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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am looking for a N scale train set of an unusual configuration. I want the track to hug the outside perimeter of an approximately 24 X 12 inch bookcase. The smallest I can find is 24X24. I am not sure if a smaller curve around the sides of the bookcase will be too sharp to turn. Do you know if it is possible to get or create a smaller configuration like this and will the train be able to handle it?. Any ideas if and how this can be done. PS: The bookcase has 3 shelves with open sides. Each shelf has a fully developed scene. The train is to run along the inside back of the shelves, though the sides and around the front. It will be mid air against a black night scene background, middle level of bookcase. Any idea if a full set can be purchased?

Thanks,
Rocky
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here is a discussion of N scale curve radius that may
help you.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/165785.aspx

Will you have any kind of 'guard rail' protecting the
trains from falling and self destructing?

Don
Thank you Don for this useful link. I am just in the planning stages at this point and will definitely consider some kind of guard rails.
 

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Tight curves

Rocky;

As mentioned by others, a 9-3/4" radius is a pretty tight curve. I don't understand exactly what you mean by "hugging the outside" of a 12" deep bookcase. Model track radii are usually measured from the center of the ties. (Where the nail hole is.) To plan a curve take into account that you will need a minimum space of the nominal radius PLUS the full width of the track.(1/2 on each side of the curve). Add to that at least two full track widths for car overhang. To "hug" that 12" bookcase you would need a curve of 7" radius or so. That would still work with trolley cars, very short locos(0-40 steam or Plymouth diesel) and short ore cars.
You now say you're going to use the 12" radius recommended. Good step in the right direction.
How will a curve that's going to need 24" of layout width to make a U-turn, fit on a 12" deep bookcase?
I'm an N-scaler, and I used 12" As my minimum radius; until I bought one of Kato's beautiful
2-8-2 Mikado steam locomotives. Though it was advertised as being able to use an 11" radius, I found that in the real world, it derailed a lot. I ended up going to a 16" minimum radius. The point here is not to take the advertising as gospel, and if you must use tight curves, go with very short locos and cars.
Have you considered using Z-scale for your bookcase layout? The smaller Z-scale models could negotiate much tighter curve than N-scale. You might want to go to the Z-scale section of this forum and ask them about their minimum radius.
Is the one bookcase the only space available? My own layout was built according to an old article called "bookshelf railroads" in Model Railroader magazine. The sections are 16" deep and the trains run through them without turning around in that narrow space. My turn back curves are on wider sections of the railroad. The books sit on a shelf formed by the tops of the sections.
Just some other things to consider;
Good luck with whatever you choose.

Traction Fan

P.S. Here are photos of two of the straight, "run through" sections, and a turn back section. Machine Radial arm saw


Bridge Rock Art


Water Table Concrete
 
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