Welcome to the McKillop Lines

Some History

Even thought these pictures are dated, the McKillop Lines still has visitors fascinated with all the action this 3 rail O gauge railroad empire can do.

With 3 loops of track (2 on the floor and 1 on top of the wainscot), an O-72" custom built helix, custom built inside and outside corner bridges, an a custom built cap on the wainscot to accommodate track and train with O-72" curves, this railroad can keep this operator busy for many hours of operation.

In 2000, a crew arrived to recondition and rewire the McKillop Lines an  upgraded operations.  With Lionel's TrainMaster Command Control System as the operating backbone of this layout along with the Lionel SC-1's, this layout was brought into the world of remote control operation.

Every switch in this pike, and there is 24 of them, are operated from the Lionel Cab 1 remote through the PowerMasters and Command Base plus the SC-1's.

After converting the attic into a 3rd floor guest room and built to accommodate the building of a toy train layout, the owner of this railroad started planning and building a toy train layout that would keep the kids busy and mesmerize visitors.

As you assend the stairs from the second floor to the new third floor, you enter the room though a staircase cover that resembles a sailing ship hatch.  Immedeately you see train track on the floor and hear the sounds of trains running clickity clack on the tracks.  Whistles and horns blowing and bells ringing.

With freight trains and passenger trains running the 3 loops of track, trains on the wainscot traveling through the 6 foot diameter helix to the floor with another train waiting at the switch to accend the helix to the wainscot, the action is busy and requires all the attention of the operator, or in some cases operators.

At the top of the stairs you see a cabinet with some special collection interest to the viewer.  Toy trains from Britain and Europe are on display.  On a side wall is a set of cabinets that were once in an old hardware store with glass doors on the top and drawers below displaying F-3 locomotives and their passenger coaches.

It must be said that the crown jewel of this empire is the O-72" helix.  Making 6 1/2 revolutions through this helix from the wainscot to the floor certainly adds fasination to the operation of this railroad.

With three long spur tracks, there is plenty of room to store a full passenger train while running other sets or freight trains.

Construction of the upgraded pike saw the introduction of 1x2 fur strips spiked to the pine plank floor with all the track and switch wires in the middle.  The ties of the track was modified with track screw holes drilled into the outside edge allowing for the track to be screwed to the 1x2 strips.

The track wiring is a loop that starts at the power supply and returns to the power supply thus allowing for power feed from both ends of the track and ensuring a steady supply of power without power drops in the middle of each loop.

SC-1's are wired for constant power as well as the switches.  With two banks of SC-1's on each side of the room this allowed for short wire runs from the controller to the switches.

The outside and inside corner bridges were custom built to get the wainscot track around those corners still using O-72' or greater curves.

Finally, the room is a 'T' shaped room with the wainscot loop running around the entire parimeter and is the longest loop of track.  The room measures 30 foot by 20 foot, so you see there is a lot of train track here.

As you assend the stairs from the 2nd floor of the house, you enter the 3rd floor through this hatch.  Notice that the hatch is fashioned after a sailing ship hatch.  There's a reason for that.  This hatch closes this floor off from the rest of the house and helps with the noise flowing downstairs.

Arriving on the 3rd floor, this display case exhibits some of the trains collected from Britain and Europe.  Also, a siding and mainline loop of track are on the floor directly in front of you.  Be sure to be listening for locomotive warning whistles and horns.  The wainscot and outside loop of track on the floor runs behind this cabinet creating a tunnel like effect for the trains.

At the top of the stairs, as you turn to look into the room you see a bank of cabinets that once provided display space in a hardware store.  Today, they display F-3 locomotive and passenger train sets from the 1950's.  The drawers?  They are full of spare parts and maintenance of way equipment.

With evidence of the construction crew present and packed ready to leave, we see the largest inside corner bridges in place.  With all curves on this pike at O-72" or larger, this 'S' curve bridge is removable so the owners can get into the attic space to service HVAC units.  We were told that the roadbed was cut out of a sheet of plywood and is over 8' long.  Notice how the hardware store cabinets act as a wainscot for this wall of the room.

Let's take a look at the crown jewel of this fun pike.  This is a custom built helix with 6 1/2 loops of track moving trains from the wainscot level down to the floor and back.  The helix is built with O-72" curves and the loop of track around the outside base of the helix is 120" curve track.  With 3 switches at the top and 4 switches at the bottom, trains can exit or enter the helix from either direction.  Each loop of track has it's own power supply and the helix is powered off of the wainscot level power.  The entire layout is powered by Lionel's PowerMaster and power bricks with one TMCC command base to operater the SC-1's.  The helix is attached to the inside loop on the floor, however trains can move from the inside loop to the outside loop via a set of cross over swithes on the opposite side of the room.  The helix is built around one of three chimmey's in the house.

Taking a look at the top of the helix, we see another custom built bridge that connects the helix to the wainscot level track.  Notice how the train can be diverted to stay on the wainscot or sent to the helix through one of the 2 switches on the mainline.  In the backgound behind the bridge, the location of the power stations and the terminous of all the track wires attached to their own TMCC PowerMaster and 135 watt transformer brick.

Take a look at the switching action on this side of the helix.  The switch lead from the inside loop around the base of the helix, the switch that leads across the 90 degree crossover to feed two spur lines for a yard beside the hatch cover, and the outside loop next to the wall.  Notice the ceiling at the chimmey?  This is the under side of the roof.

Looking across the room, we see another custom built outside corner bridge around the 3rd chimmey.  This laid in wye allows the operator to move trains in the opposite direction on the outside loop to the inside loop.  There's a switch at the top of the wye that feeds a long spur track in front of the hardware store cabinets.  Behind the bridge on the short green wall is one of two banks of SC-1's that operate the switches on this side of the room.

At the base of the hardware store cabinets a view of the spur track, the outside loop and the inside loop of track.  In the middle is the 4 crossover switches allowing trains to move from one loop to the other and setting up the train on the outside loop to move into position to take a climb onto the helix or move from the helix to the outside loop.

Okay, this pictures begs to ask, "What little boy, or grown boy wouldn't want a bedroom like this?"  Be able to go to bed at night running your trains around the room from the comfort and warmth of your bed with a remote control in your hands.  What an opportunity for fun and hours of enjoyment.

This video was made on February 14, 2014 after a vist to the McKillop Lines.

Check out the Helix action.