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Multiple Staging Tracks (& access to them, perhaps helix)

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, June 18, 2018 10:06 PM

quote ...."it was inadequate should I ever need to reach in to re-rail a train on the back track"


So did you ever need to do that?

My feeling is that IF I should suffer a derailment on the inner tracks, I just have to willing to (temporarily) remove most of the trains in that staging area (in order to fix things).

(edited for some clarity)

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 4:29 AM

railandsail

quote ...."it was inadequate should I ever need to reach in to re-rail a train on the back track"


So did you ever need to do that?

My feeling is that IF I should suffer a derailment on the inner tracks, I just have to willing to remove most of the trains in that staging area.

 

Once or twice, because i didnt install any position verification for turnouts.  The other reason i thought i might need to reach the back was to perform track maintenance/ adjustments should  thw layout change physical size due to external conditions.  Finding and fixing a closed gap is difficult enough.

That design didnt last due to a move. 

but as long as you know the limitations going in and are okay with them, its your railroad.  Everything is a trade off.

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 5:33 AM

It was a trade off as if I made the staging tracks lower I would have had to make the helix lower, and that would mean more difficult access. And I would have cut out a lot of storage under the layout that I was counting on.

I just have to be very careful with my construction of the staging area tracks, etc, in order to avoid as many problems as I can. The roadbed itself will be a very thick 3/4 plywood of good quality, acclimatized, and painted on all sides to avoid dimensional changes. It will be supported by a robust piece of steel attached to the 2x4 studs of the shed walls.

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, June 21, 2018 8:25 PM

railandsail

Does anyone had more specific experiences with a specific one, and particularly with one for use with Pecos?
BTW I was hoping to keep all controls and wiring for the staging tracks, up on the top of the plywood deck of the staging tracks.

 

 
...from another forum suggesting use of Peco switch motors

@Neil & Al

I have a good number of those PL10 under the switch twin coil machines that I had (have) considered mounting under my staging turnouts. Interestingly they are about 3/4" deep, as would fit flush up under my 3/4 plywood staging deck. And a good size round hole could be easily drilled under each turnout. (BTW, no cork roadbed in my staging areas,...why anyway)

I did a little bit of searching and found this interesting subject thread where a forum member (Riogrande Jim) did a lot of interesting research on this very subject of utilizing Peco turnouts in his staging tracks. I need to do some more reading here.

Peco Switch Machines
http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/p/229460/2563136.aspx?page=1

I wonder about the top (side mount) Peco machines. Aren't they just about the same thing as the older Atlas twin coil machines? In fact wouldn't the older Atlas machines work was well??

I was disappointed in the relatively high price of those side mount Peco units,...over half the price of the turnouts themselves.

To my knowledge the primary problem with these twin coil machines was 'burning them out' by leaving the current to them on for too long a period of time via the switches utilized to control them. The CDU's eliminated these problems and made the twin coil machines reliable ??

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 8:52 AM

Roof on 'Outhouse'

Probably going to be putting a roof on my 'outhouse' towards the end of the week. Everyday rain storms, high heat, and other house projects interfered with more work on the helix structure recently. ( a recent posting on another forum referred to my outdoor helix structure as a 'metal outhouse'.....ha...ha)

 

Can't wait to start placing roadbed inside the helix, but 2 things have to happen first; 1) constant rain storms have to diminish, 2) I'd like to get another coating of waterproofing on the roadbed pieces before subjecting them to our very high humidity levels as of late.

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, July 14, 2018 8:10 AM

 

 

Another Wack at the Reverse Loop

Compare to my earlier post on Page 2 of this thread.

This shows a simple reverse section set-up that requires no electronic reversing sections. All the green is reversing section. Double gaps in both rails are at both legs of Turnout A. A DPDT switch aligns polarity of the rails depending on which way the turnout is thrown,

If the DPDT is a slide switch, an activator rod from its handle can move the points of the turnout.

In this diagram maroon - MAIN - and green - REVERSING -show the center lines of the tracks. RED and BLACK show the power busses for MAIN. Orange and BLUE show busses for REVERSING.

