June 17th, 2007

I'd been itchin' to get going on the helix, and the time finally came. I built the legs and square base out of the same wood as the rest of the layout, 3/4" thick, 2.5" wide MDF.. I used typical "L" girder for two sides and connected them with a cross piece. This left the entire inside open to get to a derailment if needed, and that's a big IF. I connected the legs to the "L" girder pieces and tied them together with cross pieces to make an "X".
I had read about all sorts of ways to construct a helix, and alot of the pro's and con's of them also. One of the biggest negatives about a helix is that they eat up alot of space. Maybe so, but in my case, I worked it in to be at the end of a peninsula, so the track would have to make the 180 degree curveback anyhow, so why not just keep it going? The other big negative is that your train is hidden from view along time, and you can't see it. I tried to keep the amout of turns as minimal as possible by having the main line rise from 0" in the yard to 8" at the begining of the helix. That took away almost 3 full turns that would have been in the helix. The second thing I'm going to do is put a piece of plexiglass over the facia, so you will be able to see the train make the 3 turns that are hidden. And to top it off, the final turn on top of the helix will be visable, another positive about using the end of a peninsula to locate the helix. Anyhow, you will eventually see what I'm talking about, but for now, here is my first (and hopefully last) attempt at constructing a helix.



Base benchwork is in, and this is the first curve, upside down to make sure it will fit. Note the two "L" girder pieces.



These are all the supports that will allow me to attach all the curves to the base benchwork



bottom curve is being checked to see if the measurements are correct



Looking back at the helix. The main line will enter the helix on the bottom level on the left side of the helix, and exit on the right side, eventually curving around above the doorway.



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