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 2 level layout with helix
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wazoowis
New Hire



Posted - 09/11/2005 :  3:55:46 PM  Show Profile
I am planning to construct a two level On30 layout. IT will be a point to point line. The railroad (Wisconsin & Chippewa R.R.)will start on the lower level of bench work, run around and through the room and exit into a tunnel in the wall. Once through the tunnel it will rise up the 18" to the top level and run again around and through the room and end above where it started on the bottom level. My question is, can I make the top level the same width as the bottom level if there is 18" distance between the two levels. Bottom is 24" wide. Will i loose much space because of depth?anybody with any ideas?

Country: | Posts: 8

Smokestack Jack
Engine Wiper



Posted - 09/11/2005 :  5:34:01 PM  Show Profile
Here are a few thoughts...

Depending on the hight of the first level from the floor, you might not be able to see the back of the first level when standing in front of it.

18 inches between lower and upper levels doesn't seem to be very much. With that little space, it would be difficult to model a mountainous scene on the first level.

I would make the upper level narrower than the lower level. If the lower level is 24 inches, I would make the upper level 18 inches.

I never cared too much for 2 level layouts. To me, I just can't focus on realism with 2 levels. I get a closed in feeling with the lower level. It's also harder to create depth on the lower level.

Just some thoughts to ponder.



Country: USA | Posts: 157 Go to Top of Page

Smokestack Jack
Engine Wiper



Posted - 09/11/2005 :  5:34:01 PM  Show Profile
Here are a few thoughts...

Depending on the hight of the first level from the floor, you might not be able to see the back of the first level when standing in front of it.

18 inches between lower and upper levels doesn't seem to be very much. With that little space, it would be difficult to model a mountainous scene on the first level.

I would make the upper level narrower than the lower level. If the lower level is 24 inches, I would make the upper level 18 inches.

I never cared too much for 2 level layouts. To me, I just can't focus on realism with 2 levels. I get a closed in feeling with the lower level. It's also harder to create depth on the lower level.

Just some thoughts to ponder.



Country: USA | Posts: 157 Go to Top of Page

wazoowis
New Hire



Posted - 09/11/2005 :  6:08:01 PM  Show Profile
thanks for the info, ill ponder over my plans. as for 2 levels I also was never a fan of it, but it would really increase my milage.


Country: | Posts: 8 Go to Top of Page

wazoowis
New Hire



Posted - 09/11/2005 :  6:08:01 PM  Show Profile
thanks for the info, ill ponder over my plans. as for 2 levels I also was never a fan of it, but it would really increase my milage.


Country: | Posts: 8 Go to Top of Page

clinchvalley
Engine Wiper

Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:05:40 AM  Show Profile
A good way to test if it will work. Get a couple of pieces of cardboard, large about the width of your planned layout and as long as you can find. Suspend them from the ceiling with thumb tacks and string. Step back and see how it works. It allows for adjustments very easily.

Width of two decks should not be much of an issue as long as you've included some way to light the lower deck.

Larry



Country: USA | Posts: 194 Go to Top of Page

clinchvalley
Engine Wiper

Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:05:40 AM  Show Profile
A good way to test if it will work. Get a couple of pieces of cardboard, large about the width of your planned layout and as long as you can find. Suspend them from the ceiling with thumb tacks and string. Step back and see how it works. It allows for adjustments very easily.

Width of two decks should not be much of an issue as long as you've included some way to light the lower deck.

Larry



Country: USA | Posts: 194 Go to Top of Page

fairbanks-op
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:20:51 AM  Show Profile
One way to increase the railroad length is to slow it down. Especially On30. How about instead of the helix and 2 levels, have your railroad go over a mountain on a group of switchbacks and loops. With only one level the mountains can be high and it will view block the room too. Maybe some steep grades where it is necessary to double the hill.

There is a model railroad club here that has lots of helix mileage and 4 levels. A lot of the track is hidden and the run up/down the helix is boring.

