Richard Hanger

How to Elevate Model Train Track

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How to Elevate Model Train Track

how to elevate model train track

In this article, we will cover the various aspects of elevating your model train track. Learn how to calculate the height of your grade, select the proper materials and learn how to make the transitions between the grades. In addition, you’ll learn how to make your track more sturdy and safe. By following these steps, you’ll have a more secure track that will be easier to maintain for years to come. After reading this article, you should feel more confident in constructing your own elevated model train track.

Height of grade

In a small layout, an easy way to get to the desired elevation is to use looping track. In larger layouts, you may want to use a helix, a circular track spiral that gradually climbs to the desired elevation. Helices don’t look prototypical, but can be hidden in a corner or side of the layout. They are also easy to hide in a larger layout. Some people who like the idea of watching a train climb aren’t concerned about the height and prefer a layout without a helix.

Before you start building, take measurements of your track area to determine the right height. You’ll want to keep the majority of the track at or near the midpoint of the crossover elevation. You can split the grade under the track or over it if you need to. Once you’ve decided on the elevation, it’s time to test it on your layout. You’ll need a locomotive that can pull the desired number of cars. Make sure your locomotive has enough strength and traction to pull the cars up and down the hill.


If you’re planning to build a track with elevation, you need to make sure that you use the right materials. The roadbed can be made of plywood or cork, and it should be the same thickness as the cork strips that you use for the mainline. You can also use foam, which is designed specifically for model train track. This will help create a solid subroadbed that will strengthen benchwork and also add sound deadening properties to the track. It can also be easily shaped for scenic purposes.

The rails on your track should be made from high-quality steel. Nickel silver is the best metal to use for these tracks. You should also pay attention to the design of the track and the layout when choosing these materials. There are many different ways to elevate a model train track. You can choose from pre-cut tracks or create your own. Either way, you’ll need to take care not to void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Calculation of grade

If you’re planning on erecting a mountain or hill, the first step is to calculate the grade. You can use a standard formula by dividing the height of the elevation by its length. A slope of 1 percent requires 100 inches of track, while a 2-percent slope will require 200 inches. Once you’ve calculated the grade, you can mark the areas that need to be elevated on your layout board. Don’t forget to account for the outer edges of the board, the track line, and any bridge structures you may use.

To test a gradient, screw together two or three pieces of track with the desired grade. If you’re building a small layout, use a helix, a circular spiral of track that gradually increases in elevation. This type of track is not prototypical, but it’s good for a beginner who doesn’t want a steep gradient. In larger layouts, a helix can be tucked into a corner or side of the layout. Make sure that the train is able to climb and pull the desired number of cars before gluing down the track.

Transitions between grades

When laying out your model train track, it is important to pay attention to the transitions between grades. These are important for the stability of your track, as well as for the comfort of passengers. When constructing a transition from one level to another, it is best to think of the grade as a vertical curve. This way, you can avoid kinks in the track, which can cause problems with the track.

When creating a model train layout, it is important to keep in mind that transitions between grades must be seamless. Transitions between curved and straight sections must be planned carefully and executed with great care. Straight sections should be spaced 10 feet apart. This distance helps long wheelbase locomotives negotiate the change in curvature without losing too much of their momentum, which can lead to derailment. Listed below are tips for making transitions between grades:

Creating a natural looking bank on each side

Creating a natural looking bank on each end of a model train track can be a difficult task. To make it look real, you must make sure the tracks are level, and that all the other components of the model train track are perfectly positioned. For this purpose, you can use Woodland Scenics Risers. These will raise the train track to the appropriate height and allow the toy trains to pass through it without being hindered.