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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
AG wrote " You might need a slightly raised edge in case of derailments" I find this is particularly interesting because a derailment from a narrow shelf 12 or more feet high would be a terrible catastrophe. More so with the Aristo-Craft mallet that could seriously injure someone if it falls from that height. A tall ledge would make the train invisible looking from below, if a say 1 inch transparent edge would be sufficient to keep everything from falling to the floor that would be great, otherwise I'm in trouble with this design.

I know moderators don't like members to posts the same subject matter in different posts, but I hope they will see that in this case it is justified because:
1. This is not the main subject of another thread but one of many questions within the thread this one posted on the 4th page.
2. I realized it belonged here and not in the beginners section.
3 I have edited it out from the thread it was originally posted on to avoid confusion.

I will delete it here and post it back on the original thread if moderators advice me to do so.
 

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In general, unless you have turnouts mounted up high the risk of derailing is very small as long as your trains are short and your speeds are moderate.

The biggest risks come from derailing on a turnout, from too long a train shoestringing on a too tight a curve, or from the track joiners pulling apart.

The clear plastic you mentioned would be a good idea near any turnouts. Track joining issues can be resolved with rail clamps, those plastic clips for LGB track and using the set screws with Aristo/USA track, or simply screwing the track down. Also using deep flange wheels, avoid the fine scale wheels, helps guarantee everything stays on track.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It appears it will be OK then because although I will have a turnout and a turnin, they will have ample radius and the trains will travel automatically at very slow speeds on them. Ref: My thread in beginners forum "Aristo-Craft mallet turn out."
 

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A Steamed Elder
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TTT,

I have been following this discussion with some interest because at one time I wanted an elevated track with LGB trains around my son's bedroom (that was long ago....he's 31 now!). As I live in Southern California, my biggest concern was having an earthquake and having the entire railroad fall to the floor. After thirty seconds or so of thinking about this, I went for a more sane idea of putting the railroad OUTSIDE AND on the ground.

Are you really going to have this railroad up as high as fifteen feet? If so, you are a braver man than I! The safequards that you are planning to use........a one inch high clearance plastic piece to prevent a derailed engine and train from falling to the floor or Greg's suggestion using posts and cable to prevent the same disaster) are great ideas IF you were counting on a ZERO failure rate! That is NEVER going to be. A derailment is not IF, but is ALWAYS WHEN. Heck, NASA doesn't have a ZERO failure rate. I think you will find your frustration with an elevated railroad rising quickly when those inevitable derailments do come and you have to get out the trusty ladder and climb up to re-rail said train and locomotive. It WILL get "old" very quickly.

I remember seeing a "G" gauge layout that was built by a well known modeler, inside the entire house. It was on the walls, went through the walls and spiraled up to the second and third floors along staircases and fully scenery everywhere. This guy didn't have to worry about derailments because he "hired" caretakers and workmen to do this for him. Guy was a millionaire many times over and just enjoyed trains. I tried to do a search for it and could'nt find a link to it. I know it was in Texas somewhere. Maybe one of the other folks on MLS know about this place.

I'm not trying to discourage your dream, but just want to point out some of the "problems" that elevated railroads WILL have. Good luck with whatever you do.
 

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It appears it will be OK then because although I will have a turnout and a turnin, they will have ample radius and the trains will travel automatically at very slow speeds on them. Ref: My thread in beginners forum "Aristo-Craft mallet turn out."
Derailments at switches is not necessarily due to tight radius... it is more often because a wheel will "pick the switch"... a flange will get behind the end of the switched rail and one wheel will go one way and the other will go the other and that usually will drop the car between the gauge where the curved rail starts diverging. The resultant bouncing on the ties and hitting the frog broadside will toss the car to the side and jerk the adjacent cars off with it. Sometimes it does not even matter how slow it is going if the engine has enough power to pull the wheels up over the frog/rails.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It would be very interesting to read the opinions of people who have trains on shelves near the ceiling, I have seen a number of these in youtube and in forums.
THE TRANSIT SYSTEM is an Aristo-Craft product found in their 2008 catalog, here is part of the description "The Transit System is a modular display unit that attaches to the wall at a height of 6 1/2 feet. At that height, the track system will pass over door heights and still leave 1 1/2 feet to the normal ceiling height to build a railroad empire. The Transit System can also be suspended from the ceiling with the aid of 10” or 20” suspension hooks." Some people must have bought this system, it would be interesting to hear their comments.
I feel I should test the system on the ground, if I find derailments because of switches and cannot resolve the problem on the ground I will use two tracks, one on top of the other , no switches , one for each train I want to run. If there is a strong earthquake I think I will have other priorities.
 

