# N scale radius versus HO

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by joefryfry, Jul 11, 2008.

1. ### joefryfryjoefryfry

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I run 6 axle deisels around about 20-22 inch radius pretty well in HO. I was considering switching to N scale and was wondering what that minimum radius would be in N scale. I know it depends on the engine, but in general, what would a minimum radius for 6 axle diesels be in N? Thanks.
2. ### Biased turkeyActive Member

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joefryfry, as a rule of thumb you divide by 2 to get the equivalent N scale radius. So in your case 6 axles diesel should run without any problem on a 11" radius.
Unfortunately I can't even afford a 6 axles engine because my layout is only 25" by 36", so a 6 axles engine would look ... toyish.

I once asked if an N scale SD40 would run OK on a 9 3/4 " N scale radius and the reply was affirmative.

Jacques
3. ### jessoMember

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Joefryfry, My Kato AC4000's and SD70Mac's will run on 9 3/4 track, however, as long as they are, you might not like how much track is visibile in the middle of the engine. Also, I have to use the long couplers that come with the engines to be able to pull things around the track without fear of the car behind derailing. If that car is weighted properly it is not a problem, but light cars can and have been pulled off the tracks.
4. ### TriplexActive Member

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That rule's going to come back and hit you. N is about 5/9 of HO. 12" would be about equivalent to your HO radii.
5. ### 60103Pooh Bah

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The rule really fails when you move from Lionel to N -- lots of (old) Lionel ran on a 13.5" radius (I suspect it as actually 12) and if you divide that by 4 ...
6. ### brakieActive Member

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Serious N Scalers uses the largest curve possible.I perfer nothing less then 11" ..I will use 9 3/4" radius IF that is the largest I can use.
7. ### MCL_RDGMember

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Being the brilliant designer...

...that I am, and a downright humble fellow too, I try to keep any tight radii to the rear of the layout and the more gentle ones out front. It's gotta go somewhere so if I squeeze all the tracks towards the rear where ain't no matter- then there's space out front so it doesn't look too pretzel bent. But heck, I am re-organizing a cityscape type layout and 9-3/4" radius with n-scale and a few concrete canyons- perfect.

Mark (just being humble and all- as I scuffle my shoes in the dirt)
8. ### Mountain ManActive Member

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Serious modelers in any scale follow the prototypical standards and practices of the period they model. Mountain railroads typically had tight curves to conform to the terrain and keep costs down; thus, serious N-scalers modeling these types of railroads have no choice but to follow suit.
9. ### brakieActive Member

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Even at that our curves are still to sharp in most cases as our switches and needless to say most modeled grades are unrealistically steep.However,those are among several "evils" we must contend with in our miniature world unless of course one has a old airport hanger for his layout "room"...
10. ### riverotterMidwest Alliance Rail Sys

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Mountain Man, you pushed one of my "rant" buttons with this comment. I'll try to restrain myself here. The implication of your statement is that anyone who doesn't "follow the prototypical standards and practices of the period they model" is not a serious modeler. Please allow me to demur. If you had only included one more word -- "try" or "attempt" would have been good choices -- I could have let this go by. This is a hobby. Absolutes are anathema to the concept of an avocation or pastime or hobby. If you, personally, want to define happiness for yourself in the pursuit of your hobby as "following the prototypical standards and practices of the period you model", wonderful, have at it. I, however, object to anyone trying to dictate to anyone else how they "should" pursue their enjoyment of their hobby. I don't mean to give offense with these comments. My therapist and I are working assiduously on this issue.

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See my sig.
12. ### Mountain ManActive Member

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Actually, if a modeler is following "prototypical standards", his grades and curves mirror those used in real life. In mountain railroading, these were often severe, something that modelers of modern railways tend to forget. It would be flatly impossible for the modern locomotives and rolling tock of today to perform over the grades and curves of yesteryear.
13. ### nolatronMember

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I aim to use nothing less that 16". My layout has a minimum radius of 19" on the main, 16" in the helix.
14. ### nolatronMember

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Why would modern era railroader be worried about grades and curves of "yesteryear" when they are modeling modern railways?
15. ### MasonJarIt's not rocket surgery

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The Credit Valley Railway that ran from Toronto up to Orangeville was initially built as a narrow gauge road to save costs. The report of one of the first trips included a note that it was a rather twisty line, with "tight" curves on the order of 800' radius. That's close to 10 feet in HO scale. I would hazard a guess that even the most serious modellers of this line as built would be hard pressed to use 10' radii in their rendition of the road.

