Stupid question about track clearances

I'm putting together a test / programming track. I want to use this also
for checking coupler settings and general testing of kits when I build
The board is 1600 mm by 200 mm. I know I can get 2 tracks side by side,
but can I get 3 tracks? I'm using Peco code 83 track and No 6 turnouts.
I'd like to incorporate a crossover (relatively easy to do) but also a
single short siding (spur I believe it's called in America). The
crossover would be a 'trailing' point and the entrance to the siding
would be reached by backing over the crossing and then pulling forward
to the siding.
Anyone got any suggestions as to the type of industry that would use
such a siding? Am I correct that most railroad use right hand running
where there are twin tracks if at all possible (I know there's always
I'd like to use this test track to make sure that my modelling
techniques are up to standard and I thought I could also use it for fun
when it's too cold (or too hot) to go into the loft where my main layout
is being built. It could also be incorporated into my main layout at a
later date.
Your help will be appreciated.
Reply to
Mike Hughes
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Just. Track centres on straight track in HO, figure at 50mm (2"), so for 3 tracks = 150mm. Now add one complete track width including ties (think about it you'll see why), about 35mm which total 185 mm. This will only leave you 7 mm or so from edge of board until edge of ties (sleepers), but if you can live with that, hey, go for it. The clearance to a building on the edge of the baseboard might be questionable too. Best to check it with an NRMA clearance guage.
Steve Newcastle NSW Aust
Reply to
Steve Magee
In message , Steve Magee writes
I understand why I need the extra track width but surely your original figure is wrong as you have measured 3 track widths. The figure must be for 2 track widths (plus one) since you are measuring centre to centre and your starting point is one of them - if you see what I mean.
Or am I totally wrong?
Reply to
Mike Hughes
In the U.S., the spacing usually used is 2", so with your about 8" wide board you could squeeze on 4 parallel tracks. Straight tracks can actually be placed closer together, as it is the curves on a RR that cause the overhang of the ends and centers of the equipment which need the greater clearances. However, you are including turnouts the diverging route of which is a curve making overhang, and you probably want more clearance for using your 0-5-0 switcher (i.e. fingers) to place or re-rail rolling stock, so you may want more than 2" spacing.
I note you are in the U.K., so you may be using OO/HO equipment - models in 4mm scale running on HO track. This could also lead to needing track centers more than the usual 2" for HO. Take a look at the NMRA standards for track centers at:
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You've got enough space on your board for a switching track layout such as the famous "Timesaver" by noted model railroader John Allen. Do a Google search on "timesaver John Allen" and you'll find several good sites including:
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'll also find many good ideas for a small layouts, including the Timesaver, at Carl Arendt's site at:
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Have fun, Geezer
Reply to
In message , Geezer writes
This is definitely for HO American outline stock
Thanks for that reference
What a great idea. Seems that original simple test track can become more fun. Thanks
Reply to
Mike Hughes
No, you are totally right. I was checking the other maths and forgot the first and most important one. My bad. :-(
Steve (Maths Are Not My Strong Point) Magee
Reply to
Steve Magee

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