Turnout/radius opinions

Newbie here. I'm trying to design a layout in HO and am presently limited
to about 5' x 8'. Most of the "small" layouts I've seen seem to rely
heavily on 18" radius curves and #4 turnouts. Yet, I read here and other
sources that #4 and even #6 turnbouts should be avoided. I don't plan on
anything longer than perhaps 60' rolling stock and will probably go diesel
although I haven't narrowed it further. I'd probably go with Atlas code 83
and use 22" radius where possible but 18" seems inevitable in places.
Mostly turnouts more gentle than #4 seem to really limit flexibility. I'd
appreciate any opinions.
Reply to
MikeH
Loading thread data ...
On the size baseboard you're contemplating, sharp curves and turnouts are a neccessity. Small locos and short turnouts allow slightly longer trains. That extra 4" of radius cuts 8" off the longest straight, and gentler turnouts rapidly eat into the remaining length. With proper steam locos you are visually limited to 4-6-0s, 2-8-0s and smaller because anything larger looks wrong with the short trains. Look into curved turnouts as these maximise the length of passing loops.
Reply to
Gregory Procter
Most rolling stock will get around an 18" curve without derailing. I've operated 80' passenger cars, a lot of diesels, and a lot of steamers on 18" curves and they stay on the track. Same goes for the ordinary Snap Track turnout. So you can operate on the minimum radius curves. Down side is the longer equipment has a lot of overhang on curves and looks a little foolish, even if it does run. So most of us try for the broadest curves we can fit onto the layout, just 'cause the trains look better running on broader curves. The down side of broad curves is that they take more space and so you cannot get as much track into the same area. If starting a new layout, see if you can find "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" by John Armstrong. It's a good read and very thought provoking. A really good town library will have a copy. Lessons learned from my first layout. 1. Keep the grades down to 3% if you want the train to climb the grade successfully. Be sure to ease into and out of the grade. 2. Track that runs straight down the edge of the table emphasizes the the table edge and makes the layout look toy like. Better is to put some gentle bends in the track to break up the straight lines. 3. Place re-railers inside any tunnels. 4. Consider doing an "around the wall" layout if your carpentry skills are up to it. 5. A bridge or trestle spanning a river valley gives a wonderful place to show off the train and take photos. 6. Plan to get some thing running as early as possible. The effort of building the layout needs the reward of seeing trains run to keep up the necessary level of enthusiasm to keep the project moving forward.
Reply to
David J. Starr
David Starr replied: *** If starting a new layout, see if you can find "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" by John Armstrong. It's a good read and very thought provoking. A really good town library will have a copy. *** ---------------------------------------------------- I agree with David. I purchased this book over 30 years ago and I've almost worn it out.
"Track Planning for Realistic Operation" by Jon Armstrong:
formatting link
32% off and free shipping on orders over $25.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Railroad Bookstore:
formatting link
's Books and Toy Trains:
formatting link
to 1,000 sites:
formatting link
Reply to
Bill
I am modeling the Great Eastern Trunk layout design from Atlas, but on a 6x9 layout instead of 4x8. I am using a 24,22,18 in radius and #6 turnouts w/Number 7.5 Walthers curved turnouts.
jaijef
Reply to
JaiJEF
If modern is your bag then 22" on the main with 18" on the sidings/spurs should be OK........but 60', ......maybe a max of 50' would be better for 18". And #5 turnouts should be the minimum, #6 for crossovers.
-John
Reply to
Pacific95
G'day Mike,
This is probably not quite what you want to hear, but you can build a very nice N scale layout in 5' x 8', and you probably won't 'out-grow' it quite so soon. 15" radius curves in N scale equate to about 27" radius in HO. My first N scale layout (after switching from HO) was 3' x 7' with 15" radius curves and gentle grades. I later incorporated it into a room-sized layout.
In either case, the John Armstrong book mentioned by others is an excellent investment. (My copy fell apart many years ago.)
Good luck, and have fun.
Regards, Ron McF
Reply to
RonMcF
"MikeH" skrev i meddelandet news:jF6ud.232405$R05.59205@attbi_s53...
Hi Mike, Why don't you go for NARROW gauge instead, Then it's more natural to have small radius and "short" turnouts. I have a "big" layout on a small plate with the same measurment as you have. I use H0m which means 12mm track and ordinary size on houses and people. Take a look at BEMO from Germany there are lots of nice modells that will fit for a small layout. Great engines!
There is also H0e = 9mm tracks.
Sure you will find something for you space.
Pepe in Sweden
Reply to
Pepe
Mike,
Spend a little time and temporarily tack down some track with curves & switches that you are planning on using. Then, roll some trains through this track. If you are OK with how it looks, then go for it... after all, it is YOUR layout and the number person who needs to be pleased with the results is YOU.
I'll tell a story from the other side of the fence... I listened to all of the "experts" talk about turnout size & minimum radius... then built a layout along those lines. I've found that I've been a bit cramped by these guidelines to "conform" to what is supposed to be "best." If I had it to do all over again, I'd have tightened up the radius a bit in favor of more running space.
