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Hello all

I'm new to the train world, boy what an exciting hobby. I have a question, I live on 5 acres and I'm planning on my first layout. Most of the property has some slope to it. I've seen some of your web sites showing layouts on hills, they look amazing. Now my question is how you switch back the layout when you run out of room while going in one direction??? You obviously need to gain or loose elevation but how do you recommend doing this and keep within 2-3% slope on the track???
I do have a small excavator and bobcat so creating tunnels back in the slope is possible. Any help would be much appreciated as I can't visualize the layout at this point.

Thanks again
Jamie
 

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You have ask a reasonable question, but inorder to answer it we need some additional information.

You mention switchbacks,  they are very useful in 1:1, but managing them in minature is not that simple.  If you look up the Monarch subdivision of the D&RGW  you will see how they worked in real life.  you need a brakeman at each end of the train to throw the switches, depending on where you live making this automatic could be easy or complicated.   Heavy rain has a way of messing up switches.

But back to your problem.  Without pictures or a site map it is almost impossible for us to give you much advise.  For instance can you build a terrace and cut an fill behind it?  Is it possible to  cut and fill at each end of a segment, as on the nose of a hill,  with large return curves at each end?  There are a lot of options, but we need to see what you are up against. 

Years ago when I lived in Denver, I used a cog railroad to connect two parts of my layout that were separated by 2 feet.  Anything is possible, but more information is necessary.

Cheers,

Chuck N
 

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My railroad is on a 30 degree slope.  In order to make a return loop the 10 foot diameter track is 4 feet off the ground on the down side of the slope.  This requires a lot of trestles.  I have one helix which lowers the track by 1 foot.  The track traverses the hill and climbs at 3 to 4 percent grades.  I have 3 separate but interconnected dog bone loops.  The upper most is almost 20 feet above the lowest point at the moment.  I have a 16 foot waterfalls at one end.  The total length is about 150 feet and a up hill width of 60 feet.  I sure get my exercise!!!  The hillside allows people to see by looking at eye level and above.  Check the website.  With a little help, I have done this in the past 6 years, all since a heart event.

www.mdlsrs.com/MarylandCentral

You can have a great time digging into the hill, making cuts, and depositing the soil at lower points to minimize the grades.  Swing the track out over lower portions and make trestles.  Now that I have finished these loops I can now add new track coming off the hill in other fashions.

Good luck on a great endeavor.  You are fortunate to have a great topo.
 

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You can do a few things to it.  I am going through the same issue.  Ya it is a more work but I think you can do some really cool things with a slope.  What I plan on doing is building a rockwall that looks more like a sloping ledge (making it look natraul) on both ends of my layout.  The center of my layout is the high point.    Im going to fill-in both ends using the wall to hold back the dirt that I fill in.  The high point of my layout is going to be a mountain with a tunnel going through it.  the other side of the mountain Im going to cut an s curve through it ,making a ravine.  On top of the mountain im going to put a spring with the runoff going down the mountain and over part of my rock wall, where Im going to cut a ravine through it with a small waterfall.  Above the waterfall Im going to put a trestle over the waterfall/ravine. 

Another way you can do it is using trestles to make up for the low side or cut the high side out.  Just a few other ways you can do it.  Im still very new to this so Im sure others will give you great advise.   
 

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Seeing as how you have access to some heavy equipment, you could always employ a fairly basic landscaping technique and "construct" a flat area. Choose a spot where you'd like your railroad and cut into the hillside. Take the spoil and infill downslope to build up a flat area. If you look at the cross section of the hillside it would look something like this..



The green being the undisturbed hillside, the upper (right) red area being the removed dirt, the lower red (left) being the infilled spoil.

Worthy of consideration.
 

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Jamie:

Dave's illustration is exactly what I was talking about,  only he showed it much better than I said it.

Here are some pictures of the cut and fill that I had to do on the side slope in my Denver area back yard.  I had a drop off of about 3' over a distance of about 4 or 5 feet.  Fortunately it was all fill dirt and no bedrock.  The lower level was a dogbone shaped.  The upper track was a standard oval with passing sidings.  I used LGB 1500 curves on the lower level.  At the time all of my engines and cars could manage those tight curves.  I think that 1500 is close to 6' diameter.

