Curve Question:

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by MCD4x4, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    You are already at the minimum unless you go with flex track or go with 15 inch and 18 inch. If you do go with 15 inch radius inside and 18 inch radius outside, the biggest locomotives you can run would be F-7s or Gp60's. I think even Dash8-40B's would be too long to work on the 15 inch radius. I hate to say it, but you just can't put a "gallon of water in a quart container."
  2. Spawn of Chaos

    Spawn of Chaos Member

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    Yeah, I was talking about in the CAD program lol

    I saw the pic of the premade one you have. Looks pretty nice. PECO? Or is it that weird Japanese company?
  3. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    Russ, At 47 1/4" wide and 8' long, can I go with the 18's and 22's? I've never built anything HO. How much will I lose with that ramp in the back, switches coming off the curves?

    Spawn of Chaos, It was made by Shinohara, Japan.





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  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    Keep in mind that HO scale track radius is measured from the middle of the track--thus, a circle of 22" track actually needs 48" of space. If your outer loop uses 22" radius track, you'll need more than 48" wide area to fit the ramp on the outside.

    Personally, I'd suggest using 15" radius curves on the inside and 18" on the outside--Atlas also makes switches that match an 18" curve. Traction equipment can generally take a tight curve, although you might want to test your cars on a 15" curve to make sure.

    You might be able to save some space by literally cutting off a bit of the ends of each switch, but remember that even to use the 0-5-0 switcher (aka the finger crane) you'll need some space in between the cars to reach them--it is also prototypical to have some space between cars on yard tracks so crews can walk between trains.

    One possible suggestion would be to eliminate the fourth yard track (it is pretty uselessly short anyhow) and replace it with a switchback going the other way, and having one or two yard tracks in the other direction. I assume that you're storing exclusively subway trains--you will need some kind of setup (either DCC or powered switch blocks) for such a layout.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    You will be 47 1/4 inch wide. That allows 3/8 of an inch from track to the edge on both sides. Unless you put some sort of "catch fence" on the edge of the layout, any time a train derails, it will probably fall to the floor. If it is up against the wall of your room, you won't be able to reach the back of the layout unless it is on rollers so you can move it out. Again if there is no catch fence, when you move the table out, the rolling stock that has derailed to the outside of the layout will fall to the floor. I'm going to guess without doing a measurement that the ramp in back will take up at least 1 1/2 inches. I don't have any track handy to measure, but I think the width of the ties on a piece of ho track is about 1-1 1/4 inches. You will also need to allow enough space on either side of the track for something to catch any derails to keep the rolling stock from falling to the floor. You will need enough space between the track and the 4 x 8 board to allow clearance for any rolling stock coming up the ramp track. I think most cars and locomotives are close to the same width as the length of the ties.
  6. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    Next, would you happen to know what I need to buy? I know there are different turn out track numbers. I've also read hear and there people mentioning codes. Are the switches that will be on curves be special?






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  7. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    The switches are called Atlas Snap-Switches. The switch numbers you often see are the ratio of a switch's length to the width of divergence: a #4 switch has a 4:1 ratio, a $6 has a 6:1, and so on. The Snap-Switch is a little different, it is specifically used to serve in the place of an 18" radius curve.

    Russ raises an excellent point: unless you have arms like an orangutan, you will *not* be able to reach the back half of a 4 foot wide layout table without climbing onto the table itself (not what you want to do.) The other excellent point is that you cannot have the track directly up against the edge of the layout, because the trains themselves are wider than the track. If there is nothing against that edge, they will lean over the edge and any derailment will hit the floor. If they are up against a wall, the trains will bump into the wall and derail.

    A third point to consider is clearance on curves. You will need more like 2.5 inches in between tracks on curves, because the cars don't flex--if you center the tracks as close as you have proposed, trains running on the outer track will bash into trains on the inner track and vice versa, again causing a derailment.

    Track codes: The most common track codes in HO are Code 83 and Code 100--this refers to the height of rails.
  8. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    ...sorry, to continue...The "code" is the height of rail in thousandths of an inch. Code 100 is the most common, easiest to find, and probably the easiest for you to work with, so I'd recommend using it, but Code 83 is getting more common. If you really want to use both there are special rail joiners to connect one to the other. Other than the height of the rails, they work the same.
  9. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    There are sides on the boards sides. Again, this is what I have to work with. if I can get this track plan, I'll deal with what I have to. Can you guys help me with a track/switch list? Am I stuck with the four track yard, or can I get more lay ups?

