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" "MAKING A GRADE WITH BENCHWORK"

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  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: west of Portland Oreg.( the city of Roses
  • 599 posts
" "MAKING A GRADE WITH BENCHWORK"
Posted by TrainsRMe1 on Sunday, February 12, 2023 3:53 PM

Hello All, how have you guys N' gals been,                                                                     It's been a long time since last post here, hope all has been well with everyone, I"m glad to be back, associating with my fellow MRRDERS!!!! since today is Super Bowl Sunday, I won't be long, LOL!! so here's my question, I'm building my benchwork approach to my upper level, what I want to know is, is it since it's a "nolix" approach would it be that my shelf would be stair stepped or would it be a gradual grade? Thanks for the help with this matter, and I won't stay away long again!!!!                                                                                                                                        Thank You                                                                                                             Trainsrme1Cool

  • Member since
    July 2021
  • 194 posts
Posted by NorthsideChi on Sunday, February 12, 2023 4:14 PM

If your incline is a perfectly straight line, then your benchwork will be inclined immediately beneath the track and then stepped alongside it to allow tapering of landscape and scenery with riser infill like foam blocking. It will also allow a durable mounting surface for track bed and wiring. 

If your incline has curved track, your bench work will need to be stepped with an appropriate riser product designed for curved grades.  Using sloped benchwork in this instance would result in "string line derailments"

Stepped benchwork is always the safest bet if you find you change your mind on the design.  But if you are certain a simple straight incline is all that's needed, slopping the substrate seems most logical  Just a note that there needs to be transitions at the top and bottom. You'll need to provide a transition gap for track camber infill so the trains don't bottom out or become uncoupled at the top and bottom. 

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,375 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, February 12, 2023 10:39 PM

 

For my layout, in an oddly-shaped room with 10 corners...

I added the peninsula so that I could eventually add a partial upper level, which was accomplished a few years ago...it's represented on the sketch above in the grey area.

While the peninsula is mostly not yet sceniced, it offers a 45' long curvy 2.8% climb to the partial upper level.

Here's how the climb was built...

The roadbed was cut out of 3/4" fir-ply, and is supported by 1"x2" uprights that are screwed to the gridwork.  I simply determined the halfway point of the grade and inserted the support, then determined all of the halfway points until all of the climb was properly supported.
All of the curves are properly banked, along with easements into and out-of all of the curves.

Here are a few more views...

...here's the top of the grade, before I added the partial upper level...

...I did manage to add a little scenery...

...but there's still a lot more to be done.

Wayne

  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: lavale, md
  • 4,654 posts
Posted by gregc on Monday, February 13, 2023 7:02 AM

TrainsRMe1
what I want to know is, is it since it's a "nolix" approach would it be that my shelf would be stair stepped or would it be a gradual grade?

does this show what you're thinking?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,434 posts
Posted by dknelson on Monday, February 13, 2023 9:45 AM

TrainsRMe1
'm building my benchwork approach to my upper level, what I want to know is, is it since it's a "nolix" approach would it be that my shelf would be stair stepped or would it be a gradual grade?

The answer is the almost-always-useless "that depends."  What it likely boils down to is a constant longer gradual grade versus shorter but steeper grades interspersed with level areas.   This is a common issue that many modelers face.  One unknown for those wanting to be helpful is -- how steep are these grades, both the long gradual one and the shorter more intense ones?  What are we really talking about in terms of the elevation and how many linear feet we have available to get there?

Those shorter and steeper grades migtht impose a limit on train length that you won't like.  But on the other hand, you want reasoanbly level ground between  those grades where you are going to have local switching, industries, and such.  That is why double deck layouts from Tony Koester and Bill Darnaby set aside flat areas for key towns even if overall their layouts feature reasonably constant grades.  Turnouts on grades can be a genuine challenge.  

Gradual grade might mean you can run longer trains without helpers.  But on the prototype, and to a certain extent on model railroads, a short but intense grade might actually allow a long train too because the entire train isn't on the grade at the same time.  The very intense grade -- close to 3% -- on the Kalmbach club layout the MR&T is relatively short for that reason

Obviously you don't want visual absurdity, and there is a real issue of believable scenery.  Except for climbing out of certain river and creek valleys you don't see many "stair stepped" situations in real life.  But on a model you often need to compress scenic features because you don't have all the space in the world to get to the effect that you seek.  So the long expense of gradual grade often becomes a stair-step effect out of necessity on a layout.  

Ultimately my hunch is that what kind of layout you want in terms of operations might well dictate the decision.

Dave Nelson

 

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
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Posted by Doughless on Monday, February 13, 2023 10:19 AM

If OP is going to have double ended sidings or industrial spurs on a constant grade, he will want to think bout making those level so that parked cars do not roll away.  

I would think the stair step approach would prevail if there was a town along the nolix.  Of course, that means the places that are actually at a grade would have to be steeper to account for the length taken up by the level town.

- Douglas

  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: west of Portland Oreg.( the city of Roses
  • 599 posts
Posted by TrainsRMe1 on Monday, February 13, 2023 3:23 PM

Hi Dave,                                                                                                                 I'm building The Union Pacific Casacde subdivision, in Cascade mountains of Oregon,this whole section of the layout will be all mountain terrain form the start of my grade (bottom) to top, it's 12 feet, I want it to be a 2% grade, I think the best benchwork will be to stair step method, my towns will not be on the grade,

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