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Author Topic: Lift out - HO scale  (Read 4525 times)
Bill Baker

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« on: February 22, 2007, 11:34:43 AM »

This Spring and Summer I plan to construct a building in my backyard to house my new layout. In order to have the track plan I want I'm going to be compelled to have a double track liftout. I'm concerned about the expansion and contraction of the track during the winter and summer months.  Although the buildling will be heated and cooled, neither utility will be running constantly.

Does anyone have any experience with a liftout?  And if so, how do you address the problems with track alignment? Or, is this even a problem?  I've talked to a few guys who have connected modular sections together and they don't seem to have a problem. I plan to have the liftout section constructed with two 2x4s screwed together with my roadbed and track running across the top. The distance will be approximately six feet.

I would appreciate any advise.
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Bill
LD303
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2007, 02:41:35 PM »

I built a layout with an open center and I built a hinged section for access, I read a couple MR articles on how to do it and asked for input on this board [the old one], after some trial and error and some creative engineering I finally got the result I wanted. The main problem i had was the track height\alignment, the hinged section is fairly heavy so warping wasnt a major problem , but the expansion of the wood and the roadbed made the track uneven at times,  and caused a few derailments, I finally decided to try something simple to correct it....i slid 2 railjoiners on the tracks and pushed them far enough on so I can open the hinged section...when its down i slide them back across the opening and hook the tracks together......it works perfectly, keeps the tracks alighned and at the same height.
   Ive seen some liftouts that were about 4 ft. long and 2 ft. wide and they never had any troubles with track alighnment, but they were built very heavy and solid and sitting on a very solid base,  if you use good plywood I dont think youll have much problem with expansion or warping...maybe some slight expansion in those warm humid summer months, but since itll be in a climate controlled area it should be minimal.
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Bill Baker

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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2007, 04:10:50 PM »

LD,

Thanks for your reply. I really like the idea of using a hinged section. I would have never thought about slipping the rail joiners back over the gap. That, I assume, would preclude having to wire the liftout seperatly.

What type of hinge did you use?  I've looked at piano hinges but they are too wide.  Perhaps a simple door hinge would work?  At least something that didn't have any play in it.  By the way, do you remember what year the MR articles were written.  I have a hit and miss collection going back over 7 years, but I can't seem to find it.

Thanks again,
Bill
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Bill
LD303
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2007, 07:51:52 PM »

Bill, I used a basic door hinge [a heavy duty steel door hinge] and I used long wood screws to attach them, my hinged section is 2 ft x 2ft - 5\8ths plywood, I hid the hinges with landscaping\bushes\turf when i was finished.  I did run a bus wire to the lift out to give it its own power, that was before I thought of the joiners ,  If i were building a new lift out or hinged access Id still run power to the section just to keep everything running smooth....in the article there was a suggestion for an electromagnet to hold it closed and a switch to cut off power on both sides of the opening when it was in the up position to avoid any locos and rolling stock doing a belly flop on the concrete....excellent idea I think.
       I dont know why it took me so long to think of using the rail joiners to close up the gap in the track ...guess it only takes me a few years to figure out the simple stuff!!!  lol,  it works fine,  just gotta remember to slide the joiners back BEFORE opening the lift out!!  or there will be a slight delay in operations while the MOW  crews fix the problem.   Tongue
  Now that I think about those articles...Im not 100% sure it was MR  it might have been model railroad craftsman magazine.....i dont have the article anymore, sorry. but if  I had to guess, Id say it was a late 2005 issue of MR or MRC magazine. good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Joe Satnik


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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2007, 08:17:29 PM »

Dear Bill,

If you have access to back issues of train magazines, the Kalmbach Magazine Index is invaluable.  I searched MR for "benchwork", and the articles that you are looking for are probably on the third or fourth (most recent) page of hits. 

http://index.mrmag.com/tm.exe?opt=S&cmdtext=BENCHWORK+MR&sort=A&output=3&view=75

Hope this helps.

Sincerely,

Joe Satnik
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If your loco is too heavy to lift, you'd better be able to ride in, on or behind it.
CJCrescent


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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2007, 04:05:41 AM »

I plan to have the liftout section constructed with two 2x4s screwed together with my roadbed and track running across the top. The distance will be approximately six feet.

I would appreciate any advise.