George W.



Country: USA | Posts: 178 Go to Top of Page

fairbanks-op
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:20:51 AM  Show Profile
One way to increase the railroad length is to slow it down. Especially On30. How about instead of the helix and 2 levels, have your railroad go over a mountain on a group of switchbacks and loops. With only one level the mountains can be high and it will view block the room too. Maybe some steep grades where it is necessary to double the hill.

There is a model railroad club here that has lots of helix mileage and 4 levels. A lot of the track is hidden and the run up/down the helix is boring.

George W.



Country: USA | Posts: 178 Go to Top of Page

pastor_t
Crew Chief



Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:22:44 AM  Show Profile
If you must have 2 levels why not connect them with a switchback? This keeps all the trackwork visible and increases operating complexity.

Tony



Country: United Kingdom | Posts: 513 Go to Top of Page

pastor_t
Crew Chief



Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:22:44 AM  Show Profile
If you must have 2 levels why not connect them with a switchback? This keeps all the trackwork visible and increases operating complexity.

Tony



Country: United Kingdom | Posts: 513 Go to Top of Page

Tabooma County Rwy
Fireman



Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:45:43 AM  Show Profile
I would give serious consideration to how you plan to light the lower level. My layout is a shelf type (15" wide in most places) with a G scale loop above. The G scale layout "frames" the HO layout below, and is also a place to fasten the HO layout lighting. I'm using continuous end to end single tube flourescent tubes under the G scale, with a diffuser below the fixtures. So, the distance between the layout and the diffuser is about 18". Seemed like a lot when I was building the layout; not so much now that it is done. Plus it makes photography a challenge.

Bottom line...if you are really going to build a two level layout, try for all the distance between the levels that you can, to allow for lighting and visual interest.



Country: USA | Posts: 4392 Go to Top of Page

Tabooma County Rwy
Fireman



Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:45:43 AM  Show Profile
I would give serious consideration to how you plan to light the lower level. My layout is a shelf type (15" wide in most places) with a G scale loop above. The G scale layout "frames" the HO layout below, and is also a place to fasten the HO layout lighting. I'm using continuous end to end single tube flourescent tubes under the G scale, with a diffuser below the fixtures. So, the distance between the layout and the diffuser is about 18". Seemed like a lot when I was building the layout; not so much now that it is done. Plus it makes photography a challenge.

Bottom line...if you are really going to build a two level layout, try for all the distance between the levels that you can, to allow for lighting and visual interest.



Country: USA | Posts: 4392 Go to Top of Page

rrkreitler
Crew Chief

Premium Member


Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:55:28 AM  Show Profile
If you do go with two levels here are some additional thoughts...

1. One of the main problems with two level layouts is seeing the back of the lower level. With that in mind why not make the lower level the shallow level. Make the top level 24 inches deep and the lower level 18 inches deep. Do it by bringing the back drop forward - not by insetting the front edge by 6 inches. This way the front edges of both levels are even but the backdrop of the lower level is 6 inches closer to the front.

2. In O scale a two level layout is a little more difficult because structures are so large. Try keeping the majority of the structures on the top level. Make the lower level mostly landscaping.

3. Use the "display" approach for the lower level. If you look at display railroads built across the pond (I have seen a number of examples in Australia - Mario probably has some pics) such as the Red Stag layout, they are more of a shadow box type display. You don't see the tops of the trees and it is more like you are viewing a stage. Build the lower level using this method. When you see displays such as Red Stag you realize that it is still possible to build fantastic scnery and models using this method. Since the upper level will be more visible anyway, the bulk of your featured models can be placed there.

