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Old 05-25-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
galad
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Minimum radius

Ok so I am planning my layout and I wanted some advice on minimum radius for track. I want to do my layout with a loop so I can have a train continously running. I plan on doing steam engines era 1920ish and I heard steam can be more finicky on turns.

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Old 05-25-2009, 09:51 PM   #2
T-Man
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Learning from Stationmaster I found an NMRA RS -11. It's called a Regular practice. So if you run scale 85 foot cars 22 inch radius is recommended. If the standard car is 65 feet the minimum is 15 inches. If you push these the cars will overhang and derail more frequently. Or just stay with smaller cars.

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Old 05-25-2009, 10:13 PM   #3
Brakeman Jake
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A general answer is "the wider the better".But then,what do you wish?Do you want the tightest radius you can get without derailments?...or do you want the tightest radius you can get without your locos looking silly?The standard minimum radius (Atlas track) in N scale is 9 3/4 in.Now,if you use the tiny 0-6-0,or the mild sized 0-8-0,2-6-0,2-6-2's and the like,they probably will be just fine and also look at ease.But if you go a little bigger like 2-8-0,2-8-2,2-8-4,4-8-2's,most will handle it some won't but they will all begin to look uneasy,as an 11 in. radius would suit them better.Then come the harder cases like the 4-8-4,2-10-0,2-10-2's...these are the biggest non-articulated engines that will definitely enjoy wider curves in the 12+ in.Some of them will not derail at tighter turns but will look uncomfortable.And finally you have the articulateds that you might anticipate to have some time in the future.These are impressive beasts that require large curves to look right.Athearn recommends a min. of 12 in. radius for their Big Boy and eases to 11 in. for the Challenger meaning that they shouldn't derail but definitely would look silly doing it.I've set 15 in. radius for mine and they could look better.
Not only the numbers will influence here,as some designs are better than others.Some locos are notorious derailers while others will tackle almost any radius.You will also have to consider your available space and decide what types are best suited to you.And do you want DCC?There aren't a lot of DCC ready steamers available yet but this is improving though.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:12 PM   #4
galad
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Thanks for the replies. I am not looking necessarily for the tightest turn but I want to know what my options are. I am definitely more concerned more about function over form, in other derailments are more of an issue than "looking right."

I will probably be going with small to medium sized steamers so it looks like I could use 15" radius if I needed too, but I will be shooting for 18"+.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:28 PM   #5
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Great then...at 18+ in. radius,you'll have the possibility to run anything you wish.In N scale,18 in. radiuses are very generous curves indeed.
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