Advantages-

There is no concern about more than one train crossing the gaps, unless somebody insists on running a train thru the turnout while another train is using it in the other direction.

Simple electronics, with no dependence on circuit cards for auto-reversing.

Disadvantage:

Five balloon track plus the entire stub-end yard are on one circuit. With lots of locos "cooking" the current demand can be large. Big Booster.  OR  individual tracks can be equipped with OFF /ON toggles or pushbuttons so that only the track being used is alive at any time.

More than one booster can be used for the GREEN tracks, but that could be complicated.

DrJolS



There is no concern about more than one train crossing the gaps, unless somebody insists on running a train thru the turnout while another train is using it in the other direction.

Simple electronics, with no dependence on circuit cards for auto-reversing.
DrJolS

My question is what happens when one has a multi lash-up of locos (2-4 diesels for instance) crossing into a reverse loop? Isn't this a case of several of the locos on one circuit, while the others are on another??

I fully imagine a number of my 'staged trains' being headed up by multiple diesels. And even several by double-headed steam.

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, July 14, 2018 5:24 PM

railandsail
Isn't this a case of several of the locos on one circuit, while the others are on another??

power for the reverse loop is from the same source as the mainline.   The DPDT switch just changes the polarity.   

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, July 14, 2018 6:06 PM

I understand that the power is from the same source.

What confuses me is that it seems to be saying that one of the multiple lash-up locos could be looking at one polarity while the other just behind it that has 'crossed the gap' might be looking at the opposite polarity??

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, July 14, 2018 6:20 PM

that's the purpose of the DPDT switch which is mechanically coupled to the turnout throw (see image) so that the polarity of the mainline and routed path through the turnout is the same.

of course,  anything with metal wheels will cause a short when it spans the gaps when the turnout is not properly aligned coming from the reverse section.    This short will occur before the problem you're concerned with can become an issue.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, July 15, 2018 11:20 AM

 In the most basic type of reverse loop, there should never be a problem. By "most basic type of reverse loo" I mean the sort where the straight route through the turnout loops back around to the diverging route. In such an arrangement, switching the loop polarity wwith the turnout makes perfect sense, no need for fancy electronics or anything. There's ZERO chance of metal wheels or trailing units crossing into the loop after the polarity is reversed - they'd derail because the switch points would be set the wrong way. You can only change the points (and thus the loop track polarity) after the entire train has passed over the turout.

 It only gets more complicated when there are multiple places to enter or exit the loop.

                                   --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, August 06, 2018 8:45 AM

Resumed Work on Helix Housing

 

Finally got back to working on the helix housing,...including roof and some siding.

Other than the sheeting of the roof and the siding, most all of the helix structure is built from materials I salvaged from my local metal scrape yard,,,much of it 2x2, 2x3, and 2x4 alum extrusions utilized in the screen porch industry. Easy to cut with a chop saw or skill saw.

Then there are the upright post attached to the large alum ring that I had fabricated from flat alum bar stock. These upright post, that will support the helix roadbeds that are largely utilized in stair case handrail and balcony handrail constructions.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope to finish cutting the sheet metal roof today.

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, August 06, 2018 7:31 PM

Got some metal shavings in my eye early this morning,...so delay for the day

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, August 07, 2018 11:58 PM

Accessibility of 3-Way Switch

In the past I have expressed concern over the eventual accessibility of the 3-way turnout leading into my staging tracks.

I did a little mock up today, and now I feel much better about the situation.

 

 


 

I will be able to reach this from the inside of the helix structure, from a door I will form in the outside wall, and from underneath via a removable panel I will build in the 'floor' of this helix structure.

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Posted by railandsail on Friday, August 10, 2018 11:23 PM

Insulating the Helix

Last couple of days I've been playing with insulation ideas for my helix structure. Things have gone good.
i had been toying with several ideas for insulating the alum/steel roof sheets.

My contractor friend was saying he had some bubble-wrap type insulation that often gets utilized in metal buildings. I wasn't that enthused with the idea, even though it sounded easy to install.

