House to House HO Scale Model Layout Connecting

This may not sound like the "best" idea but my friend and i thought that it would be cool to connect both of our layouts by means of underground pvc piping or something of that type. We both have to go through a 1'x 1' glass window in the basement wall how would the best was to do this and stop leakage inside and not destroy the intire window?

Has anyone ever done this or has any ideas and IF we did this I want to put block detectors and tiny cameras inside how difficult would this be to ACCOMPLISH?!



Reply to
Chris Modrzynski
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You'll also want some method of clearing derailments. Perhaps you should start training some mice?


Reply to
Brian Paul Ehni

I was just thinking the same thing. Perhaps one could buy one a small and cheap radio controlled car and shove them out? (might need some modifications to run inside the PVC, though) Problems similar to real derailments in tunnels, I suppose..... Or you could just do like the C&O did with the train in the Church Hill tunnel in Ricmond, VA - just seal off both ends of the tunnel and bury the train inside. 'till later...

-- Andrew Cummings

Reply to
Andrew Cummings

Again, it sounds like loads of fun, but....

First, what kind of weather to you get? Remember that ground expands and contracts a fair distance underground if you have any kind of extremes. We did an experiment in college where we set stakes at a 12" depth, 6" apart for 20' between two of the buildings and set a wire attached to each building just touching each stake. By the end of the school year we had a shift of between 1/8th an inch to all the way out to 1 1/2 inches. You would have to dig a large enough diameter ditch to accomodate some sort of buffer material such as gravel or sand and gravel and probably would still get significant shift over any distance.

Second, you also have the problem in that no matter how good the seal, there is always going to be moisture in the pipe, even if its just the moisture from the air of the two houses. Any idea on how to control condensation? Derailments are one thing, but how would you handle a short?

Third, how are you attaching roadbed? If you're planning on wood, then that meant screws or nails through the pipe. Since I'm assuming you're planning on cutting the pipe in half lengthwise to access the interior you're going to have long seams that need to be thoroughly sealed and you'll get some temperature related shift between the upper and lower halves (I haven't a clue whether this would be enough to be significant though).

Fourth, do you have burrowing animals? I know moles can eat through PVC (we had to replace a 10' section because of them) and you really don't want to come down to the basement with the smell of fried mole wafting out the hole :P.

Reply to
Dale Kramer

Climate and safety are two considerations. If you live where the temperature drops below freezing you will have condensation. Just like the real railroads de-watering your "tube" will be a problem. An insulated box around the tube might help.

There are some safety and Building Code issues you might want to consider as well. Without fire-rated closures at both ends of the tube a fire in one home will be pulled into the other home. In some locations this sort of house-to-house connection violates Code.

Your local building official should be able to give you some advice on what measures will be needed to make your connection safe as well as fun.

Is your smoke alarm working? Don't delay - test it today!

Reply to

Its not a real model railroad unless you get two 4" tunnel augers, compressed air, and drill from each side. Some indepent person must flood the yard to represent a river. Internal wooden structures must be appropriately placed, of course.

Jim Stewart

Reply to
Jim Stewart

You could always do it the way the prototype would... It'd be a great excuse to buy and use that ROCO DCC crane...

Reply to
Joe Ellis

An aluminum extrusion with track on top, maybe 8 feet long, with wheels on the bottom of it, like a linear transfer table - drag it along with wire rope cables, latch it up to the rail at either end, drive off the train. No derailment problems, relatively foolproof mechanical action. You'd need a very clear way to shut off power to keep from running off the end.

You could automate driving the cable back and forth with micro switches to shut off at either end. Save the X-10 or similar cameras for an emergency, (I doubt there'd be many) or for inspection after a big rain, etc.

Reply to
E Litella

Brian Paul Ehni wrote:>>

I think you need to be sure that derailments don't happen. Maybe run a strip of styrene or wood on top of the ties and just inside of the flanges, at the height of the rails. Kind of like one long re-railer. Or use an extra pair of rails, like on a bridge. For a strip, you may need to relieve the center to clear glad-hands.

I assume you will be digging a trench, so you'll be able to test it out above ground. I did a quick check, for HO scale you need 3" PVC pipe. There's even enough room for 1/4" x 1-5/8" "lattice stock" to form a flat floor if that works better. Of course, the pipe should be straight if at all possible and do your very best soldering and joint smoothing.

I would at first try not attaching the track to the inside of the pipe, letting it float for expansion and contraction, contacting only on the ends of the ties. Of course you would also need floating turns at each end, which would bend during length changes. If you are going deep enough, the temperature is pretty constant and you may not need to worry about length changes.

For a seal, how about a vent stack roof flange?

Good luck.

Bill MacIndoe

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