It seemed that a simple 36" span that could drop down out of the way was a good way to go. I had some old door and old window hardware on hand, not to mention ample 1" x 3" framing from the discarded helix. Design, construction and installation went very well and all necessary parts were indeed available. I quite possibly had the single finest model railroad gate ever known to man.
The span is locked into these two sash locks from some old windows that were replaced. I saved the hardware for the slim possibility of some unbeknownst future use. Bingo, baby!
The heavy duty brass hinges are from old solid wood doors... the ones that they just don't make anymore. Ideally the hinges should be set flush by routing or chiseling out 3/16" giving them added strength, but the gate won't take the repetitive perpendicular force that a 'cantilevered' heavy door would, so why knock myself out, right?
The sash locks are shown here... one in the locked position and one in the open position. When fully secured, the gate is as rigid as the fixed bench work, even though there are gaps at each end for expansion/contraction.
And now, drumroll please... Presenting the finest model railroad entry gate (that does not clear the floor.) No 'splainin' this. How could I have possibly screwed this up so royally?
Somehow I had neglected to carefully measure the vertical clearance versus the length of the span, including the 1" x 3" stop extension with its hardware. I had previously known that a gate would not be an issue when my bench work was at its original height. But I did not fully consider the impact of the 7" loss when the ill-fated upper-deck was installed and this deck was lowered.
I've walked away for a day or two to gather myself. There are a couple of ideas I have to possibly salvage this. We'll see how that works out. Meanwhile, I have to get the phone. I suspect a village is calling. To be continued...
BONUS: RHETORICAL QUESTION OF THE DAY...
Boy oh boy... model railroading can really be fun sometimes, can't it?