Basic Benchwork 1

When I started construction on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway in 1989 I could find very little information on double level layouts and the helixes that connected the two levels. I knew I had to build the layout with a minimum of legs and therefore the layout had to hang off the walls of the basement but I wasn't familiar enough with construction to know what size lumber I would need for sturdy construction to hold the benchwork off the floor.

As you can see in the pictures I used 3/4' plywood for the one piece frames screwed to 2X 6 lumber bolted to the cement block walls. This turned out to be far more sturdy construction than was needed. I could have gone with smaller dimensions of wood and still have been safely within the strength tolerances required for this layout.

The first picture shows the benchwork that supports the lower Level at East Buffalo Junction to the left, Bania Junction on the upper level left while Sulfex Chemical will be on the upper level in front of the vertical 2X6 support for the peninsula which goes to the right.

The base for the double track helix is to the back (also shown in the picture immediately below . 
The helix tracks radii are 30" inside and 33" outside. The grade through the helix is about 1.7 percent.

Bypass tracks will go behind the helix on both the top and bottom levels for versatility allowing management to separate the two levels into independent railroads for breaking in locomotives and one man operation.

The second picture shows the basic construction of the peninsula which is L-girder supported by vertical 2X 6 lumber attached to the ceiling joists at the top and a base plate at the bottom. The cross pieces were added by screwing them to the L-girder. Stability was added when the backdrop was attached.


The last picture shows the end of the peninsula with the plywood roadbed installed. The radius for the end curves is 30" top and bottom. As you can see the right side of the upper and lower peninsula is wider than the left side. I later needed to install a threaded rod on the upper level to avoid the roadbed sagging under its own weight. Amalgamated processed Foods, LLC will go on the right side of the upper peninsula.

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