New HO Layout - need some insight

asw2023 Jun 4, 2023

  1. asw2023

    asw2023 TrainBoard Member

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    I am building this layout in my boy's bedroom. There's limited space, and this is the largest table that could be built without making the room completely useless..... I have a few 15"R corners. The cars and engines I have are short, no long passenger cars, etc, only short boxcars and similar.

    Pertaining to the 15"R curves, just don't do it..... or I will see that I am limiting myself on the type of engines & cars that are able to run smootly?

    Any other suggestions are also welcome. I have been using the Anyrail software and like it so far. I've imported it to Trainplayer and it looks OK with the size engines and cars I have, not too much goofy overhang, etc.

    Room_3D.jpg Room_3D_1.jpg Room_3D_2.jpg Room_3D_3.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is a much better plan than many I have seen. Looks like you can have a good amount of enjoyment. If possible, you might try working in an industry spur or two.
     
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  3. asw2023

    asw2023 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Boxcab, thanks for the insight! I would like to specifically ask about those 15"R corners, should I try to avoid those?

    I have a modified layout here, with no less than 16"R in the bottom left area and omitted all of the 15"R's.

    thanks.
     

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  4. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Even 18" radius is tight. Fifteen will more or less limit you to four axle locomotives and 40', maybe 50' cars. Even that won't be as reliable as you might prefer, especially in a back corner. Speed will be limited.

    I might sneak some 18" R into a yard, but I consider 15" R trolley track.
     
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  5. asw2023

    asw2023 TrainBoard Member

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    That's what I needed to hear. Thank you. I do have some existing 6 axle locomotives that I do not want to render useless. So, the latter layout it is :) And I've tested my 6 axle loco's around a mock-up 16"R and they are OK on that.

    The issue....is the limited space. I, for about 1 minute, considered N scale, but I really did not want to buy all new stuff and it add$$$$ up!
     
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  6. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting track plan. Different running options. The only thing I personally wouldn't like is that once you run a train through the reversing loop the only way to turn it back around is to back it through that loop. One solution to that and the radius situation is i'N' my mi'N'd thi'N'ki'N'g about maybe switchi'N'g to a'N'other scale;).

    Sumner
     
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  7. dti406

    dti406 TrainBoard Member

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    On some trolley layouts including my old club one in Toledo, we used 10" radius track and we could run diesel switchers and 40' cars on it without any problems and trolley cars had no problem at all.

    Although for a standard layout I would consider 18" a minimum and would prefer at least 22" as a minimum in order to run most cars although 24" if you want to run 89' Flats and Auto Parts cars.

    Rick Jesionowski
     
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  8. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    I hope that's for N scale. Fifteen inch radius is super tight in HO. Only good for short cars and loco's.
     
  9. asw2023

    asw2023 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, its for HO. The original post, I was asking about 15"R's for HO scale... was told not to do it. So I updated it, posted just above... came out to 16.5"R. I setup a mock 16.5R with some flextrack, stuck my longest locomotive on it to see, and it ran by itself with no problems.
     
  10. JoeTodd

    JoeTodd TrainBoard Member

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    The problem is pulling and pushing the train around 16" radius. Good luck, and best wishes. Jt
     
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  11. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    16.5" is still very sharp for HO. What is your longest logo or planned rolling stock?
     
  12. asw2023

    asw2023 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, longest loco an Atlas 6 axle.. not sure of the length but I did test it with a mockup radius, under its own power, it was going through just fine. The rolling stock is all as long as and a bit shorter than the loco, not sure of the lengths.
     
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  13. KWE

    KWE TrainBoard Member

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    I like the design.

    I usually do not reply to track plan designs. I am of the belief that you should build whatever design interest you. Now, if you are looking to go completely prototypical and need advice from some of the knowledgeable folks on the boards then that's a whole new ballgame. Hobbies are meant for relaxation and enjoyment, so I never stress over the small stuff. To some my opinion may be complete sacrilege. ;)
     
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  14. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    I also like the plan. The only thing missing is a second reverse lopp. As for the 16.5" radius curve, I would approach that with caution. (Yeah, pun intended.) I will have one weed grown spur with 16" curves on my new layout, but cars will range from 36' to 50' at the most (operating in multiple eras) and locomotives for this switching job will be restricted to two 4 wheel diesels, a Walthers Plymouth and an Athearn EMD Model 40. Steam power will be an 0-4-0T and an 0-6-0T. It's not anything I would expect any of my larger power to negotiate, although in reading old Model Railroaer articles, I've found that 15" radius was sometimes used back in the '50s with some modification of locomotives. Since your curve is on your main line, I would consider wideng the benchwork a few inches if possible and increasing your minimum radius to 18".