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I don't own the Aristocraft Transit System, but would point out that a 'standard' door opening is 6' 8" or 80" tall. The standard for framing is to add 1 3/4" to allow for the door casing. Depending on the choice of trim, the actual finished door installation is typically 83" (or ~6' 11") high. I just measured my office door, and that is exactly what it measures. My trim is relatively standard household style trim. That would place the bottom of the RR platform at ~7' off the floor.

Have you really considered that putting your layout at the height of over 7' will make it virtually impossible to see, while making any adjustments (Think: putting equipment on / off, checking turnouts, rail joints, power connections, etc.) very difficult. Having to do everything off a fairly tall step stool is really inconvenient. Just getting your large articulated locomotive up there and all the wheels on the rails will be a challenge.

As far as operation, the reality is that a derailment WILL occur at sometime, and without adequate edge containment that derailment will damage or possibly destroy any rolling stock and / or locomotives involved, as well as damaging whatever is beneath it. Adding an edge containment (even if it is some transparent plastic or posts & cables) presents another obstacle to working on the RR.

Most 'on the ceiling' layouts run relatively small locomotives (think 0-4-0 or 0-6-0) pulling similarly small ((think 4 wheel) cars, thus lessening both the problems of getting everything on the track and working, as well as cutting down the probability of catastrophic derailment. They also are typically a single loop, with no turnouts, sidings, or other complicated track work.

Just my opinion, but it seems to me that your proposed arrangement and operation creates a lot of difficulty while significantly lessening the enjoyment of your RR.

Not dissing your efforts, just trying to bring a little reality to the subject.

Happy RRing,

Jerry
 

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A Steamed Elder
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If there is a strong earthquake I think I will have other priorities.
IF you don't live in an area of frequent earthquakes, then this won't influence your decision. But those of us who DO live in these areas, know that it doesn't take much of a quake to knock books off shelves OR large trains off the track. AND your house is still standing! We don't have "other" priorities. But we would have damaged trains. THAT'S guaranteed! It's a common occurrence here.:)
 

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I have had G scale around the ceiling of our living room for almost 10 years, from 2002 till 08 in our mobile home and since 08 in our house. Never had had a derailment issue, but I also have no turnouts. Just a simple loop. I even use LGB R1 curves and all sectional track. Track is 100% LGB with just thier normal rail joiners. Track is screwed down with short philips head screws holding it down. I run a mostly LGB but have had Hartland and Kalamazoo trains up there without any issues. I use all metal wheelsets to keep track cleaning to a minimum. I have run everything from my LGB Mogul to the White Pass Alco diesel and the LGB Unitah Mallet of my friends without issue. Some of the factory built suspended track systems have a small wire guard rail around each side to help keep a derailed train up on the shelf. Just take your time and make sure all track joints are clean and smooth with no kinks or rough edges that a flange can pick. If you must have a turnout, try to make it a trailing point turnout, meaning the train travels thru the frog and into the movable rails(points). Pilot trucks and flanges have a greater chance of picking the points when its a facing point turnout and the flanges can pick the point where the movable rails intersect the running rails. Mike
 

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Borrowed from Accucraft UK website.

