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Tunnel Access ? ... I'm At The Planning Stage
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 Posted: Wed Jan 12th, 2022 11:31 pm
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Almostretired
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I am in the track planning stage, I have 3/4 of a 8' by 15' room available.


I am leaning towards a simple U-shape.  Not my theme, 
but I like some of the aspects of the U-shaped track plans posted by Thundermesa Studio.  

Mainly because the plans look like they would fit my room. 
The plans call for 2-3 foot wide sections, at the most.

However, some plans show tunnels on the perimeter, 
some of them lengthy. 


I plan on L-girder construction, 
with tracks on risers and plywood strips, and an average height of 4 feet or more.


If I plan accordingly, the long tunnel could be at the lowest track elevation.  
In my imagination, I could crawl under there to re-cover a derailing.  
I hasten to add that I have an active imagination. 


So, does anyone successfully access a tunnel from under the layout ? 
Or does everyone use lift-offs ?




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Mark from Illinois
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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2022 06:23 am
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corv8
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Almostretired wrote:
So, does anyone successfully access a tunnel from under the layout ? 
Or does everyone use lift-offs ?


Have both.  

A short 90° mainline tunnel in a corner of the layout, 
with a lift off village on top. 

I seldom have to lift it as its short enough, 
that I may reach stalled trains from one of the ends, 
and there was never any derailment.

And, I have a wide turning loop under the layout.  It is only used occasionally. 
In the beginning, I had once a derailment, 
and one of the brand new Empire Builder coaches dropped over the edge to the floor.  

So I would suggest some sort of fence, maybe only a few millimeters, 
so it does still allow access to the track.

What trains will you operate ?



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Gerold
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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2022 02:14 pm
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Almostretired
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Gerold, thanks for the reply. 

It's encouraging to know it can be done,
and your guard fence is taken under advisement. 


In short, my locos will be small and trains also short.
I am doing this all on the cheap as I can. 

As far as trains right now,
I snagged a Bachmann Hawthorn Village 2-6-0 passenger coach set
in bright red and McDonald's logos, 3 years back for $38

I'm practicing with Badger primers and inexpensive craft paints,
trying to hide the history of the loco. 

Before re-painting the coaches,  I intend to shorten them,
after I watched a youtube of someone who did a nice job of it,
it was the guy who posted the U shaped track plans. 


As for freight cars, all be on the shorter side of things,
averaging around 20 scale feet. 

I want a logging and mining inspired layout,
as those cars and structures are of greatest interest to me.

I am currently trying to model an 18' boxcar. 
However, scale-looking inexpensive arch bar trucks have me stymied,
but last night I think I may have found a possible solution.




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Mark from Illinois
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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2022 09:32 pm
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2foot6
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Hi Mark

I have four tunnels on my layout, three of them are accessible
by going under the layout and reaching in to solve an issue.

It's been so long ago that I had a problem,
I don't remember when it was, years ago. 


The other tunnel is about six feet long and is straight track,
it's accessible at one end as far as my arm can reach.

The rest is reachable by stepping on a ladder and reaching over the scenery,
and accessing the problem by reaching into a void created by the scenery.
(VERY RISKY)


Good luck with your planning, it's an important part of creating the layout,
to what you think is the right design, as you build, it will change as you go.

For me that was an important part of the building.

Go as you have planned, and make the changes as the need arises,
sometimes the scene just doesn't look right, or it won't work....

IT'S ALL PART OF THE FUN  :2t:

........Peter




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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2022 11:28 pm
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Almostretired
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Thanks for the reply, Peter.

I have contemplated not covering a tunnel next to the wall completely, 
as not bringing scenery tight right up against a painted wall backdrop, 
would help with perspective, especially in mountainous terrain I think.....?

At this point, the track plans look like they would be 3 feet deep at most, 
(a bit more in a corner), 
but I think that's reachable with care, as I am taller than average.

And yes, I do plan on making changes as I go along, 
for me the process of modeling is more appealing, 
than operating trains on a finished layout. 

It may sound strange, but basically I want a layout 
for somewhere to put the scratch built structures and rolling stock 
I find the greatest enjoyment in when engaged in this hobby.



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Mark from Illinois
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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2022 11:39 pm
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2foot6
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Not bringing scenery tight right up against a painted wall backdrop 
would help with perspective, especially in mountainous terrain.


That is what I did with my long tunnel, 
and it works very well for a number reasons. 

I have also found out that sometimes you can get an arm through
the tunnel entrance to retrieve rolling stock on the shorter tunnels.

............Peter.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 13th, 2022 11:43 pm
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Almostretired
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Thank you, good to know.






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Mark from Illinois
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 Posted: Sat Jan 15th, 2022 04:04 am
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Michael M
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I had a tunnel about 4' long with several switches no less !


The top part of the mountain over it was removable.  

I knew I would have to be able to access it on occasions...

And I was right.




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 Posted: Sun Jan 16th, 2022 01:34 am
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Almostretired
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Thanks for the reply, Michael.

Especially the part about the switches, 
as one of the track plans I do really like, 
does have a switch under the mountain. 

As I used to sometimes warn my HS students, 
when I heard of some of their sketchier plans:
"That sounds like a train wreck looking for its crossing..."

I suppose switches in tunnels are likely not at all prototypical, 
(rivet counters: feel free to chime in) 
but I think a model tunnel with a switch in it is truly a: 
"Train wreck looking for its schedule..."

That stated, the prototype for my model railroad, 
exists solely in some alternate past reality in my head,
where prototypical accuracy is a passing suggestion relegated to a moot point... 
A large part of what attracted me to On30...

I will have to store some of the flotsam and jettison, 
of 39+ years and counting of living in this old house, under the layout, 
so if something falls past the tiny fences I will put on this part of the track, 
it wont fall too far. 

Turning this basement room into a "train room" is actually a good exercise, 
as lots of "stuff" is going to recycling and charity...



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Mark from Illinois
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 Posted: Sun Jan 16th, 2022 12:52 pm
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Steven B
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So, my experience with tunnels is,
before you enclose it, make sure the track is bullet proof.

No switches, that is your train wreck. 
Just leave one open the wrong way, and you'll see.

No reversing curves, without a straight,
twice as long than your longest car or locomotive, between the curves,
to keep couplers from offsetting and pulling them off the track.
 
Always use a easement to go into curves,
especially the reversing ones in a tunnel.

Make sure all of your cars and locomotives are to a set of standards,
and weighted following the NMRA recommended practices,
and all couplers are to a set height using a coupler height gauge. 

I have been building to On3 standards on my On30. 
Makes it tougher and have to modify Bachmann stuff pretty drastically. 

Also be sure to check your wheel gauges, locomotives and cars. 
All of them should be to the NMRA standards gauge.
 
Maintenance is the key. 
If the stuff is maintained, you'll reduce the chance of disaster.

Can't wait to see what you are doing !




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