On Mon, 23 Nov 2009 14:03:56 -0800 (PST), mc email@example.com wrote:
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.
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
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 ... :-|
On Mon, 23 Nov 2009 18:15:02 -0800 (PST), mc firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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.
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
(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
reaching up where there are no tracks/baseboard and over intervening
I have numerous Atlas rerailing tracks, at least two per route and all
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
ever powered at a time.
The three center tracks require hand lifting of locos to the other end of
train. (obviously railcars, railbuses and shuttle trains don't need
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!
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!
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