SSPRR Run Room

Playing with Toy Trains

Four Level Track with Helix Access

The Run Room helix is double tracked and the inside loop track is isolated as upper and lower sidings.  See helix construction information below.

In the above photo from the bottom up, the Classification Yard is on the table to the left, the Bottom Stub Track is on the wall to left, the Top Stub Track is above that, and the Ceiling Track is between the Top Stub Track and the ceiling.  The helix provides access to and from all track.

SSPRR Run Room Helix Construction

  • The Run Room table heights are 36" (based on head room I need when sitting under the table to do the wiring.)
  • Gargraves Phantom track and Ross Custom Switches are used. The ascending tracks, wall stub siding access tracks, and individual circles with turnouts were designed with RR-Track software.
  • The maximum grade on the helix is 2.3%.
  • The approach track ascends from the table to the point at the south end of the room where the helix starts circling 10 ½” above the table. From that south point there are 3 ¼ complete circles and a straight along the east wall to meet the ceiling track for the rest of the rise of 30 ½”.
  • The Total Rise, with the approach track from the table and exit track to the ceiling track, is 41”.

The ascending track from table to helix is mounted on 3/8" plywood supported by varying heights of 3/4"  pine, 2 X 2 posts, angle brackets and water pipe with threaded rod.

Ascending Track

  • 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.
  • The outside track radius is 5' and the inside track radius is 4' 6". The Gatorfoam base outside edge radius is 5' 4 1/2" (inside edge radius 4' 3").
  • To lay out the circles use a ¼” x 3” x 6’ long piece of plywood with holes in it for a compass. The Gator Foam was cut out with a good sabre saw with a medium wide plywood blade. The Gator Foam has a crisp outer coating and the edges are easy to sand smooth with a sanding block.

The Gatorfoam 3 1/4 circles hang from 3/4" plywood circle anchored to the ceiling joists

Plywood Ring 

Gatorfoam tops and bottoms are painted with a roller before hanging.

Ready for Paint

Edges and pipe are unpainted.

The interior post structure is pictured below.

Inside and outside steel plates with nylon lock nuts join Gatorfoam sections. 
Joint Plates 

Roadbed  The "roadbed" is indoor/outdoor carpet glued to Gatorfoam. Track Screws were tipped with white hobby glue before driving. 

Hardware List Follows Photos


Hardware Stack  Left - Helix post structure

Below - Two sets of steel plates with nylon lock nuts join Gatorfoam parts.
Joint Plate Example 

Preliminary Elevation "Ladder"

Elevation Preliminary Planning 

Hardware is From Order List

  • Gatorfoam - The ceiling track and helix track base is 1" thick Gatorfoam - Gatorfoam is an "extruded polystyrene foam board bonded between two layers of Luxcell® wood-fiber veneer". Gatorfoam's crisp top and bottom with dense core leave edges that are easily sanded smooth with medium sandpaper on a sanding block.
  • 60 3/4" x 3" long zinc-plated steel plates with 4 holes for #8 screws
    30 L Bracket s 1 1/2" long each leg
  • 250 8-32 rhms w phillips head 1 1/4" long
    200 8-32 hex nuts
    200 1/8" x 1" Fender washers
  • 50 flat phillips head 3/4" long #6 (tapping or similar for wood)
    50 washers for above
  •  35 10-24 x 3' long threaded rod
    100 3/16" x 1 1/4" fender washer
    150 3/16" x 5/8" washer
    50 10-24 toggle wing
    100 1/4" washer
    75 10-24 locknut with nylon insert (plain
    150 10-24 hex nuts
  • 25 10-24 2" long Headless Hanger Screws (wood-screw threaded studs)
    25 10-24 Coupling Nuts
  • 10 10' lengths of 1/2" CPVC water pipe

See Helix Track Design for other helixes. 

Question? Contact the SSPRR COO (Chief Operating Officer) using the email button to the right.  (If email link is absent, please enable JavaScript.)