It has been correctly pointed out here that most HO equipment will physically operate on 18" radius curves and #4 turnouts. If that works for you, then just do it. Again, it is YOUR layout.
dlm
Reply to
Dan Merkel
Can you explain what is meant by this.
Place re-railers inside any tunnels.
As I will be building a layout with tunnels I was ging to make a removeable section but is there something else I can consider.
Kevin
Reply to
kajr
Can you explain what is meant by this. Place re-railers inside any tunnels. As I will be building a layout with tunnels I was ging to make a removeable section but is there something else I can consider. ------------------------------------------------------ Even if there is a removable section, the rerailers will save you a bit of effort if a car or engine does happen to derail for some reason. I use rerailers in any hard to access part of my layout. Where they are visible, I painted them with rail brown paint (the same color I used for the rail and ties). This helps disguise them.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Railroad Bookstore:
formatting link
's Books and Toy Trains:
formatting link
to 1,000 sites:
formatting link
Reply to
Bill
Does anybody make rerailers in curved sections? I'm finding that in a small layout the places where a long straight rerailer section can be inserted are hard to design in.
Alternately, is there a way to modify a curved section as a rerailer?
Reply to
MikeH
Bend a couple of pieces of rail to the curve and then bend in the ends so they almost, but not quite touch. Something like the guard rails on a bridge. Won't always work, but will most of the time.
To get even more reliable, put a couple of similar pieces outside that are higher than the track rail so as to ease the outside wheel over the track rail.
You just built a rerailer :-).
Reply to
Larry Blanchard
If you build any track that is inaccessible then the trains are going to fall off there! (a variation of Murphy's law, I guess) I find that providing space to reach up through the scenery to reach any derailed stock is sufficient to stop all derailments, but as the Atlas rerailer tracks are cheap I fit one just beyond sight inside tunnels. ('belt and braces' approach)
Regards, Greg.P.
Reply to
Gregory Procter
Does anybody make rerailers in curved sections? I'm finding that in a small layout the places where a long straight rerailer section can be inserted are hard to design in. ---------------------------------------------------- Bachmann E-Z track offers an 18" r. curved rerailer. (#44529--steel track, #44429--ns track).
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Railroad Bookstore:
formatting link
's Books and Toy Trains:
formatting link
to 1,000 sites:
formatting link
Reply to
Bill
Yikes! I believe I gave the wrong skus for the Bachmann E-Z track. The nickel silver is #44529 and the steel track is #44429. I think I had the numbers reversed.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Railroad Bookstore:
formatting link
's Books and Toy Trains:
formatting link
to 1,000 sites:
formatting link
Reply to
Bill
Atlas make a code 100 18" one and I'm sure there are other brands such as Lifelike. Peco do road crossing rerailers in their Set-track range which have sockets for barriers and clip on roadway ramps. As for modifying, it is only the beginning ramp, between the rails "V" and outer "V"s that rerail, the rest is dressing up. You need to bring any wheels outside the rails up to rail head height, push those wheels to within half the gauge and then rerail with a between the rails "V". The simplest way to create all those bits is to buy the ready made item, hacksaw out the couple of inches you need, and thread it on to the rails of your different radius set-track or flexitrack.
I didn't mention it previously, but I use code 70/75 track in visible areas and code 100 in hidden areas.
Regards, Greg.P.
Reply to
Gregory Procter
Generally equipment will run on some pretty small radius curves. How it looks doing so is something else. 18" radius curves work for almost everything that isn't huge (the ATSF 2-10-10-2 comes to mind) and that radius is smaller than a #4 turnout's equivalant radius which, from memory, ends up being some 25" radius. The thing that you have to remember when you read the various people discussing using #8 or such turnouts and 36" and up radius curves is that they are looking at really making the layout look "right" for the appearance of it rather than being able to fit some trackage on a small space. I'll note that industrial trackage would need to use radii larger than the 36" that many want just to be prototype. A #8 turnout is used only in the industrial areas and only if really needed.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
Reply to
Bob May
I'd like to thank everybody that responded. You've been very helpful! I was concerned about whether any equipment I was likely to buy would run alright on these small radii. I'm glad to hear I'm OK in that respect. I realize that realism suffers -- by my calculation two 60' cars are going sit at a 20-25 deg angle to each other in the curves. But with the size of the layout I guess it's pretty much unavoidable. I decided against N-scale mainly for vision and manual dexterity reasons. I ain't no brain surgeon!
I want a layout where I can let the trains run continuously if I want. At this point I am less interested in operations as the primary motivator. I'm fascinated with DCC and will probably go with some budget system. I want the interest of multi-levels, tunnels, lines crossing over bridges, etc. I'm going to try getting balloon tracks into the layout so I can reverse traffic. I'm using Atlas freeware to design a layout and I'm able to get most of what I want in there and keep the grades at 3% or less and the visible portions of the mainline at 22" radius.
Thanks again!
Mike
Reply to
MikeH

Site Timeline

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.