Author Topic: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck  (Read 1270 times)

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bbussey

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Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« on: November 16, 2010, 09:05:08 AM »
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My basement will be layout-ready no later than mid-January, which is a year sooner than expected, so I'm now starting to sketch out some track plans.  I'm soliciting opinions regarding track height over the rail - what is everyone's preferred average height for both single level, and for each of the levels on a double-deck arrangement?  I will be modeling New Haven from Bridgeport CT to New Haven CT to New London CT, with an extension to Maybrook NY.   That accommodates passenger service primarily if the layout is just one level, so I'm thinking about a double deck so freight traffic can be properly represented.  The space is L-shaped, 22x7 usable feet on the long edge and 15x6 usable feet on the short edge (not including aisle space).  Thanks.
Bryan Busséy
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davefoxx

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 09:17:54 AM »
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Bryan,

I've never built a multi-decked layout, so I'm probably the last person you need to chime in, but it seems to me that the answer will depend on personal preference and your own physical stature or those of planned operators.  You may wish to mock up a few decks and see what you find comfortable.

For example, do you want the upper deck at your eye level or the average person's, if that differs significantly.  I'm 5'9", my wife is 5'1", my step-son is probably about 42", and my father and father-in-law are both over 6'3".  That's a lot of variation in eye level.  Also, do you want to be seated when operating the lower deck or are you willing to stand on stools to work the upper deck?  Heck, your individual plan could even affect your decision, if, for instance, most of the action will occur on just one of the decks.  You would want that deck closer to the comfort zone.  Hopefully, you will hear from those who have actually built multi-decked layouts and they will give you some recommendations.  I don't envy your decision-making.  Good luck and keep us posted.

Dave Foxx
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 09:20:31 AM by davefoxx »

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conrail98

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 09:20:16 AM »
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Bryan, I would say, if you can, mock it up first. Get a few shelf standards with the slots and some brackets, a few scrap pieces of plywood and play around with it. That's what I did for my heights. I found, for me, @ 5' 10", the lower level benchwork at 40" and upper level starting at 56" with the upper level valence at 70" was a good set of heights for me. Some comparisons to think of are kitchen counter tops are generally 36" above the floor with another 18" to the bottom of the cabinets above it. Desks can be 24" to 30" high, with usually another 24" or more to a hutch or cabinets above it (I'm thinking cubicle like here). HTH,

Phil
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Philip H

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 09:44:23 AM »
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For single decks, I am currently building so my mainline is around 50 inches.  I'm 6'3" so I prefer the single deck to be up more toward me.  Plus, at that height, the toddler can't get to it without dad's help, and the cats seem content to sit under it.
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cv_acr

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 09:48:42 AM »
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The rail height of the upper decks on our club layout ranges from 50-57".


SD452XR

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 09:53:35 AM »
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My layout has three levels. I'm 6'8". The bottom level is only about 23 inches off the floor. The bottom level is just hidden storage yards. The middle is around 38 inches. A confortable height when in the sitting postion. The top level is around 60 or so. Some of my freinds will have trouble with this height, but I will build large pullouts to stand on for them. In the end I am building the layout for myself. You can't make everyone happy so build it so you are happy. I would build a small mock piece of layout say 2'x3' or however wide you are going to make it. Then i would put it at different heigths in the room to see whats confortable for you.

Steve

DKS

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 09:56:38 AM »
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Track on my WR&N IV was 57-60 inches. I'm 6' and that put everything right about eye-level. Quite a few visitors needed a stepstool to see anything besides the facia.



Additional benefits to being fairly tall...

...the toddler can't get to it without dad's help, and the cats seem content to sit under it.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 10:10:19 AM by David K. Smith »
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up1950s

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 10:11:20 AM »
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Random thoughts

Your flexibility and height has a lot to do with it . Probably the lower level for the mass amount of turnouts which can then be accessed via a homemade PVC pipe gurney to fit the height for working on the wiring beneath .

Do you want to stand to properly view the upper level ?
What height would you want to work on the upper level ?
How much head room do you have in the cellar ?
Will you have to lift family kids up to view the upper level ?

Ian MacMillan

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 11:14:09 AM »
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Mine is ranges like Dave's from 57'-60". I'm 5'08" and its perfect for me.  The layout is designed to be shown, but the little ones will need to be held....but that also keeps their hands off of it...Right now my 2yo son is insistent on driving Matchbox cars on the layout...not gonna happen!
I WANNA SEE THE BOAT MOVIE!

John

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 11:26:57 AM »
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Mine is around 40-45 for the lower deck, and around 58 for the upper level ..

bbussey

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 11:54:41 AM »
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I'm 6'2" and Gayle is 5'4", so it would have to be compatible for just the two of us.  No cats or other pets to worry about, so that's not an issue.  The water meter is in one of the corners, but that is going to be repositioned lower to the ground with a cabinet built around it during the construction process.  Currently there is a drop ceiling in place, but that is going to be removed which gains 3 inches to the bottom of the rafters..  I'm in the process of removing the hideous stone floor, which will add another 2 inches.  This should put the total height at around 7 feet.  Lights for the aisle areas will be recessed between the rafters.  A valance over the track probably will have the LED lighting similar to what Tim has done with his layout.  Having to stand while viewing the upper deck is not an issue and is probably preferred.  I guess the concern is would it be plausible to have a lower deck without having to sit.  The floor will be designed so that standing for long periods won't be an issue.

That's all I've got right now.  I know there are certain scenes/structures that I want to incorporate into the layout - Jenkins Curve, Bridgeport Station, New Haven Union Station, New London Station, Poughkeepsie Bridge, catenary between Bridgeport and New Haven.  I had roughed out a single level plan but I don't think it's possible to incorporate all of that in the space I have, as it got more and more unwieldy with each landmark added.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 11:59:52 AM by bbussey »
Bryan Busséy
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Ian MacMillan

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 11:58:20 AM »
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I'm not seeing enough Conrail in this plan...
I WANNA SEE THE BOAT MOVIE!

bbussey

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 12:03:04 PM »
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It's all Conrail territory, with the added alternate-reality of Poughkeepsie Bridge not burning down during the PC era.  The plan is to be able to run in either 1955 or 1980.  But the New Haven of 1955 will be the primary era.

In 1955, I would also get to interchange with Erie, L&HR, NYO&W and L&NE at Maybrook, which justifies all of the motive power equipment I own for those roads.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 12:07:08 PM by bbussey »
Bryan Busséy
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93cram

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 12:09:26 PM »
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Bryan,

Not having any experience in double deck layouts, I'll let others offering advice, but for a single deck layout, based on previous
experience with switching shelf dioramas (layout is a world too big to describe my various attempts), 50 to 52" worked fine for me (I am 5'11")
Do you plan to do switching on your (freight ?) upper deck ?
If so, you may want to experiment fully before committing to one height or the other.
Watching trains roll-by and performing manual coupling-uncoupling may imply different height 'comfort zone' IMHO  ;)

Marc

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Re: Preferred track height from floor, single and double deck
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 12:18:27 PM »
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I'm about 5'9" and think 58-60" is the perfect rail height. Any lower and I always squat just a little to get that perfect look. I know it's high, but that is where my eyes are  :P

Never seen a duel deck in person.