SSPRR Run Room

Playing with Toy Trains

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long did it take to construct the Run Room?

The remodeling contractor started tearing out basement walls the spring of 2003 for the current 69' long Run Room. I used RR-Track software to fit the track to available area. All track and track wiring was completed in March 2008.

What is the table height?

The table heights are 36" (based on head room I need when sitting under the table to do the wiring.)

What are the helix construction materials?

The helix (triple spiral) structure is made of 1" thick Gatorfoam (, and supported with 3/16" threaded rod. 1/2" plastic plumbing pipe covers the threaded rod.

What is the maximum grade on the helix?


What is the ceiling track and helix track support construction material?

1" thick Gatorfoam - "The Solid Choice Foamboard"  Gatorfoam is an extruded polystyrene foam board bonded between two layers of Luxcell® wood-fiber veneer.

What track and switches are used?

The track and switches in the Operating Accessories Yard are Lionel 031 and 072 with Gargraves track for the 5-rail crane tracks. The Moondog Streets are no longer made.

The main track is Gargraves Phantom (not stainless). Turnouts are mostly #8 RossReady Ross Switches. The Gargrave remote control tracks will be replaced with MTH ScaleTrax Operating Track sections. (The Gargraves magnet is not strong enough.)

How are the tables constructed?

The tables have 2x4 legs supporting 2x2s, 3/8" plywood and 1/2" Homasote sandwich.

What size wire is used?

Wire is #16 solid copper inserted into predrilled holes in track and soldered with a large soldering gun. These wire taps are then connected to the stranded #12 or #10 bus wiring at screw terminal blocks. All wiring is color coded. (#10 is overkill, it was surplus.)

How are Control Panels made?

The main Control Panels have 1x12s for top, bottom and sides with painted Lexan surface panels. I used paint markers from the art supply store to show track colors. Track colors indicate the electrically divided areas.

What is Conventional Remote Control?

Controls the voltage to the track.

What is Command Control (MTH DCS, Lionel TMCC, Lionel Legacy)?

A hand held remote signals a control box connected to the track. The control box passes the signal through the track to the engine's receiver. Track voltage is set at 18 volts.

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August 2008