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  1. #1
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    Minimum radius for Kato SD-70MAC

    I have been looking at the Kato SD-70MAC and was wondering what the minimum radius it would run well on. Have not decided on N scale yet, but looking at my options. I would be running Kato Unitrack and #6 power routing turnouts. Most likely 13-3/4 radius curves, but possibility of a 12-3/8 inner loop.

    thanks,
    eric

  2. #2
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    i assume this will work for the loco. but because of the overhang you might encounter lots of derailments of the first car. i'm sure others with more experience with sd70 and tight curves will chime in.
    have fun
    sandro


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  3. #3
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    The AC4400 comes with a set of long shank couplers you can install. I would expect this to, as well. I'll think it will make it, might not look great. You might end up restricting it to the outer loop.

    Jeff

  4. #4
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    You can choose to make the same mistake many of us have made with tight, unsightly radius curves.

    Instead of looking at a minimum radius that a piece of equipment will negotiate, try looking at your layout with an eye on the widest curves. Most N scale is made to negotiate a 11" radius curves...but...they don't like it or look pretty and frequently derail. Adding longer couplers will work against you as they don't look realistic. In time you will get sick and tired of those tight radius curves and you'll find yourself wishing you had listened to well founded advice. The same would apply to HO. It's all about...what do you want? Toy like...9 or 11 inch radius curves or a Model Railroad with realistic rail curves.

    Hey, are you preparing some sort of college psychology paper and you're polling us for ideas. Perhaps, "Why big boys still play with toy trains". Or is this a study in economics? I know you are writing an article for one of the Model Railroad wig wags (magazines)...right? Grin! This just flashed through my suspicious brain.

    Keeping bringing your questions here.
    RickH

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  5. #5
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    While we're on this topic, I'm toying with layout design with the atlas RTS software, using C55 track, and I've been trying to aim for a minimum of 16.25" radius fixed curves (or the flexi-track equivalent) for the main line, and maybe a bit tighter on the switches. I'd like to run some decent length trains with up to 2-4 engine lash-ups of 6-axle diesels. Will this work (well more than just work, I want the trains to look semi-realistic on the curves) or should I try to make them bigger?

  6. #6
    Been a while since I said anything on this board… I took a small hiatus from N Scale for about a year and a half after we moved in to a new home, and focused on a larger O Scale Layout (which is in a stop work status do to the fact we want to move to a more convenient location for my wife).

    So now, I am planning on my next larger layout to be in N, with a around the ceiling O layout. When the new permanent layout is built my minimum will be 15” (using Unitrack that I am starting to acquire for down the road).

    Well, this year my wife said she does not want the train around the tree (always done with the O equipment), but she still wanted a Christmas Train display… Well my wheels started turning on places to put it! O would be too large for anywhere except under the tree, so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to do something in N. I immediately spotted out the built in cabinets in our family room that would work, and my wife agreed.

    On to the question… Due to space limitations, I could only make the layout 28” wide, limiting the max curve for Unitrack to the 12 3/8”. I wanted a double main, so the inner would have to be 11”. I have #6’s off of the main, and 1 #4 in one of the spurs, plus the crossover connecting the two mains together. I have a shot of the layout under construction attached.





    In my inventory are some Kato SD80’s, Kato SD70’s, and Atlas SD50’s that all run on the 11” fine. I would prefer them to be on a wider radius for esthetics, but I just can’t right now. I have been running them on this layout now for a few weeks once the track was down, and have not had one derailment. This is also running them with some Atlas Auto Racks, Kato Double Stacks, etc. On Unitrack, you should be fine with those curves.

    Hope this helps…

    Jeff
    Last edited by jpohl; November 28th, 2007 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Add Picture Correctly

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    While we're on this topic, I'm toying with layout design with the atlas RTS software, using C55 track, and I've been trying to aim for a minimum of 16.25" radius fixed curves (or the flexi-track equivalent) for the main line, and maybe a bit tighter on the switches. I'd like to run some decent length trains with up to 2-4 engine lash-ups of 6-axle diesels. Will this work (well more than just work, I want the trains to look semi-realistic on the curves) or should I try to make them bigger?
    I think you'll be fine. The best thing you can do is use easements going into the curves. You are better off to use slightly sharper curves with easments than the wideset curve that will fit.

    Jeff

  8. #8
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    Wink Radius Curves

    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    While we're on this topic, I'm toying with layout design with the atlas RTS software, using C55 track, and I've been trying to aim for a minimum of 16.25" radius fixed curves (or the flexi-track equivalent) for the main line, and maybe a bit tighter on the switches. I'd like to run some decent length trains with up to 2-4 engine lash-ups of 6-axle diesels. Will this work (well more than just work, I want the trains to look semi-realistic on the curves) or should I try to make them bigger?
    Hi David,

    The 16.25" radius curve will work nicely. I use a 18" radius minimum, on the main line and a 15' radius minimum, in my yards.

    I was just looking at Jeff's 28" wide layout and I feel for anyone who has those kind of restraints. I've built layouts in both HO and N scale on narrow doors and the likes. It just isn't practicle to expect large six axle diesels to ply the rails or full length passenger cars, and look realistic. The one trick I used, was to cover the curves Ie., A tunnel through the mountain. It worked until I wanted to see my trains arcing around the curve.

    The thing is you can have all kinds of fun with narrow layouts and you can run 4 axle diesels with short 40 foot cars and look realistic. If I may point to the Los Angeles, PE railroads of yesterday as examples of what you can do. Any take off from that perspective would be appropriate.

    There are ways to widen the curves even on Jeff's layout and judging from the room around the layout he could probably do that.

    It's all about fun and you don't want to miss out just because you don't have the room.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by BarstowRick; November 28th, 2007 at 07:28 PM.
    RickH

    If you look long enough, you are bound to find a prototype for what you desire to model on your layout.
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  9. #9
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    I'll echo the pervious comments about widest curves possible. 15" is my min, and there's only about 3 feet of that on my helix. The rest is 16" or better, and min of 18" on the mainline. Not all of us have that sort of space, but the wider the curves, the better! I had a 28" rad. curve on a layout 7 years ago, it was so graceful and worked beautifully.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlbos83 View Post
    I think you'll be fine. The best thing you can do is use easements going into the curves. You are better off to use slightly sharper curves with easments than the wideset curve that will fit.

    Jeff
    I'll second jlbos83's recommendation - the major problem with big locos is the overhanging couplers knocking the trailing cars off the rails - easements can often largely mitigate that issue.

    Easements look a whole heck of a lot better too.

    Additional point #1: my Kato C44-9W's with stock Kato couplers (which are stiffer in side to side swing) can knock certain cars off the rails entering my non-easemented 12.75" radius curve that is hidden inside a tunnel. Replacing the stock short shank Kato coupler with Micro-Trains short shank 2004s can solve that in some cases, as long as the following car also has MTs - because the MT's are much free-er in side-to-side swing.
    John Sing
    Sarasota, Florida

    Modeling the Santa Fe's 'Peavine Line' from Ash Fork AZ to Phoenix AZ in the 50's/60's
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