It took the entire Christmas break and weekends in January, but the staging level is now complete. Track laid and wired, tortoises installed, panel built and soldering skills perfected. I am now a lot closer to running trains than I was a month ago – and it feels pretty good!
After building the main layout at 42 inches high, I realized that although it was optimal viewing level for the kids, I wasn’t enjoying looking ‘down’ on the trains. If I rebuilt the main layout 9 inches higher – at 51 inches – I could solve 3 big problems that I identified with the ‘first’ layout:
- The layout was just too low for me. Funnily, I have read that the #1 thing that most railroaders would change about their layout is the height.
- Not enough staging on the first iteration… now I can stage five 12′ trains (each train approx. 15 cars plus 3 locos) eastbound and five 12′ trains westbound (see trackwork pics below).
- Single mainline now runs through a scene once on the viewable level. In the previous version, I had the train out and back for continuous running on the same visible level. While this was great to watch, it wasn’t very prototypical – especially since the QGRY is mostly single track.
Starting over and ripping up a year’s worth of work was REALLY painful and I had my doubts; but I bit the bullet, took the leap of faith and it was worth it.
Next up will be to test, test, test the trackwork (and test it again!) to insure perfect operations before I start to bury the staging level and build the level above it.