|Bridges across the entryway.|
Trains on the CP Rail M & M Sub. make their way between levels via a—well, it’s not exactly a helix, in the traditional sense of being a circle of track curving over itself, although it performs the same function.
Trains leaving the lower level enter run around the layout room through Fort Frances, then enters a 5 by 9 storage room that contains the upper and lower staging yards, (and the mainline dispatcher’s panel).
|Left side of helix; Duluth & Thunder Bay staging on|
bottom, Winnipeg on top.
The track traverses the storage room three times, rising about 19 inches on a steady 1.5 percent grade. The tracks cross the entryway twice on drop-down bridges.
The tracks then emerge back in the layout room, run around the walls and disappear into the storage room’s upper level staging yard.
The helix is constructed out of 1 x 4 lumber and ¾ inch plywood for the curved sections. It is held onto the wall with angle braces.
|Right side of helix.|
Back when the layout featured the peninsula in the centre of the room, I “daylighted” the middle level of the helix. That level then ran around the peninsula, providing more visible running. My main regret about the changes to the layout is the loss of that visible running. But there is something fascinating about a helix, too—watching a train climb up and over itself.