Modeler's Moment - Another way to hang a helix

hanging a helix

It seems that helices are always tricky to set up on model railroads.  Every modeler seems to do it a different way.  This week, I was shown a method that I hadn't seen before.  The modeler used long bolts and strips of wood to hang the helix laps from the uppermost section of benchwork.  The advantage here, of course, is that the modeler didn't need to find a source for long threaded rods; the bolts he used are much easier to find in comparison.  However, this method still runs into the issue that there are a lot of places that need to be adjusted to get the helix grade right.

Modeler's Moment - Eye level is relative

Build an accessible layout

When you plan your layout, think about who will be operating it. This is especially true for people of smaller stature than yourself. The SCWD Youth Group's portable layout is positioned at a level where the group members can see and operate it comfortably with a low backdrop so they can reach their trains. If you're building a multilevel layout, think about the operators you plan to invite and provide footstools so operators shorter than yourself can see the trains they are operating too.

Modeler's Moment - Provide clearance for your trains


When you're planning and building benchwork, be sure to leave enough clearance around your track for your largest trains to pass through unobstructed. Cut away sections of wood and place turnouts and turnout motors so they won't block your trains. Run your tallest, longest and widest trains through narrow sections until they will pass through without problems then leave a little extra room for future acquisitions. If there isn't enough clearance before you add scenery, then you'll never have enough clearance.

Modeler's Moment - Threaded rods for helix supports

threaded rod helix

Using threaded rods for helix supports can be a quick and simple way to get your helix up. However, doing so requires precise placement of each helix lap so the rod can pass through the benchwork uniformly over the entire rise of the helix and over time the nuts may work themselves loose if they aren't soldered (think plumbing solder here...) in place.

Subscribe to RSS - benchwork