Barry’s Helix layout

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.

I was amused when Barry got a few comments about his railroad layout: some said it wouldn’t work.

Come on, chaps, this is Barry we’re talking about it.

Don’t forget all the latest savings on the ebay cheat sheet are here.



27 Responses to Barry’s Helix layout

  1. Milton Larsen says:

    let’s see it pull 10 cars up and down.

  2. Dana Branch says:

    I don’t know why anyone would think it wouldn’t work…Model railroaders have used the helix on layouts to access upper levels for years! Looks good, Barry!

  3. Congratulations Barry job well done

  4. Mark Allen says:

    Nice work Barry, real nice work!!

  5. ron saunders says:

    love it

  6. Pastor Don says:

    I am interested in duplicating this layout. How can I get the plans?

  7. Michael, San Martin, CA says:

    I like the construction technique! Clever. I will probably use that when I build mine. Thanks for sharing! michael

  8. Sheila says:


  9. brian says:

    awesome idea withthe build

  10. Bob F. says:

    Did Barry build this himself or is this store bought; what scale HO or N?

    What is the incline percentage: 2, 3, or 4 percent?

    What size radius track does this use?

    If this is self made would Barry be willing to share his plans and construction steps?

    Thank you.

    Bob F.

  11. henry says:


    the helix is fine. I have 2 half a metre high on my layout and i have tried it out with 6 weighted coaches. The trick is in the machine you use. if it is a honny line it might be difficult but with a pro problem.

    have a look

  12. 'nother grandpa says:

    Very nice– anxious to see more! Congrats

  13. Tom says:

    Around and around and up and down they go … Oh Baby!

    Sounds like a rock and roll tune

    Great job! Well done!

    Thanks for sharing Barry And Al


    Tom N

  14. Jeff says:

    Hook up a few rolling stock. lol I cant wait until we see it in full operation.

  15. paul Otway says:

    Love the spiral. There is a real spiral in New Zealand in the middle of the North Island like that. If anyone goes to New Zealand you have a look.

  16. Ian says:

    Barry you are a genius. Thanks for the video it’s very encouraging to an old dinosaur who has almost zero skills.

  17. An excellant job, did you consider top and bottom sidings for heavy load auxiliary shunters.

  18. Ralph says:

    I dont see why it would not pull a fairly long train up the helix so long as the grade is 1:33 or less and the curves are 500mm R or greater.
    I have difficulty with wheel slip on anything steeper and the six wheel configurations hate tight curves.
    What length of track is in all that? It is more than my whole layout I think.
    It should give a good impression that the trains have been somewhere, several trains could be “stacked” in there to appear on cue when required.

  19. Greg says:

    Your work is very professional;however I have several questions.

    How much plywood did this require and wsn’t there a great deal of scrap?

    What did you use to join sections of plywood?

  20. Ray, USA says:

    Outstanding Job Barry…………….

  21. Barry Palmer says:

    To those who had questions I will try to answer them I cut 1/2 x 48 x 96 sheets of plywood in half. Then drilled a hole at the center of each of those now 1/2 x 48 x 48 sheets. Then used a router with a compass attachment to create the 19.50 and the 22.00 radius x .125 deep grooves with a 1.25 inch cutter. I created an inside and outside bolt hole pattern to support the sheets. The sheets are cut across at the back to allow the deflection between levels. The beginning of the next level is attached to the end of the previous level with (4) hole metal straps that I purchased from the hardware store. The elevation change between levels is 4.00 inches. The initial tubing spacers for the (8) hole pattern to accomplish the grade increase by .50 inches to achieve the 4.00 inch incline. I made 3.50 inch spacers to fit over the threaded rods to keep the levels equally spaced. I solder the 2.50 staggered rail joints with the track held straight and then put it into the routered grooves. It makes holding the radius very easy and consistent. My (2) levels will be 21.75 inches apart when completed. The final router pass was a 30.00 dia. hole for east access to service a derailment. I also soldered feeder wires to each level to keep power consistent.


  22. Dingo Sharp says:

    Barry U’r the man and for anyone who doesn’t think this will work yes I’ve seen the N.Z. one but only on Video and an old mate of mine built one many moon years ago and it worked a treat it was designed to take up to 6 wheelers and yes there is a bit of scrap but hey guys U use that on other areas of the layout waste not want not that’s the idea these days isn’t it.

  23. Jerry says:

    Wow did that make me dizzy. Great job!

  24. Thomas says:

    I’m getting dizzy…….

  25. Paul Johnston (Ireland) says:


  26. THOMAS says:


  27. vincent primavera says:

    Can you recomend a 6′ x 8′ layout with a substancial yard.

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