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I have received great advice from the folks on this forum as my plan for the Day Branch extension of the railroad in my middle school classroom has evolved (see earlier threads on this blog), and I’d settled on a single level with staging behind a low backdrop. This arrangement had the great appeal and advantage of being very straightforward to build.
In January I hosted an operating session for a group of very experienced local modelers, and one of them pointed out that I had room to provide drop-in return loops at the ends of both of my main line staging yards (the existing one and the to-be-built one) that would ease between session re-staging procedures. Both staging yards dead end at the front door to the room so these loops couldn’t be left in place permanently, they would have to be removable and would normally only be installed very briefly to restage trains.
It dawned on my that if the new staging behind the Day Branch extension dropped to the same level as the staging opposite the entrance I could arrange either continuous run or loop to loop with alternate drop-in sections!
Recent discussions on this forum have highlighted the fact that the answer to which is better is “it depends,” and having both options is a pretty sweet opportunity, so I retooled my plan to do exactly that. The new staging now descends to the same level as the existing staging and can be connected.
At first I thought I’d make two loop drop-ins and a continuous drop-in, three pieces total, to use as needed but I started to wonder what a single chunk of track that could provide all routes might look like. This is what I came up with:
Is this a good idea? As someone who has been using nothing but muzzle-loading staging for the past five years on this layout, it seems pretty attractive to me. Because I’m not recreating a specific time and place doing it this way leaves all options open (I think), to simulate a variety of operational situations.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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