If you can do it I would recommend a minimum diameter of 10'.  But that may mean a lot of dirt to move and retaining walls to build.

What is the slope that you have to modify?  What part of the country do you live in?  Hills in Colorado are very different from those in Florida.  Do you have to deal with rock ledges or is the dirt relatively easily moved?  Any additional information you give us will help us help you.










The two levels were connected with a cog railroad.

Good luck with your plans.

Chuck N
 

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Hi all, 
We are working the same type problem on the Butte Creek Canyon & Humbug RR. BUT...............(there is always a but, our slope is away from the house and patio area.  Looks like we will have to build about 90 feet of 3 foot wall (average) to obtain a level area to start the line./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif
That will start AFTER I grind up a few stumps!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif
Hawk
 

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A picture is worth 12 tons



Its worth the money and time..

PS
If you have the space, e-mail me, I'll give you my phone number and give you some tips for a long term RR.
 

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Jamie,  I have similar site and am modelling the Uintah Railway which had 7.5% grade and 66 degree curves (4.5' dia. in 1:20).  I used same method as Dave F.  the cut and fill and it has worked well.  I have six hairpin curves and route climbs 47' to summit.  The maximum fill depth is about 3.5 ' and I used foot stomping and tamping to compact fill and avoid any retaining walls.  Sorry I haven't mastered the picture posting process yet. 
 

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I've always been fascinated by railroads cutting through mountains & slopes; they offer some spectacular scenery & engineering opportunities.

Look online for some real-life prototype inspirations; of course the most obvious would be Colorado railroads, but some others would be the San Diego & Arizona Eastern (this road used small trestles to bridge gaps through & around Carrizo Gorge), the CP/UP through the Sierras, and the Darjeeling Railway in India, just to name a few.

Rock retaining walls were used on many railroads, and look fantastic; in fact, just outside where I live (Las Vegas, NV), there is an old abandoned lead mine that used a 3/4-mile 18-inch tramway to haul ore from the mine to an aerial tram, and has extant ruins...it used many rock retaining walls to negotiate a VERY steep slope. The grade is still in great shape, but now is on private property (fenced). The look of it is fantastic!!
 

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I had the same problem.  My backyard is woods that is a constant uphill (a 16% grade from where we started on a flat to where we wanted to go). Here we have the flat (which is next to a deck we built ages ago)
 From here it makes a left to here
This was patterned (partially) after Corkscrew Gulch switchback in Colorado.  Of course we had to pretty it up ... like this
Then once we got to where we wanted to be we eventually had to come down to flat again.  We did this with a trestle with bents that were variable heights
As you can see by this pic we could not dig to level as my whole mountain is loaded with boulders.  We did do some digging at the top to level for the track but never more than 6" or so...and we have a bridge (in the background here) to cross a drop in the earth.  In other words we worked with the landscape rather than change it.
Barb
 

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Posted By Pagardener on 01/22/2008 4:07 PM
  My backyard is woods that is a constant uphill (a 16% grade from where we started on a flat to where we wanted to go).
  From here it makes a left to here
This was patterned (partially) after Corkscrew Gulch switchback in Colorado.  Of course we had to pretty it up ... like this
Then once we got to where we wanted to be we eventually had to come down to flat again.  We did this with a trestle with bents that were variable heights
As you can see by this pic we could not dig to level as my whole mountain is loaded with boulders.  We did do some digging at the top to level for the track but never more than 6" or so...and we have a bridge (in the background here) to cross a drop in the earth.  In other words we worked with the landscape rather than change it.
Barb
I like the way you worked your slope problem out, particularly with your  use of trestles. Nice job and an attractive layout as a result.  As it turns out, the slope was no problem at all because it enabled you to create a work of art in response.

--Ron in Alaska
 

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Take a look at www.NMGRR.com and look at Beck's Layout.  He built on a hill with 8ft diameter turnarounds at each end to keep going up the hill, no switch backs. 
 
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