Kato Unitrack and Micro-trains couplers


Mar 5, 2007
New York

I would like to build the N scale Great Northern Railway layout, plan #13 featured in Model Railroader's recent 102 Realistic trackplans issue. The plan states that the minimum radius curve is 9 3/4". I would like to use Kato's Unitrack, but it comes 15 dgree radius and 45 degree radius, but I dont know which one to use to fit a 1'-9" wide board.

I also have a German Roco V188 diesel that I would like to convert to Micro-trains couplers. How what couplers would go with this engine and how easy are they to convert. Thanks so much for the help!



Apr 28, 2008
Madison WI
If this layout is going to stay together for a long time, go normal sectional. E-Z-Track, Uni-Track, Snap-Track, and others of this style are excpensive. I only use those tracks for my test loop, becouse they don't wiggle away from eachother. I think you should use standard sectional. it is much cheaper, still easy to connect to power, and you have a better selection on radii.

If you are using Micro-Trains cars and conventional sectional track, you can go even more realistic & use Code 55 track(code is refering to how tall the rail is, in fractions of inches). Code 55 is almost exctly to scale. a problem with Code 55 track is that some engines & rolling stock have deep flanges that touch the ties even though they are on properly. The newer Micro Trains cars have low-profile flanges, making them run great on Code 55 track.

Hope I helped



Nov 1, 2008
Nashville TN
I'd suggest you make up a 21" wide X the length of your paper drawing & go from there. Diameters go to the centerline of your Unitrak. Take at least 2" off the edge to keep track away from the edge of the world. The 9 3/4" Radius curve becomes 19 1/2" Diameter that will just barely fit.

The 45 degree CURVE means you will need 2 to make a corner, 4 to make an end, then 8 to make an oval/circle. The 15 degree curve gets your mainline away from the layout edge. It may also be needed to make it easier for equipment to negotiate the sharp curves.

I'd like to see you make your table at least 24" or wider to make the plans practical. If you have the space, 30-36 would be better. In fact, it would be required if you want to run any modern or passenger equipment. 21" is too narrow.

You can use Excel or another spreadsheet where the cells can be made square, then use the squares to represent the curves on the layout.


Active Member
Aug 24, 2005
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
"Degree radius" is an erroneous term. Degrees refer to how much of a 360-degree circle the piece is; radius to how large of a circle you can make.

(Let's stick to model terminology here; prototype terms would be confusing.)