    I've been dealing with the slot cars coming off in the back for years. Train derailments also. I've become a pro at re-railing the trains in the back with a few gadgets. It kinda sucks but what-a ya gonna do? I'm stuck with the 47 1/4 x 96.
  10. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    Just to give you an idea, here's a few pictures of teh space now. Notice the dust on the tracks. If she doesn't use it for two weeks, you have to clean the whole track. What happens is it ends up not being used. This hasn't be used for about a year now.

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  11. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    The only advice I can give you on the yard is that if you skootch the switch leading to the yard to the right a bit you'll have space to actually park a car on the fourth track. Why do you need so many yard tracks? If you're running subway cars, all the yard tracks do is store cars--you won't be shuffling freight cars, for example. What is the point of this yard? You probably won't be able to fit any more switches--you've already got fairly small and sharp switches, and adding more will need more space than you have. Normally, longer yard tracks are more important to a yard's utility than having more switches.

    Model railroad rail also needs to be cleaned fairly regularly or it will develop the same sort of problems as the slot cars. If maintenance is the main reason for the switch, then it isn't going to make much difference. It looks like you already have a lot of HO scale equipment on that slot-car track. Setting a derailed train back on the track is generally more difficult than setting a slot car back on the track.

    What are you gonna do? Re-think your space! Describe the whole room, and describe what it is you want to do--what is it that you want to model? If this is for your daughter, what does she want to do? There is no law stating that model railroads have to be built on 4x8 foot tables.

    Not sure what it is you're looking for here.
  12. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    As far as having more lay ups, so far I have like seven subway sets. Hopefully, they will keep producing them. the more on the board the meryer.. I also want to go with DCC, so bringing them in and out and running a few at once will not be a problem.

    The room is rather small. Her bed is in there and a big desk I built her to match her bed. Here's a picture of the desk we share. It's large, the only other thing in the room is her bed with the layout above it, also pictured.

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  13. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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    could you and your wife switch bedrooms with your daughter so your daughter gets a bigger room.........................just kidding. Have you thought about going with n gauge for now untill you get more room in the future?
  14. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    Na, the problem with that is the availability of NYC Subways. they do pop up now and then but in the area of 600 for one car. I already have about six sets in HO, including a few in Brass.




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  15. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    Have you considered an around-the-room shelf layout, perhaps at 48" off the ground? This would give you the option of a long mainline run, more varied scenes, room for a serious yard, and easy access to every inch of the layout. It means a bit of creative planning, including a swing-out or lift-out section at the door entering the room, but could be more what you're looking for, and solve a lot of problems in terms of ease of access, use, and space.
  16. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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    good thought jetrock.........
  17. jetrock

    jetrock Member

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    Here's an example of a 1-foot deep shelf layout that goes around an 8x10 bedroom. At 48" high, it's low enough to be easily accessible by adults and adolescents, but high enough that other furniture such as beds, desks, short bookcases and dressers can easily fit underneath it. It is also low enough that a higher 5-6 foot shelf can be built above it for more storage. You can use commercial lightweight shelving systems that screw to a wall, or use furniture of a common height and set layout tables on top. On the right is a lift-out gate to allow access to the room through the door. The best part about this particular room size is that you can take that 4x8 sheet of plywood, rip it into four 1x8 foot sheets, and build this with no other carpentry needed (other than the lift-out gate.) It uses the same amount of lumber real estate but you trade a 16-18 foot mainline run for a 36 foot mainline run, more room for yards and stations and scenery etcetera. It also limits the "toy-train effect" of watching trains chase their own tails, since you can't see the whole layout at once. Hopefully my quick MS Paint track plan makes some sense...

    Attached Files:

  18. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    If you notice the poles on the bed and the height of the desk with the monitors, there's no way I can pull off a shelf layout. She has her heart set on a subway type layout with an elevated section complete with stations. possibly the NJT metro park station on the lower level somewhere. This spot is the only thing I have to work with. If I have the ramp coming off two curve switches it should be possible huh? You guys giving up on me?
  19. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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    can you get pictures that show more of the room. and no not going to give up lol
  20. MCD4x4

    MCD4x4 Member

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    Here ya go guys. The ceiling is seven foot, both doors are 6' 10". Even a high shelf is out.

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