Now it gets really complicated. Keeping things tight in the room originally dictated that the trains run up high and out of the way, but my fascination with the potential of digital control pointed me towards a more complicated layout.
I'm in the process of adding a four track yard on a shelf next to one set of windows, right under the main line's station. At one end of the yard is a turntable whose spurs will guide the locomotives into the adjacent bookcase. The other end leads to what will be a 14 turn helix, 50 inches high, to the main line on top. The helix will be two scale miles at about a 2.7% grade.
The lower shelf is being built as a single 12-foot piece. The shelf has been fitted around existing window mouldings, and has a custom cut extension to hold the turntable. No roadbed for these tracks to maintain a cleaner look. Noise isn't an issue. Wiring will be completed in my shed before the whole shebang is loaded into place.
The helix is being cut from 1/2 mahogany plywood. It'll be supported by six threaded bolts with adjustable mounts that'll be hung from the ceiling. Should be pretty slick.
Also adding a turnaround loop to the main line which will sit above the helix — appearance wise it's just another ring in line with all the helix rings.
Looking at January for installation. Gotta get my son out the door first. Haha.