Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by trainsteve2435, Jun 30, 2004.

1. ### trainsteve2435Member

hey all, i was wondering... i know there is a point in which the largest radius curves a person can use, can actually hurt you. im wondering, on my around the wall shelf layout, i have drawn my plan useing 36" radius curves. is this over kill? should i go with a smaller radius? is there any type of rule of thumb as to what size to use for certain size layouts? any information is appreciated. thanks!
2. ### Fred_MGuest

Not to my knowledge. I use 39 " radius with easments and superelevation in HO, and I have seen what was said to be 62 inch radius in HO. From personal experience 36 isn't overkill, in HO you might want bigger if you like long rolling stock. It tracks better and looks better on sweeping curves. Fred
3. ### Rusty SpikeMember

I have a book called "Track Planning for Realistic Operation - Third Edition" by John Armstrong and Kalmbach Books. It really gives a great education on curves, easements and how things will work and look as they negotiate your layout. It also lists standards for track spacing, etc.

I've now made many mistakes related to curve radius and my current project has 30" minimums - my first layout was 18", my second 24" and I wish I had space for 36" minimums (HO). The cars just look better going around a gentle sweeper than when they are grossly hanging over the outside edge of the ties on a tighter curve. Easements are great too - cars ease into the curve rather than jerk into them - makes for much more realistic movement of the cars/engines.

My rule of thumb is use the largest radius I can in the location but don't go below my absolute minimum; even if it means hacking the corner off my prized "Miranda's Bananas" or other structure to make everything fit and look "comfortable".
4. ### screwysquirrelMember

just a note on 'maximum' radius

Atlas Code 55 N-Scale track has sectional 71-inch radius track! that scales to a 946'9" radius curve, which is a fairly gentle curve, even by prototype standards (Horseshoe Curve is about half that radius, for instance)
5. ### RailRonActive Member

The larger the radius, the better it looks.

You can't have a too large radius, but a radius can easily become too small. Never go under your minimum standard, which depends on the type of layout you have (high speed mainline vs. logging layout) and the used rolling stock (Big Boys vs. small road switchers).

On an along-the-wall shelf layout you have to find a compromise in the corners: The larger the radius, the more free walking space in the room is 'lost' - but the more room you have for an impressive scenery in the background. So this is a purely personal decision. Do what YOU pleases most! :thumb:

Ron