Andrew
16. ### Mountain ManActive Member

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Don't hold back on my account; I prefer honesty; however, kindly direct your "righteous indignation" at the source of the "serious modelers" comment.

As for my "dictating" to you as to how you should enjoy our hobby - horse puckey. Double book your therapist - you've got issues.
17. ### Mountain ManActive Member

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They wouldn't and they don't, which was precisely the point. Those gentle grades and broad, sweeping curves are the current standards of modern railroading, but it hasn't always been so and for those of us who model the past, it still isn't.
18. ### N Gauger1:20.3 Train Addict

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Originally Posted by Mountain Man
Serious modelers in any scale follow the prototypical standards and practices of the period they model.
===================================

I'm Sorry "Otter" don't take this wrong, but, MountainMan is only stating the truth here... read his statement with a documentary feel...

Serious modelers in any scale follow the prototypical standards and practices of the period they model.

All that says is that there are different grades (no pun intended) of modelers. I've stood beside a person shopping at a train show commenting that so&so engine is a bad model to buy, because the windows were cast the wrong size. I've seen, on another forum, people outright complaining about "fans" on the tops of diesels...

I have also actually been involved in Re-Drawiing a track plan... because "Town a" was too close to "Town B" - In Relation to "Town C" how was I supposed to know these guys didn't want the 3 towns (out of 7) evenly spaced..

So you see??? There are all types of people who prefer to model. The Serious ones, go all out, wouldn't DARE obtain a piece of rolling stock that was more than 5 years out of their era, wouldn't even take a free boxcar if it never ran on "Their railway"

And I'd buy them dinner, just to see their face, when they came to my house to see my "railroad display" my Climax engine makes 6 turns at perfect 90 deg angles... within 2 engine lengths.. nowhere near prototypical, but it's what I want, it makes ME happy..

More serious modelers, may be serious about their scenery or electronics, DCC, rolling stock, or track plans.... but a serious modeler of the top echelon.. is serious about all of it... ------ all the standards (Tunnel clearances?? Oh Geeze!!! ) wall1wall1wall1wall1

But if it makes them (and you and MountainMan) happy, you both have my full support and help if you need it..

I've modeled in N, HO,Z and now 1:20.3 "F" Gauges...... Take it like it reads - it's just a statement - that happens to be "too' accurate.. In my opinion, anyone who takes this hobby "that" seriously, better be having fun (and I support that!) otherwise, it's an obsession, not a hobby. And that is from my experience, not speculation.
19. ### brakieActive Member

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Well again IF he has a old airport hanger for a layout room.After all prototype curves was laid out as large as possible even on the mountainous division.I fully believe a sweeping 72" curve may be a little tight for main lines in some applications.

Indeed it is hard to follow prototype practices if one pursues the "old school layout design techniques" since many things has changed over the years to include widening curves for today's long wheel base engines and cars,cutting back hillsides,"daylighting" tunnels,lowering tunnel floors,smoothing grades(if possible) and so on..Now throw in the mega mergers that has made some mountainous routes obsolete one can see the railroads is a far cry from those of "yesteryear"...Heck even the jointed rail is long gone replace by heavier welded rail.And then there is the rationalization of the railroad plant which is a very deep subject that requires its own topic and understanding.

Way to many "expert" modelers fail to understand "All things railroad" and make major mistakes in many areas from basic train handling skills to switching and the rules they break would earn them a 30 day vacation or a pink slip while following "prototypical operation standards".
Perhaps its past time we get back to basics and FULLY UNDERSTAND what we are trying to model and then just maybe more will understand the term "All things railroad".
20. ### sumpter250multiscale modelbuilder

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Just as a matter of interest......or not.
A "sweeping 72" radius curve, in HO, is a 10.5 degree curve in "prototype".
A "not so sweeping 16.6" radius curve, in HO, is a 45 degree curve in "prototype".
The Uintah Railway, 3' gauge, in Baxter Pass, had a 66 degree curve.

*Degree of curve is the angle formed by two lines, originating at the center of the curve, each touching one end of a 100' chord, at the circumference of the curve.

Oh,......a 10.5 degree curve has a radius of 522', which is 7.8 times the length of an SD60......."A little tight for main lines in some applications". :mrgreen:, and a 39.15" radius curve in N scale.

A 6 degree curve has a radius of 956.02294' (131.86522" in HO). You can figure radius for any degree of curve, by dividing 50' by the tangent of half the degree of curve.............:mrgreen::mrgreen: it helps to have trigonometric tables to find the tangent value. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Selective compression.....we may not try to, but we end up using it far more than we think. Did someone say "Aircraft hangar"???