I had scrounged some partial sheets of 2" thick foil-faced foam from a construction job here in St Augustine. At first I thought about how to adhere that foam to the steel roof panels that I am sure can get quite hot in this FL sun. Wait a minute, how about sitting it on the top of my upper circular ring/frame that is surrounded by a 2" thick box extrusions? Dimensions would work out really good,...all 2" thick stuff ! AND i would not have to 'glue' it to the underside of the roof panels,...and I would have an 'air gap' between that sheet metal roof and the foil face of the insulation.

Proceeded to lay the 3 partial sheets of foam out in my carport, tape andglue their edges together to get one 'single big piece' of foam insulation that i could subsequently cut to exact size to fit my helix structure.. Went ahead and put a coat of white paint on the underside that will be the ceiling in the helix.

 

 

 

 

 

I really fit this big piece of foam down into postion just right. Next I will be screwing down the sheet roof panels. BTW there are two of these panels, each about 3,5 ' wide and 7' long. I must have lifted and placed these 2 panels off and on again about 6 times as I played with the design and fit. Lucky I am tall, and in good shape to do this myself.

The top is so strong now that I have no problem  climbing on it with my 205 lbs.
 

Tomorrow I will be tackling some of the insulation ideas for the sides. I now feel my helix structure will be well insulated. And I have the roof extended out over the edge of 'box' such that it provides an 'awning' over the side entrance. This awning will provide rain coverage for the side opening 'door' I intend to provide for servicing and problems with the 3-way turnout that feeds the staging tracks,

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, August 11, 2018 8:23 AM

Brian.  Great progress.  

What is the plan for the helix box, as far as climate control?  Are you concerned about temperature swings? 

- Douglas

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, August 11, 2018 8:50 AM

Climate Control Plans

Not exactly sure just yet,...likely some sort of small circulation fan that would grab some cooler air from the main room and pump it into the helix area thru those connecting track portals,.... on those extreme days.,...certainly NOT its own AC system,...overkill

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, August 11, 2018 6:06 PM

Got to work on the helix early this morning in an effort to beat the direct sun on the roof. Sure took a longer time than I anticipated to put all those screws in the roof panels ,...building this 'little hanging helix' took a LOT longer than I ever anticipated,,,,ha...ha)

Here are a couple of photos that show how nice that big 2" thick piece of foam fit over the upper rim ring of the helix. I'm am really pleased with that.

 

 

So then I began to wrap the  'helix wheel' with another material I had acquired quite awhile back. Its half inch foam material utilized in office partitions. Its a nice density that I could wrap around the upright rods, and screw it onto those rods with a minimum of screws. And lucky me the panels were just the correct height for the helix wheel.

These panels are attached to the outside edge of those upright rods , and will act as a barrier to the trains falling off the outside of the helix. I have only wrapped about half of the helix wheel with these insulating panels as I will be putting an inspection door and viewing window in a portion of the 'entrance side'.

 

 

 

 

And of course i don't need any insulating materials on the face of the side mate-ing with the shed as it already has its own insulated wall.

Another nice plus is I have the roof panels cut extra long to provide an 'awning' over that 'entrance side' That will mean much less effort to 'waterproof' the inspection door., & rain coverage for the operator who might have to enter during a rainly day (hope not).

 

and then temporary cover skin

 

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, August 20, 2018 9:15 AM

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, August 20, 2018 9:23 AM

Accessable 3-way Peco

In the past I have expressed concern over the eventual accessibility of the 3-way turnout leading into my staging tracks.

I did a little mock up today, and now I feel much better about the situation.

 

 


 

I will be able to reach this from 1) the inside of the helix structure, 2) from a door I will form in the outside wall, and 3) from underneath via a removable panel I will build in the 'floor' of this helix structure.

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, August 20, 2018 9:25 AM

Accessible 3-way Peco

In the past I have expressed concern over the eventual accessibility of the 3-way turnout leading into my staging tracks.

I did a little mock up today, and now I feel much better about the situation.

