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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 locomotives. An 0-6-0 for the lower level yard which will be set along a dock area to move the copper ingots to market and a 2-8-0 to move the cars between the levels. Approximate train length with be about 4-6 cars.

Looking forward to input. The build is a couple of years off but I have started collecting what I need.

Copper Valley Railroad.jpg
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Thank you for the information on the TV stand. Looks like an expensive way to go, but definitely some good information there.
I've been messing around with the track plan and gotten rid of the turntables. I have added an interchange to the lower level to give me a connection to the outside world and allow different traffic once in a while to move onto the layout. I've also added in the industries I plan to have on the layout. Please let me know what you think.

Copper Valley 1.4.jpg
Dennis461 asked for a sketch. Here a rudimentary one, not sure if this helps or not, but here is what I’m thinking.View attachment 113518
Constructive criticism here...
Sorry to say I do not like the design. The jack is too wobbly, and the 'deck' will tilt and jam up in the rails.
It will never sit level in either direction, left right, and never be repeatable.

A better design, similar to raising houses or heavy equipment in the real world would be four lifting devices, one in each corner, and synchronized with mechanical linkage (gears and shafts in the old days, computer position sensors and hydraulic jack in todays world.

I would probably use four threaded rods, perhaps 3/8-16 thread to lift and a gear drive from a single motor so each rod turns the exact same number of revolutions.

Another way would be a drum, pulley configuration such that four wire cables wind up on a drum lifting the four corners. Similar to a pop up camper mechanism. Scroll to around 2:50 minutes here
You see the corner has square bars, but they are hollow and the pulleys within are set to pull the square tube ends together, which makes them go up.

Thank you for your input Dennis. I appreciate your honest opinion. I will have to look for an alternate plan to move the trains from one level to the other.
Having decided (with input) that the train elevator is not a good idea. I have decided to focus my layout to be based loosely on the town of Houghton, Michigan and the dock area. I have included a small yard at the dock area where the copper ingots are unloaded off the train and loaded onto ships and I am working on small industries for switching in Houghton. I've also included an interchange track so that coal and other commodities can be brought to town.

Please let me know what you think. I'm looking for suggestions to improve the switching operations on the layout. The plan is to have about 20 freight cars and 1 locomotive now that I am modeling the town. I am thinking an 0-6-0 or possibly an 0-8-0, though I'm leaning towards the 0-6-0.

Here is the current plan for input.

Copper Range 3.1.jpg
Scissor Y's save space. They are very rare on the prototype, as diamonds, even the railroad kind, are expensive.

I thought I knew of one here, but it turns out that rather than build a diamond, they re-aligned the track.

You mean there's that many tank cars in America?? Woe betide anyone waiting at a grade crossing. Hope they took food and water, and a razor too.

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