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Hidden Staging “Headroom”

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Hidden Staging “Headroom”
Posted by Colorado Ray on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 7:54 PM

Obviously open staging is ideal, but if it must be hidden; what's the minimum clearance between the staging and track level above?  I know the answer is "as much as you can get" but I'm interested in real world layouts with close clearance.

Sheldon, if I'm not mistake, it looks like your new layout will have a number of hidden staging tracks.  What clearance are you planning?


Ray

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Posted by wickman on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 8:09 PM

I would say you answered your question. I've done a lower level staging following the outside walls and around a loop to the lower level , I think I ended up with 18" or so.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 8:26 PM

Colorado Ray

Obviously open staging is ideal, but if it must be hidden; what's the minimum clearance between the staging and track level above?  I know the answer is "as much as you can get" but I'm interested in real world layouts with close clearance.

Sheldon, if I'm not mistake, it looks like your new layout will have a number of hidden staging tracks.  What clearance are you planning?


Ray

 

Ray,

A great deal of my staging will not have anything above it, but will be "behind" the back drop.

One dead end staging yard will be mostly "off stage" in my workshop area.

Another will be a in a loop (not a reversing loop) under other trackage and scenery. The loop will have about 8-10 inches of clearance but will be accessable from the center of the loop under the layout.

Another will be covered with removable structures and behind trees.

Another will have an aisle, but the aisle will be covered with removable urban scene liftouts. That one will be accessable from under the layout even with the scenery liftouts in place and have about 6" of space with the modules in place.

 

 

Keep in mind, all my staging is "drive thru" or "back in and drive out". I don't do any fiddle yard work in staging. 

I'm getting the room ready now, in between a suddenly busy work schedule.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 8:27 PM

[quote user="wickman"]

I would say you answered your question. I've done a lower level staging following the outside walls and around a loop to the lower level , I think I ended up with 18" or so.

 

[/]

Unfortunately I haven't answered my question.  18 inches plus is obviously a no-brainer.   I'm interested in folks that have had to deal with much closer clearances.

Ray

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 8:34 PM

Sheldon, thanks for the input.  Really looking forward to seeing your layout progress.

 

Ray

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 8:43 PM

Colorado Ray

Sheldon, thanks for the input.  Really looking forward to seeing your layout progress.

 

Ray

 

Maybe I should also explain that I will be using mostly hard shell type scenery construction the the layout will largely be hollow underneath to allow reasonable access to all hidden trackage.

I'm not into the stacks of foam thing. No foam will be used, It will be plywood, 1x lumber, screen and plaster, etc.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 10:37 PM

How about 7" above top of rails, which is what I just measured as the clearance needed for me to lift a piece of rolling stock over another?

I expect this will work for a "small" number of tracks.  As the number grows, you have to start allowing for a sight line to see what you're doing.  And allow for your big fat arms.

This looks like another example of you building a mock up to see what works for YOU.

Anyway, I'd call that 7" a starting minimum.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 10:38 PM

Most of my staging tracks are visible, although in the photo below, some of it looks darker than it really is...

Two tracks on the lowest level, about 8.5' long, another two tracks (in the shadows) about 6' long.

Above that, five tracks, all around 8' long.

...and above all of those, another level, with seven tracks between 7' and 9' in length, and another two, yet to be added, about 4' in length (for locos and cabooses)....

Also on the upper level of the layout are these two tracks...

...each around 6' long and not normally visible, with another 7' for each, on a shelf in my workshop...

No mystery, and no confusion, since I'm the sole operator.

Wayne

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 10:47 PM

7j43k

How about 7" above top of rails, which is what I just measured as the clearance needed for me to lift a piece of rolling stock over another?

I expect this will work for a "small" number of tracks.  As the number grows, you have to start allowing for a sight line to see what you're doing.  And allow for your big fat arms.

This looks like another example of you building a mock up to see what works for YOU.

Anyway, I'd call that 7" a starting minimum.

 

 

Ed

 

Yes, In my case, I only need access if something comes off the rails or stops running.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by JDawg on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 10:57 PM

I mean, if you want to be technical, you could get away with 3.5 inches, maybe less. (I have bridges that leave only 2.5 or so inches clearance) Is it convienent if anything goes wrong? No! But I've learned that sometimes the unconventional will suprise you. 

