Minimum turn radius

luke1049 Dec 4, 2007

  1. luke1049

    luke1049 New Member

    Hello All,

    I am investigationg buying my first model train and being space limited I am naturally looking to Z scale. Can anyone tell me the minimum amount of shelf depth I need to turn a Z-scale train around in? (e.g. the minimum radius circle a track could be laid for Z-scale)

  2. shamoo737

    shamoo737 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Hi Luke, welcome to Trainboard. The smallest sectional track is 145mm, but I dont know what is the radius. Its pretty tight. It will limit the engine and cars you can run on it, but z scale is a great choice if you have little space. It would help if we knew what are dimensions of your plan layout. It may not require the smallest radi. For most NA engines it is suggested a minimum radius of 9'', but its better to have a radius of 11''. I run on a radius of 9'' with no problems.
  3. ulie

    ulie TrainBoard Member

    those are the Maerklin sectional curves:

    145mm or 5.7" 290mm or 11.4"
    195mm or 7.6" 390mm or 15.35"
    220mm or 8.6" 440mm or 17.3"

    those values are in the middle of the track. For the full size you have to add about 16mm for a circle. This means that th minimum shelf depth is about 306mm or 12.04" plus the space for scenery outside of the track.

    The 490mm or 19.29" curve is to come back to parralel from a turn out.

    With flextrack you can create smaller radii, but then you soon will come to the point where only some of the rolling stock can run.
  4. RSmidt

    RSmidt TrainBoard Member

    Welcome Luke,

    As John said the typical radius to get the majority of Z scale equipment to run reliably is 9" (195mm). Even better for running is 10" (220mm). Both MTL and Marklin make these sizes in sectional track. MTL's track is easier to use if you are new to model railroading. Marklin also has a smaller size radius, the 145mm that John mentioned, but much of what is available won't run well on this (around 7").

    You can also get other sizes by using flextrack, but if you are new to model railroading, you might not want to try this route without help.

    What kind of trains and what era are you thinking about running?

    I see Uwe just beat me to the definitive answer. (I couldn't find my calculator).

  5. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Supporter

    Hi Luke. Randy asks the right questions: what kind of trains do you plan to run? Shorter freight or longer passenger? Then, U.S. or European? With U.S. Freight (40' & 50', you can run on the 195 and 220mm radius track made by Marklin or Micro-Trains. Marklin is just track, either tack it down directly to the board or place it on some "roadbed" like Itty-bitty Lines cork or cut your own from sheet cork or split in half N scale cork from Midwest Products. Micro-Trains Line (MTL) track has simulated roadbed built under it so you are ready to go in both radii. They also have manual and electric remote turnouts. Any track plan that you see for Marklin can be made literaly piece for piece using the MTL track, except for curved turnouts, crossovers and crosses. MTL has some example layouts on their website Planning Diagrams.pdf Stay away from curved turnouts anyway, trust us.

    If you want a lot of track, you can go for the 145mm, only available from Marklin, then you should use the Marklin trains as they make shorter 2 axle freights that will run on anything small and many short steam locos.
  6. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to TrainBoard!!!!!!!!

    :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin: :tb-biggrin:​
  7. darticus

    darticus TrainBoard Member

    This is just the info I needed.
    I want to put a small figure 8 in the middle of my tracks. Is it best to use flex track to make a curved section. What is the smallest diameter I can make that allows a Marklin locomotive and cars to go around it. Can you advise as to what rolling stock and Marklin locomotives will make this tight curve if you know. See pic of track I want to put the figure 8 inside of. The small inside oval has a diameter of 15.25 inches. Thanks Ron

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  8. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

    Rokuhan, the Marklin 0-6-0 engines will run on R95 mm curved track from Rokuhan and can pull 4 wheel Eu wagons but it does not look real. Rokuhan make a complete line of curved track that goes up from 70 mm to 270 mm in 25 mm increments so a lot of choice for a figure 8. When I built my figure 8 inside my triple track main I used R 120 mm curved and used the short 55 mm turnouts from Rokuhan. The turnouts allowed me to make a reverse loop between the two lobes of he figure 8. Rokuhan has a diagram on their web site that gives you the track pieces you need to create a figure"8" with any curve they make. I t is also included with their 90 degree crossing track piece. here is the information on the raildig web site.
    heer is a page of track plans from Rokuhan .
  9. darticus

    darticus TrainBoard Member

    Thanks very much for the info. I'm adding a pick of my marklin track but want to do the figure 8 or something in the middle. This will give me two train loops and the third in the center. Any suggestions? Thanks Ron

    Attached Files:

  10. strummer

    strummer TrainBoard Member

    Far be it for me to second-guess anyone's fun, :))) but 2 loops and a "third in the middle" seems a bit much for such a small space. I think they used to call it "spaghetti bowl" layouts.

    I feel the single greatest thing about Z scale is that you don't need a lot of space to have a rather extensive layout; for example, I am currently putting together a scene that's only 2 feet wide; that's too narrow for any "reasonable" N scale, and forget about any larger scale. In this 2 foot space, I am able to use MTL 195mm curves with 110mm straights on the loop ends with a little room to spare. The 195mm curves will allow me to run pretty much any size loco I might eventually have.

    IMG_20170912_160954998_HDR.jpg There's still plenty of room for expansion of track, and I have tons of space for I just have to figure out how THAT'S done! :D

    In any case, "to each his own"; I certainly hope your project will work out to your own (key word there) satisfaction. As for me, I hope to take full advantage of what Z scale can offer; that is, to be able to build a layout that in any other scale would simply be too large for the space I have available.

    Mark in Oregon
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  11. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Pink foam board, glued together with Liquid Nails, 3 or four layers up to a point making a ridgeline in the middle, use a drywall scraper for contouring, then a layer of plaster. Some ground cover and some trees-done!!:D:D:D
    strummer likes this.

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