This is the middle level of the layout. It fills about half the basement, wrapping around the room with the furnace and water heater.

A WYE allows trains arriving via the helix to travel in either direction, ultimately arriving at the 3-track staging yard.

Minimum radius is in the helix at 27 inches. The open area near siding 1 provides access to the workshop to the left and entry to the house on the right via a pocket door. I'm also considering a passing siding between siding 1 and the helix. 

This simple design represents the sparsely populated area west of the Cascade tunnel. No specific towns or locations are modeled - it's more about the feel of the region. If you look closely, you'll see a peddler freight passing the service area with a GP-9 in the lead.

At the helix, trains can move to level 1 from either direction, but can rise to level 3 only from the East. Trains from the West can back into the helix and then rise to level 3. The backing motion into the helix is downward, minimizing stresses and potential derailments.

Track and turnouts in the helix and service area are Peco Code 83. The rest of the track is Central Valley tie and switch with Micro-Engineering weathered rail.CV bridge ties and bridges are used on the mainline, and the bridge on the siding to industry group 2 and 3 is a wood trestle. The overall mainline length is about 62 feet. The service area is also where I test new turnout control designs. 

Layout - Level 2