Lawrence has been in touch again – his last post is here.
I was asked about the helix I have. It is a double track double helix six rows tall. Initial design of a helix can be frustrating. Building is also costly as half inch plywood is best to use. And it takes a LOT of track.
Seeing I was using diesel and steam I decided the inner track on the inner ring would be 23-inch radius. That made the outer track on the inner ring to be 25-inch radius. The center poles are one by three inches. I wanted an inch for scenery on the outer ring so the inner track on the outer ring became 29-inch radius. Making the outer ring outer track a 31-inch radius. Or the total width of the helix is 62 inches in diameter. Which is displayed by the second and third pictures.
Using card stock, I drew out the base needed for the two rings configuring what the track was to be mounted on. Cutting each card stock ring in eight equal pieces gave me the pattern to cut the plywood. Using the pattern gave the angle at the ends and was used to get the maximum amount out of each sheet of plywood.
The uprights were installed between where the rings were to be mounted to keep the mounting as hidden as possible. The plywood ring pieces are held in place by aluminum bars cut and bent and placed on the upright at the appropriate place for the respective circular ring and height row. The inner and outer rings do not match in height as the outer ring first level passes over the inner ring as the inner ring enters the helix. The inner ring plywood was four inches wide with the outer ring being 5 inches wide.
Decided the inner and outer ring was enter the helix at ground level. So built the first level outer ring first. That determined the right place for the inner ring to enter the helix under the outer ring.
Before going any further, I constructed the two bridges to connect the helix to the rest of the layout. And as I built each vertical row, ballasting, power and scenery was added. This had to be done row by row as when the next row was put in place it only gave 3-4 inches between vertical rows. I believe the helix is part of the train layout so should also have proper ballasting and scenery.
The terminal blocks were located at each level too distribute track power and lighting power at that level. Added two trees in front of each upright at each level to hide the upright. Strip LED lighting was placed on the underside of the next upper level.
Then a picture showing the outside of the completed helix with people enjoying the scenery and wandering in the park. A special stairway was constructed so five of the levels could be easily reached by walking. A picture is now shown of the inside of the helix, the inner track and the large enough area that is used to access the inner track. Yes, it is hands and knees to get into the middle.
The last three pictures display people waiting at one of the train stops waiting for the train. One of the outside corners of the helix base has a super market for any hungry passer buys. One of the other corners has a community center and playground to relax and for the kids. Notice the rest rooms available on the first vertical row.
Not displayed here, I had to take all the facing from all of the rows off as the balsa wood eventually curved in at the top coming in contact with the train. I am presently in the process of putting it all back on but lowered so the top of the facing is level with the top of the track. The added advantage is the facing now hides direct viewing of the LEDs.
A huge thanks to Lawrence – what an undertaking! And it looks great too.
Lastly, on to Dave:
“Hi Al, well after having a good holiday in the sun, I get back to my Model Railway with a bit of an update, and a running session… well got to give the Loco`s a run around after being sat there for a couple of weeks…
That’s all for today folks, please do keep ’em coming.
Please don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if your time to get started on your layout.