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John, I watched some YouTube videos on similar projects.  It doesn't matter what scale they are to get the concept and construction.  So far they were way too elaborate for my situation since they were lifting up or swinging up a whole section with scenery.  One of those in England had good ideas on the electrical interlocks to power tracks when the bridge is down and stop power before the bridge when in the up position.  I think just making lift up bridges with no scenery would be best for both yours and my application.    The more mass you want to lift, the more sturdy you have to make the lift section and where it hinges to the stationary layout to keep it from skewing.  My thought so far is to make two bridges that operate separately.  In your case of course you can use one double track bridge.

I'll send a private message later to discuss getting the DVDs to you.  I think sharing ideas about each of our builds here benefits both of us, and could help getting others involved in the discussion.  Discussing logistics of getting together works better on private message.

Hi Mark,

I can see the wisdom in two bridges without scenery for weight and complexity. The problem my twin track bridge poses has both lines at same elevation which using 3% grade creates a long run before they can cross over/under. I was wondering if a second single track bridge at a lower elevation would open up more possibilities without making it too cumbersome to get in and out. Are you looking at a swing up or swing down or maybe one of each? It seems to be better to swing up if overhead clearance allows. Setting the bridge down on a support bracket rather than somehow locking in a swing down bridge in the running position would afford increased stability. If you have overhead room, having your two bridges tied together at the end that rises might be an option. Both swing up and down together, using some aluminum channel to tie them together. With a couple of locating pins or other alignment fixtures the running position could be made secure and precise enough to allow smooth rail transitions. Just a thought.

I hadn't paid attention that your bridge is on the grade.  I ignored Dave's fine color coding.    You definitely would have more flexibility if you used separate bridges, but then you would have to fuss with two lift-ups.  Both of my tracks are level at the bridge site.  As I worked my way around the room with the benchwork, I ended up with the second end 1/2 inch lower than the other.  By the time I found it, I had put shelves in underneath and loaded them to make room to work.  I had to jack up the left end and worked out the problem.  For some reason, I like level bridges, though we see them at all angles in this part of the country all the time.

I was planning on making both of mine lift-ups for the reasons you state.  There is plenty of head room.  I don't think I am up to trying to gang two bridges to lift up together when they are separated by 6 1/2 vertical inches.  Here are photographs of the temporary lift out I made, which shows the problems of having the two tracks at different levels.  I just connect alligator clips to the wires from the rails.  I just put screws into the sides of the table to align it.  It is awkward to put in place as the alignment never quite works out, but the intent was a quick build until I can come up with something more substantial and permanent.  Trains do go across both tracks fine.

2020-10-08 14.36.222020-10-08 14.36.10

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John, I guess I missed something about the bridge being elevated. Obviously, you can't do that with a dual track bridge, so I just assumed the grade down to the bridge hadn't been finished and the elevated yard was a leftover from an experiment. I don't think it's practical to raise the yard, but then I'm not sure where you were going with that, so it's hard to comment further.

Since you seem to want different elevations around the layout, check out this version. I changed the base elevation to 1" so I could go down a bit with the part of the orange line that's covered and lower the grade a bit along the top down to the bridge. So, the yard and some other tracks are at 1" and the rest are as indicated. I also fiddled some more with the yard trying to make it somewhat functional using your 4-way switch. However, the yard being separated from the turntable and engines having to travel through the double crossover is far from ideal. Mind you, it can work, but you'll have to stop trains on the mainlines to do it.

Final_Rm_Dim_2020_10_06_E daz

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@Mark Boyce posted:

I hadn't paid attention that your bridge is on the grade.  I ignored Dave's fine color coding.    You definitely would have more flexibility if you used separate bridges, but then you would have to fuss with two lift-ups.  Both of my tracks are level at the bridge site.  As I worked my way around the room with the benchwork, I ended up with the second end 1/2 inch lower than the other.  By the time I found it, I had put shelves in underneath and loaded them to make room to work.  I had to jack up the left end and worked out the problem.  For some reason, I like level bridges, though we see them at all angles in this part of the country all the time.

I was planning on making both of mine lift-ups for the reasons you state.  There is plenty of head room.  I don't think I am up to trying to gang two bridges to lift up together when they are separated by 6 1/2 vertical inches.  Here are photographs of the temporary lift out I made, which shows the problems of having the two tracks at different levels.  I just connect alligator clips to the wires from the rails.  I just put screws into the sides of the table to align it.  It is awkward to put in place as the alignment never quite works out, but the intent was a quick build until I can come up with something more substantial and permanent.  Trains do go across both tracks fine.