Caledonia’ – 2,250 actual miles and counting!
The Accucraft ‘Caledonia’ running round the bookshelf circuit at Barter Books in Alnwick has now completed an astonishing two and a quarter thousand miles of continuous running with only light maintenance and lubrication. We have never had the chance to test a loco to such an extent before in ‘controlled’ conditions and are delighted that this electric loco seems more resilient than many other G Scale engines. David Champion reports that they are eagerly awaiting the electric ‘Lew’ and matching coaches.

http://www.accucraft.uk.com/2012/08/accucraft-august-news/





Andrew
 

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It is one thing to have derailments while in attendance because we are usually quick to react stopping the train. With an automated system, if you left the room for some time a simple derailment will eventually escalate into a major catastrophe. One possible solution is a fishing line trip wire to halt power to the rails. It would have to be just outside the train's clearance to hopefully stop things in time or as a part of an outer safety fence which would also physically help stop things if the posts were close enough. It can get complicated.
You say 15ft up! That's a long way to fall from a ladder considering handling a mallet is a two handed operation.

Andrew
 

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I agree with Andrew. Climbing a 15' (20' plus ladder with correct angle), with an engine that requires two hands, is going to require more than just climbing a ladder.

I use two hands when ever I move my Mallet.

Maybe you can build a sling, but I wouldn't risk the engine. As the bumper stickers say "S... Happens".

Chuck

PS. My thought is that running a train, 15' in the air, automatically, is not asking for a potential problem, is demanding it. If it was my layout I'd use the least valuable rolling stock up there that I could find. My Mallet wouldn't get near it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The Caledonia at Barter Books seems a very good reference, I'll try to contact them, thanks again AG, I'm still on the planning stages. You're all I'm sure right about the excessive height, I'll first try placing track at different heights to asses practicality, safety and looks. The doors of the room however are very tall, definitively over 12 feet tall, so I won't be able to have the track lower than that. The sealing is considerably higher so hanging from the ceiling is out of the question. I will only run the mallet on special occasions and under close surveillance, probably not more than twice a week and just once around. The regular train will be considerably lighter and smaller than the mallet. It will run automatically on the hour only once around. I will have to take the mallet up and down for servicing even if I have to do it with help and setting up scaffolding. There is no getting around that if I want to use it. I'm not an outdoor train enthusiast. An emergency stop on derailment is a must. I like the looks of that fence on the Barter Books track, combined with AGs idea it looks like a winner for safety and good looks. . The automatic train will run only for the time it takes to do one loop, a few minutes of each hour from 10 am to 8 pm. The rest of the time it will be besides the mallet on track but completely enclosed for safety and to keep the trains clean. It is encouraging that the two references here of actual real running tracks are both reports of very successful experiences. All advice and warnings are helpful and much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Late 19th century large french style house. The room will be open to the public by the way. Where I live the roof is much lower. I do not want to disclose more about the place at this point. Once it is completed , if it ever is, I will post videos and photos and will invite AG and a few others to the opening.I am a bit worried that the trains might look small and distant at that height. I'll try to get some construction workers to hold the mallet at that height to see how it looks. Making the track pass on front of the 2 gigantic double doors would be possible but cumbersome and not elegant , would not do the room justice. Hope this does not blow away the entire project. AG Please look at my last post on my other thread when you can, I would appreciate your expert opinion as usual.
 

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Your place sounds nice. Sometimes it's best to keep matters to yourself until the time is right.
I wouldn't let a construction worker anywhere near my mallet. They drop them all the time! :eek:
A few bachmann coaches on a temporary shelf on track with a few simple brackets will give you a good idea of what things will look like up there before you commit to the idea. You could make a little fence too. Perhaps you could have twice the space between posts as the bookshop has in the pictures so the fence is not so busy. 15ft or so scale spacing would not look out of place. The Caledonia pictured is 1:20.3 scale.

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Big looks not so big.

I have taken one pair of doors of for repair, here is an ARISTO-CRAFT Pennsylvania car 1/29 scale on top. I have measured the door it is only 12 ft tall.
One can see that it is a big car only not so near unfortunately. AG I'm afraid I do not understand the Q. It is an ARISTO-CRAFT 2 8 8 2 Great Norther 1/29 scale, on the same track from Aristo-Craft and LGB as all my other G scsle trains.
 

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