 

 


 

I will be able to reach this from 1) the inside of the helix structure, 2) from a door I will form in the outside wall, and 3) from underneath via a removable panel I will build in the 'floor' of this helix structure.

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Posted by railandsail on Monday, August 20, 2018 9:30 AM

Finalizing 3-way Location

Yesterday I spent quite a number of hours trying to figure out a few things about my 3-way turnout that will feed the staging tracks.
1) How will I mount it (on what roadbed that stretches between the shed's rear wall and the helix) ?
2) Where exactly will I locate it?

3) How do I limit the size of the opening thru the wall such that I limit creature access, as well as limit lost of AC from the main shed?
 

Those are a few of questions I had in mind when I began. At first I started trying to just jury rig several placements of the turnout and its curved tracks, then take approx measurements. This was all becoming to much of a hassle trying to hold multiple objects in place, and make measurements, and view things overall.

 

I decided I needed to make a paper template, then trim that down to size during fitting. I decided paper was a good template,...easy to drawn on and flexible enough to fit thru the narrowing hole thru the back shed wall, and transferable to the wood plywood I will eventually be cutting for the roadbed itself. Turns out it was a good choice as I was able to just use scissors and free-form pencil to determine areas that needed custom fitting to clear around upright post, etc. I'll be transferring that pattern to plywood today and doing the roadbed piece.

First I needed to get an accurate form of the3-way turnout and its 'spreading' 2 curves. But first I still had this nagging thought about which brand turnout to utilize there,...(I had a Peco, a Roco, a Fleischmann, and a Shinoharra). After renewed evaluation I decided the Peco was the best. But just in case I should ever change my mine about brand, OR need to change out to a new one, I will make it so it can be replaced fairly easy.

I then came to the balancing act of exactly where to place the 3-way along the axis of the single track going into staging from the helix. If I placed it very close to the hole in the back wall it would make my requirements for the size of the hole cutout the smallest possible. I had thought this might be ideal to limit the size of the openings between the main shed and the helix structure. But now that I have even better insulation in my helix than I first imagined, this has become less of an issue.

 

 

Besides as I played around with ideas I came upon another solution. On the helix side of the opening I could make a simple wedge-shaped transparent cover of plexiglass that would just sit over the 3-way, and be quickly removable. It would stick out from the opening in the wall to form a single track opening at its 'entrance end'.

 

Now I can place the 3-way turnout further from the back wall of the shed which will accomplish several things:
a) more easily accessed should I have to perform maintanence or rerail trains

b) more flexibility in hooking up those 3 tracks connected to the turnout
c) permit slightly longer staging tracks down the 2 sides

 

Paper mockup,...next cut the wood subroadbed

 

 


 

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 9:07 AM

Yesterday I cut the entrance hole to the shed a bit wider, then cut out my wood roadbed piece (Its hidden under the paper pattern). I also cut out a square hole for the two Peco under-switch machines/controls to be housed in (not shown yet)
 

 

 

 

You can see I have room for the trains to pass by that one upright post by carving out a little relief.
 

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 30, 2018 2:34 PM

Looking Inside & Shelf Supports


Over the past year I have been thinking and experimenting with ideas for my benchwork for my new layout in a shed.

I was over at my local metal scrap yard this past Fri and noticed some hollow square steel tubing they use to mount street signs with. Its 2" square verses my flanged 1-1.25" bed rails, and its really strong, and its galvanized. So now I am definitely considering this stuff.

 

I was originally considering making vertical brackets at each of the wall stud location to support the plywood shelves. then I ran across these steel square tubing at the local metal scrap yard.

My contractor friend. who was going to weld up the considerable number of vertical brackets I had sketched up, came back with an interesting idea. Why not lay these square tube 'beams' horizontally along the walls and lag them into the wall studs. Then the plywood shelves (decks) could be attached along their wall edge and cantilevered out. And where the shelf/deck is of a substantial depth, the outer edge might also be supported primarily by another long piece of this horizontal square tubing with only an ocassional vertical support.

