Even though Jim Providenza’s Santa Cruz Northern model railroad is a double deck layout, spacing is not a problem at all. The design for a double deck layout has a number of different factors that must be considered that are unique from a single deck layout. For example, you have to deal with more people in the same area during operation because of operating at two different levels. This is one such consideration when designing a double decker.
The layout heights is another consideration, the geometry of the relationship between the upper and lower levels and the sight the operators are able to have on both levels. In the area Jim shows of the Santa Cruz Northern, the upper level is only about eleven inches railhead to railhead from the lower level.
The facia is only about a hand span or about eight inches when checked with a tape measure. The important thing is how far back he can see into the scene. The depth of this particular scene on the lower level is about ten inches. The depth of the upper level is only about five inches because it has been recessed. This means his view height is about 68 inches, which means the angle he can see to the backdrop of the lower level is more than sufficient for operating. Jim goes on to demonstrate his view from another scene on the railroad. For more tips for planning your layout or pros and cons of a Double Deck layout, visit the Model Railroad Academy website.