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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning to all happy thanksgiving.
So I have realized that HO scale does not fit in my room where I am doing my model set up. I have tried for seven months and have found the radius limitations do not work for me. Now I am converting to N scale. Though I realize very expensive it will be necessary to utilize the space better. My question is this. What are the limitations within N scale as far as radius is concerned, when it comes to choosing the proper locomotive type? 3 wheel bogeys or two wheel?
I do not wanna make the same mistake again. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Scott
 

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I think they make all the way down to a 8" or so. I have 9.5" radius and can run anything on them ok. My autoracks get caught on the bridge railings at that scale, but they will negotiate the radius. I think trying to stick to an 11" or greater is a safe bet, but you can get tighter

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I agree. I have a lot of Bachman EZ-Track 11.25" radius track, and everything I have tried works just fine. Most of the locomotives I have looked at online claim 9.25" or greater.

I try to keep it 12" or greater, just so the turns aren't too abrupt.
 

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A good rule of thumb is that your curves' minimum radius can be no narrower than 2.5 the length of the car that will have to negotiate them, so a 3" car would take a 7-1/2" curve. BUT that doesn't consider overhang. To mitigate that, you now need 4x, or 12" for that same car. Anything between those two may be asking for trouble of your clearances are tight. If you have long cars and long three wheeled trucks ( bogies), I'd stay close to that 12" number.
 

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I think that's a bit conservative. I run autoracks on 13.75" and even down to 11" or so. And as mentioned, they will negotiate a bit tighter (go slow) but the overhang gets caught on railings. I'll have to measure some of mine to be sure (some have mixed radius sections) of exact radius, but the overall width of my table is only 30" and the tracks are at least 2" from either edge putting me around 13" radius. By your measure I would need over 16". I can tell you the autoracks run reliably on my layout even at full throttle

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Good morning to all happy thanksgiving.
So I have realized that HO scale does not fit in my room where I am doing my model set up. I have tried for seven months and have found the radius limitations do not work for me. Now I am converting to N scale. Though I realize very expensive it will be necessary to utilize the space better. My question is this. What are the limitations within N scale as far as radius is concerned, when it comes to choosing the proper locomotive type? 3 wheel bogeys or two wheel?
I do not wanna make the same mistake again. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Scott
Bikewider;

I don't know if you think N-scale is "very expensive" in relation to HO-scale, or if you simply mean that since you have some money already invested in some HO-scale trains, then buying N-scale trains will add to your overall cost.
The first idea is not really true, though some believe that N-scale is "very expensive" compared to HO-scale, and you may hear that said. The truth is that HO-scale, and N-scale, prices are actually quite close, when you are comparing the same specific make & model of item in each scale.

The second idea is certainly true. You will need to spend money to buy more trains than you now have, regardless of what scale the trains are.

Regarding "3 wheel bogeys or 2 wheel bogeys," stick with the 2 wheel bogey type. They can handle the sharp curves you have in mind better than the 3 wheel bogey type.

From your question about "radius limitations within N-scale" I'm going to assume two things. (Please correct me if either of these assumptions is not true.)

1) You want some sort of circle, or oval, of track that a train can run around and around. We call that feature, "continuous running," and it is a limiting factor for most layouts.
There is another option that saves a lot of layout depth. That is a, "point-to-point" or "switching layout" that does not have continuous running. Therefore, no circles, or ovals, are necessary, and curve radius is no longer an issue. Most of the track on switching layouts is straight, and any curves do not have to form complete circles. This adds up to a layout that uses more length than depth, and is sometimes a way of fitting a larger scale into a small space. If you have 18"-24" of depth, and 48" or more of length available, then you could stay with HO-scale by building a switching layout. If you have 120" of length or more, you can build a point-to-point layout with a small switching yard at each end.

2) Assuming continuous running is something you must have, then your plan to switch to N-scale is necessary.
The figures quoted about minimum radius are somewhat subjective. The minimum radius track curve a given locomotive, or car, can possibly make it through sometimes, is not the same thing as the considerably larger radius where it will stay on the track reliably, even when backing up, and pushing a string of cars.

Atlas sectional track is widely used in both HO-scale and N-scale, and is sort of a De-facto standard for curve radii. The smallest curved piece of N-scale track Atlas sells is 9-3/4" radius. That's actually a pretty tight curve for N-scale. Its roughly equivalent to an Atlas section of curved HO-scale track with an 18" radius. Not all HO-scale equipment will make it through an 18" radius curve reliably, and not all N-scale equipment will make it through a 9-3/4" radius curve reliably.

Its important to remember that track radius is measured from the center of the track, not from the outside edge of the track. When trying to figure out what will fit, allow at least an extra two inches above the diameter (twice the radius) of the curve for the extra width of track beyond the centerline on both sides. Its also necessary to allow some extra room for the overhang that cars and locomotives will have when they go through a curve. Thus a 180 degree loop built with 9-3/4" radius curve sections will need a layout depth of about 22"-24" to fit, and let trains run through it without hitting anything.

