Helix help please

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
collectors
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Helix help please

Postby collectors » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:12 am

Hi, I am looking to build a helix on my track in the corner of the room & want the train to come off the main line via points, down the helix & back up the same helix to another set of points to continue on the main line. With the 2 points fitted, the loco can go straight on the main line or if I switch the points, then down & back up the helix. Now, my main high level track runs at 88" off the floor & the helix drop would be about a 53" drop. This is all on a 16.5mm track with on30 locos & carriages. Now, i know some of you would say a minimum diameter of 48” but i have a turn around loop at 36” that works faultlessly with my stock, & think i could push this to a 28” to 30” if i choose the trains & rolling stock carefully that uses the helix. My question is:
1. Is this possible
2. Use a single track with a reverse loop at the bottom.
3. Use two tracks on the helix to get up & down.
Any thought would be helpful no matter how daft as it can always point to another alternative.
The photo shows the corner it's going in minus the yucca plant. lol Thanks

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Bufferstop
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Re: Helix help please

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:34 am

You can't use the same minimum diameter on an incline as you can on the flat. You need keep your wheels on the rails all the time to ensure there's no stalling. It might be possible to tighten the radius a bit if you lay the whole of the track with some can't/superelevation. If all that is to happen is a train working its way down the helix and back up again facing the other way, you don't need the construction of what is a complex structure. A simple below the board turn back loop is all that's required. You can always incorporate a station stop delay module to keep the train in there a little longer.
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Re: Helix help please

Postby collectors » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:47 am

I think your right on making it a single track with a R/loop. But would of been nice to continue along the same track. But! this would give me two R/loops on my layout & this one is close to a station, so it might give some extra benefits.

bredd33
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Re: Helix help please

Postby bredd33 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:13 pm

Hi, I am looking to build a helix on my track in the corner of the room & want the train to come off the main line via points, down the helix & back up the same helix to another set of points to continue on the main line. With the 2 points fitted, the loco can go straight on the main line or if I switch the points, then down & back up the helix. Now, my main high level track runs at 88" off the floor & the helix drop would be about a 53" drop. This is all on a 16.5mm track with on30 locos & carriages. Now, i know some of you would say a minimum diameter of 48” but i have a turn around loop at 36” that works faultlessly with my stock, & think i could push this to a 28” to 30” if i choose the trains & rolling stock carefully that uses the helix. My question is:
1. Is this possible
2. Use a single track with a reverse loop at the bottom.
3. Use two tracks on the helix to get up & down.
Any thought would be helpful no matter how daft as it can always point to another alternative.
The photo shows the corner it's going in minus the yucca plant. lol Thanks


that was always my childhood dream
railways that goes right under the ceiling, I saw in some old movie that the kid had one, that goes through the whole house and it was amazing

funny that I’m not the only one
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collectors
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Re: Helix help please

Postby collectors » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:49 pm

It actually looks good in the room. It runs around an open plan lounge/kitchen/dining room & through the wall to a small hallway & though the bedroom & back into the lounge area & all in a figure of eight with twin track & a 6 meter bridge plus a turn around loop. There is nearly 70m of single track. Will have to post some photos or video . The photo above is the trunking i made up & a have a facia of hardboard that velcros on the front to hide the cabling. & this one shows half the bridge.
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Michaelreedy71
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Re: Helix help please

Postby Michaelreedy71 » Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:42 pm

Wats the easy way to make a helix i have a sheet of 6mm and 9mm mdf sheeting and is it easy to build

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Mountain
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Re: Helix help please

Postby Mountain » Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:31 am

You are likely to need more space then you thought BUT there may just be a way. Have you thought that instead of a round helix, one can have a wide elongated oval helix which in theory should give a similar effect as using a larger round helix? I have never tried this, but it should work fine. Just be aware of possible de-railment potential going down sharp curves, especially when coming off straights so always ave something to catch locos and stock incase things do not work out as planned.
I hope your plans work out. Good luck!

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Re: Helix help please

Postby Bigmet » Thu Dec 24, 2020 2:00 pm

Michaelreedy71 wrote:Whats the easy way to make a helix I have a sheet of 6mm and 9mm mdf sheeting and is it easy to build


Back a few steps for some significant questions.
What scale is this for?
What does the helix have to do in terms of height change, and within what maximum available dimensions?
What combination of traction and quantity of rolling stock will make up the trains to operate on the helix?

As for ease of building, it has to be planned and the parts carefully cut and assembled, it's not a 'thrown it together' build. MDF in my opinion will be best restricted to the smallest modelling gauges, N or OO9 as a maximum. I wouldn't consider it for HO or OO and larger, plywood is stiffer and will be more structurally stable which is necessary if the helix is to perform well.

Finally. A helix, whether 'classically arranged' on a circular plan, or as 'Mountain' suggests distributed around an oval or some other shape. is best thought of as an 'expander' for a model railway already in a generous space relative to the scale.

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Re: Helix help please

Postby collectors » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:20 pm

Bigmet wrote:
Michaelreedy71 wrote:Whats the easy way to make a helix I have a sheet of 6mm and 9mm mdf sheeting and is it easy to build


Back a few steps for some significant questions.
What scale is this for?
What does the helix have to do in terms of height change, and within what maximum available dimensions?
What combination of traction and quantity of rolling stock will make up the trains to operate on the helix?

