Train IN the Tree

Trent Nunnelee Nov 10, 2019

  1. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    I have always been fascinated with Christmas tree trains and always wanted to put on IN the tree. I saw Bill Hennings Christmas tree. I thought about it for years, last year I started to build my dream and I could use your help. Please throw me any suggestions you may have? I will post pictures below of my progress. My biggest question at the moment is what engine would be the best for the Kato 8.5 radius track?
     
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  2. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    I decided the secret to anything being built is a strong backbone which on a tree is the trunk. I built a center 6ft tall Helix (I later cut it down to 5ft when I realized my ceilings were too low. I am using Kato 8.5 radius track. My train can make it but quite often the front axle will be off the track by the time it makes it to the top. Any recommendation on engine I should get?
     

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  3. Mo-Pac

    Mo-Pac TrainBoard Member

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    Thats a serious Helix!(y)
     
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  4. Mo-Pac

    Mo-Pac TrainBoard Member

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    I would say any double axle locomotive. With extended body mount coupler.
     
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  5. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    a switcher would be best
     
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  6. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    I was wondering about a switcher, I will give it a shot. Since I am using Kato track, would a Kato switcher be best?
     
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  7. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    I currently have the tree broken down to paint, this was the last pic I took of it before breaking it down. I have tested it in 3 sections. 1. being the Helix, 2. being the downward spiral, 3. being the ground run back to the Helix to start all over again. I have trimmed it up a little more too. I will post pics of it back together with COLOR!!!!
     

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  8. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    Tonight I added all of the Kato 20-170 (8.5 R) back to the Helix and I did a test run. Guys I don't know my engines very well but its a 6 axle engine (all that I have.) It MADE IT to the top!!!! I will admit early in the helix I noticed the first axle had jumped the track. I was worried this may be a problem early on so in my plans I installed a "re-railer" at the start and end of the Helix. It worked as well so as it made its victory lap at the top (before the downhill run) it was back on all 6 axles. Bremner I have ordered a Kato switcher engine tonight! Thank you for the advice! So here is the engine at the top of the 5ft Helix!
     

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  9. Mo-Pac

    Mo-Pac TrainBoard Member

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    I am really liking the outcome of this Tree! Very different and awesome looking!
     
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  10. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Neat idea for a "tree"! So, if you fill the inside withe lighting and run the trains, it should make for some neat effects! And maybe even a little short pine tree at the top?
     
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  11. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Mo-Pac!

    badlandnp, This is just the center, LOL. I am definitely thinking about what all I can do with the center, original plans were to run all my wires in the center to keep them hidden. See I still have to add all the limb structure AND the limbs. Last year I went to an after-Christmas sale and bought me a new tree, that will become my parts tree for making custom pine limbs and if you see in one of the pics above, we will make little villages for the train to pass on its way down.
    I am hoping you can vision it... my wife can't, lol. My kids are trying. Hoping tonight to add the "wings?" not sure what to call them but the parts that will give the tree its shape, they are 4 large triangular shaped (very jagged to keep a tree look) pieces. Although they give the tree its shape, their actual function will be to support the track as its going down.
     
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  12. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Now I have a idea what the bigger picture is, and that is really cool!
     
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  13. sams

    sams TrainBoard Member

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    Wow !! I’m looking forward to the end result on this one !! That is one hell of a climb!!!
     
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  14. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

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    So when the train gets to the top it reverses back down? I don't see any return line. I like the idea. Bachmann once made a "Chrismas tree" train that was a single loop of track that you mounted to the pole/trunk of a tree and it became a moving ornament on the tree running thru the branches.
     
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  15. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    MRLdave, I am still working on it. What you are seeing is JUST THE TRUNK of the tree. It will have limbs that it runs down the tree. I am currently painting those parts. I have yet to put the tree 100% together, but I will definitely share as I go along. Here is an example of where I am today. Still don't have the path down the tree (those are the parts I am painting now. The green structures will hold the track path. I don't like sharing this, seems like it causes more questions than answers, but I am assuming you can use your imagination. The shelves work double duty, they will hold little ceramic houses AND the pieces sticking out from them will hold the track downpath!
     

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  16. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, those pics fill in the gaps for me. Very cool!
     
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  17. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    I hate how they keep turning sideways, on my computer they are correct, but when I post them they are sidways. Sorry about that.
     
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  18. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    No worries here although I did drop my monitor as I was trying to view it in the correct orientation:D
     
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  19. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    When I first read this, my thought was, somebody kee[ the fire department on speed dial. Now I see its a fake tree. I'm too much a traditionalist to accept that.
     
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  20. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    Bill, my wife probably should still keep the fire department on speed dial, lol! I have worked for years trying to figure out a way to put a train in a real tree and besides the one that just circles the middle of the tree, there just is no way. I was going to give up and be safe, but forget that! No guts no glory, so I decided to try it, would rather fail and know it than not know if I ever could have done this. I hope you will come along with me on this journey!
     

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