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Building a Model Railroad Helix

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A helix is the ultimate model train elevator. Large or small, short or tall, there is nothing quite like watching a train climb above itself like a giant snake. A helix is sure to be a center of attention on any model railroad.

A helix can also be an intimidating construction project for any skill level. No matter how large, a helix can be broken down into very manageable pieces. If you can build a conventional grade, you can build a helix. The secret is all in the planning.

Helix Prototypes

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Even a construction as crazy as a helix is not without a counterpart in the real world of railroading. Get inspired from these amazing feats of engineering.

Planning the Helix

®2010 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Planning is truely the key to a succesful helix. Planning in three dimensions can be a challenge as you balance radius, grade and space.

Learn More

Building the Helix

®2010 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Step-by-step, turn-by-turn, a helix can rise to great heights. Although they appear complex, a helix is built on simple constructions.

Get started.

Laying Track in a Helix

®2010 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Round and 'round they go...Smooth track is essential to enjoyable operations everywhere, espescially in a helix.

Read more.

Wiring a Helix

®2010 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Put power in the tower. There's nothing different about wiring a helix than the rest of your railroad, but there are a few tricks to make it easier.

Learn how.

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