pull rods, but I can't remember the builder or the layout.
railandsail Posted - 12/17/2018 : 08:14:54 AM
Refining that Mock-up of Staging Yard Ladders

First I had to assembly all of the Peco mediums together in a firm manner so they could be moved around as a group in that pinwheel ladder configuration. Then I went searching for how I could make them line up correctly with the shelf I was planning down each side. I found I could now get 6 tracks down the side in a14" depth shelf, with a 2 1/8" center between tracks.

None of the connecting tracks are less than 24" radi.

Then I went to mocking up the center peninsula staging that includes 6 more tracks on a 13 inch wide shelf located under the 24" peninsula main deck above it.

All the turnouts in these photos are Peco mediums

Then I drew in a proposed curve line that would represent the outer edge of the staging track shelf in the area of the pinwheel ladder.

I'm hoping to rig up some 'fixtures' mounted on that strip of shelf just outside of the turnouts that will allow a cable type manual operation of the individual turnouts, ie, wire within a plastic tube that would come up to a small panel mounted of the front face of the main deck's edge at the front of the aisle.

Anyone with ideas (links)to that subject matter??
Michael Hohn Posted - 12/14/2018 : 10:17:19 PM

That’s looking pretty good.

railandsail Posted - 12/14/2018 : 8:01:37 PM
Pinwheel Ladder Preference for Staging

If I power all of the turnouts with switch motors they could all be located on the front curving edge of the staging deck plywood,...within relatively easy reach for servicing/replacement. Or they might even be manually controlled from the front edge of that staging deck??

Here is my first mock-up using Peco mediums. Got interrupted with having to do eye surgery today (just cataract), so it will be a day or so before I get back to it.

BTW I am doing this mock-up on a piece of plywood at the main deck level rather than my staging level that will be 8" lower.

And that piece of white paper taped to the rear wall is actually a depiction of the 3-way turnout that feeds the staging tracks, and is located just on the other side of that back wall.

railandsail Posted - 12/08/2018 : 10:45:32 AM
Single or Double Slip Turnout

So here is my particular situation. I have two spur lines off of the mainlines feeding my peninsula area. It is desired that these 2 entering lines be able to select between either of 2 lines themselves. The most 'compact' manner to do such a thing is a slip switch.

A single slip switch accomplishes just what I want to do,...take the entering train and curve it around onto the same side, or cross it over to the other side. It does this in one single selection of the controller. It can remain on one single selection and do the same thing for trains entering from either track,...cross them over, or leave then curving around on the 'same track'.

Another nice feature of the single slip is that should the train stop, then get reversed while over this turnout, the train will NOT try to pick the opposite track and derail,,,as it might well do on a double slip switch. Is my thinking correct??

Since the double slip switch has 'another set of point rails' at its other end, that ARE NOT always set in the correct position, the train could well back up and try to chose a different route than it came in on. In other words it requires 2 control settings to get the dbl-slip to act in the manner I seek above, ….plus when I change the incoming route I have to make TWO selections to get it to operate like the single slip that I did not have to make any new selections.??

Overall view (sorry, still just a paste in for the peninsula plan as I have not finished final plan for it)

Enlarged peninsula (again, somewhat representative)

Slip switch location

Single or Double

The 2 tracks coming off the slip switch will be feeding the two container unloading/loading tracks located either side of that 'passenger station' in the original Tupper Lake plan.

The track on the left next to the aisle will be the 'escape track' for the locos that pulled the trains into the peninsula area to escape back to the freight yard area or the turntable,...a 22” radius one & a 24” radius one for bigger steamers.

Container crane (block of wood) straddling container tracks

railandsail Posted - 12/04/2018 : 09:24:09 AM
Full Size Drawing

Two days ago I decided I was going to make a full scale dwg of my freight yard ladder trackplan so I could 'record' what I had mocked up on my living room floor,....and I could make it very exact with the scale size paper templates available from Peco.

