Thursday, September 1, 2011

Layout Height, Part 2

With a new layout on the drawing board...well, actually TWO new layouts in the planning stages, figuring out  track height is going to be a critical aspect of planning. My one limiting factor of the "lower-level" On30 layout in the new basement was a planned staging yard "wing" I envisioned over the laundry area of the basement on a narrow shelf. I have planned the same type staging yard wing for the HO "upper-level" layout where height will not be an issue at 65-inches above the floor. I measured our washer and dryer and they stand at just shy of 48-inches (4 feet) with the dryer sitting on a foot-tall platform adding to that height. That measures-out to be taller than my estimated On30 layout height of about 46-to-48-inches from the floor. Doing some quick math, this leaves about a foot and a half between bench work of the HO layout and rails of the On30 layout. Hmmm? Is this enough space between the two pikes?

Since the HO layout will be mostly narrow shelves above the On30 layout, it might not be as much of a concern as I think it might be. If I lower the On30 layout to say...40-inches...that will give me about 2-feet between the two layouts, better separation so the On30 layout wouldn't seem so "squashed" and wedged into too small of a space. But, with the On30 layout that low, I would run into issues in the laundry area staging getting it over the washer and dryer.

After pondering this, I have come up with an idea. Since I plan on building a new wall to separate the layout room from the rest of the basement and the laundry area, I could wrap a gentle curve through the new wall and mount the staging yard and turntable along the outside of the wall. Since I would like to include a turntable in the staging yard to spin steam locomotives for return trips into the main layout room, the wider shelf would work better along the new wall rather than over the washer and dryer area. With this plan, I would add a backdrop and scenery to the staging yard since it will be a predominate scene in the basement. This will give "visitors" a glimpse of what awaits behind the walls.

With that said, I could place the layout height at whatever I feel is comfortable for working and running trains. I'm still thinking about having the On30 layout operable from a rolling stool or tall office chair. That will make spending time in the train room more comfortable and enjoyable. Now, I need to start shopping for chairs or shop stools with a tape measure in hand to find one at the right height. Then I can zero-in on the final height to build the On30 layout bench work when I get to that phase of the new layout construction.

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