Helix Building for N Scale - the method can also be used for HO Scale

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I originally bought 2 pair of helix kits on the internet to build fou aour N Scale layout. Eventually, when we got around to start the actual build, we found that the MDF cutting was very poor and the kit was, really, not usable so we decided to design and build 2 helices ourselves. My wife and I have no relevant skills and have not been involved in modelling since leaving school, we are now at retirement age!

The attached document describes our steps from the initial design to an (almost) completed pair of temproarily joined helices. Eventually they will be placed in opposite corners of our "Station House", a posh shed in our garden. We are in the UK so the document is in mm not inches.

I would suggest that the helices will scale either up or down by adjusting the measurements but the construction method is fairly standard.

I hope you find this useful, it works for us.

Center Peninsula Track Planning, …..Container Terminal & Port Facility
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Center Peninsula Track Planning, …..Container Terminal & Port Facility

I've been putting this off too long. This is the original Tupper Lake/Faust Junction peninsula track plan I was using as inspiration.

That plan had a passenger train station in the peninsula area. My new plan is going to be much more 'industrialized' , and that station location is now becoming a container terminal zone.

By happenstance I ran across a carfloat model at our local flea market. What if I were to put that out on the end of my peninsula, across from my other waterfront scene? ...another tug boat, barge item....becoming a port facility .

So this discussion of a track plan for the peninsula is going to consider these 2 elements as sub-subjects,...container terminal & port facility.

What I am going to need help with is how to make these two sub-scenes to move/switch cars around in them?
I don't yet understand the intricacies of switching.
Mail Call! Railway Post Office, commonly abbreviated as RPO has rolled in!
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So a few weeks ago I mentioned in the coffee shop about starting a thread for "Mail Call" a few of you thought it would be a good idea so here we go!

This thread would pertain to any Model Railroad related items you ordered and received for your MRR or other.

So include your picture and tell us about it and even give your review or reasons for obtaining the item or items ;)

Thanks for your future participation!

Edited by Bob - added RPO image for thread promo.
JTEX A switcher junkyard
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I have been wanting to start my switcher junkyard for a long time now. Well with the garage now built, I started building the bench work today. I have four 4' X 6' sections and one 4' X 6' that will be rounded. Right now the height is 44" high once the plywood gets put on tomorrow, but I'm thinking about lowering that another 4". So here's today's progress shots.

Need Some Design Help
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Rail traffic is just about ready to start rolling on the whistle stop RR again, but I now I need somewhere for it go. I need some help with the operations side of my design. I've got a pretty blank slate, and I've been looking at shelf layouts designs and I just don't know enough to plan this out myself. Anyone willing to offer suggestions?

Here's what I've got so far (HO Scale):

The "Top" section, as you look at it, is 14" wide and is accessed by an 18"r curve. It will be mostly GP's servicing this area, so radius can be sharp like that.
The bottom section has just come out of a tunnel and under a bridge but has a lot of real estate to play with once it gets there..
The section on the right highlighted in Green is the lift up section. Really don't want any structures there, but another track would be fine. Again, 18"r curves are no problem.

I'm open to just about any kind of industry (fantasy layout), My thought was to put a backdrop of an industry long wall on the top with...
Copper Valley Railroad - A New Beginning
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Hello all,

While I have been in model railroading for years I have not had a personal railroad for over 6 years now. I do help with the scenery on the Railroad Museum model railroad in Minot ND (N scale). I have always in the past modeled in N scale, so this is new to me as I move to HO.

I have planned a modest two level self layout and am looking for input from you as to possible improvements. It will be loosely based on the Copper Range railroad of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan.

The lower level is a straightened out version of Byron Henderson's version of Linn Westcott's switchman's nightmare. The upper level right hand side is a rendition of Chuck Yungkurth's Gum Stump & Snowshoe. The upper left center runaround is set for a Loads-in - empties out operations with a smelter on the left side and a copper mine on the right side.

I will be using a train elevator to get the train from one level to the other.

The layout will be set in the 1920's and will have two...
San Luis and Rio Grande -- A new Hope
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Well, Ive been busy with the track planning software, hope to start building soon, Here is the current version -- I could sure use some critiques

Build your Own Turntable
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I've been making some repairs to my 'estate acquired' Diamond Scale turntable, and in doing so I needed to build a whole new turntable pit. I will be covering that shortly.

But in the meantime I have realized a mistake I made long ago when I was building my first turntable for my Central Midland layout, so I thought I would start this subject thread out with that bit of knowledge that I think MANY of us first assume when we look at such a project.

Connecting Drive Shaft to Turntable Bridge

As I have been rebuilding my Diamond Scale turntable, I've discovered an important feature they possess that should have applicability to turntables in general. The connection between the drive shaft and the bridge structure should NOT be a rigid one,...not an absolute rigid affair.

