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I am planning a new version of the Tyco US-1 Trucking table top layout that Doug, Rod and I took to Gaydon this year:

tyco improved combined extended alternative.jpg

My plan is to add an extra circuit with a gradient, to enable six trucks and two trains to be on the move at any one time:

tyco combined EXPERIMENT (002).jpg

The issue however is height: The high level piers that Tyco provide come in three different sizes with a top height of 57mm, which is fine for road flyovers, but not enough to clear a RailRoad.

I have never had enough genuine Tyco piers, so had previously used Life-LIke racing piers, in particular rises 2 and three, which gave a combined height of 115mm,. Best of all it is possible to cut the lower tie bar out, to allow the roadway to have a railroad running along, underneath!

This all seemed fine at the time I was using it, until I wanted to reach it with a gradient, then it looked unnecessarily high. So plan A involved reconfiguring the Life-Like Piers using Rises 1 and 3. Now I had a height of 87mm. This was good, as the interactions with the trains were now a lot more close up and really looked dynamic.

However, Life-Like piers are rather clumsy looking things and one big issue was that the width of them was much wider than the Tyco roadway, preventing two tracks being parallel to each other, and one rising or falling next to a high level circuit.

I considered getting some Tyco style 87mm piers made out of MDF, but then I found that if you stack multiples of original Tyco piers together you can create an 87mm height! (3 x middle rise or miidle rise + third rise).

Better still, I found several lots of original Tyco piers on e-bay, including these from Slot Car Central: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/24pc-1975-TYCO-TycoPro-etc-HO-Slot-Car-GRAY-TRESTLE-Track-SUPPORTs-Unused-1-5/401190397619?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Needless to say lots were bought and I found that by combining 2 x 2nd rise and a first rise an intermediate pier could also be made to bridge the gap between Tyco's 57mm and my 87mm piers. The gradients looked good and the trucks could cope with them too.

I probably have enough plain piers to do the whole layout, HOWEVER that left the issue of the hooped piers....

tyco elevated.JPG

The Life-Like piers were still too wide and too clumsy, so I began exploring options for some slimmer and less clumsy hoops. In the end I settled for assembly from 1.5mm Birch Plywood which will be laser cut. I did some schoolboy scribbling and a clever chum with CAD interpretted my efforts and did this for me in CAD format and also as a PDF:

View attachment Birch Plywood_1.5_600mmx300mm_Hooped Piers.pdf

There are enough parts here to make 22 of my hooped piers. Each hoop needs two of the trapezoid sides, one of the rectangular tops with the 11mm hole and two of the thin re-inforcing strips to keep the aembly square and rigid.

Today the CAD file was sent off for a quote..... Fingers crossed!

I will let you know how I get on!

James
 

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Well today I got a quote of £90 ($115) including VAT from www.cutlasercut.com and placed the order! Towards the end of the month I will get the parts to assemble 22 piers.

I could have reduced the unit cost by ordering more sheets of 22, but as I only need a dozen this seemed unnecessary!

A chum winced at the price, but for a bespoke item that will hopefully do exactly what I want and is not obtainable by other means, I think that this is pretty good value!

James
 

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Hoping to make it to next year's festival and to see how the piers came out.

Have you looked at acquiring some Matchbox Powertrack bridges? The cross piece is thin and then you clip side pieces together to achieve the desired height. Does give you an unlimited achievable height and enables smooth gradients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Doh!,

Thanks Sir Slotalot. Sadly no, I didn't know the ins and outs of Powertrack and what a pity! I did enjoy seeing the layouts in the room nextdoor at Gaydon this year and chatted to the operatives.

I am consoling myself with the thought that they may well be wider than the 71mm I need to go tidily under US-1 straights and curves?

I will certainly bring some of the piers along, but in 2019 we are actually going to be doing this layout, instead:

Hopefully, if Roger agree, the US-1 will be back there is 2020!

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So,

This is what £90 buys you in cut plywood!

wood wood wood.JPG

Sadly, I can post the smell of bonfires that the wood has about it...

So next stop to get some glue and get sticking!

James
 

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The wooden bits have all been carefully rubbed down to remove the charcoal and a trial batch of four were assembled. Assembling them, even with my jig is a lot harder than I anticipated. Also, just as military experts will tell you that no battle plan survives first contact, if I was starting tomorrow, knowing what I know now...

However, they work:

tyco piers 1.JPG

Tyco Piers 21.JPG

So whilst I like them, I have come to a few conclusions as a result:

If I was designing them again I would make the legs wider at the base, to give them more inherent stability when standing alone. ( I chose the dimensions I did as a nod to the style of the original US-1 piers). I would also make the top an mm or two wider than the 15mm I chose, as the cross ribs tend to want to interfere with the 11mm hole that the track clips into, unless you are very careful!

