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Old 8th February 2012, 20:51   #11
RW James
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Default Re: Trap Door

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...It's a bit out of topic here but how's the museum's layout going on?
Very well, I was working on scenery last night. I had to realign the track at one of the yard leads - it had an S-curve that was causing trouble. I'll try to post some photos soon.
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Old 9th February 2012, 00:38   #12
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Default Re: Trap Door

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When I think about a net, I think about little fiddly things getting caught in the netting and breaking off. Better than hitting the floor, but maybe a trap-door frame with some soft velvety material for the train to land in. An edge along the roadbed could be difficult if you just wanted to fix a couple of wheel sets that had derailed. Maybe I'm being too morbid thinking about all that could go wrong.
There's nothing wrong with preparing for the worst. I wear a helmet when I get on my bike but I don't expect to need it (although this time of the year I do appreciate the warmth ) and you don't expect to drive your car into something but it has airbags and you wear a seatbelt just in case.

Our old HO club layout had a big curved wooden trestle about 2 feet high with one side at the aisle with the narrow strip of ground at the bottom sloped outward so that anything that came off had an effective drop of over 4' to the bare concrete floor. One night one of the guys brought in his brand new $500 steam loco (I think it was the first factory DCC + sound engine any of us had seen) and after negotiating the layout several times... I'm sure you already know what happened. He was really lucky that night because it went off on the side of the trestle away from the aisle and landed on some nice, soft trees with no serious damage.

I was looking right at it when it came off the rails and I have no idea why it did. But I do know that if they had put a foot of more or less level ground on the aisle side of the bridge the trees on that side something falling off would have had almost the same chance of surviving.

Anyway, you're right about things getting caught in the net. Some nice, soft cloth would be much better.

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Originally Posted by Made in Italy View Post
I was talking of something of just an inch (or little less) that shouldn't be too obtrusive.
When you build the helix you want to keep the grade in it as low as possible. As an example, if you allow half an inch for the plywood, a quarter inch for the cork and 3.5" for the track & the train (the absolute minimum in HO if you don't run Hi-Cube cars) that means 4.25" per turn. If your helix is 36" radius (that's 6 feet across!!!) the train will travel about 226" per turn so the grade would be a bit less than 2%. If you increase the height a bit to allow room for fingers to re-rail cars or for taller equipment the grade becomes steeper.

If you put a wall around the inside of the curve it would have to be at least an inch above the track to do any good and that wouldn't let you get your fingers in.
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Old 9th February 2012, 05:11   #13
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Default Re: Trap Door

I think I would use foam insulation inside -- as a surface for the trap door or covering all the floor. My next choices would be bubble wrap or that rubber floor mat thing that comes in 2-foot squares.
Last year (or the year before) I added plexiglass sides to the narrow removable section I have. I also added it to the side of a station.
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Old 10th February 2012, 17:59   #14
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Default Re: Trap Door

And then one day you need to retrieve the car(s) that fell off the track onto the top of the door.
As you open the door, suddenly one or two cars roll out, off the door and onto the floor.
Best to prevent them from leaving the helix in the first place.
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Old 10th February 2012, 20:07   #15
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Default Re: Trap Door

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And then one day you need to retrieve the car(s) that fell off the track onto the top of the door.
As you open the door, suddenly one or two cars roll out, off the door and onto the floor.
Best to prevent them from leaving the helix in the first place.
It's a dilemma really. What you really want is for the trains to never leave the track. But as we all know, that is an unrealistic goal. Things happen.
So the question becomes, what happens when the trains derails? If you have a barrier around the helix, train won't go to the floor - that's a good thing. But then you have to come up with a way to retrieve the train and in many cases, the barrier itself makes that difficult if not impossible. You could train a hamster to go in after it, but their relatively short lifespan makes the return on investment too small to justify that.
A flat trap door will stop the train from hitting the floor, but as Dave points out, once you open the door, the train will then slide to the floor. Perhaps a pillow on the floor would help, Maybe.
I still think a soft fabric (velvet?) loosely attached to a trap door frame is the best solution.
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Old 10th February 2012, 23:21   #16
Sidecar Bob
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Default Re: Trap Door

I agree. The original idea of the net was so that if something fell the net would catch it but you could unhook one side to lift the equipment out. But cloth would be better than a net because small parts wouldn't catch in it.

I have been thinking about the barrier idea and it would be OK if it was set up so that you could easily remove sections of the barrier to access derailments.
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Old 11th February 2012, 10:31   #17
Made in Italy
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Default Re: Trap Door

I think that a strip of curvable material cut in sections, of let's say 10 inches, screwed to the baseboard of the helix would do very well!
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