As for ease of building, it has to be planned and the parts carefully cut and assembled, it's not a 'thrown it together' build. MDF in my opinion will be best restricted to the smallest modelling gauges, N or OO9 as a maximum. I wouldn't consider it for HO or OO and larger, plywood is stiffer and will be more structurally stable which is necessary if the helix is to perform well.

Finally. A helix, whether 'classically arranged' on a circular plan, or as 'Mountain' suggests distributed around an oval or some other shape. is best thought of as an 'expander' for a model railway already in a generous space relative to the scale.


Hi, all the info in previous posts. Scale on30 on 16.5mm track with a max of 53" drop "or could be less" & a max of 36" diameter. Now, i already have a 36" turn around loop & that works fine with lager locos & cars. So, i am hoping for the same on the helix & at worst only using smaller locos & carriages. Remembering that many on30 locos will do a lot smaller diameters than HO or 00. I am also possibly looking at the helix in a oblong/oval shape. "Not sure of the name of an oblong with a semi circle at each end". lol

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Mountain
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Re: Helix help please

Postby Mountain » Thu Dec 24, 2020 8:43 pm

An oblong type helix which has an extended area of straights should (In theory) allow the clearance you need to have the locos fit under the next deck on top, as narrow gauge height is going to be slightly taller then standard gauge would be if running on the same track gauge if that makes sense?
The issues to overcome are the angle of ascent or descent that the loco can climb without wheelspinning or descend without the train gaining too much speed, along with sufficient height clearance so that the locomotive and your stock will be able to duck under the next layer of the helix above. An oval will give one extra running length to achieve this.
One issue that needs to be overcome with an oval helix is to try to avoid sudden changes of gradient, but it does allow one to have level curves, which should make things easier.
Adding a little extra weight to locos will help them climb.

Just for reference to others who may not know. 7mm narrow gauge USA outline models are known as 0n30 and are available by Bachmann as factory made models. In Europe 7mm narrow gauge is known as 0e and the only factory made models in 0e were the Fleishmann Magic Train, sadly no longer produced.
7mm narrow gauge here in the UK is known as 0-16.5 (Was known as 0n16.5 ("As in running "On" 16.5 gauge width)). Sadly there are no factory made models in 0-16.5, however, there are some lovely easy to make kits available so the modeller need not worry. (If I can build them and my 15 (Now 16) year old nephew can build them, then most of you should in theory manage them).
7mm narrow gauge is the narrow gauge of 0 scale that usually runs on 00 (H0) gauge track width out of convenience. Some finescale modellers do use a different gauge but most of us use 16.5mm (Same as 00 and H0 gauge uses so if it wasn't for such sharp corners some of us tend to use, we could run 00 or H0 on the same track).

Like the origional poster mentioned. One can turn trains in 7mm narrow gauge on very sharp curves which are far sharper then most 00 or H0 gauge modellers would even consider. This makes them a real space saving concept to model in along with being in a larger scale, one does not need such good eyesight to model the smaller fiddly bits!
The origional posters high level shelf layout railway is ideal for this scale as the larger scale is slightly kore visible then 00 or H0 will be, and yet they can take sharper curves so one needs less room for the corners so have less shadows cast down in rooms of used at high level. (I always will say to make an effort to use some sort of barrier to prevent any vehicle that strays off the track from falling off the edge as it is a long way down if things don't go to plan).

I have seen even larger scales being used but obviously they take up more space.

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Re: Helix help please

Postby collectors » Fri Dec 25, 2020 5:37 am

Thanks for the info mountain. I think it will be a learning curve, "excuse the pun" On the trains derailing & falling off, i am inserting 8mm copper tube into the side of the tracks baseboard every 9" & bending up at 45% . Each of the 45% length of tube will have 4 holes drilled in to allow nice thin & clear 40lbs fishing wire all around the perimeter to catch any derailments. It actually looks quite effective without blocking the view on the test/experiment i mocked up. It almost looks like the cable carriers that you get alongside tracks for signal cabling.

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Re: Helix help please

Postby Mountain » Fri Dec 25, 2020 10:25 am

If you do have a little more width to avoid the corners being too sharp it will give you less issues, and the wider it is in the other direction (The longer the straight bits are) the less gradient the trains will need to climb. One could make it so the centre of it is hollow so one can in effect duck up under it for track cleaning.... Or to save space one can build it in a wide almost dog bone effect which should look interesting against a wall of the room.

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Re: Helix help please

Postby collectors » Fri Dec 25, 2020 12:50 pm

On the cleaning part, that's a good idea. But i am experimenting on changing one of the locos to battery & RC control. If successful, i may do the other locos. It would help with not being so meticulous with cleaning. "Yes i do clean the track" but it's a pain when you get a dead spot with DCC, & with my layout it could be in the main area or the hall & bedroom as it runs around the bungalow.

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Mountain
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Re: Helix help please

Postby Mountain » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:10 pm

That's the thing with DCC. By the time one has bought the equipment and opened the body to fit the decoder, one may as well go one step more and use radio control instead and have a permanent "Stay alive" feature which saves a lot of track cleaning.
It is tempting.

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Re: Helix help please

Postby collectors » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:58 pm

I only started this all around a year ago & like anything new its a great learning curve. I thought i would try and be up to date with everything & start with DCC & wish i hadn't bothered. The only advantage is train control & can do this just the same with RC control.
So i might revert to simple points via spring toggle switches & a capacitor & rc trains. Then sell any DCC equipment i have. It's also cheaper not using DCC. We will plod on, as i am getting more spare time with the lockdown.


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