Also they are very light and appear top heavy. A soloution to most of these issues maybe to glue a small amount of lead to the inside bottom of each leg. This will make them more stable.

However on the bright side they work and do the job they were intended to do!

James
 

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Very nice James. Those truckers need double pay for driving over a bridge that height with no guard rails though!
 

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Thanks Doug,

Good idea. Tri-ang made some like that to take a railway through a hopper deck, discharging into a wagon on another railway below. However the good news is that now I have added the weights to the legs they stand up well and are nicely rigid, so I hope that they will do as they are now.

Tyco Hooped Piers.JPG

They are also the same height as the solid piers, made up with the 96 x Tyco Pro Second rise piers thaat arrived yesterday from Slot Car Central

Tyco HL and Hooped Piers.JPG

The piers will naturally stack LEGO style, but to get the three segments to fit solidily and at a constant height, the top rings of the lower two are bound with double layer of scotch tape, before they are firmly pressed together. When they are they become strong and rigid.

Tyco HL Piers.JPG

For some reason I don't understand the slotted holes in the top of the piers are just too small to engage with the bosses under the US-1 track, so I am gently easing them with half round needle file. I then mark those that I have treated to stop them getting muddled in with the others.... Her are a few of the 33 made so far with a G scale Taliesin from the Ffestiniog Railway as a backdrop....

I reckon I will need around 36 solid piers and a dozen hooped piers, although I can make 22 of the latter with the bits I have to hand, and they can be used in place of solid piers. The remaining solid piers and the gradients will be made up of original US-1 kit. I have a parcel of that coming from Australia and some more promised by anohter local chum.

I am almost there!

The other job remaining is to clean up the wooden piers and prime them, but I am going to assemble the rest of them first. Although US-1 Piers were mainly grey and the Tyco Pro piers are a mixture of almost white, grey and the light brown shown, I plan to finally paint the wooden hoops to match the bulk of the Tyco Pro Piers and have some tins of Humbrol Light Stone set aside for when I get there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So,

All 22 are assembled, rubbed down, primed and the final colour is going on...

Tyco 22 Hooped Piers.JPG

My parcel arrived from Australia too and I have now got all the the 36 x 87mm high solid piers I need.

Very soon I am going to try and find the time to do a trail (static) set up of the new layout on the lounge floor, to see if everthing really fits as the plan says that it should and to see if I really do have enough of everything!

James
 

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Today with a couple of hours to spare, I was able to do a partial mock set up, just to give me the flavour of what I am hoping to acheive. The layout was not built in working form and the lack of room available meant I could not do it to the full intended length

TYCO Partial set up.JPG

You may be able to spot that both the inclines feature a level length at Tyco Third rise height, before continuing up and down. I hope to use these sections to include a High level gravel dump, above a hopper conected to the lower level and a high level log loader.... The trucks on the low level roadway can just pass underneath at this height, (which is of course the height that Tyco intended for thier flyovers), but it is a real squeeze! Still all adds to the dynamism and excitement!

The arched piers can be seen in the background over a few sample lengths of Railroad track. The lower roadway should cross the railway twice at grade crossings, but I simply didn't have time or room to install those today.

After Xmas the lounge will be tree free, and the furniture can be pushed around to give me the space to do the full set up including the three full roadway circuits and the two railroad circuits.

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thought you might be interested in seeing my latest aquisition from the states. Sadly the customs fees realy hurt, but I love it!

twin peaks.JPG

This is a 1970s Life-Like railroad overpass that was designed to take rail or slot cars over a railroad.

It wasn't designed for the roadbed type railroad track that I use, so it is lucky that I needed to prop it up wit three layers of caboard to make the 87mm top height that I use. This gives just enough clearane unde the archway for a decent sied HO loco with pantographs to pass underneath.

Alonside are samples of track supported on my hooped and solid piers and samples are shown in front of that.

All I need to do now is work out how to build this into the new plan!!

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sorry to have been silent on this subject for so long. I was busy getting the Playcraft ready for the shows earlier in the year, but once they were both done, it was back on with this.

Well I am pleased to say that new layout had it first outing earlier in the month at a model railway show in Hinckley and went down very well. It worked superbly.

We never did work out how to include the Life-Like Twin Peaks bridge, but following experience gained with the Playcraft we did change to using some Gaugemaster Feedback controllers, that worked brilliantly.

Here are the videos. Please let me know what you think. Next stop, hopefully Gaydon 2020....

1

2

3

James
 
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