4. As for testing for optimal height... if you are willing to live with 4 screw holes in your wall (which will be covered by the layout anyway) go to Home Depot and pick up a set of those shelf brackets that consist of two rails that you fasten to the wall that are slotted from top to bottom that you can plug brackets into at different heights. Buy the 2 rails and four brackets (this is enough to do two layers). Then, cut two pieces of 1 inch foam insulation - one 24 inches deep and one 18 inches deep (I recommend 4 to 6 feet wide to really get the feel) and place them on the brackets. Then move the brackets up and down., swap the shallow and deep pieces from top to bottom. You can experiment with all configurations and figure out which one you like best. You might even go as far as creating a cardboard fascia for the foam and a cardboard backdrop for the lower level so you can get a true feeling of how visible the lower level is. With a two level layout it is amazing how much difference even an inch makes in viewing the lower level. And adding things like lights for the lower level can use up that space quickly. Oh yes, and remember to also figure out how you will light the lower level...


Thanks,
Dave K in NB

Edited by - rrkreitler on 11/02/2005 11:56:24 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 850 Go to Top of Page

rrkreitler
Crew Chief

Premium Member


Posted - 11/02/2005 :  11:55:28 AM  Show Profile
If you do go with two levels here are some additional thoughts...

1. One of the main problems with two level layouts is seeing the back of the lower level. With that in mind why not make the lower level the shallow level. Make the top level 24 inches deep and the lower level 18 inches deep. Do it by bringing the back drop forward - not by insetting the front edge by 6 inches. This way the front edges of both levels are even but the backdrop of the lower level is 6 inches closer to the front.

2. In O scale a two level layout is a little more difficult because structures are so large. Try keeping the majority of the structures on the top level. Make the lower level mostly landscaping.

3. Use the "display" approach for the lower level. If you look at display railroads built across the pond (I have seen a number of examples in Australia - Mario probably has some pics) such as the Red Stag layout, they are more of a shadow box type display. You don't see the tops of the trees and it is more like you are viewing a stage. Build the lower level using this method. When you see displays such as Red Stag you realize that it is still possible to build fantastic scnery and models using this method. Since the upper level will be more visible anyway, the bulk of your featured models can be placed there.

4. As for testing for optimal height... if you are willing to live with 4 screw holes in your wall (which will be covered by the layout anyway) go to Home Depot and pick up a set of those shelf brackets that consist of two rails that you fasten to the wall that are slotted from top to bottom that you can plug brackets into at different heights. Buy the 2 rails and four brackets (this is enough to do two layers). Then, cut two pieces of 1 inch foam insulation - one 24 inches deep and one 18 inches deep (I recommend 4 to 6 feet wide to really get the feel) and place them on the brackets. Then move the brackets up and down., swap the shallow and deep pieces from top to bottom. You can experiment with all configurations and figure out which one you like best. You might even go as far as creating a cardboard fascia for the foam and a cardboard backdrop for the lower level so you can get a true feeling of how visible the lower level is. With a two level layout it is amazing how much difference even an inch makes in viewing the lower level. And adding things like lights for the lower level can use up that space quickly. Oh yes, and remember to also figure out how you will light the lower level...


Thanks,
Dave K in NB

Edited by - rrkreitler on 11/02/2005 11:56:24 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 850 Go to Top of Page

MP Rich
Fireman



Posted - 11/02/2005 :  12:49:23 PM  Show Profile
I built an Ho two level layout and found it quite satisfactory for me. The double amount of track was worth the visual distraction. A lot will depend on what you favor. Are you more into great scenes at the expense of operations or do you want a railroad to be far more interesting to operate? For me the answer was operations. For a quick, cheap method of checking the height of each level I used cardboard boxes. One screw or nail into the back wall to hold the upper box is all that is needed. Cut out the top of this box as well as cut the bottom back to the proposed depth. Leave the sides cut to an angle to support the bottom. A stack of boxes on the floor to the height of the first level will give you a quick easy reference. Don't forget to allow for any extra depth for lights under the upper shelf. Hint: If you cut the upper level too short it can be redone by taping cardboard back on the bottom. Only you can judge what looks right for your height, ceiling level and track plans. I suggest going for it.


Edited by - MP Rich on 11/02/2005 12:54:43 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 1762 Go to Top of Page
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