lift off scenic section

Discussion of model railway baseboard design and construction
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alex3410
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lift off scenic section

Postby alex3410 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:29 pm

hi all,

i am thinking about making a tunnel on my layout with a town scene on the top and was just wondering if there where any guides / hints / tips on the best way to make this section removable to access the track under it?

also like the idea of being able to work on it in the house when the weathers poor and i don't fancy the trip to the shed :lol:

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Emettman
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby Emettman » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:33 pm

There are probably almost as many ways to do it as there are modellers.

Depending on clearances etc. I would probably go for urethane insulation foam: two or more thin layers rather than one thick one, so the foil skins form a very effective sandwich structure. I'd suggest this is quicker than other light, spaced-girder, construction, and easy to adjust for small landscaping effects.
For hiding the edge, unless sitting nicely behind a straight or almost straight wall, this join should move around like an infantry soldier, taking advantage of terrain with cover. Hedges are good. One way to break up and camouflage a long join is to have a smaller and irregular "island" piece of scenery, perhaps just one house and garden, that can sit across the join, breaking up the otherwise too obvious line.

For lifting the section or sections, I'd suggest making a couple of features on each which are deeply anchored to the board and strongly built so thay can be used as camouflaged lugs or handles for lifting
A factory chimney or a war memorial which is not "surface-mounted" or a model bus that has unexpectedly deep foundations... take your pick.

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

ParkeNd
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby ParkeNd » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:08 pm

I am already branded I expect as one of those old fuddy duddys who keeps pushing convincing model railways - so I have nothing to lose by not joining the folk who are ignoring your post.

Presumably you are not building a model of the London Underground so what purpose would a railway serve by reaching a town and going underneath it? Or would prospective passengers access subterranean platforms like miners descending from a pit head in cages lowered on cables. And, being facetious now I admit, is this town the part of the layout which will have the tanks and planes or do they go somewhere else.

Maybe this is the time to sit down and think about why your railway exists - why did the railway company build it - rather than laying down a pattern of rails and then trying to justify them other than just providing a track for people to drive trains around on.

Not meant to be unkindly harsh - just trying to save you joining the many who rip it all up and start again.

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alex3410
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby alex3410 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:02 am

Thanks Chris some really helpful stuff in there - I like your idea on using buildings etc as handles to lift it out its brilliant!!

Thank you for your concern but I am happy with what I am doing - which is at the moment think through my options and how I can fit what I want from my layout into the space I have, no doubt I will have to cut out a few wants but it's part of the process, if I opt for just a hill it will still ideally need to be removable so it's still useful information - I understand others enjoy making it match a location as closely as possible but that's not what I want from mine. Yes I have only planned out the track at the moment and yes I will be doing the rest however I feel like but then that's how I want to do it.

I wanted to ensure the track was 100% before I started to think about anything else as it's something I have had issues with before

I know that the vast majority of the regular posters would understand that and help even if they didn't agree with my approach to running my railway

Lofty

Re: lift off scenic section

Postby Lofty » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:22 am

ParkeNd wrote:Maybe this is the time to sit down and think about why your railway exists -

The railway exists so that Alex can have fun and enjoyment.

ParkeNd wrote:just trying to save you joining the many who rip it all up and start again.

There is nothing wrong with ripping it up and starting again, that is how you get experience.

It would be somewhat boring if everyone built their first (one and only) railway, was satisfied with it and kept it for the rest of their lives.

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JohnN
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby JohnN » Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:07 pm

Bugger, I just typed out a reply only for my tablet to have an episode and lose it all. :(

I too have track running under a town and originally experimented with lift out sections using ply and foamboard supported in the middle by 'legs' made from wooden blocks. If you are going to go down this route, I would suggest using some form of battoning underneath to give some support and stop any sagging.

In the end, I opted for a permanent town board, easier for me as the whole layout is a 5x3 foot freestanding n gauge setup. I just left the end of the board open so I could reach in under the town and clean the track periodically and sort out any derailments I may have.

Whichever way you decide to go, good luck and let us know how it works out for you. :)

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alex3410
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby alex3410 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Hi John, thanks for the tips about giving it enough support a very good point!

I would prefer to have it in place permanently but i don't think i would be able to reach around to all of the track

i wonder if i could have a section of the side that lifts up like a flap in the middle of the raised section which would leave the top solid- i guess it will depend on the scenery etc so will have to have a play

in the meantime keep the ideas coming guys its really helpful :D

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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby flying scotsman123 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:47 pm

How about having the whole scenic section with hill and town scene on top on a piece of thin hardboard that just lifts out? Where the join is you have a cunningly placed wall/hedge or whatever and if you need to access the track you can just take the whole lot off leaving you with a bit of bare baseboard again to sort whatever you need out. You might find having it on hinges is a pain depending on how it's done - if it's a high section and hinges back against a wall it isn't going to go back very far and you might have to hold it up with one hand whilst cleaning the track with the other...

