Would this be a good idea?

drgwspup Jun 27, 2020

  1. drgwspup

    drgwspup TrainBoard Member

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    Hi folks,

    Just signed a contract for a new house. House has a nice basement for my empire. There is a shoulder high, large crawl space behind one wall. Since return loops consume so much space, I was thinking of maybe using the crawl space for a return loop in my initial daydreaming. I wouldn't put any other track work or turnouts in there due to accessibility issues.. Dumb idea? Brilliant use of space?

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Mark
     
  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    A shoulder high space doesn't seem too bad. How close would the layout be to the roof of the space? I know some people like eye-level layouts, but in that instance, there may not be enough clearance. As long as you can reach in and pick up cars in the event of a derailment, that would be the perfect space for a staging yard or return loop.
     
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    That would be my concern too. As I've grown older, easy accessibility means a lot more than it used to. If accessing the crawl space means a stepladder, a flashlight and crawling on hands and knees to work derailments and maintenance, I'd not use the space.
     
  4. drgwspup

    drgwspup TrainBoard Member

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    thanks for your reply folks.

    Trainiac: there would be at least 3 feet from track level to the joists. Since I am going to model DRGW from Helper, Utah to Soldier Summit, the 2+% prototype grade will take me up to that crawl space level.

    Hardcoaler: yeah it would mean a stepladder and crawling in. The area does have a light. I would just use the space for a return loop and avoid any complicated track work for the reasons you mentioned.

    Mark
     
    Hardcoaler and Sumner like this.
  5. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I've seen a lot of layouts built into crawl spaces that have been dug out. The idea is to leave enough dirt for the foundation, yet create a walking area like a trench down the middle. It was very common in old Model Railroader magazines.

    Who needs to join a gym when you can dig out a basement. ;)
     
  6. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    If you are gonna dig in the dirt, you may as well build in the back yard. Garden railways in HO are becoming more and more common.

     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  7. drgwspup

    drgwspup TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the reply traingeekboy. Hmmm, don't think I can dig out the crawl space since I would still need to get up and over the foundation wall. But that is certainly thinking outside of the box!! I've been a long time reader of MR and don't recall ever seeing that. Probably just didn't pay attention since it didn't apply to me at the time.

    I have a dozen pieces of G scale equipment that I planned on running around the perimeter of the yard but G scale equipment/track is so expensive. I had never considered HO outdoors. That certainly overcomes the cost of G scale things. I would guess as long as you have covered storage,(a garage or train shed) and don't run in the rain (which is limited in semi-arid Colorado) why not. That is something that I need to consider.

    Thanks for the video link! I loved the scenery of the ATSF zebra stripes coming out of the tunnel.

    Mark
     
    traingeekboy likes this.
  8. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Glad you liked it. The Brits have been doing it for decades. We have a community of garden railway folks on the OO/HO garden railway forum.

    I found this video about 10 years ago and I was hooked.


    I'm not supposed to link other places here, yet I may be the only garden railway modeler here, which is not a community. :p

    My layout began as a single track oval. I expanded to double track with cross overs and spurs for a station area. Then my house waterline failed and I had to dig up the yard. I never quite recovered.

    This video shows it in its mid point of construction. The walk through is a lift gate and it worked really well.


    In retrospect I had more fun with my glorified oval layout and running all my trains than any other layout I've ever had. I was going to do an indoor layout, but now I am getting the itch to go back outdoors again. It's just so fun.
     
  9. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    If I recall right, the late John Allen built part of the Gorre and Daphetid in an area of his basement that he excavated. I think he used concrete for the scenery base in that area.
     
    traingeekboy likes this.
  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Unless the wall has a door, I would not run trains behind it.
     
  11. drgwspup

    drgwspup TrainBoard Member

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    thanks for all the comments.
     

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