Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stage One of the Lower Deck Complete.....

As indicated last week we finished the lower deck under the existing layout this weekend.
Three views of the right-hand wall
We finished assembling the final baseboard section for the left hand wall including the 2” X 1” strengthening on Saturday. Raymond had spent Saturday morning cleaning up the left hand wall where this section was to go, so once assembly was completed we put it in place.

We then cut the timber required to fill the gap where the high bridge is to go.

Sunday morning was spent in assembling this section.
The back wall
We then bolted together all the separate baseboard sections except the one along the right hand side as the timber is now stored on top of this section and the plywood and MDF is stacked against it. We have already shifted the 5.4 metre lengths of 4” X 1” four times so we are going to work around the section on the right hand wall for the time being.
Two views of the right hand wall. The timber stacked on the lower deck
with the MDF and ply leaning against the deck.
Sunday afternoon the 24 February, Raymond and I had a brainstorming session to see where we should go next. We came up with some radical changes to our track plan and how we should go about things. This has led to some heavy discussion and laid open lots of problems with a few possible solutions.
Raymond in deep thought considering our options

We originally had intended to have a point-to-point layout with the option of a continuous run through including a helix near the door to The Shed. It has always been our intention to operate the layout as a point-to-point with the two terminal stations one above the other along the left hand wall. We are now considering deleting this helix altogether and finishing each terminal station with a locomotive depot including a turntable. Our MMI Rio Grande K Class locomotives are not fitted up for proper tender first running having only a dummy knuckle coupler on the front and besides they would not look right running right around the whole layout with a train tender first. The upper terminus was to have had a reversing loop above the helix and the lower terminus a turntable in the back left hand corner of The Shed. We now have ideas to put in a turntable on the top deck with a rectangular running shed for locomotives as the deck for this upper level will need to be 2 ft 6 ins wide at most as it is cantilevered from the wall. The lower deck will also have a turntable but this deck can be say five feet wide at this point so the locomotive accommodation will be a roundhouse on this level.

The two levels of the layout were to be linked by a helix at the end of the peninsula down the centre of the room. We are having a major branch line on the bottom deck and had originally planned to have a junction station along the lower deck on the right hand side of The Shed. We discussed what this would be like with an operator for this junction station, an operator for the mining branch junction which already exists on the upper deck and the mining branch itself all in the same area. We also considered that so far we have not had any “wide open” spaces around the layout with a long run between the stations.

We now thought we could make the junction station at the terminal station on the lower deck on the left hand side of The Shed. This would give us a long run on the branch line starting on the left hand side along the back wall, down the right hand side of The Shed out from the wall on the peninsula and back down the right hand side of the peninsula around the outside circumference of the helix and into the branch line terminus on the left hand side of the peninsula. This would be a distance of approximately 80 feet.

We then started considering the possibilities of eliminating the helix for the main line. What if we could have a continuous rise from the terminal on the left hand side of The Shed until we achieve the height of the upper deck on the left hand side of the peninsula down the centre of the room? We are trying to achieve a maximum gradient of 1 in 50 but we have to gain a height of 24½ inches.

It appears that the distance we think we have available will only give us a rise of 18 inches leaving us about 6 inches to go. This may require us to have a short helix of only one or two turns rather than the six or so if we built a full helix. There are a few other issues which we are pondering.

The length of the run will possibly require a passing loop say ten feet long which will have to be level. That will knock out a significant distance in our climb.

We could build the terminal station on the lower deck about two to three inches higher using risers. That would reduce the height we have to climb down to 21½ inches.

Another option might be to have a steeper gradient – say 1 in 40. Since the climb would be basically straight track with sweeping curves the frictional pull shouldn’t be as bad as a 1 in 50 grade on a continuous spiral of about 40 to 44 inch radius curves. We don’t know what the capabilities of any of our locomotive fleet are. It would be a disaster if our main line locomotives could only pull two or three passenger or freight cars just because we had too steep a gradient.

There is a lot of room for further thought and planning.

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