Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I'm at the completion of one of my home projects and nearing the time for outside help to come in to finish off the other (read plumbing) so I turned my attention back to the basement this past weekend. I cleaned up the entire workshop side of the basement, moving anything and everything layout related to the layout side. Then I started to look at what I had built already for the layout. Over the last few weeks, I've had to turn off the water to the house a few times. This has lead me to realize that the helix placement next to the water meter and fridge may not be the wisest choice. Part of that is the way the helix base was built:

As you can see, it's pretty square. Playing with the base some, using the standard L-girder and cross braces I used elsewhere on the layout benchwork will probably give me more room and definitely will be a higher base. Also, I've had to carry some things up and down the stairs that were a little cumbersome and realized making the corner with something sitting next to the fridge is going to be very difficult. All of this was enough to get me thinking of possible layout arrangements. Some are minor tweaks to what I have been looking at, some are rip everything down and start over. I've come to more or less 3 differing varieties to look at.

The first is a helix on each end of the layout lines, with staging being on the opposite wall then the classification yard on the 2nd level.


  • Utilizes all current benchwork
  • Passthrough/visible staging allows continuous running
  • Could also do staging above each other with one track connected for continuous running
  • Still have helix next to water meter
  • Have to build two helices
  • Room can't be "enclosed" due to 2nd helix
The second variation I had come up with was a helix on one end and stub-ended staging on the corner by the water meter.

  • Utilizes all current benchwork except for shelf in corner of staging
  • Gives full access to water meter
  • Maximizes staging capacity with up to 9 or 10 tracks on each level
  • Room can't be "enclosed" due to 2nd helix
  • No longer have ability for continuous running
The third one is the "tear everything down" one. It follows along with the age old looping design to climb between decks. In this one, I have put in looped staging based on emails and reading about various layouts, particularly Bruce Faulkner's

  • Looped staging allows for continuous running
  • Water meter corner is clear which could allow area to be used for storage or perhaps a small workbench
  • Room could be completely enclosed
  • Would require the full dismantling of 80% of the current benchwork built
  • Tighter aisle due to width needed for looping peninsula
So now that you've read down this far, I'll say that I'm really leaning to the towards the second one but I will say the 3rd looks like a really fun challenge. I do think I've talked myself out of the double helix or even the looped staging going into that corner. Please give me any thoughts or suggestions you can think of seeing these 3 arrangements or even slight variations of them.


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.

Conrail Ft. Wayne Line © Header image from J. Alex Lang Template Nice Blue modified by Indian Monsters. Original created by http://ourblogtemplates.com.