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|The "Sky's The Limit" Layout|
Having four Standard Gauge trains (the two Christmas sets, the Ives Olympian, and the #400E with freight cars) and only the one Standard Gauge loop on the floor of the library (the "auxiliary" layout), I got the hankering to have two Standard Gauge trains running at the same time. Another Standard Gauge loop inside of the existing one would have been silly -- it is a library after all and the four loops take up enough room near the bookcases as it is. So my eyes got to wandering and my thoughts turned skyward. The bookcases are seven feet tall, the ceiling is eight feet, which leaves a foot on top of the bookcases that's not being used for anything (except dust). To make a long story short, I decided after a few experiments to use 1x4 as the roadbed (using no roadbed was tried but the experiment proved that it was necessary). I used the same red oak that I use to build the display cases (with some much cheaper poplar where it wouldn't be too obvious). Some more doodling and thinking about it led me to create corners made of only three straight pieces of wood mitered at 45 degrees. As you can see in the photos, they work just fine with minimal curve overhang. The biggest problem was the corner where you enter the room (the northeast) as there was a very large gap between the last bookcase on the north wall, the east wall, and then down to the bookcase at the south end of the east wall. I solved it with the hanger box that you can see in the first photo. It's made out of red oak, toggle bolted to the ceiling, put together with glue and biskits, and is very strong. I also got two nice wood wall brackets to support the red oak as it traverses the closet and makes its way to the aforementioned bookcase. In the folllowing photos, you start looking to the northeast corner and then slowly make your way clockwise around the library, eventually coming back to where you start. For the most part, the roadbed sits on top of the bookcases. The individual pieces of roadbed are glued and biskitted to each other to make an extremely strong and stable base for the track. Every so often, the roadbed is screwed into the top of the bookcases and shims were used as necessary to keep everything level.
Looking northeast with the hanger to support the dangling corner.
The north end of the east wall with the first bracket to carry the roadbed over the closet.
The second bracket on the south side of the closet.
The roadbed extends from the second bracket to the bookcase at the southern end of the east wall. You can see the roadbed spanning the corner between the east and south walls.
The east end of the south wall. The roadbed is on top of the bookcase and is about to span the window,
Spanning the window. The red oak needs no additional support other then the bookcases on either side of the window.
To the west of the window, the next bookcase supports the roadbed. You can see the roadbed spanning the corner between the south and west walls.
The west wall; the roadbed is on top of the bookcases.
Heading north along the west wall. The roadbed is just about out of sight on top of the bookcases.
More of the west wall. You can see the roadbed spanning the corner between the west and north walls.
The west end of the north wall.
The north wall; you can just make out the roadbed under the Ives Olympian.
And back where we started, the east end of the north wall.
A video of the new layout is now available on my Multimedia page.
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