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Hidden Staging a Redux

One of the most read entries on my blog has been "A Pox on Hidden Staging." While I remain steadfast that staging should not be hidden, I think I want to clarify a couple of things about what I mean(t).

I've been spending some time lately working on a friend's new layout and he has built a staging yard below what will be his new layout. The separation between the two is about a foot or less. The workmanship on the entire affair has been superb but I have nightmares about what the future portends with this arrangement.

First, the track plan down there is pretty complicated with a pretty nice yard, but here is the rub, there are at least 3 or 4 S curves at the throats of the double ended yards.

Second, the turnouts are #6. Ordinarily, this would not be much of a concern if one were doing a prewar freight layout where most of the cars were 40 footers and the locos were short steam or early diesels. Last time I was over there, he was concerned about why he could not back up his new D&RG Denver Zephyr with 85' cars. The train went through the S curves forward with amazing reliability, but every other time he tried to back through, something would jump off the track.

Third, a large reverse loop is incorporated into the design which works well until, well we have not yet figured it all out, but there are some issues with reverse loops and long lighted passenger trains.

To his credit, he's been fastidious about getting everything down there to work perfectly before he closes it up. But I've been in maintenance my whole life and things break and need to be fixed and I don't like working in cramped places. But then, I must remind myself that Rule 1 is in effect, it is his railroad.

Another friend has built a helix and put a yard about two feet below his layout table. He solved the the main issue of deck separation but another problem presents itself with his layout. Out of sight out of mind. He has an amazing number of cars and trains down there with some really nice cars that never see any use. Again the layout down there is really complicated and it is an ordeal to get the trains in and out.

In both cases mentioned, I'd just build myself some nice car storage drawers and store my excess stuff there.  But again, Rule #1 is in effect.

Yet another friend has the most amazing railroad with a special room you sort of crawl into where he has TWO huge perfect staging yards. No vices so far as I can tell, my only comment, why hide it? I think it is one of the most interesting parts of his fabulous layout. Rule 1 Joe.

The fabulous Greeley Freight Station Museum has a yard that is almost impossible to comprehend unless you have seen it. It is about 80 feet long and is behind the rest of the layout. Public view is certainly hidden, but the visiting model railroaders have easy acess to this unfinished yet impressive yard.

Summing it up, I;m not against staging yards, but why hide them? The prototype

   

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