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Here is my first attempt at a ceiling layout consisting of a O54 outer loop and O48 inner.  Corner buildings are from woodland Scenics, the building flats are made by PGHtrainfanatics which are awesome by the way, locos and rolling stock are all MTH.  I have Z-stuff semaphores on each corner facing both ways.  I will be installing numerous Miller engineering animated billboards and there will be automated crossing signals installed around the loop as well.  So far,  I only have two walls simi-completed.  After installing flats, corner buildings and wiring the other two walls,  I will attempt to initiate landscaping of some sort.  With only eight foot ceilings and minimal height to play with,  this project is very tight in space,  but so far,  it seems to be working out.  Thank goodness for those flats!  Nick with PGHTRAINFANATIC has been very helpful with customizing these flats for me so that they will fit.  He has also added additional LED lighting to numerous flats that I’ve ordered, some with LED color changing features.  This experiment seems to be turning out okay for a newby.  I’ve attached a short video of what’s been done so far.  Any suggestions to make this experiment better is much appreciated.

Thank You,

Blake

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Videos (1)
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Last edited by Blake Morris
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Thanks John,

The fella that I’m helping with this project wants as much outer landscaping as possible.  He has spent a copious amount of cash on this project so far.  I think he bought every tree that Woodland Scenics had in inventory.  The space up there is very tight so I’ll do the best that I can.  Thanks for the compliment!

Blake

 

 

Looking great. I have a 12' by 9 ' layout in my basement but I have always thought about a ceiling setup in my office (room is approximately 10' by 13' with 8' ceilings). What do you use with boarding around the ceiling? Custom made woodwork? I have been thinking of plexi-glass so I can see the trains better.  The scenery looks great.

 

JohnF

@John F posted:

Looking great. I have a 12' by 9 ' layout in my basement but I have always thought about a ceiling setup in my office (room is approximately 10' by 13' with 8' ceilings). What do you use with boarding around the ceiling? Custom made woodwork? I have been thinking of plexi-glass so I can see the trains better.  The scenery looks great.

 

JohnF

Hey JohnF,

The boards are stair step boards.  It was used because it already had the bullnose cut thereby giving it a better appearance than plain shelving board.  The corners were cut from 1” plastic vinyl sheets.  The sheets came in 4x8.  I got two corners out of one sheet.  Only thing I had to use the router on was those corners.  The shelves and corners are hung as a floating shelf so you wouldn’t see and shelf supports.  It was dressed up with some crown molding and all is painted.  Plexiglass is good but how would you conceal all the wires if you had lights and buildings?  

Blake

Blake:

I'm contemplating a ceiling route in my L-shaped train room, which is located in an addition to our house.  My layout platforms are an "echo" of that L-shaped room.  It's limited to Lionel tubular O42 curves and switches due to the dimensions of the room, but I want to run trains in my collection that require O72 curvatures; they are now on static display as "shelf queens."

I've done some pre-designing with ANYRAIL software and created a track plan with O72 Lionel FasTrack and Command Control switches, but shelf construction and installation of a "Nosebleed Route" would be a challenge; perhaps a nightmare!

My layout is already in place, but ...
*  There's limited aisle space around the perimeter of the layout, so installing shelves above that area would be difficult and would require special scaffolding for access to the ceiling. I don't want to remove the layout from the room - it's in five sections. Photos are attached.
*  There's a ceiling beam at the angle of the "L;"  cutting two tunnel portals through it might be hazardous.
*  Construction would likely be messy with sawdust, drill shavings, and stuff falling on the layout. I could cover it with drop cloths and hope that no heavy objects would fall on the layout below. 
*  My workshop is adjacent to the L-shaped train room. I'd like to run a ceiling route through that room too, but those walls are brick.  Jackhammers?
*  Fortunately, electricity is accessible above the suspended ceiling.
*  Also fortunately, the trains I want to run on the ceiling route are TMCC/Legacy equipped, so they would respond to commands from my CAB-1.  I'd upgrade the control system to Legacy control gear with a CAB-1L. The draft track plan calls for 10 switches, so Command Control of switches would avoid lots of wiring.
*  I'd have to create a method to re-rail a train up there.  Wear a rock-climbing harness attached to a skyhook?

Confessions ...

I didn't think far enough ahead. With a few O72-dependent trains on hand (and another O72 train set recently added to my collection), I should have built the ceiling route first and then installed the layout beneath it afterwards.  20/20 hindsight is always right.