It would be a considerable help if you could let us know what exact space you actually have.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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TF, why is your text showing up as white? I can't see most of what you posted.
Upper right, click the 3 dots, then try the dark mode.
I run in the dark mode all the time, I am using a laptop not something else.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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I think the point is that something is messed up with his post, not everyone else's computer

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I saw half of what he wrote in the light mode and all in the dark mode, not sure why.
 

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Ya, half is white font.

There is not a dark mode for Tapatalk

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
That is why I added what I am using, my laptop, I figured maybe it might be different while using another device.
 

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Ya, half is white font.

There is not a dark mode for Tapatalk

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
That would be a pretty good argument against using Tapatalk, then. Dark mode is much easier on the eyes than the standard mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Bikewider;

I don't know if you think N-scale is "very expensive" in relation to HO-scale, or if you simply mean that since you have some money already invested in some HO-scale trains, then buying N-scale trains will add to your overall cost.
The first idea is not really true, though some believe that N-scale is "very expensive" compared to HO-scale, and you may hear that said. The truth is that HO-scale, and N-scale, prices are actually quite close, when you are comparing the same specific make & model of item in each scale.

The second idea is certainly true. You will need to spend money to buy more trains than you now have, regardless of what scale the trains are.

Regarding "3 wheel bogeys or 2 wheel bogeys," stick with the 2 wheel bogey type. They can handle the sharp curves you have in mind better than the 3 wheel bogey type.

From your question about "radius limitations within N-scale" I'm going to assume two things. (Please correct me if either of these assumptions is not true.)

1) You want some sort of circle, or oval, of track that a train can run around and around. We call that feature, "continuous running," and it is a limiting factor for most layouts.
There is another option that saves a lot of layout depth. That is a, "point-to-point" or "switching layout" that does not have continuous running. Therefore, no circles, or ovals, are necessary, and curve radius is no longer an issue. Most of the track on switching layouts is straight, and any curves do not have to form complete circles. This adds up to a layout that uses more length than depth, and is sometimes a way of fitting a larger scale into a small space. If you have 18"-24" of depth, and 48" or more of length available, then you could stay with HO-scale by building a switching layout. If you have 120" of length or more, you can build a point-to-point layout with a small switching yard at each end.

2) Assuming continuous running is something you must have, then your plan to switch to N-scale is necessary.
The figures quoted about minimum radius are somewhat subjective. The minimum radius track curve a given locomotive, or car, can possibly make it through sometimes, is not the same thing as the considerably larger radius where it will stay on the track reliably, even when backing up, and pushing a string of cars.

Atlas sectional track is widely used in both HO-scale and N-scale, and is sort of a De-facto standard for curve radii. The smallest curved piece of N-scale track Atlas sells is 9-3/4" radius. That's actually a pretty tight curve for N-scale. Its roughly equivalent to an Atlas section of curved HO-scale track with an 18" radius. Not all HO-scale equipment will make it through an 18" radius curve reliably, and not all N-scale equipment will make it through a 9-3/4" radius curve reliably.

Its important to remember that track radius is measured from the center of the track, not from the outside edge of the track. When trying to figure out what will fit, allow at least an extra two inches above the diameter (twice the radius) of the curve for the extra width of track beyond the centerline on both sides. Its also necessary to allow some extra room for the overhang that cars and locomotives will have when they go through a curve. Thus a 180 degree loop built with 9-3/4" radius curve sections will need a layout depth of about 22"-24" to fit, and let trains run through it without hitting anything.

It would be a considerable help if you could let us know what exact space you actually have.

Traction Fan 🙂
Thank you for the info. Just to clarify, referencing the expensive part. Switching from HO to N, especially when dealing with KATO causes the checkbook to shrink a bit quicker. I'm using this as part of my inexperience and learning curve.
Separate question: Does KATO locomotives have unique couplers that are not universal to most rolling stock?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you for the info. Just to clarify, referencing the expensive part. Switching from HO to N, especially when dealing with KATO causes the checkbook to shrink a bit quicker. I'm using this as part of my inexperience and learning curve.
Separate question: Does KATO locomotives have unique couplers that are not universal to most rolling stock?
 

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Thank you for the info. Just to clarify, referencing the expensive part. Switching from HO to N, especially when dealing with KATO causes the checkbook to shrink a bit quicker. I'm using this as part of my inexperience and learning curve.
Separate question: Does KATO locomotives have unique couplers that are not universal to most rolling stock?
In N-scale, Kato couplers do NOT work well or play well with others.

Best bet: If running other brands of freight cars or passenger cars with Kato locomotives, convert the locos over to Micro Trains (MTL) couplers.

If running Kato passenger cars with Kato locos, simply leave the Kato couplers in place. They're still good couplers with each other, even though they don't very well with other brands of couplers.
 
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