Page originated 01/2005


These web pages describe the layout that Rod Miller uses for testing drives and other customer projects. The primary purpose is testing. The secondary purpose is personal use for enjoying scale model railroad operation.

At some point in time I will upgrade this page to provide more information and to be more finished. In the meantime, I will add information to this page as needed to provide more detail about how the layout is used and how it has been built.


The layout is signaled with ABS-type target signals. Here are a couple of photos of the signals. The signals were built for me by Charlie Morrill.

Signal showing amber aspect.
Signal at MP 761.2. Note: the camera angle makes the signals appear to be leaning, but they aren't. Scenery is nearing completion in this area; compare this signal with the same scene in the first two double deck photos below. The speeder shed was built by Jerry Guth. The concrete phone booth is from Charlie Morrill. The telephone poles are Weaver's (and they gotta be painted - that gloss looks terrible...) Track is hand-laid code 125. Turnouts are built up using Right 'O' Way points, frogs, and guard rails.
Signal showing green aspect.
Signal at MP 761.1.

Double Deck Design and Construction

Since the layout is built as a staging loop to staging loop operation, portions of the main line are double decked. The two staging loops are stacked, with one directly above the other. The transition from between the decks is via a Tehachapi Loop type of loop.

Note: many of these photos were taken during construction, so clutter from construction supplies may be visible in some photos.

The lower level track is at 53 inches above the floor, and the upper level is 69 inches (shoulda been 68 but an arithmetic error (I was a math major...) got in the way). The width of each level varies on curves; on the straight sections the width is about 2 feet lower and 20 inches upper. The thickness of the upper level structure (benchwork, lighting, and sub-roadbed) is six inches.

This gives a viewing window into the lower level that is 10 inches high. This is plenty and the trains do not appear to my eye to be crowded by the layout structure. The target signals (target at engineer eye level) are currently the tallest structures on the lower deck, and they don't look crowded either.

The room is 15 feet by 48, with the entrance door in one wall about 10 feet fron one end. There are two large blobs. One is the stacked staging loops; this blob is about 12 feet wide. The other is the loop that climbs from the lower to upper deck; it is about 11 feet wide; this loop is the only place where the track is not double decked.

A very helpful process for me was to mock up the two decks. A couple of boards were attached to the wall so they span the range of deck heights I was considering. A couple of the slotted adjustable shelving brackets are installed on the boards. Then I put shelves on the boards, one shelf at each proposed track level. Placing rolling stock on track on the shelves to helped me to visualize things. When I did this process I found that the gap between the decks could be much less than what I had expected.

Presentation on Double Decking

This presentation was made in February 2002 to the regional NMRA Layout Design SIG and NMRA Operations SIG joint meeting that is held every February in Santa Clara, CA. I was honored to be able to present to such an august body.

It is a typical presentation in that it is meant to provide visual aid to a human presenter (me) who is in front of the group and who is saying all the words to fill in around the slide topic lines. However, the framework structure for the upper level is clearly shown on a couple of consecutive slides. To view the slides, click on the titles in the left hand box of your browser window.

Double deck layout presentation.

Distant View at Point Where Lower Deck is Widest
Double deck view 1. Photo was taken at my eye level (I'm six feet one). There are about six inches between the lower level track and the backdrop. The width of the foreground area (to become a yard) is about two feet.
Somewhat Closer View at Point Where Lower Deck is Widest
Double deck view 2. Loco on the upper deck is a Lobaugh SP 0-6-0 that I rebuilt and painted. Train on the lower deck: loco is an Overland SP H-12-44 that I painted and DCC'd; WP boxcar is a Lionel car that I two-railed and weathered; MILW boxcar is a Rails Unlimited body that I finished and painted; caboose is a MG/USHobbies model that I painted.
Side-On Eye Level View Where Lower Deck is Narrow
Double deck view 3.
Angled Eye Level View Where Lower Deck is Narrow
Double deck view 4. This view shows the distance between the track and the backdrop, and the planned location of the lower deck fascia (the ends of the joists show the path of the fascia). The flat sheet between the track and backdrop is being stored there temporarily...

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this page.


Interested in learning more about 2-rail O scale? Please visit the O Scale Kings web pages.

These web pages were designed and implemented by Rod Miller.
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