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.
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MikeH wrote:

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.
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MikeH wrote:

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.
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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:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
32% off and free shipping on orders over $25.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Children's Books and Toy Trains: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore-4 Resources--Links to 1,000 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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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
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Kevin wrote: 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: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Children's Books and Toy Trains: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore-4 Resources--Links to 1,000 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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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?

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says...

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 :-).
--
Homo sapiens is a goal, not a description

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MikeH wrote: 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: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Children's Books and Toy Trains: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore-4 Resources--Links to 1,000 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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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: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Children's Books and Toy Trains: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore-4 Resources--Links to 1,000 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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MikeH wrote:

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.
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snipped-for-privacy@mwfree.net wrote:

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.
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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
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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
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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
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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! <http://www.bemo-modellbahn.de/produktewuertt/Lokomotiven/lokomotiven.htm <http://www.bemo-modellbahn.de/ There is also H0e = 9mm tracks.
Sure you will find something for you space.
Pepe in Sweden
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Or go standard gauge but early era. Up to about 1910, most standard gauge equipment was pretty small.
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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

83
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limited
other
on
diesel
I'd
I disagree with above because it the sharp #4 that limits what can be run. An extra 50mm per turnout is only going to shorten train lengths by about 1 carriage on small layouts. The larger the radius, the more equipment will work without trouble. Use #6 or larger and you will have minimal problems pushing or pulling trains. Go smaller and reliability decreases considerably. If you have space for the table top size layout, then you have space to build a round the wall layout, (You should have space for a 12'x 9' around walls in your example) then you get enough space to have large curves 3' and reliable running. Odds are you will make mistakes on your first layout, and will build a second one to apply what you have learnt. By using large radius turnouts for your first layout, you can recycle them for your future layouts, knowing thy will not place restrictions on what can be run.
--
Terry Flynn


http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html
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Terry Flynn wrote:

Err Terry, you're mixing US and UK concepts!
US turnouts don't have a radius throughout, just an initial bend before a straight through the frog. Some/most European turnouts from the last century have a constant(ish) radius through the entire curved leg of the turnout, hence Peco and the like refering to turnouts having a specific radius.to cause derailments A constant radius is less likely to cause derailments than is a sudden change of angle. The partial leveller is in a short cross-over, where the opposing angular pull between two items of rolling stock is much the same whether US or European turnouts are used.
Regards, Greg.P.
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