JJF


Prototypically modeling the Great Northern in Minnesota with just a hint of freelancing. Smile, Wink & Grin

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Tomorrow is a Mystery.

But today is a Gift, that is why it is called the Present. 

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 5:59 AM

JDawg

I mean, if you want to be technical, you could get away with 3.5 inches, maybe less. (I have bridges that leave only 2.5 or so inches clearance) Is it convienent if anything goes wrong? No! But I've learned that sometimes the unconventional will suprise you. 

 

JDawg beat me to it.  I have a stub ended staging yard, not under the layout, but as one layer of some storage shelves I built for the usual basement stuff (holiday decor, etc.)  The original section has enough clearance the reach in an nudge a locomotive that doesn't want to move.  Not enough room to fiddle with cars, but I don't use it as a fiddle yard either.  When I extended it a couple years ago, the new section is just tall enough to clear the rolling stock.  With just straight flex track, I'm fairly confident I won't have a derailement.  If something doesn't want to run, I'll just roll the trains out that are in front of it so I can reach it.  Only had to do that once in 3(?) years, so not really an inconvenience.  

Now that I said it, watch my luck change! Laugh

Mike

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 9:42 AM

If you don't have to reach in and deal with "things" on interior tracks, I suppose the vertical clearance could be lessened.  Worst case is you have to take everything off, for the tracks blocking the access.  IF that is very occasional, I can see how a person might decide to lower the headroom.

 

Ed

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 9:44 AM

I have a dogbone layout with loop staging yards and I stacked them to save room but only allowed about 5 inches between levels. Big mistake. If there is a problem such as a derailment on the lower level, it's almost impossible to fix without removing the entire train. I'm looking at ways of relocating one or the other so that they are no longer stacked. The problem is my operating scheme calls for a reversing section on both staging yards and it's hard to figure out where to put the loop. One option I've looked at is one John Armstrong suggested in his layout design book which is to have trains go around the loop and then back into stub end tracks. Whatever I come up with is going to require major surgery. I would suggest you maximize the clearance between levels. You won't regret it. 

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 10:15 AM

On my last layout, the 6 track lower level staging ended up at 13 inches to the bottom of the upper level.  It would have been nicer to have more clearance, but the track/turnouts were solid, and I had it well lit (clear Christmas tree lights).  So I had very little problem with it over the 12 year life of the layout.

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 10:34 AM

I built my first staging too nicely.  It wasn't totally hidden, but it was behind a long row of structures.  I ballasted the tracks and put some light scenic cover between them.  But, it was nice enough that I didn't really use it for staging.

I am building new covered staging, now delayed by moving and other upheavals.  It is covered with thin sheets of foam poster board, which may or may not have some scenery on top of it.  The idea is to let me easily remove a section or two of the cover to fix derailments.  It's 4 tracks of staging, so the sections of poster board are only about a foot wide and two feet long.

 

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by gregc on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 10:46 AM

double stacked staging

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 12:24 PM

gregc

double stacked staging

 

That's what I should have opted for. Since I have a relatively short distance between towns, in order to get more separation, I would either need much steeper grades or have the track at my depots on a grade. As it was, I kept my max grade at 1.75% which is good operationally but doesn't create enough separation between staging loops. One idea I just had was to make half the upper loop a flip up section on a piano hinge. I'm thinking out loud. Don't know how practical that would be. 

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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 2:30 PM

I'm planning for about 8 inches of clearance, railhead to railhead. May need to rethink that a bit...

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Posted by nealknows on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 2:42 PM

I have 8 3/4" headroom from rail head to the underside of the wood as there's 2 1/2" of framing in the front. Total train clearance is just under 12" 

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 3:51 PM

[quote user="Colorado Ray"]

wickman

I would say you answered your question. I've done a lower level staging following the outside walls and around a loop to the lower level , I think I ended up with 18" or so.

 

[/]

Unfortunately I haven't answered my question.  18 inches plus is obviously a no-brainer.   I'm interested in folks that have had to deal with much closer clearances.