Edit - a further advantage of this would be you could take this section inside to work on it scenically if you don't fancy going out in the shed 'cos it's tipping it down. with a bit of planning you could do this for all over the layout so you could work on "mini-dioramas" inside without having to brave the elements, sometimes I just can't be bothered to put some shoes on, find the key to the shed etc. etc. and far more likely to be doing something on my bench (like my small bridge diorama at the moment).
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alex3410
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby alex3410 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:04 pm

interesting approach i had thought it would be easier to hide the joint by having the top simply lift off but it might be easier to hide it by having the hill remove all together as you suggest. It would certainly make maintenance easier having it totally clear of the hill but might be trickier to replace it when i am done.

Going to have to try a few of these out it think, keep ideas coming though some brilliant ideas guys thanks :D

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Bufferstop
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:26 pm

Hi Alex, I can see where ParkeNd is coming from, but I think railways are more likely to dive under a town than they are, or should be to, head for and burrow under the only hill in the middle of a flat plain. The centre of Birmingham is a case in point. When the railways first arrived they stopped well outside the centre of town. Commercial pressure forced them to come into the town centre. By this time the only way was to go under what was to become the city centre. Devising your own mythical town for your railway to serve is a good starting point. I'd venture to say that working out a good "back story" early on will help produce a believable scenic setting. If you have a high density of tracks man made scenery, retaining walls, buildings above the tracks etc. is to be expected. Look for photos of similar real life locations, my main station is an amalgam of Bury Bolton Street and Tyesely. Spending some time building castles in the air, well houses and shops at least, basing your ideas on everyday scenes can often result in a better way to do your scenery.
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Lancastrian
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby Lancastrian » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:29 pm

This how I have tackled a the problem on my Z gauge layout, it may help with ideas.

http://www.fgo.org.uk/index.php?option= ... Itemid=108

(I know this links to my website, but I do have a reciprocal link to NRM in my Model Railway links)
My Web Site Links: FGO & Boats and Canals (Forum)

Lofty

Re: lift off scenic section

Postby Lofty » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:29 am

For anyone serious about lift out sections and modules there is a good book that I can recommend:

The Professional Approach to Model Railways (second addition) by John Wylie.

You may even be able to borrow it from a library.

Mark Nicholson
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby Mark Nicholson » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:26 pm

Hi Alex,
I used PUinsulating foam for my removable hill and would defiantly go this way again. Buy some 4'x2' 1" sheets, cost £3.59 each, and sandwich them together, to form a light and warp free structure. I have a brick tunnel mouth at one end and a retaining wall with a steel plate bridge at the other. I use these to lift up the whole thing for track cleaning and the inevitable derailments.
First make a plan of where you want your hill to go and keep the tunnel fairly close to the track, cut out three of these and sandwich them together using contact adhesive, then cut out a roof to join it all together. PU cuts nicely with a thin long kitchen knife without the mess of expanded polystyrene . Use the knife to shape your contors and finish with a coarse sandpaper. Do this last bit with a mask and a vacuumed cleaner on to avoid breathing in the dust.
I covered mine with static grass paper sheet, or just use paint and flock. A hedge at the bottom of the hill and bushes and weeds along the retaining wall disguise the joint whilst also being very prototypical. I have a road on the hill adjoining the retaining wall and over the bridge, where this goes down to baseboard level is the only noticeable join. I plan to put in some roadworks to hide this.
The whole thing is located with two 8mm dowels. Find two spots on the baseboard without wires etc under them and drill two 9mm holes. Put your hill in place and mark with a felt tip from the underside where the holes are, drill two 8mm holes into the PU and fit in the 8mm dowels with PVA. This will take a white to dry as the PU doesn't absorb the moisture like wood.
The 9mm holes in the baseboard ensures that the hill lifts off and fits back easily.

Hope this helps, Mark.

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alex3410
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby alex3410 » Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:12 am

Brilliant advice here guys tank you :D

Insulating foam is on my list - just wondering how much mess I will make with it - ah well exscuse not to clean the shed just yet anyway :lol:

ParkeNd
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Re: lift off scenic section

Postby ParkeNd » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:51 am

The HS3 news says that Crewe is going to have a new station south of the town and then the High Speed line will go through a new tunnel under the town. So your lift out panel could now justifiably have a model of a bit of Crewe on top of it. Best bits to include (from my 8 years late 60s early 70s) would be the Tiko Bar, Up the Junction, The Barrel, and the West Street fish and chip shop zone.


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