Hidden Staging

1. How many of you are utilizing hidden staging? 2. If so, how do you access it? crawl underneath, rear door, lift out, ???
3. Is your hidden staging bare bones or does it include scenery and actual operations? 4. Do you hand manuever items back there or keep it realistic? 5. Do you have seating back there?
Thanks, Matt
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On Mon, 23 Nov 2009 14:03:56 -0800 (PST), mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Not recommended.

They say that the height of a duckunder should be a foot for each year of your age.
And I'm 62.
Staging sidings need to be easily accessible because that's where you make up trains by hand before having them hauled out.

Even for operating an oval layout from the inside, a duckunder is a nuisance. One solution I have seen is a removable bridge. Either Aluminium U-section, or something that hinges out of the way.
At last year's O-Scale National convention (Worcester MA) one of the layouts had what was effectively a heavily constructed, rigid "upside-down table" so that was part of what holds a modular layout together. One end had a home made hinge that was more like a trunnion holding one end of the bridge. The other end had pins that dropped into holes for alignment.

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Agreed. The duck under is not ideal.
Yet, I am feeling committed to a hidden staging area of size and meaning. I just like the idea of operating beyond the visible area. It seems to allow for a wider range of rolling stock from distant regions.
That said, your concerns are certainly valid, and they were the reason I prompted some input from all of you. I am curious to see how a lot of you feel about hidden staging, and how many solutions are in use. And, do the gains out-weigh the negatives. For me, at least on paper, they do. But, I might feel differently once I incorporate a section of hidden staging that requires a duck under. I thought a basic rolling dolley would lessen the effort. Just guessing aloud ... :-|
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On Mon, 23 Nov 2009 18:15:02 -0800 (PST), mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

All it takes is something like a bridge over the track at a slight angle with maybe a tree or too in fromy of it.
Thr typical small British layout is a short end-to-end, maybe 16 feet long including fiddle yard / staging. This would often be some kind of sliding rack of tracks, a sector plate, turntable, transfer table or traverser because a string of turnouts takes too much room. Track cassettes are also popular.
All you really need is something like a bridge over the track at a slight angle with maybe a tree or two in front of it.
The layout is portable so it can be taken to shows.
At home it would be operated from the front, with the fiddle yard open.
At a show it would be operated from the back with some kind of view blocker to hide the fiddle yard from the public. This is typically a panel with photographs of the protoypes modelled or something else interesting.

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mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I have a 2-track "hidden staging yard" along one wall of my around-the-room layout (2 single-ended tracks). "Hidden", because there's a short viewblock in front of it. Totally open on top; stand on a 2-step step-ladder and you can look down onto it. I actually make up the trains nearby, and back them into staging before an operating session. I also have a mirror on a bracket angled such that I can see most of the track from the normal floor level. I can store 2 4-5 car trains on each track if need be for the operating session. I also have a "duckunder" leading into the layout (I do have one loop for continuous running) - the area spanned is just over 3 1/2 feet, and it's actually a lift-out bridge, aligned with holes and 3/8 inch dowel pins. I use rail joiners to ensure track alignment at each end when the bridge is in place.
YMMV
Matt (also)
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There are two (at least) different situations involved: - hidden sidings, where trains arrive, wait, and depart, without handling. - staging yards, where trains are assembled, dispatched, arrive and are broken up. (in whichever order you consider correct)
I have a set of hidden sidings immediately below my main station, consisting of five parallel tracks, each divided into a number of queued blocks operated by switching relays. Access is marginally available by reaching up where there are no tracks/baseboard and over intervening tracks. I have numerous Atlas rerailing tracks, at least two per route and all track is very carefully laid. Train speed is minimised. Access is also possible by lifting off the main station baseboard, although this is only for annual maintainance.
I have a small exhibition layout which connects to a 4'x1' staging yard. 5 parallel tracks from a 3 way turnout followed by two x ordinary turnouts plus two headshunts. Locos can be exchanged on the two outer tracks using automatic uncouplers and a dead section at the end of those tracks. Turnouts are motorised and include routing switches so that only one track is ever powered at a time. The three center tracks require hand lifting of locos to the other end of the train. (obviously railcars, railbuses and shuttle trains don't need turning) One staging yard set-up gives several hours of operation. I would prefer not to handle much of my rolling stock.
It's sort of surprising, but some viewers spend longer watching the staging yard than the main layout!
Regards, Greg.P.
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On Mon, 30 Nov 2009 15:12:00 +1300, "Greg.Procter"

Not really, many people want to see what models you have, and that's where they all are.

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On Mon, 30 Nov 2009 15:17:33 +1300, Christopher A. Lee

Hadn't thought of that! When you're operating you sort of get immersed in what you're doing. These days I like to operate from the front - you get into all sorts of interesting conversations with viewers!
Greg.P.
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wrote:

That way they don't have to wait 'several hours' to see what's going to show up.
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