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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lessons Learned - Ceiling Railroads


Caboose Hobbies and Mizell's Trains in Denver both have G Scale trains running around the ceiling. Caboose has 3 or 4 of them running independently. I like them very much and watch them when I am in the store.

I visited a hobby shop in eastern Indianapolis that had a couple of HO tracks running around the room about a foot or so below the very high ceiling. They were running a long passenger train with either a pacific or a northern with QSI sound. Because the tracks were so close to the edge, they had 6 inch or so plexiglass sheilds in place. IMHO, the Sheilds were higher than necessary (1.5" is adequate) and these same sheilds greatly affected the quality of the sound. Or, they had a problem with the locomotive sound system. The train on the inside track was hard to see and I thought it was a waste of time.

Until about 2 weeks ago, I had intended to run my G scale around my office with a 'tunnel' into the next room, even at one time considered a dual mainline the desired state. Those plans are now abandoned as I have decided the efforts would detract from my 'real' layout.

A ceiling railroad is better than no railroad. But, I think there are some serious issues I'd consider before building one. If the ceiling road is to be your only layout, your options will be seriously limited. For example any kind of realistic operations will be nearly impossible, as would realistic switching. If the purpose of the train is to serve as a novelty like the Dentist in Ft. Collins, well and good. But if this will be your only railroad, and you have an alternate location, I'd seriously consider the other option. I've 'fallen in love' with scenery. A ceiling height layout would pose some unique issues and problems for those who want to build scenery.

If you are determined to have your ceiling train, ready made shelving is available through the LHS or the Web and some pretty nice bridges exist in G that would look nice over doors and halls.

Joe Daddy



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