The 'flip up' type is by far the easiest (and safest) to build and one of my layouts used this system. Its major downside of course, is that all rolling stock and all other loose items need to be removed in order to fold away, plus it precludes access from the rear - only a problem with a long layout. I think mine was 7' 6" long and allowed rear access from the two short ends.
This type benefits from sturdy support posts under the front edge, rather than relying on the suspension, even though I used chains for strength. I successfully killed two birds with one stone by designing and making the 'support posts' as hinged shelf units that were a little heavy, but very useful as shelves, both in the raised and lowered positions.
The suspended layout can eliminate both the problems of access and loose item removal, but needs a good deal more care in its design, particularly with regard to safety - not to be approached casually.
I will admit that the flip up layout is the more appealing and interesting possibility. Its something I could seriously consider. Good point about loose items and its sensible to put these away anyway to reduce dust build up even if left on a horizontal layout rather than one which can incline vertically!
The depth of the lining allows for structures and a bit of landscaping and scenery.
What somebody could design is a fold out bed that is actually a model railway rather than a bed!
Not too sure I like the idea of having a layout winched down from the ceiling but it has been done I believe!
Re the flip up style
The notion of designing in fixed, hidden sidings/loops inside the horizontal part of the frame, did occur to me. The idea would be to park all trains safely in there before lifting up the base. The principle was excellent, but I simply had too much stock to make it feasible without having a very deep frame on the wall. I am sure this would work for a less densely populated layout though.
I have had a suspended layout too. This was in the garage and, as is often the case, my ambition was bigger than my engineering and financial capability at the time. The board was around 12 feet by 6 feet and was never actually completed! Since then, a car (of all things!) purloined this valuable real estate and the large board was then gradually used up for lighting fires.
But the spare car is being slung out this summer and I will then attempt a (slightly) less grandiose effort. The light-weight frame has been built for a year or two, but the car has to move on before any further progress is made. I guess I will then need to make the difficult decision as to whether N or HO or even OO will rule the roost. Damn, that's going to be a hard one! Then one gets ideas of multi-layered suspended boards - one for each gauge/scale.
I think I may need a tranquilliser pill now.
Re suspended layouts - you would have to get a very careful balance of buildings and trains if they were to be left on the layout when it was hoisted up using the single point suspension shown in the right-hand picture of Gary's post. All the books I have seen recommend using a rope and pulley-block at each corner with the ropes joined together to a common hauling point so that you hoist each corner simultaneously, keeping the layout level. There should also be fold-down legs so that when operating the layout you have a steady baseboard, with minimum risk of suddenly moving it and causing derailments or worse because of the 'earthquake' you've just created!
Sorry I haven't a diagram I could include to make the above clear.
Re 'Flip-up' layouts - the PSL Model Railway Guide 1 shows a layout of this type with a central access hole - this goes round a set of shelves on which the engines and rolling stock are placed on display when the layout is not in use. The quantity of rolling stock and the available amount of space for usable track obviously interact with this arrangement.
My aborted 'dangler' did in fact have a 4-pulley arrangement.
I never quite got as far as the legs, but learned enough to swiftly realise that they would be a highly desirable next step! Although it may be said that the ability to easily shove a suspended board around in mid air enabled me to get away with much less access clearance round all four sides. Huge boards don't dance around much - inertia makes them sway fairly gracefully! No, NO NO!!!! I must not overdo it next time!
If I had continued, I feel that safety considerations would have required sturdy removable cross beams for the board to rest on in the raised position. I then developed the idea that the same arrangement and beams could probably be used in the lowered position also - no dangly legs at all. Different working heights could be accommodated fairly easily by installing different wall mounting cups in which to firmly and safely rest the cross beam ends.
Perhaps by the time summer comes around again (it seems a heck of a way off right now!), we might all jointly arrive at an idiot-proof, practical and reasonably inexpensive design that does the job and doesn't actually kill anyone!
John's comments on the flip up model are also making me think again about that one. A slim shelf down one wall of this one's bedroom would be a real possibility. No reason why several trains could not be 'driven onto sidings there, hmmm . . . that layout still actually exists, though it has spent the last few years in store. Too many unfinished projects!
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