2020-10-08 14.36.222020-10-08 14.36.10

Mark, the two bridges do allow you the elevation differences I was trying to get away without two bridges. I am also partial to level bridges for purely a personal preference only. Looking at your bridges, I can see possible difficulties with scenery. I have to admit you sound like you took the bench work gremlins extremely well. Much better than I would have...

Nice pics and you have to be glad the trains are not only running, but running issue free over those bridges!

Great job!

@DoubleDAZ posted:

John, I guess I missed something about the bridge being elevated. Obviously, you can't do that with a dual track bridge, so I just assumed the grade down to the bridge hadn't been finished and the elevated yard was a leftover from an experiment. I don't think it's practical to raise the yard, but then I'm not sure where you were going with that, so it's hard to comment further.

Since you seem to want different elevations around the layout, check out this version. I changed the base elevation to 1" so I could go down a bit with the part of the orange line that's covered and lower the grade a bit along the top down to the bridge. So, the yard and some other tracks are at 1" and the rest are as indicated. I also fiddled some more with the yard trying to make it somewhat functional using your 4-way switch. However, the yard being separated from the turntable and engines having to travel through the double crossover is far from ideal. Mind you, it can work, but you'll have to stop trains on the mainlines to do it.

Final_Rm_Dim_2020_10_06_E daz

Hi Dave,   You did not miss anything about the bridge being elevated. At one point, the bridge was at a seven inch elevation to try and put in a loop under the bottom peninsula with sharper curves being hidden in a tunnel. So elevation there at this point isn't relative. Your assumption was correct in the grade being leftover.

Great job with setting the elevations and getting realistic grades. The yard and turntable are definitely an issue. I put turntable there to see how/if it fit and was then going to look at how the neck I would get the yard integrated. At this point,  z scale is looking better, if I could only see things that small.

Not sure there is a fix for the yard/turntable issue. That list of givens and druthers needs to be done and tough decisions will need to be made.

If you're going to do that, then take a look at this for some more ideas. The turntable is a Millhouse Rivers 28" with an Atlas 3-stall roundhouse. I know the right grade is too steep, but the siding could be moved to the apex of the loop and the grade reduced. I did the best I could using your 4-way switch. I didn't know what all the buildings were, but I left them in.

Anyway, just more food for thought.

John 2020-10-11 daz

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@DoubleDAZ posted:

If you're going to do that, then take a look at this for some more ideas. The turntable is a Millhouse Rivers 28" with an Atlas 3-stall roundhouse. I know the right grade is too steep, but the siding could be moved to the apex of the loop and the grade reduced. I did the best I could using your 4-way switch. I didn't know what all the buildings were, but I left them in.

Anyway, just more food for thought.

John 2020-10-11 daz

So much better use of space Dave. More room for scenery and buildings.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Thanks, Mark. Not sure that John will think about it, but at least there are some more ideas.

WOW !!! That looks great for sure, is what I,m thinking and seeing. Love the yard and turntable being a coherent unit and a general "yard" area. Dave I have some things that need attending tonight so I have to run. Is it possible to have the yard at a low enough elevation to extend it under the two main lines that go over the bridge? Oh and you even found a river for the bascule bridge!!! Now the question is, will the reach be too far for topside creeper and comfortable working arrangement ? And of course the isle width is fantastic!

@DoubleDAZ posted:

No, that’s there to make sure the center-to-center clearance is maintained as we make changes. It will need to be replaced with straight tracks once we’re done making changes.

That is why I have trouble and you don't ! You know what you are doing! Verses me floundering around in the mud. Thanks for that tip, along with the other countless tips you have provided!

Don't feel bad, John!  I was able to do basic stuff, but I needed Dave's help to make flex track connection snip work right and to get the elevation tool to work at all.  I think Dave has made SCARM a sub-hobby and is really good at it.  I am so thankful he was so knowledgeable and willing to help me.

I propose the theory that Dave gets a huge supply of Vitamin D living in the Phoenix suburbs, while everyone knows those of us in Western Pennsylvania have a huge Vitamin D deficiency!  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!! 

Not true, Mark, I actually had a Vitamin D deficiency because some meds keep me out of the sun. But I’ve since been taken off some of those, so now between the Vitamin D supplements I was taking and getting more sun, I back within the normal range. Thanks for the other comments though, I do appreciate them. I do enjoy using SCARM and it helps keep my brain active.

John, I’m almost always available to help and I enjoy it. One mistake a few people make is using the longest straight tracks while still designing. Using the shorter 12.4” GarGraves actually helps the editing process. Another mistake is snipping curved tracks wrong, then using flex track to make the next connection. Too often this results in the next straight section being angled a fraction of a degree and that throws the rest of the layout off kilter. I never snip curved tracks or connect with flex until all the other sectional tracks are added, especially sections that include switches. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with using flex, but too many folks end up with curves that are too tight. I realize a lot of folks use software just to get a general design, but there’s always the danger of ending up with something that doesn’t work when laying actual track. And when folks ask how to do something, iI usually provide examples rather than just do it for them, that way they learn.