Bill;

Might I add my two cents here? Instead of two 2x4, screwed together, how about 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood glued together, one on top of the other, and two more pieces of plywood glued and possibly bradded to the edges, forming an "H" column. Should be lighter, thus easier to move, and with the additional stiffness supplied by the side pieces even less prone to warpage. Plus by making the side pieces wider, you also get derailment protection while the trains are on the bridge piece. Hopefully the picture will load below, illustrating what I mean:



Yay it did!
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Keep it Between the Rails
Carey
Alabama Central Railway
Virginian

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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2007, 05:48:50 AM »

I once had a lift out.  Trust me, any type of hinged section is better.  Just be sure to wire in an automatic power disconnect on any type brige or removable section.  I prefer a horizontal gate type, but be sure you angle the ends so you have clearance as it swings.  I do not try to control alignment strictly with the hinges either, I use tapered dowels or shelved mating joints and draw latches to handle that last little bit.
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"What could have happened... did."
Bill Baker

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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2007, 12:42:05 PM »

Guys, thanks a million for all your great suggestions.

LD and Virginian:  You two have sold me on the idea of a hinged section.  With your ideas of alignment I think any derailments would not be a problem. 

CJ: I like your idea of an "H" or I Beam support.  That method would sure seem to prevent warpage.  As far as protection of my rolling stock, I have plans to use about 6 or so arch bridges (I think Atlas makes them) to span the doorway.  I already have two, so I would need to get only 4 more.

Joe S: Thanks for the link. I'm going to start construction next month using the ideas presented here. If I run into any problems, I've copied the link and will refer to it later.

Thanks again everyone,
Bill
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Bill
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2007, 06:02:02 PM »

Bill, I may be a little late offering this suggestion but I stopped to take the photos.  The first photo shows the smaller of two "lift bridges" on our group's museum display layout.  The lift out table is hinged on both ends, allowing it to be swung up either way or taken out completely.  In normall use, the hinges have their pins in place.  To ease removal, we welded rings on the ends of the pins.  The hinges are indicated by red arrows.  The green arrows indicate the tapered ends of the bridge section, which gives room for it to swing upward.  Please note that the centerlines of the hinge pins are above the tops of the rails.  Otherwise, no swing would be possible.



The second photo shows how we keep the tracks aligned.  The ends of the bridges and the ends of the tables next to them are framed with 2 x 4 to give purchase for the 1-1/2" screws we used.  The ends of the rails are soldered to circuit board ties which in turn are firmly glued and nailed to the table top.  Note that printed circuit board ties must be gapped to keep from shorting the rails.  One of these gaps is indicated by a red arrow.



There is a third consideration when installing lift bridges and that has to do with expansion and contraction of the abutting tables as well as the lift bridge itself.  No matter how well you build the bridge, the abutting tables will pull it out of exact alignment if the abutting tables are all firmly fixed to the walls of the train room.  Our solution to that problem was to keep all the tables to the left of this bridge "floating."  You can easily do this by having those tables sit on frames or brackets attached to the wall, but not attaching the tables to the frames or brackets.  We used a somewhat different method of floaing our tables, one that is unique to the situation.  The lift bridge shown is on the short wall of the room.  The floating tables are from the left end of the bridge to the long wall on its left, plus all the tables along the long wall.  The tables along the long wall were set 1/2" or so from the wall because we did not where in the expansion/contraction cycle we might be.  The lift bridge shown is not on public display.  It looks like it is getting a little dirty - it has been about two years since we cleaned the track.

I guess I can say this worked for us.  The two bridges have been in business for 12 years now, and have had almost half a million trains cross them.  Multiply that by two bridges and again by 2 sets of gaps per bridge, and we have had about 2 million crossing of gaps.  And we have never had a derailment from any of these gaps.

For more information on these lift bridges, see the link below:

http://members.shaw.ca/sask.rail/model-book/liftout/liftout.html

« Last Edit: February 24, 2007, 06:09:18 PM by Jim Banner » Logged

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Bill Baker

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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2007, 10:58:47 AM »

Jim,

Thanks again for your great advice and the pictures.  No, you weren't late if offering your suggestion.  I plan to start construction this summer and I'm trying to accumulate as much information and pictures as I can before I get to the hammer and nails phase.

Thanks also for your Saskatoon link.  As a matter of fact, I have it saved as one of my "favorites".

Bill
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Bill
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