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One thing here puzzles me, you have 2 metre boards pushed against a blank wall? you cannot reach across this far so 1 metre is as far as an average bloke can reach. Given your interests I suggest a visit to minature wonderland in Hamburg as this has loads of layouts and all sorts of devices such as spirals.

design for access as if it goes wrong I can guarantee it'll be in the least accessible place.

In terms of gradients 1 in 60 is easy, I use 1 in 33 and that works so you are pessimistic there should be no bother at all.

As to track then I have no experience with bullhead but I like the idea of it.

As above 1 in 87 German and 1 in 76 British comes out the same size pretty much, thus German kit buildings/bridges etc seem happy running OO stock.
 

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Surely bullhead rail is deeper than code 75 flat bottom rail? in which case code 75 is out and the only product to use is code 100? I went this way because of a large amount of legacy product and in particular my hundreds of Wrenn wagons with their pizza cutter wheels, I do run some German bogie hoppers and I must say without issues on my Totton the Brent coal trains (being a bit similar to those used on this traffic) and I suppose the German manufacturers using code 100 confirms all that
 

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certainly looks more like the railway I remember quite impressed, I'll have to try some, only issue is the noch underlay which is designed for code 100 and which I find easy to use with an acceptable overall look.
 

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The track fan at the end of the Towcaster Station using Noch underlay. I do not use the point flat system as it is naff but cut and shape the regular line track to fit, bit of a knack but hope you think it looks OK. Might be useful for John to think about as choosing track is the biggest issue to face and he will have a lot of it
 

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Me - jealous that size is fabulous, you'll be popular with the maker of track as well as well as the wood supplier. so a great challenge.
Through all this I would also suggest you buy
1. vertical track cutter
2. Sideways track cutters
3. Selection of files
4. Pin hammer and pusher
5. Mini screwdrivers
6. A Dremel is very good. with small drills
These are the basics but you may need some others, the vertical track cutters are vital.
 
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