Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

lift out bridge track connections with PCBs

1308 views
6 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
  • 3,384 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Monday, October 30, 2023 2:33 PM

hornblower
Don't forget to gap the underside if you're using two sided PC boards.

That's a good point! I didn't gap the underside at first and had a short through the screws holding the PC boards down. Took me an hour or so to figure out what was happening.

  • Member since
    March 2020
  • 86 posts
Posted by FlattenedQuarter on Monday, October 30, 2023 12:35 PM

https://www.flickr.com/photos/188750906@N05/shares/aMXp7nQh91

Here's how I handled my lift outs. I made the bridges out of 2x steel framing material. Riveted top and bottoms together and glued in 1/ 4 plywood roadbeds. Plug in wiring powers bridges and also a couple of feet on either side. When unplugged it stops trains from disappearing into the chasm.

  • Member since
    October 2007
  • From: Fullerton, California
  • 1,364 posts
Posted by hornblower on Friday, October 27, 2023 2:20 PM

Mark

You beat me to it!  I also used pieces of PC board to anchor and align the tracks for a swing out section of my layout.  I marked out the rail locations on appropriately sized pieces of PC board, then cut gaps in the copper cladding. Don't forget to gap the underside if you're using two sided PC boards.  I then anchored the PC boards to the layout surface, removed the ties from the center of a piece of flex track, then soldered the rails to the PC boards.  Once all the track in the area was permanently fixed to the layout, I went back and cut the rails and PC boards where the swing joint occurred using a razor saw.  It has been many years since I installed the tracks this way and the rail ends are always in alignment!

Hornblower

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
  • 3,384 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 6:47 PM

Here's how I did my two-track lift-out section on my layout in Allendale SC:

  • I attached a piano hinge across each end of the lift out and laid track across the entire thing, and oak (for simensional stability) support blocks at each end for the lift out to rest on when installed. I had curves crossing at both ends.
  • I removed the ties across the ends and soldered relatively large PC boards across the undersides of the rails. The rails were still not cut at this point.
  • I cut the rails and PC boards at the ends of the lift out.
  • I cut insulating paths along the pc boards between the rails and between the two tracks on the lift out.
  • I removed the hinge pins from the piano hinges. The lift out section was now functional. 
  • I did the wiring.

The piano hinge held the tracks sufficiently in alignment whenever I put the lift-out in place. I never had to make any adjustments.

Here's the only photo of the lift out I have online. If you look close you can see the PC boards, the support blocks and the piano hinges.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,375 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 2:39 PM

My layout has two levels, each with lift-outs at the layout room entry door...

Each is equipped with plug-ins to supply track current, and each sheet of 3/4" plywood fits snugly into the plywood brackets fastened to the layout's fascia on both sides of the aisleway, ensuring that the track on the liftouts matchs the track on both sides of the aisleway.

When not in use, the liftouts are in the entry aisleway...

I have not had any problems with this simple arrangement.

Wayne

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,415 posts
Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 10:06 AM

Do you get the NMRA Magazine? The latest issue that arrived yesterday has one of the best lift outs section articles I have seen.  

Briefly there is a deep V on the lift out ends that matches perfectly with a deep V cut into the two bases on the layout (different V angles so they don't get reversed by accident) with plates of copper on the Vs to mate and provide the electrical contact.  There is also wiring to stop oncoming trains if the circuit is broken by lifting out the section.  The only downside is that those deep Vs would make it awkward to set down the lift out.

I have grossly oversimplified the article

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    August 2020
  • 2 posts
lift out bridge track connections with PCBs
Posted by SteveVernonHillsIL on Monday, October 23, 2023 5:01 PM

Looking for information or a point in the right direction. To access my layout, I have a lift out section built. I have seen at train shows modular layouts that connect track between modules with PCB ends that help align the track. How are these constructed and provide track alignment? I wish to avoid rail joiners and short track sections frequently connected and disconnected for access. Seaqrching the MR archives is difficult. Thanks in advance

Tags: lift out

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!