Well, I'll be interested to see your ideas. The problem area is the yard. The only way I can see to lower the 4.0% and 4.4% grades there is by the yard tracks that go under the mainlines and/or reducing the clearance from 6.5". As near as I can tell, you need 1.5" to get down to 3.4%. I moved the passing sidings out of the way to make fiddling with the grades easier and here's what I've got so far. I lowered some of the yard tracks down 1.5" to see what that would do and got the 4.4% grade down, but that's certainly not recommended.

John 2020-10-13 daz

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Last edited by DoubleDAZ
@DoubleDAZ posted:

Well, I'll be interested to see your ideas. The problem area is the yard. The only way I can see to lower the 4.0% and 4.4% grades there is by the yard tracks that go under the mainlines and/or reducing the clearance from 6.5". As near as I can tell, you need 1.5" to get down to 3.4%. I moved the passing sidings out of the way to make fiddling with the grades easier and here's what I've got so far. I lowered some of the yard tracks down 1.5" to see what that would do and got the 4.4% grade down, but that's certainly not recommended.

John 2020-10-13 daz

Hi Dave, I was thinking on moving the double crossover to the two sidings up towards the top, then having a turnout to the yard further to the yellow track 072 last curve. Doing that may have the grades lower with a longer start. I'll work on this in the morning and post an example.

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@DoubleDAZ posted:

Not true, Mark, I actually had a Vitamin D deficiency because some meds keep me out of the sun. But I’ve since been taken off some of those, so now between the Vitamin D supplements I was taking and getting more sun, I back within the normal range. Thanks for the other comments though, I do appreciate them. I do enjoy using SCARM and it helps keep my brain active.

😄  I have to take vitamin D.  I agree you just enjoy SCARM and it does help keep your brain active

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Well, I'll be interested to see your ideas. The problem area is the yard. The only way I can see to lower the 4.0% and 4.4% grades there is by the yard tracks that go under the mainlines and/or reducing the clearance from 6.5". As near as I can tell, you need 1.5" to get down to 3.4%. I moved the passing sidings out of the way to make fiddling with the grades easier and here's what I've got so far. I lowered some of the yard tracks down 1.5" to see what that would do and got the 4.4% grade down, but that's certainly not recommended.

John 2020-10-13 daz

Dave, it says image not found ...????

GRJ, I assume the 6.5” elevation John is using in SCARM includes 3/4” plywood, 1/2” Homasote and 1/4” roadbed making his actual clearance 5” (or 5 1/4” if he’s using 1/2” plywood for the elevated sections). He could lower the clearance over the yard if he used just an elevated trestle setup or 1/2” plywood without the Homasote. He hasn’t said how tall his tallest rolling stock is.

Hi Dave, Please do not assume anything! Not sure (meaning I have no idea) what will the road bed and supports will look like. That was my reason to error on the side of worst case. Here is my attempt to get the grades under control. I am sure there are much better ways to accomplish this, no doubt. This seems as it may work out. What are your thoughts on using the double crossover on the sidings? Almost all of my collection is 1950's so the max would be around 5 inches. Although I haven't measured. That said I do not want too much of an overhead restriction as I am sure to fall to the new style cars and engines being manufactured today. Although I am sure I would stay on the smaller scale. But that would not mean a visitor would not have larger stock. Again I will error on the side of expansion and what the worst would bring. btw I am sure I did not keep layers correct... opps! I will clean up is this is viable.John 2020-10-13d daz

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My total elevation from the main level to the upper level is 7".  I'm using half inch plywood for the upper deck, and 1/4" foam roadbed.  The upper deck doesn't have Homasote, the main level does, but that doesn't enter into the calculation.  I'm figuring the upper deck and the supports to be 1", track height on the main level to be around 5/8" to the top of the rails.

GRJ, that is what I would do too. The problem is some of those decisions have to be made beforehand when doing things in software or you get grades that are too steep. That causes folks to change a design to lower a grade that really doesn’t need to be lowered. I tend to use 6” clearance figuring 5 1/4” for rolling stock, 1/2” for decking and 1/4” for roadbed. That pretty much matches what you have. In this case, any rolling stock taller than that simply has to be run on the outer loop only.

We added enough headroom on my layout plan, but my problem was in execution!  Somewhere I had a massive senior moment and starting at the top of the grade, I built it all 1" too low.  The plan was for an inch of material for the upper level, and I forgot to add it in.  It is all corrected now, but the sloppy retrofit reminds me of the lapse every time I see the layout. 

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