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Discussion Starter #1
Max elevations vs min radii
What looks right vs what works.


Superelevated curves on model railroads are for appearances only. They will not improve tracking on a model scale. In fact, if overused, they can cause problems.

On my 5x10 layout, I'm limited to 28" curves. None are superelevated.
The club has 55" and bigger curves, and the 18" minimum is only in urban and industrial areas.

Only curves of 30" and larger are superelevated... approximately 4 to 5 scale inches or so. Maximum.
The reason for the 30" minimum is mostly in comparative appearance, and partially to eliminate rolling/coupling issues that can occur in tighter curves with longer cars in slower trains. Real railroads actually have similar concerns.

Most superelevations these days are accomplished with narrow .040" to .050" styrene strip, to render a 4 to 5 scale inch outer-track elevation (in the early days, I hear matchbook material was used).

There was a time (in the late 1950's) when easements and superelevated curves were a popular subject of conversation in the hobby.
Easements are still a fairly popular topic. But I've heard little lately on the subject of superelevation.
 

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I use the clear plastic from packaging cut into strips. I slide them under the ends of ties, or under the sides of the cork roadbed. Either will work.

Super looks good, to me, because it more closely resembles the real item. I super-elevate all main line curves because that's the way the real roads do them. In my case, my shortest radius is 33", with my widest curves being near 46".

A 28" curve:



Even a bridge deck can have super-elevation:



 

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Discussion Starter #5
FWIW, prototype railroads include criteria for superelevation, ranging from extreme to zero... depending on the chances for 'couple bucking' and binding, and are usually based on average speeds through a particular curve.
Oddly, the same bucking and binding are possible maladies on superelevated model tracks as well... also mostly dependent on train speed through curves.
Except on ascending grades, slow model speeds on typical 'super'd' curves can be a problem, especially with longer cars.
The problem is (eventually and ultimately) exacerbated by plastic couplers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is what we use to 'super' our curves.
This is a 50-pack... we prefer the 100 size, (#6-144) but it isn't always available. Much cheaper on LHS shelves.
Strips are 14" long.

As mesenteria said, use it under the tie ends or the roadbed... either will work. We prefer under roadbed, as ballasting doesn't need to vary.
It flexes without kinking, and it's easily held in place with pins before glueing or ballasting.
Some tack them in place with CA glue. Some use Weldbond, PVA binder's glue, or rubber cement.
End pieces should be feathered.

5144_bagged (1)~2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Easements:

Easements BTW, are easier to accomplish these days...
SweepSticks by Fast Tracks makes it pretty easy.


 

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Flex track makes its own eased curve. It isn't a proper cubic spiral, but it's darned close, what mathematicians would term 'an approximation'. Lay out your desired geometry using flex, mark the centerline, and then remove the tracks to overlay your roadbed, whatever you use for that. When you go to lay out your curves with the flex, it will replicate the same geometry you used to mark the place for the roadbed.
 

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Depends greatly on the brand of track. MicroEngineering is so stiff it will just stay wherever you put it, but Atlas is like a wet noodle and would be perfect for this.
 

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I'd forgotten about the stiff 'bendable' Micro Engineering, which I understand is an excellent product; it just takes some doing to get it just so. Maybe we should distinguish between 'bendable' and 'flex'?
 

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I find their bare rail is perfect for hand-laid turnouts, and I understand the stiffness should help in laying down smooth curves of a fixed radius.
 

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I use the ME weathered rail to make my turnouts. Throws in the extra step of lightly sanding the bottom of the rail to allow soldering to PC ties. I even sand the weathered rail before gluing it to the Central Valley tie strips with pliobond. Not sure it's really necessary for gluing, but definitely for soldering. If I had a really large layout, I would probably not get the weathered rail.
 

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Kato offers a limited selection of their Unitrack with superelevated curves. They even have "transition curves" for lead-ins and lead-outs at the ends of the curvature.

Unfortunately, they are in "concrete ties" only, and wider radius only.

I'd like to see them offer it in a "wood tie" version for their tighter-radus curves (19 1/4" and 21 5/8"). A "full-half-circle" set would fit the bill.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Unfortunately, they are in "concrete ties" only, and wider radius only.
IMO, only bigger radius curves look natural if they're 'super'd'.
Almost anything less than 30" doesn't look right to me.
Besides... prototype railroads mostly 'super' their curves based on projected average speed. There are many prototype s/e'd curves with less than 2" of elevation, which wouldn't be discernible on a model scale.
 

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I use the clear plastic from packaging cut into strips. I slide them under the ends of ties, or under the sides of the cork roadbed. Either will work.

Super looks good, to me, because it more closely resembles the real item. I super-elevate all main line curves because that's the way the real roads do them. In my case, my shortest radius is 33", with my widest curves being near 46".

A 28" curve:
I don't recall ever seeing more realistic looking layout. Superb.

Dan
 
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