First Layout questions **PLEASE HELP**

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by BOB D, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. BOB D

    BOB D New Member

    This is my first track and I am a bit ambitious with the design. There are a couple questions that I need answered by experts to see if my thought process is even possible.

    1. Can an N scale train traverse a slope of 8 inches over 4 feet?
    2. Does anyone make manufactured peirs to do that?
    3. If not how would you reccommend accomplishing that?

  2. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    hi bob

    you have a hard task on hand the grade you are talking about will be very steep. their is a incline set from woodland scenics and they also have risers to they are made of foam but the problem you will have is runnin a loco on that grade in that kind of space have a 2 inch rise on my nscale layout and it took a little over 8 feet at what is called a 2% grade
  3. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    Hi Bob, Chances are, your locos will be unable to climb a 16% grade. It will also look quite odd. I don't think anyone makes a pier set at that grade but it isn't difficult to create your own. Some of the loggers run grades as steep as 8%, but I think they make their own. I wouldn't go more than a 4% grade on a non-logging layout. (and I like to push the envelope! :D )

    As for how to do it, a Helix comes to mind. If you absolutely must go up 8" in 4' or less, either use a helix or change the plan.
  4. BOB D

    BOB D New Member

    Yakko, what's a Helix?
  5. billk

    billk Active Member

    Welcome to The Guage, Bob!

    Bad news.

    For tracks, slopes are measured as "grade percentages". A grade climbing X in. over a distance of Y in. is a grade of 100X/Y (the 100 is to convert it to percent). So a grade climbing 8in over 4ft, or 48in, is 8*100/48 or about 16.7%.

    You should try for a grade of no more than 2 or 3%, so 16.7% is w-a-y too much! If you need convincing, try putting a length of straight track on a board and raise one end to varying heights and see if a locomotive can pull a few cars up it.

    It gets worse. If the grade is on a curve, the effective grade is about double the actual grade due to the resistance added by the curve.

    This is a problem shared , I'm sure, by most of us. There is never enough room to do what we want.

    How can you get around this?
    1) Rethink the need to rise 8in. It's a lot more than you need for clearance if you have one track passing over another. If it's for scenic purposes, there are ways to make one track look likes it
    hase more vertical separation from another than it actually does.

    2) Make the "run" longer than 4ft. You're probably as "space limited" as most of us, so you have to get creative. Maybe the track can traverse the 4ft more than once or something. (But see the comment about grades on curves.)

    3) If you're trying to get from one level to another on a multilevel layout, think about having a section that can be manually moved from one level to the next.

    Best of luck, BillK
  6. BOB D

    BOB D New Member

    Thanks for all the help. What were we thinking?:rolleyes: I am going to change the idea completely! I'm thinking of just doing a 2" rise (let me see if I've got this right) or a 4% grade.
    I would like to run two tracks parallel up that grade. Does anyone make a double track peir set?
  7. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member


    look in to the foam incline set i told you about i used the on my lay out and they work out great and the good part is that there is alot of less filling up space under the track
  8. BOB D

    BOB D New Member

    Thanks for all the help. I'll post pics as the construction begins.:D
  9. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    Bob, a Helix is a large circle with an incline or grade of 1 to 2 percent that allows you to climb 8" in less than 65 linier feet. In 'N'-scale you can fit one into about 2 sqaure feet. (I think) Just picture a barber shop pole with the ribbon that travels from bottom to top or top to bottom. Often hidden inside a mountain or behind a back-ground the Helix is one option to run more than one level in the same layout and not have everything be on a slope.

    I am not a fan of the multi-level layout and can't really see any other application where one would be necessary. Good luck with your revised track plan.

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