Designing a Traverser for the Staging Yards

I’ve set myself a goal. I want to have the first bit of benchwork for The Liberty Village Line built and installed by Labour Day weekend (to be clear, Labour Day weekend in 2018!).  The first bit of benchwork will be the staging Traverser for the Canadian Pacific which is located inside the closet of my layout room/office, and the tail track boards on either end.  I’ve chosen this as getting the benchwork built in the closet first means I can finish sorting the multitude of things that have to be stored in the closet along side the layout extension.  Then I can remove the closet door and come up with a plan to keep Gandalf from going into the closet (if the pet/baby gate we’ve just installed for the stairs works to keep him on the 2nd and 3rd floors, then I’ll be buying another for the closet door).  I like having the office door open, and him checking out what I’m doing, so thus far I’m not inclined to make the office/layout room a cat-free zone.  He’s also shown much less interest in being a part of models or planting himself on my workbench than Fergie did before him.

GandalfGate.jpgWhat’s this “Expletive Deleted” then? What do you mean I can’t go to the ground floor? A new gate to keep Gandalf on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Townhouse when we are not home or BBQ’ing and going in and out.  He has some anxiety issues, and given we are not permitted to touch him inside the house (by him, he’s a big scaredy cat), if he ever got out the front door to outside, we’re worried we may never see him again as we can’t grab him to pick him up inside.

So, with the obligatory cat picture out of the way, I’ve spent a fair bit of my free time in the past couple of weeks looking at others designs for traversers online in their layout blogs and on model railroad forums, and taking that and applying what has and hasn’t worked for them into a design in AutoCAD for support benchwork that would work for my layout.

The “Closet” end of the layout plan on the left, showing the traverser and entrance/exit tracks.  The right shows the work in progress CAD for the framing to support the sliding deck of the traverser.

As discussed previously, the traverser shelf will be 30″ long, and 11.75″ wide based on the number of tracks and the space available in the closet.  Thanks to having Lee Valley Hardware literally a five minute walk from my office, I was able to go over at lunch Wednesday and pick up a set of drawer slides to help me with visualizing how the traverser will work, and what size of slides I need.

TraverserTest1.jpgPhysically testing the dimensions for the Traverser Staging Yard with one of the sliders from Lee Valley Hardware.  The slider is the 10″ Full Extension 75lbs Drawer Slider.

With the slides in hand, I set up a few pieces of loose track on my workbench last night to look at the dimensions of the table, and where tracks could line up with the slider.  The 10″ slider provides enough range of motion to allow five tracks to be set up and align, with ample space for reaching in to get cars onto tracks or off for maintenance.

TraverserTest2.jpgSlider bar fully extended.  Should move the traverser enough to get five tracks in that will align with the one track that leads to the layout mocked upon the left.

Now that I am pretty much certain that my design will work, its on to construction. As usual, given my lack of workshop space and table saw etc, etc, I will be looking to at least go somewhere else to cut all my lumber down (my friends with woodshops can all expect messages in the near future for some help!!).  For the staging, I need one 24″x48″ quarter sheet of plywood, and three 8′ long 1×3’s to do all the framing assuming I don’t mess up any cuts and my design works!  Not a lot of lumber, but there are a lot of cuts to make.

2 thoughts on “Designing a Traverser for the Staging Yards

  1. I think those are an excellent choice of slides. 🙂

    You can modify them by removing the rubber stop on the “inside” end of the outer slide and bending down the tab. They will then slide both ways for double the reach.

    I have seen traverser instances where they mount the slides horizontally. This looks like an easy way to apply traversers to a flat surface but gives up the vertical alignment adjustment. I like having the traditional drawer vertical adjustment capability.

    • Thanks Mark, that’s a good bit of info on the sliders. I’m hoping I won’t need to do that to get the range of movement I need, but if i need more, its nice to know I can adjust to get it!

      And i’m with you on the ability to vertically adjust the alignment like a drawer. For a long time I was looking at bottom mounting sliders, but I realized it could become a massive headache if a bit of tweaking was needed to keep the moving and non moving areas of the layout aligned properly for operation onto and off of the traverser.

      Cheers,

      Stephen

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