Monday, November 22, 2010

Staging Decision

So I'm slowly creeping towards completing all base benchwork for the layout itself and need to finalize either my design, or at the very least, how many helices I'll have to build. The big question for me is what to do with staging. I've been looking at ways to have the staging below the 1st level, out in the open but looped, etc. I've probably done more designs on just my staging arrangement than most people do for their entire layout, but I think it's necessary. If towns and such are done wrong or not working, you can usually move things around, particularly on a shelf-style layout like mine. Staging, on the other hand, can be very difficult and expensive to move. I've essentially come to two options. The first is to come down a helix from both the 1st and 2nd levels into staging below the 1st level, approximately 24"-26" off the floor on the bottom shelf brackets. Here is the plan I came up with:

Pros:
  • Allows for continuous running
  • All track is easily accessible
  • Creates 30 "slots" for staged trains
Cons:
  • Building of the second helix
  • Potential complicated  track work at top of helix for Roanoke Line
  • Very tight curve back to get continuous running
  • Difficult benchwork on turnback to helix, under the freestanding sections
 And here is the second option:
Pros:
  • Accessible area for switches
  • Do not have to build a second helix
  • Opens up area under 1st level for shelf storage, possibly opening up the rest of the basement for expansion
  • Could have continuous running if loop built around hot water heater
  • Opens access to all sides of the furnace
  • Allows for other peninsula to gain 2 ft. or fun on each sides, equaling another 4' of run
Cons:
  • No way for continuous running as designed with out difficult benchwork around water heater
  • Building of swing/removable section (1st level at 40" only) to make access to Gas meter easier
  • Only has 10/11 tracks (keeping a 15" width on shelve) for staging
  • Partially difficult trackage to reach behind the furnace area
As you can see, this utilizes the "dead" area behind the furnace to the water heater. I originally was thinking of not blocking/utilizing this area to get to the gas meter. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that access to the gas meter will be needed for probably on one, maybe 2 times during the course of my layout's life. For that, the curved area of this plan could be built to be removed.

I'm starting to lean towards the second option but if anyone else has any thoughts, I'd be interested in hearing them.

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Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based on Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Ohio.

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