To maintain the rail height for both levels, I built two swinging bars.


The 1×2 beam (the swinging bar) shown supporting the upper level maintains the rail height when either level is at the bar height.  To move the levels, these beams are hinged out of the way.  Procedure:  First, the elevator is raised about 3/4″.  Then the two hinged bars are swung to clear for the vertical movement of the elevator…


…the picture above shows the right bar being swung…


…until cleared.  They are held in this position with a sliding bolt at the hinge end.  The elevator is is either raised or lowered to about 3/4″ above layout, and the bars swung back into the deployed position.  Then the elevator is lowered the 3/4″ or so until the level sits on the bars.  It is important to ensure that the jack is completely lowered so that the level is sitting on the bars, not still on the jack – inaccurate rail heights will result.


Here we see the two bars in the cleared position and the elevator being raised.  Also seen are the ball bearing drawer sliders for the vertical motion at each corner.  These are simply screwed into the levels assembly uprights and the chassis uprights.

I shaped the end of the jack screw to accept a 24mm hex socket and I use a 1/2″ speed driver for cranking.  It doesn’t take too long to change levels and it is only done a couple of times during an operating session.  Hey, railroading is hard work.