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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There seems to be quite a bit of interest in having a higher level in recent threads so rather than answer one I'll give my views on the subject in general, my layout has twin levels and this idea came from my father who was I think inspired by the GNR at Halifax, anyway my current and recent lauouts have had a gradient and so here goes.

The gradient - Generally I have two double track ramps at 1 in 33, to arrive at this I did a lot of testing, it seemed OK as the real railway has grades of 1 in 40 - Somerset and Dorset, again 1 in 40 South Devon banks, 1 in 37 Lickey but then could go tighter to 1 in 19 Rochsoles, Marylebone down to Circle line, and others. I examined fathers layout and his was about 1 in 19 and it worked but it looked too steep, 1 in 27 Werneth incline Oldham, Exeter St Davids to Queen Street is 1 in 37 whilst Peco will tell you 1 in 36 is as tight as you should consider.

Going uphill is a matter of traction so a big train towed by a 4-4-0 will struggle at these gradients depending upon the loads of course but even so can climb light engine but the mighty Bachmann 9F will tow anything up a Werneth incline.

In fact when I tested this matter the biggest issue was coming down where droopy weak tension lock coupling jammed up, the old metal loop Wrenn couplings hardly noticed the gradient coming down,

On testing I tried a variety of other ideas such as using a Bemo/Roco type coupling and some other continental ideas and in the end discarded all except for the Bemo style and the dear old tension lock even the droopy type.

Overfilled MPD on the right shows the high level at 132mm above the baseboard level of the 4 track main line below

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry for the clutter I sometimes wonder where it all comes from.

In some ways a bigger issue than the gradients is the level of the top section as this can be a bit variable, I suppose with soem better tools I could get a more precise track level but sometimes despite best efforts it can be a problem to get it all flat, again locos that are tolerant are required, In find 4-6-0's such as Hornby B1 and B17 do very well, as does Bachmann Austerity and the ever wonderful 9F - the new Hornby will have to be fantastic to be better I also use the GNR C1 the Directors and other pre grouping locos as well as O4, 8F etc as essentially this railway is more freight than passenger as it was once upon a time - then they built the M6/M1 and that became history
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Last one tonight - looking down the 1 in 33 to the main station, as this is quite long there is a 90 degree turn near the bottom which requires a change of plane, avoid if you can better a bit steeper, then too you have to deal with the transition gradients the ones at the bottom are more a problem than those at the top,
 

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Thanks Kristopher,
I was interested in a double or even triple deck layout so I’m pleased to see how you have done it. This is different to the scenario I envisioned, mine would have been completely separate levels, like different shelves (how the Americans do it) but now I see a way of doing it where the levels are integrated within the same layout!
Many thanks and kudos to you.
IIRC didn’t the Leicester group have a large exhibition layout that was kind of similar? That would have been GC based too, I’m sure.
By the way, my ideas are now moving towards this kind of thing too!
Cheers,
John E
 

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Hi Kristopher It is an interesting topic for me as well. As you know listening to members experiences whether to go with them or not . For me i could go without but the extra storage that two levels can provide is very tempting . Storing complete trains rather than loading and unloading coaches/wagons means less handling of the stock . I am planning on having three points of exit in my shed but only one main one with a swing or lift up board so i do not want two levels crossing that entrance/exit .So my thoughts were too have a terminus storage on the lower level where possibly used for tank engine trains. These trains would more likely be shorter than tendered engine hauled trains with the exception of maybe the 2-8-0 and 2-8-2 types . Alternatively at the terminus having a turntable though this would reduce the length available for the incline it would be nice to have 300mm between the levels though i'm not sure that is doable . I fully intend to do some testing before i commit to a plan . I have a lot of baseboards which hopefully can be reused a couple will be scrapped but enough to allow some testing . I'm thinking of having just one track for both up and down and maybe using DCC Concepts magnets with limited fitted loco's. Thanks Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK thanks for the replies, I have a large under high level station fiddle yard that can hold 19 full trains as that length is 4m by 1metre and I have the prog track there as well

This is the corner which shows the prog track where the 9F lurks, I also use it for wheel cleaning running the loco against the uprights and using cotton buds with favoured solvent to clean the wheels Behind you can see the 19 roads of the fiddle yard, as this is a 4 track main line then this reduces the points required


This next one you can see the open area in the middle that should be covered by a field, at the far side is the uppydowny lines whilst the foreground and station have through lines and 3 sidings each side.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One thing Pappa B is that because the ramps rise 132 mm which is the height of the Metcalfe viaduct then I have to have ramps that at 1 in 33 are 4m long, then there are the transition gradients so in the case of the main station I come into the tunnel that hides the corner on a slight ramp then go into the corner on a R3, R4 track curves, these will allow pretty much any loco to go around and are easy to secure using flexi on these curves is simply to much bother as especially they are normally out of sight.
 

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Hi Kristopher What is the distance between your levels and at a metre wide is it difficult to reach the back should you need to? When you say transition gradients are you saying that they are not as steep as the straight track? Having a single track entry and exit will mean that some trains will have to be reversed on the top level mmm . Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK the height of the second level is set by the use of the Metcalfe viaduct, also the use of Metcalfe tunnel mouths which are nearly as high, now a typical loco is 67mm or so and sits on 5mm - 10mm track/and or ballast and the height of Hornby bridges/viaduct is 80mm but at this height getting your hand of god in there is impossible, my father used 100 mm but he never could get his hand in so had to empty all the roads to get to the back.
At 132 - 12mm for the MDF board thickness you have 120 less 5mm for the track so clearance of 115 so above a loco of about 115 - 67 = 48 mm or you can get some assistance in there.
In order tp access more I have crawl into the corner spaces and lift out embankments etc, this helps a great deal, father had to have lots of sections to store trains but with DCC this is not a problem, if anything it is easier to do.

My boards are mostly 1 metre wide and this is the limit of my reach and some places I have to stand on a small stool etc.

I'll take some more pics see if I can upload today
To be going on with not a great photo but shows the corner so to be able to sit and work in the corner you need head clearance and this is done by elevating the village centre and of course this all lifts out, sitting underneath you can access all the levels, I agree that I never properly finished this area though and in fact the bridge across the station has been removed and I have come up with another solution.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ref the transition gradients, they start level and then slowly turn up to the 1 in 33 required, now you can go straight to about a 1 in 100 then a bit more etc until you get to the 1 in 33 or whatever your preferred angle happens to be, obviously the less steep the better just that this does work, I did a lot of experimenting to come up with this gradient.

So clearly a rigid 10 coupled loco will be the most challenging but my 9F's have no problem at all just got to fidget with the thing until it works

This one shows the wedge of the start of the uppy loops as it leaves the main station this is best to be straight before it goes to the R3/4 curve

 
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