I have a nice 4x8 table out in my carport to lay a paper out on and tape the turnout templates to it. Then all I would have to do when it comes to laying the actual track onto the plywood roadbed is lay this rolled-up paper dwg down as a guide.

So I was looking around for suitable paper to make this dwg on. Being budget minded I thought what about all this Christmas wrapping paper available from the dollar stores,...using the white backside?? I was NOT really impressed with its 'sturdiness' .

My contractor friend suggested a roll of brown paper they utilized to protect floors during construction/painting/etc. I got some from him, and started the dwg / pasting project. Had to quite over night so i covered it over with a bedsheet and some vapor barrier material they use on houses. Next morning I found the paper had still absorbed some moisture and was wriggled up in a note too inviting manner. My thoughts were 'what sort of accuracy' was I going to end up with here after spending much time accurately laying out out my track plan??

'Back to the drawing board', I believe they say. Going to have to find some alternative paper. And probably need to roll it up each night, and put it inside.

PS: What made things more challenging was trying to keep those small paper templates of the switches corralled in the small wind gust that keep invading the carport....ha...ha
railandsail Posted - 11/30/2018 : 10:18:13 AM
Trackage Explanation

I may be missing something, but it looks like this ladder doesn't connect to the mainline

I guess some of my photos and dwgs can be a little confusing at times, particularly when I keep playing around with mock-ups.

That yard ladder connects to one of the mainlines down in the lower left area. The tracks on that left wall of the layout are:

1) first, the track along the wall that connects with the staging area tracks via several 'sub'-loops of the helix.

2) next out is one of the mainlines that goes into a level loop in the helix, then....

3) comes back out to present itself as the second mainline along the frieght yard. That's the one the yard ladder connects to on its bottom end. That second mainline is also where the steam engines from the coaling tower enter the fray.

Further down along that side of the layout there will be a double crossover between these 2 mainlines,...that will allow for the trains to reverse direction around the layout as a whole.

And it will also allow for the big steam locos coming out of the turntable area to get over to the outer mainline to head-up certain trains coming up out of staging.
railandsail Posted - 11/30/2018 : 10:10:22 AM
I don't know yet Andy,...kind of depends on my limited size in the peninsula.

Original thoughts were the crane(s)would just be lifting containers off of the cars on 2 tracks, and depositing them over in stacks located in the aisle area (imagination required here....ha...ha). Trucks would pick them up there.

Or maybe lifting them off cars on one 'delivery track', and loading them on second 'outgoing track'??

Of course it might be neat if some of the containers were actually unloaded from the cars, then the empty cars shuffled around a little bit. BUT I don't think these unloaded (unweighted) well cars track very well??
cajon Posted - 11/29/2018 : 01:06:05 AM
Are these cranes only be being used to lift containers from rail car to rail car & not to/from trucks?
railandsail Posted - 11/28/2018 : 3:02:04 PM
Container Crane

I was looking thru the internet for container cranes and found this rather interesting one. Its described as a Bachmann (European one I believe), 44-0009 Container Terminal Crane by Bachmann in OO scale. Pretty neat.

I like this one !

How about doubled up !!

A large resin model of a modern container crane. This model features a very high level of detail including etched railings, fixed container crane unit, glazed windows and a weathered finish. This is a large model so will sit nicely as a center piece in a dock yard or industrial scene.

Length: 227mm
Width: 266mm
Height: 348mm
railandsail Posted - 11/28/2018 : 1:39:00 PM
Originally posted by jbvb
The other thing to watch out for with sectional track turnouts is blunt points. Their worst effect will be when pushing a train through the inside route of a facing point curved turnout. Filing them sharper where the flange touches is easier before installation.

I'll try to remember that. Thanks for the notification
railandsail Posted - 11/28/2018 : 1:32:01 PM
Container Port on my Peninsula

So I was surfing around the internet looking for some ideas for my little container unloading facility on my peninsula. I ran across this rather interesting one, but I think it may be a bit too large for my space surprise-wink


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