Now that my first layout tour is in the rear-view mirror, it's nice to get a little bit of a breather from the manic & intense activity of the last bunch of weeks - but I know that I'm most motivated when I have a goal to work towards. So the only question is, "what should I do next?"
Two alternatives present themselves immediately: 1) I could "stay" - which is to say, I could focus on consolidating the gains of recent months, scenicking and bringing the newly constructed areas (as well as the rest of the layout) up to the level of completion of the Rocky Hill scene; or 2) I could "go" - push onward, and "northward," from Old Saybrook to Essex and beyond - building new areas as I go.
Your answer - or at least my answer - to this question probably depends on what excites you more. What gives you the most motivation? Which alternative will give you the most measurable progress? And - if you're operations minded - what will get the railroad to the point where it's fully operational as soon as possible?
In my case, the answer to all of these questions is to GO!
While I've had a few ops sessions already, starting way back in October 2013, they've been limited to just two locals (Valley Local - Hartford to Middletown & AirLine Local - New Haven to Middletown). But now that Old Saybrook and the Shoreline section is in (not to mention the Saybrook wye), I'm within striking distance of full operations - all 4 locals, plus mainline trains (well, once I build Essex to Haddam).
And by "striking distance" I mean just 33.5 inches . . .Problem is, that 33.5 inches is over a huge (for HO scale) chasm . . .
|North end of Saybrook wye on left, mocked-up curve to Essex on floor, 33.5" from the leg to the doorpost.|
I tend to plan things full-size, right on the floor, so my first step was to transfer the location of the end of the wye to the floor. So I got out handy dandy plumb bob. You can see the string hanging down from the track centerline in the pic above.
Here's everything temporarily in place, waiting for my chalk outlining. As you can see, the plumb bob shows on the floor where the end-of-track is, and I've placed my "subroadbed template" in place, with 24" radius (my minimum radius) track on top of that. The tape measures the 33.5"
The plumb bob works both ways - you can also use it to transfer points on the floor up to where you need them. In this case, I marked the outer edges of the subroadbed template on the wall where the track will enter. As you can see from the markings, I'm leaving myself plenty of wiggle room for adjustment. In case you can't read it, the horizontal line is at the same height as the 1x3 at the end of the Saybrook wye benchwork. I marked it using a 4' level from the top of that benchwork to the wall.
I next had to figure out whether I wanted to do a lift out, swing up, swing gate, or dropdown (no way was I going to have a duckunder). I ruled out a lift out immediately since it would require too much time to put in and take out. I've also discovered (based on the liftout I have between the two modules) that it's hard to keep things lined up precisely over time, given all the handling. And I didn't want anything to swing up since it would be right in the way, in everybody's line of sight - and might even hit the ceiling. So that left a swing gate/door or drop down.
I'm really intrigued by the swing gate/door option. Doors have been around for a long time (duh) and the "technology" is proven. I could basically buy a cheap door, cut it down, install it, and build my benchwork on top of it. BONUS: it could swing out (just like a door) if anybody had to get out quickly.
Once I mocked things up though, the problem with this approach became clear:
Even if I was able to get it really tight against the wall, it would still stick out quite a bit into the space I'm reserving for the Agent/Operator's office (not to mention obstructing whatever limited aisle space I have there).
So that leaves a drop down. A quick initial mockup was encouraging:
|Folds out of the way, pretty much|
Bill suggested a piano hinge, to keep everything lined up, and I found one that should work:
So, in addition to the track centerline mark, I used my plumb bob to add marks for the end corners of the Saybrook wye benchwork, and used a 12" ruler to show where the piano hinge will go.
The next thing I need to figure out is how best to secure the non-hinge end. Any suggestions?
For that matter, is there anything I'm missing? Let me know if you have another approach to bridging the chasm that you'd recommend, or if you know of any good articles/videos on how best to do this.
And if you see anything wrong with my approach so far I hope you'll let me know before I start building it! %^)
While there's nothing "wrong" with a drop-down, you may find that the scenery gets scraped by passers-by. The other designs avoid this.ReplyDelete
Hi Rhett and thanks for weighing in! I wasn't considering having scenery on this section - well, nothing other than ground cover and ballast. Certainly no trees or structures. Although those *would* be nice.... if I decide to include them, you're definitely right - a lift out would be much better.Delete
I've always thought that the dropdown is the easiest to build and operate while being the least temperamental in these situations, especially if the bridge is simply track with little or no scenery... although the curve is slightly more awkward than a straight run, it should be no big deal and perhaps can be pulled back beyond 90 degrees as it hangs to provide a little more protection... I have a similar situation that I am looking at, but am considering the use of two drawer glides used in a vertical fashion against each door jamb... good luck!ReplyDelete
Thanks Jim! I'd be interested in seeing your situation and how you're addressing it. Good point about pulling things back beyond 90 degrees. I don't know if I have the room to do that, but I'll definitely see.Delete
If you swing it up and attach the hinge to the wall side instead of the wye you'll protect the scenery and not obstruct line of sight. Not that the line of sight thing should be a problem if the default state is down.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure that'll work - if I swing it up instead of down and have the hinge be on the wall side, it'll squish any scenery I have on it (beyond ground cover) and obstruct the doorway. Heh - in fact it may be right in line with folks' heads(!) Maybe I'm missing something?Delete
It really depends on whether you intend to have mire than just ground cover. Any permanant scenery beyond that will protrude into the room regardless. So hinging it up protects the scenery. In my case there will be a small shelf an inch or two wide to provide the hinge point. It will be scenicked with basic groundcover, so that's all the clearance I'll need. The hinge I'd on the long side which avoids the alignment issues that somebody mentioned below.Delete
However, in your case a lift-out may be more practical. The section that attaches to the wall side can be narrow enough to go between the studs which will help alignment there. You can solder the end sections of the rail to a piece of pc-board to maintain proper gauge and location of the track. Bill's lift-out for the wye alays worked well.
In fact, I'll bet we could design it on 1" or 2" foam to save weight and eliminate expansion/contraction issues.
You probably have enough space that the lift out could hang under the wye, with the scenery side facing away from the aisle.
Also, if you attach it to the wall side (hinged up or down) you could recess it between the studs and it won't even protrude into the hallway.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure that'll work - the studs are probably on 16" centers and the door frame is right there too. With a curved track, the section needs to be much wider than 16". And either swinging up or down, it would obstruct the doorway. Nice idea though for a straight & narrow section!Delete
My only thought with that hinge is to make sure the weight on the far end, where it will not be perpendicular to the hinge is as light as possible, otherwise you're going to eventually pull the hinge out of alignment.ReplyDelete
Good point - and a good reminder to try and make the bridge section as light as possible (while maintaining rigidity - should be a fun challenge %^) Thanks for this reminder!Delete