After getting some feedback on the forums, I had to decide how to correct issues that have been plaguing the layout from the start. As the layout shape is an E and there’s only one helix, the lower right corner next to the door there becomes a dead-end for all 3 decks. Ideally, if there was another helix at the end of the other arm of the E, this would not be an issue, but I did not want to put a helix around the column, so…
I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do about getting to and from upper levels. That is why the section in the upper left corner of the plan (that nobody ever sees in the photos) is still undeveloped. Originally in my N Scale plan there was supposed to be a helix there, but now with H0 that helix is a bit bigger and that tipped off the scale for me, even though N scale helix was almost as big, square footage wise.
The helix for H0 is going to be a really modest one, barely adequate by any standard. A 24″ inner loop and 26.5″ outer, with an average grade of 2.3%. I wish that grade was 2% or less but there’s just no room to make it an oval or make it a bigger circle without sacrificing aisle and benchwork space. I might see if there’s some room for a triangle but knowing that I need a 24″ turn curve that might be out of question.
Another option is a gradual around the wall climb, a no-lix. Problem with that is I would either have to give up the walk-in aspect of the layout and put a swing gate at the entrance, or make trains turn back and go through the same scenery twice, on a different track. Either methods use more precious benchwork space all around the layout, unlike the helix which hogs the corner with its 20 sq. ft.
While this was long in the making and slowly bubbling up towards the top, I finally realized this week that N scale is not where my heart is. For weeks (months) I have been struggling to fully embrace the N scale. I thought as time went by the small nuances and quirks that bothered me would go away…they did not.
And thus my struggle with lying to myself all this time that N scale is what I want to model in. I liked the idea of more railroading: track, scenery, everything in the same space I have available. Yet, the fiddly nature of the N scale never left my mind each time I held a piece of equipment. It was like holding a baby: which way should I do it so it doesn’t break. It simply did not have that feeling of heft that the larger H0 scale gave me.
There are other reasons, but it really sums down to H0 being the scale I always knew from the time when I was a boy. I grew up with H0 and it’s in the core of my being. So, farewell N scale – you are still a great scale just not for me…welcome back H0.
Layout wise, nothing much will change, except that I would broaden some curves by a few inches, and possibly widen benchwork in a few spots. I will have less track and scenery, and less cars in my trains, but that’s something I’m willing to give up. More soon…
I’m at a point where I need to build a helix and trying to decide the direction to take. Whether it would be Atlas/PECO flex track + whole shebang; or KATO Unitrack, or even Tomix Fine Track (very pricey). Over at nScale.net forums, I made a post with some rough estimates of costs for my case and I thought to post it here on my build blog for everyone to see.
It’s been over a week without an update on the layout. I spent the time to rest and reflect on the progress so far. Looking at what’s next, I still do not have a concrete idea of what kind of a helix to build or a finished plan for the lower level.
Today I went to the LHS and ended up getting “a few” buildings to help me contemplate about the industries to add to the layout.
I’m one of those people with a beautiful hardwood floor in a finished basement that’s totally uneven and a disaster to level on. To illustrate my point, on the left, top surface is measured at the back of the layout room where ceiling is the lowest (and this is my reference height), and on the right measured at the blob around the column.
Gods of weather smiled upon me this morning by granting me couple of hours before rain, just enough to finish the peninsula blob and fill the gaps that were remaining from yesterday. The benchwork now looks ready to receive the roadbed and track…