    Where your 6 axle diesel is concerned, the video linked here details one modeler's problems and solutions to make a 6 axle diesel run on his 18' radius curves.

    Five Day Fight With My HO Rail Track To Make 6 Axle Locos Go Round An 18 Inch Radius Curve - YouTube
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2023
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  15. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    Did test the locomotive on its own, or by pulling cars too?

    If you go slow, you can get locomotives to take some pretty tight curves, the issue is with a train behind them. The coupler is pretty far from the truck pivot point because of the steps and length of the truck itself, so it swings out on curves. The coupler may not be able to reach back towards the track centerline, and it can pull the first car off the track, especially if they are short.

    Build a small test track to experiment with different types of cars to make sure everything works. Not just a circle, also test entering and leaving curves with an oval. I see you have a reverse curve/ S-curve in the balloon loop next to the yard. This is also going to be a major derailment spot. Build a simulated version of this to make sure stuff doesn't derail.
     
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  16. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    There are lot's of different variables that relate to whether a loco and railcar combination can successfully negotiate a minimum radius or a radius transition. Body mounted vs truck-mounted couplers, distance from coupler face to truck pivot (whether body- or truck-mounted, this differs but still matters), length between truck pivots on a loco or railcar, etc. all matter.

    And, of course whether the train is pushing or pulling railcars (e.g. are the couplers in tension or compression?)

    Thus, any testing of track should include pushing and pulling trains with various combinations (and orders) of locomotives and railcars.

    As Trainiac alluded, abrupt transitions in radius are often more critical than absolute minimum radius.

    It helps to mathematically model curvature, rather than radius, with curvature being the reciprocal of the radius. This way straight (tangent) track, with infinite radius, is correctly modeled as zero curvature.

    The severity of a transition in curvature is just the arithmetic difference between the two curvatures (1/radii). This correctly predicts the reduced severity when straight track (zero curvature) is adjacent to a longer radius (lower curvature) curve than to a shorter radius (higher curvature) curve. When the direction of the curve (CW or CCW) is modeled as + or - curvature, then you can also model the severity of an S-curve, compared to an equivalent curvature transition between straight and curve. For example, an S-curve between back-back 19R curves is roughly equivalent to a transition between a straight and a 9.5R curve.

    Even sectional tracks can make use of easements by substituting a longer radius section for the curved section adjacent to the straight (tangent) track. This may require reducing the minimum radius section(s) in the middle of a curve in order to fit in the available space, but the result will be more negotiable by a given train, because each change in curvature is less. If the minimum radius (maximum curvature) is buried in the middle of a curve, between longer radius curved pieces, it's a lot easier for trains to negotiate, forward or backward.

    Minimum operable radius still counts, but it can usually be smaller if properly eased into and out of.
     
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  17. asw2023

    asw2023 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks all for the insight. I have been reading up on easements and will try to slip them in from the straights to curves (when possible). I am going to be setting up a test track with a left over 1/2 plywood with some mock-up of the same layout I have planned. I did not test the locomotive with cars behind (yet).... it was just alone.
     
  18. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Don't forget to test pushing cars where required!
     
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  19. asw2023

    asw2023 TrainBoard Member

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    on that note, I would like to ask about couplers. I am looking at the Kadee couplers Kadee - The Coupler People

    I have the oldschool couplers from the mid 80's on all loco's and rolling stock. Some loco's the coupler is mounted to the body with a pin shoved through to hold it (Atlas), and others are attached to the chassis itself (Bachmann & Athearn) - these look like a tiny square/rectangle with a screw holding a cover to retain the guts. The rolling stock, all are attached to the trucks. Some trucks are screwed in, some just "pop" in. I am VERY LOST on Kadee's website to which ones I should get, I want all to (of course) match up. I am planning one electro-magnetic uncoupler and 2 or 3 auto mag uncoupler (under track).

    I can take pictures of them, for reference, please let me know.

    and, again, thank you all for the help so far.
     

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