As you may or may not know, I have a helix to connect the upper and lower decks of my Georgetown Branch layout. I built the helix ages ago, back in 2003 for my previous layout. It was designed to fit below a set of stairs and as such is relatively tight, with 19.5″ radius curves and a 2.9% grade. (yikes!) Thankfully I mostly run small B+B locomotives! One thing that is lacking is any sort of protection for the trains as they traverse the helix from falling off the edge and cascading to the floor. I thought about cardboard or mat board strips but decided against them as I didn’t like the idea that they would crease or break if I had to reach in to re-rail a train. I have been kicking this idea around for ages and recently had the idea of using polypropylene folders. These are the flexible-yet-stiff plastic folders you find in a lot of school binders. When I was cleaning out a supply cabinet, I found a stash of old folders from my son’s grade school days. Perfect. So I got around to testing this out.
I first remove the inner folder piece (seen in the photo above as a lighter green) and then set the edge of the folder against a sheet of glass and lay my steel ruler down atop it. I then score until the sheet is cut through.
Next, lay the strips on the side of the roadbed, keeping it parallel to the bottom, and use a staple gun to fasten to the plywood.
Some of the staples will not go in all the way and I tapped them in with a hammer. Occasionally I would miss and have to remove the staple with a screwdriver and try again. I really like the way this is turning out.