I foresee the need for a guard rail along the entire ceiling route -- to keep a derailed train from falling on the layout below or to the (concrete) floor.d

Kudos with envy ...

Your ceiling route looks "clean" with no "inverted U" ceiling-mounted supports or brackets underneath. Very cool. Is the shelf totally supported by the crown moldings?  Buildings, landscaping, and trackside signals add interest. I love the telephone poles for added realism.

Comments from other hobbyists who solved ceiling layout problems are welcome. 

Mike M.    LCCA 12394
mottlerm@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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Images (3)
  • E-W Platform: This leg of the "L" shows the East Suburbia area, some houses, and a local Business District.
  • N-S Platform: This leg of the "L" shows the West Suburbia area and Industrial District.
  • MHM with Trains 2: These trains on display require more-than-O42 curvatures
Last edited by Mike H Mottler

So I just finished installing all the neon signs and crossing signals.  To get rid of the flat look,  I will be attempting to use the woodland scenics products around the interior portion of the layout.  This is my first time at doing this so don’t laugh at it too much, however, I can accept constructive criticism.  LOL 

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Videos (1)
trim.E5314E9F-5275-4B6F-841F-006BCFC40417

Looks great, the only criticism is next time hold the camera so you get the landscape view.   You should pan around and show all the stuff you already have up without the train in front, looks like a lot of landscaping has already taken place.

I’ll sure do that John!  I just want to get rid of the flat look around the inside loop.  Going to try it with shaper sheet with all the toppings.  Hope it turns out OK with it being the first time at landscaping.

One neat idea, probably too late now, would be to slightly elevate the inside track so you could see more of that train when it was behind the other one.  I saw a dual-track ceiling layout with that effect, it looked neat to see more of the other train.  OTOH, it didn't have nearly as much background as you've supplied, so you'd be blocking some of that, so maybe it's not such a good idea.

A real cool layout Blake.  The Atlantic Coast Line train with beautiful purple and silver passenger cars are neat hard to beat!  By the time my stepdad moved the family from Dallas TX to his birthplace which was Tampa FL in June 59, there wasn't much left of this elegant color scheme around though. 

Hope to see more of your fantastic layout soon and much much more ACL and maybe some SAL thrown in too?

Real estate comes at a premium with this layout.  The ceilings are only 8 feet and with the crown molding, I only had 7 inches of hight to play with.  I actually had to use S scale buildings so that this will work.  Between the curves,  the space is so tight that you couldn’t even slide a piece of paper between the two trains, however they do seem to not bump. 

A real cool layout Blake.  The Atlantic Coast Line train with beautiful purple and silver passenger cars are neat hard to beat!  By the time my stepdad moved the family from Dallas TX to his birthplace which was Tampa FL in June 59, there wasn't much left of this elegant color scheme around though. 

Hope to see more of your fantastic layout soon and much much more ACL and maybe some SAL thrown in too?

There is plenty of SAL to show off as soon as I finish.  Just bought one of those huge lionel ACL 4-8-4’s, but unfortunately the rails are so close to the building flats that it knocks them over.  So now we have an expensive shelf Queen. 

@towdog posted:

Really clean, and I don't think I've seen any other ceiling layout with so many buildings, scenery, lights, and other details.  I hope when it's done you can get up on a ladder and slowly pan around, showing everything you've done.

You've done an excellent job and one of the best ceiling layouts I've seen.

Hi Towdog,

Thanks for the compliment and as soon as I finish the exterior landscaping portion as well as properly securing the wiring,  I will surely do a panoramic view of this layout.  The fella that I’m building this for was not all that interested in serious detail.  He just wanted lights and more lights with animated signs and did I mention more lights.  LOL.  So,  with the space that I was given to work with,  I crammed as much as I could in there to make him happy.  Given that I am a total amateur at decorating,  I sure hope it turns out well considering what this fella has invested in the project.  I have tons more to do as well.  When this is finished, I’m supposed to create dioramas using woodland scenics buildings and I’m supposed to have shelves mounted under the layout with locomotives sitting still with the wheels rolling.  That’s going to be a hoot IMO trying to create this.  LOL 

So I just finished installing all the neon signs and crossing signals.  To get rid of the flat look,  I will be attempting to use the woodland scenics products around the interior portion of the layout.  This is my first time at doing this so don’t laugh at it too much, however, I can accept constructive criticism.  LOL 

Blake, you did an amazing job on the ceiling layout!!  Our PTF DESIGNS BUILDING FLATS worked out perfectly for you!  I’m sure your client is a happy man!  Thanks for sharing and for your support of the products!

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