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

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.

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.

Last edited:
Perhaps. I do some things DIY, but not everything. Going this route is going to save me time and my wife has even encouraged me. :D
We have no prior modelling skills so it's all done by research, trial and error. It is time consuming as we both still work and don't actually retire until July next year. But we're having great fun and learning new skills ⚒ ⚡🏛 🔧
It's now time to update this thread. Joining the Helices.

Bridging Units with Trains.JPG

A couple of weeks ago I finished wiring the Station House ready for the track and accessories. The 2 helices had their own wiring loom so I was putting off wiring the Station House but they are now “plugged in” to the full loom and in front of a custom made backdrop image set of mountains. The May Bank Holiday (UK) was the 1st time that we had sufficient time to test it all out.

The main effect that we wanted, was to see the trains “float” in front of the mountains, between the 2 helices. Haven’t totally achieved that but think it still looks quite good. The reflections that you see are from the light through the front windows.

We took some video footage…

Three trains crossing the divide:

The video footage is taken from an angle to feature the upper bridging unit:

You will see 2 trains running around the left helix and one of them crossing the upper bridge to the right helix:

…now we have to build the front bridging unit. This will be a plywood piece as there are 4 tracks to encompass and we can make in into a mini featurette (somehow 😉).

I have attached a pdf of our work, hope you enjoy the read.


  • Joining the Helices.pdf
    1.7 MB · Views: 136

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.