This is particularly clear as we consider larger/longer TT bridges. As our bridge decks become ever longer it becomes a problem to have them contact their pit rails at BOTH ends simultanousely, while...
Tucker Bro's Machine Shop - Starting Something New
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A while ago I was gifted a couple of large boxes of model railroad stuff by a friend. It had belonged to her husband and he was no longer interested in it. Most of the stuff inside was junk, but there are a few buildings I might repurpose and a couple of old wooden boxcars that would make good maint buildings.

Also in the box was a complete Woodland Scenics Tucker Brothers Machine Shop cast metal kit. The copyright on the instructions is 1980 but you can still buy these.

This will be a new thing for me. It's the first metal kit and the first one with lots of cast-on small details to paint. We'll see how it goes.

So far I've cleaned all the flash and parting lines off with files. I've washed and scrubbed the parts with dish soap. Today I'll hit them with some primer and then start painting details.

This kit will probably take a while, depending on my patience level. I want to do a good job because I have a...

Vintage Railroad Ads

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I'm going to post my vintage railroad ads in a thread here. I have a good handful, so I probably won't post them all at once. Most will be Great Northern, but I have a few that are other roads.

You can click on them to see larger versions.

Here is a GN travel ad from 1952

And another from 1957
Updating an old Roundhouse GN caboose kit
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I was looking for something to do (to distract me from other things I have to do) and discovered I had an old Roundhouse kit for a steel sided GN caboose. It's a nicer looking model than the blue box Athearn I'm currently using until I get my LaserKit finished (which is taking forever.)

So I thought with a little work it might make a presentable model.

So far I've:
  • Cleaned up the flash
  • Painted the roof
  • Installed Kadee couplers
  • Installed more weight
  • Painted the grabs black - not really interested in scraping them off and adding wire at this point...
I have some extra end details that I can install and I might rework the running boards a little. It should make a reasonable model when it's done.

I'll update this thread as I go along.

steel mill layout with scratch built buildings

New layout design, looking for feedback
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Hello everyone! I've been gone for just about 6 years now. I know this because when my son was born, time just fell into a wasteland and the previous layout was disassembled so we could sell the old house and move. Now that he's old enough to LOVE trains, my wife (of all people) suggested we use the guest room as our dedicated train space. And so it begins again... I figure when he's a teenager and loses interest, I can build my second layout :)

Anyway, here's my layout design so far. It's HO-scale because that's what I have a lot of already (I contemplated doing N-scale to fit more into the space, but the financial investment isn't really feasible right now).The overall rectangle is the maximum outside dimension that I have to work with. The notch in the middle is for reaching the furthest tracks and it's wide enough for a 6 year old to fit inside and watch his (my) trains run. The buildings I put in there are for a small passenger station and maybe a town for some of the old...
O-Gauge or Lionel?
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I have some freight cars I am trying to sell, but I am not sure if they are O-Scale or Lionel. Is there a difference? Can you tell from the trucks? The wheel-span appears, on these two cars, to be slightly less wide than some others which I know are not Lionel. And the knuckle couplers are much smaller. But these cars don't say "Lionel" on them, and the Pennsylvania, at least, appears to be kit-built. I don't want to be selling someone an O-gauge car and then have it turn out to be a Lionel... Thanks for help...

A building, a layout, finally!!
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Well I finally will have a place to build a layout. My wife said she was tired of me having 54 totes of trains and nowhere to put them. It really was her idea!! LOL So I am building a 3rd garage stall next to the existing 2 car garage. The first drawing is the overall room shape. It'll be 12' X 25' in size. I have already installed a door that will lead to the train room, then I removed the existing deck that was there.

I am waiting on the county currently for the building permits and environmental survey to be completed. My budget is all set and financed. The building will be completely insulated, heated and air conditioned. I plan on making a removable wall in front of the garage door. The plan is in 10-12 years when I retire, I can quickly convert it back into a garage. But not just another garage stall, an insulated, heated and air conditioned shop. Good selling point for later. ;)

I am thinking a 30" deep shelf layout approximately 40" off of the floor ...

'Area 51' Groom Lake, NV. My Old Layout

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In 2005, I got back into railroading after a break of 23 years flying R/C aircraft. The layout was built for exhibitions, and measured 6 x 2 feet. It had two tracks, one simple oval and a figure eight with a helix to change track height in the limited space.


It was a good practice after years out of the hobby, but operations were limited on the small layout, and it was soon sold on Ebay and a replacement built. The replacement was 'Area 51'.

Because of my aviation and military interests, the new railroad had a military theme, and that was a small goods yard at the secret 'Area 51' base at Groom Lake, NV. Military vehicles, troop trains and aircraft would all feature on the layout.

The new layout followed a similar track plan, but the board size was increased to 8ft x 2ft 6in, built in two stackable sections for transport, as this was another exhibition layout. All the buildings were scratch built, and some...