*** I'm going to use this post to chronicle my progress and ask questions***
A little back story - Some may remember when I first joined the forum in the fall of 2018 I was spouting "My Dream Layout - Phase One - Recreate the the competitive run between the 20th Century Limited and the Broadway Limited. Include the scenic run up the Hudson for the 20th and the "Broadway" and Horseshoe Curve of the PRR. Include the side by side race into Chicago Union Station. Phase Two - Super Chief and the California Zephyr."
After realizing I would need a football-size room I rethought what I wanted and came up with a two layer setup. The top at eye level is a flat surface within a space of 11'x7'. The base is a oval Helix that supports the top and rises from the floor with an inner return back to the floor.
I've worked out the connections using RR-Tack and can use 72 degree curve on both outer and inner track by inserting a half track at the apex of the outer track. The grade works out to be 1.5 and I was getting clearance of 6 inches. Plan below was done over a year ago. I hit a wall when I started adding layers and couldn't master the software to continue. Fine-tuning to be done. Plus because I intend to have the Helix exposed I hadn't come up with a design on how I wanted it to look.
Green line represents the footprint of track at bottom as it spirals around. At the point where track spirals down I shorten the straightway to have clearance for the inner return path. Reversing that action allows connection at bottom.
Fast forward to today.... I've since added more Locomotives and cars from Ebay purchases. Since I don't have a layout set up to test these purchases I recently sent all of them out all to a local hobby store and had them cleaned and tested.
What inspired me to get back into this was seeing this portable Helix setup -
AND this -
The construction of this fits my Tinker-Toy skills.
A comment from another forum - "Stop the video at 4:24 and you can get an idea of how the parts are made. The vertical pieces have two cross members in a dado. They are also secured with what looks like a staple. The plywood sections that hold the track have a tab on the bottom that fit's in the opening of the vertical cross members and captures the track board. You'll also notice the number on the table top. They are used to make sure the vertical members are placed in the proper location. It's a very simple design if you take a moment and stop the video at certain points to get a closer view of the set up."
Another forum that gave me ideas with pre-cut risers - https://www.nscale.net/forums/...Unitrack-Helix-Build
The intent is to have one train going up as as another comes down in a cleanly designed piece of construction. What ever construction method I use I would be satisfied to see the gleaming Lionel California Zephyr and the KLine Silver Chief in my dark basement making the run.
To complete the picture is a much simpler oval within an oval. The intent here is to run the 20TH Century with PRR. I can use 72 degree curves with the added extra track on the outer or use 54 degree curves on the inner oval. That could be a way to add switches so I can do some "railroading". It would also allow me to add scenery(buildings and other) between tracks. City scene with my Dep56 collection. I have enough stock to to switch it out and have the circus come to town if I want something different.
Researching all this some say a Helix can be a daunting project..... My design goes above that....
Because I'm up against a wall I have to allow access inside of the Helix. I'm thin enough and still able to stoop and bend.... The way I've tackled the issue is to shorten the straightaways at the upper levels so the helix steps back from a corner to allow me to step over the bottom runs(hoping to get 3 or 4 levels)into the cavity created, bend down and crawl under the shorten portion. I'll have cutouts in the upper level so I can have access. I might get ones of those ladders that allow you to lean over if I decide I want more surface for buildings. Either way I think it will work. I'll round off the plywood corners at the front so no one pokes their eye out.
Random construction thoughts(its all in my head) - On the floor a base in the shape of an oval will be wider then Helix(kick-plate). I can peg or notch the risers into this. I'll paint or stain 2x3 studs for risers. Because I need to support a heavy top I'll have a few 2x4's placed around for supporting the top. Thinking of a steep angle cut from top to bottom for a buttress kind of look.
I'm using fixed lenght tubular track. My understanding from past questions it won't offer much benfit if I use any kind of padding under track for noise production. Haven't decide what thickness for sub-board. Maybe thin underlayment so I keep my clearance.
Will greatly appreciate any and all feedback.