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When I was young I rode the Tehachapi Loop as a hobo and stood in the doorway of a box car as the long freight train went under us. The engineer below was flashing his light at us and blowing the horn as we waved. I'll never forget that sight. The two buddies who were with me that early morning are now gone.

Now I'm looking into building a layout of this type and I'm wondering what grade would be scale? I've been looking at pictures of layouts of this design and think it would work well. Maybe I better get out the calculator and do the math. What grade percentage makes sense on an HO layout?
 

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I would do a calculation for ya but my phone updated and wiped out my calculator.
I think the loop is about 4000 feet from the over pass to the tunnel. Track level change is about 70 feet.
So calculate from that. I think it will come out to just under 2% grade.
 

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Looking back on that trip I believe the freight train was huge, way over a hundred cars pulled by five SD9 locos. We were on top of the loop as the head end passed under us. I don't think we could see the tail end and it might have had a helper. The line was Southern Pacific. Must have been around 1960. I was 18 at the time.
 

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We only played hobo on weekends while attending college. We met a number of real hobos and as far as they were concerned we were the real deal. Rules of the road were, do not mess with the train or the crew. Trainmen would even tell you where and when they were going. The hobos called it being on the Bum. Riding on top was called riding on the deck. You always grab a ladder or nail a drag as they said by climbing on at the front of a car that way you might bounce off if you miss. Trying to climb on at the end of a car could result in falling between and being crushed. More later.
 

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Hi Spade! I'm just wondering how big of a barn you have to build in??? :D I'm not being facetious, it's a big project to scale, as you mentioned, if you can shrink it down to a six foot diameter it might be more manageable. 4.5" rise in 226" would give you the 2%.(y) Not the 70 foot rise, of course.
 

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Sorry for not making it more clear. Six foot is about what I would shoot for and I did look it up and found out it was a 2% grade. Thanks. I want to keep it within reason and would not want to try to make it scale. Looking at the pictures it sure looks steeper than 2%.
 
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