I am now planing on utilizing this 'horizontal framing' idea on my staging track level and my lower primary deck. I may even utilize the idea for my upper deck, particularly as they will be more shallow than the primary deck. I will definitely utilize the larger 2" square tubing to support the lower primary deck. For the staging level (relatively shallow), and the upper deck I may utilize my 'bed frame angle iron'. I'll document this more thoroughly as I get to building it.

Quick update,....the first piece of horizontal steel tube framing along the back wall of the shed. The large size square tubing is the type that will be utilized to support the edge of the plywood deck next to the walls.. This will be selectively placed around the perimeter of the shed. There will also be central pieces at the inner edges of the shelf somewhat like shown on this preliminary dwg.
 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 30, 2018 2:35 PM

Outside Skin

Decided to add the last piece of siding (outside cover) to the helix structure in order to keep things dry inside temporarily while I make a trip north,...and to get that metal piece off its temp resting place against the back fence.

The final version won't look like this as there will be a door for getting access to a few of the tracks entering the main shed, and likely there may be a plexi window of some sort.

(turns out this 'structure' provides some storage for the electric lawn mower and the pressure washer underneath)

 

 

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, August 31, 2018 11:46 AM

Looks like progress.  As I'm sure you know, seal it up good or you'll have spiders in your helix or bats in your belfry.

- Douglas

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Posted by railandsail on Friday, August 31, 2018 10:45 PM

Haven't taken the step to seal it all up yet, as I need to add the circular roadbeds and tracks and bottom closure piece(s).

But I already found a spider web and a few mosquitos hanging out in there. Wonder if one of those electric insect zappers would get them,...or isn't there something newer on the market?

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, September 01, 2018 8:28 AM

Easements in Staging and/or Freight Yards

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no real need for easements in a staging area such as mine,...nor a freight yard in general,... where trains are moving at low speeds, and/or there may be a need for compactness??

For the moment I'll just post this drawing of the 3 zones of staging. There will be 5 tracks to either side of the room/shed. These will be mounted on a 12"-14" board of 3/4 plywood cantilevered off of a very substantial metal framework attached to the 2x4 studs of the shed.

Then there will be 5-6 tracks down the center under the peninsula.  These will be off to one side of, and cantilevered to 'metal frame spine' that will support both the peninsula main deck and this staging deck.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, September 01, 2018 10:10 AM

 What radius are the staging curves? The larger the radius, the less need there is for easements, at least at low speeds. 

 I don't think I'd put a bug zapper IN the helix structure - yeah, they zap bugs, but they ALSO attract them so they can be zapped. Maybe hanging it near but outside the helix enclosure. Zappers don't get spiders, but maybe if there is no good food source flying around inside the helix area, the spiders won't build there.

                                            -Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, September 01, 2018 6:42 PM

railandsail

Outside Skin

Decided to add the last piece of siding (outside cover) to the helix structure in order to keep things dry inside temporarily while I make a trip north,...and to get that metal piece off its temp resting place against the back fence.

The final version won't look like this as there will be a door for getting access to a few of the tracks entering the main shed, and likely there may be a plexi window of some sort.

(turns out this 'structure' provides some storage for the electric lawn mower and the pressure washer underneath)

 

 

 

Brian, this might be a bad time to bring this up, but have you given any thought to biting the bullett and just hiring a contractor to build a permanent extension to the back of the shed? 

He could build around what you already have, but tie the siding into the shed and trailer, have real walls down to a foundation, and a roof (looks like that overhanging piece is already long enough).  You could access the helix from a door that swings to the outside.

What you have is impressive, but it just looks like its going to be a lot of ongoing maintenance to keep it from becoming critter haven.  And they will find a way to get into your main layout too, IMO.

Edit:  Or even a smaller pre-made lawn shed abutting the train shed.  Something seamless all around with a weatherproof door. 

A child's playhouse?  People sell those to get them out of their yards.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, September 01, 2018 7:19 PM

I still can't wait for the problems when the electrial system in the house needs work and that meter has to be pulled...........

Sheldon

    

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