Ray

 

My new layout has only 5" clearance.  It's not enough, obviously, but it made the entire build a lot more tidy and manageable in the space I have.  The key was to craft lifout panels above it, embankments of the railroad above it.  If things go wrong, I can reach in without lifting the panels but not far, and not practically.  So, I would simply lift out a panel covering about 100 sq in, or two panels if needs be, and fix what I need to.  All it costs me to do this is removing the bits of ground foam 'bushes' that hid the seams running along the roadbed, and then restoring them once again when I have replaced the panel.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 5:21 PM

Mine will be 8", but I only have to reach back 11 inches.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 7:05 PM

Here's a slightly better view of my staging track that was "in the shadows " in my earlier post...

...but the clearance here is only 1.5", and just at this one point...

I seldom manually place (or remove) cars on these tracks.  Instead, I'll make-up suitable trains, then simply back them into the tracks for use later.  The locos may stay there, too, but also might be needed elsewhere.

Wayne

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 7:23 PM

John-NYBW

I have a dogbone layout with loop staging yards and I stacked them to save room but only allowed about 5 inches between levels. Big mistake. If there is a problem such as a derailment on the lower level, it's almost impossible to fix without removing the entire train.

 

Thanks for all the input.  I think John-NYBW has confirmed my fears of what I was contemplating. 

I'm designing a new layout to fit inside a 20 ft container which I'll put in our farm's shop building.  I'm going to "containerize" the layout to provide for a more controlled environment and to keep out the critters that have taken up residence in the shop building.  I was planning on a one lap around to the staging yard, but the clearance would only have been six inches.  Even though it will result in a longer hidden run, I think I'll do two hidden laps to get at least a 12 inch clearance since there will be eight staging tracks. 

The current plan is HO and based on the Southern Pacific at Burbank Junction and bascially features just Burbank and Burbank Junction with everything else coming from staging.  The Burbank area features a great industrial area so the layout would concentrate on local switching while mainline trains do laps.  The layout would require scratchbuilding lots of urban structures and industires with little other scenery.  Someday I'll get around to posting the plan.

Complicating the start is a nagging desire to model the B&O at M&K Junction on the B&O's west end in N scale.  Sticking with N scale allows for a plan that has open staging.  This plan would feature heavy helper action with limited local switching opportunities.  Another advantage of this plan would be fewer buildings to build.

The dilema is that my two favorite F7 locomotives are the SP Black Widow and the B&O classic blue, gray and gold.  My wife has given me an HO scale A-B-A set of black widow F3s.  I suspect I'll have to decide soon as she's been clearing out a coner of the shop for the container.  Betting money is on the SP over B&O.

Ray

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Posted by PC101 on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 8:54 PM

In HO scale. I have a rerailing track section placed on the hidden yard lead, on each yard track after the turnout and one located 1/3rd and 2/3rds down the track of each of those yard track again. Head space between the rail head and above bench work is 7''. I have a TV moniter and two camaras to watch the train movement in and out of the area.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 6:20 AM

Head room has a lot to do with what you can manage.  Obviously the more the better and people with a lot of space can afford more headroom and broader curves blah blah blah.

Here is my previous layout hidden staging with about 7 1/2 inches head room.  It was enough to reach over the top of trains for trains behind them.

The room was only 10x18' so it required a 2.9% grade to climb up to the top level and back down, so the 7 1/2 inches was a compromise to keep the grade from being even steeper.

Here you can see the track climbing up with a "scenic" 54" radius curve.

 

This time around I have more space and used a no-lix plan to bring trains up to the main yard over the mainline with max grade of 1.8% in the first stretch out of staging.  The head room this time is about 10 inches so more generous - 11 tracks of staging and no overhang like the last layout.  I used threaded rods to support the outer edge and give better access and visibility.

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, November 11, 2021 8:36 AM

PC101

In HO scale. I have a rerailing track section placed on the hidden yard lead, on each yard track after the turnout and one located 1/3rd and 2/3rds down the track of each of those yard track again. Head space between the rail head and above bench work is 7''. I have a TV moniter and two camaras to watch the train movement in and out of the area.

 

My staging loops are almost entirely curved tracks so the rerailer track is not an option. I don't think they make those for curves and if they did they are probably a tighter radius than mine which are 32" on the inside track. I do have a straight rerailer track that all trains exiting the staging loops will pass over but it only fixes some of the derailments. Usually it is the loco pilot wheels that jump the track and the rerailer usually won't correct that. 

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