First Step "The Foundation"

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Dingo69, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    Ok, I'm going to proceed and build the table to the maximum size as already shown.

    So my first questions are regarding the base products, some articles on the internet say you need to be careful of the base products mean the wood you use to lay the track on should be a type soft wood.

    I intend to built my rail on foam over the wood to enable me to channel rivers and by placing different thickness this would create a bit more landscape for a slight rise from the sea up to the mountain area.

    So Question:

    1.) Parts of the rail (town area) will most like be on the wood and therefore what quality is needed (how soft).

    2.) Is the idea of foam a good one or is there other possible products?

    3.) What is a reasonable angle for a scale N, locomotive to climb 10 Degrees?
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    More than a 4% grade is not very practical for pulling trains; even then train length that a given locomotive can pull is reduced to about 25% of what it can pull on level track. Grades are computed on rise divided by run taken for that amount of rise, expressed as a percentage. 4% means that track will rise 4 inches in 100 inches of run. A 4% grade is equivalent to 2.2 degrees.

    yours in climbing
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    You can build your entire layout on the foam (over plywood, or even over an open grid with crossmembers no more than 16" on centre).

    10 degrees is quite steep, as per Fred's message. Even geared logging locomotives never got past about 10 per cent, which is roughly 4-5 degrees. Cog railways did climb at up to 100% or 45 degrees.

    Before you go too much farther though, you may want to revisit your track plan. Even in N scale, you will be hard pressed to do some of the curves that you show there, and many of the areas you have defined for "town" or "turntable" and very small.

    You can download Right Track Software (RTS) from Atlas, or get XTrkCAD from Sillub if you want to use a scale drawing tool to get a better idea of what will fit.

  4. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    Ok thanks, please do not read to much into my layout the idea is what I want by the size of the areas is not correct, just an idea, if my area is to small then I will no doubt change from town, mountain and port to just mountain and port and see how that goes.

    I have never used a CAD program before so have been trying to find a program that is user friendly with very little complex working, will give the RTS program a try.


    Edited: Just remembered thats the files that I have been trying to get for a while now but all links to it do not work. [size=-1]

    has been down now for a while as has the forum and such.

  5. Dingo69

    Dingo69 Member

    So 4%, meaning if my area is 200cm long and I run a track from one end to the other it can only rise (no more) about 8cm or is my math’s way out. If this is true how do people make tunnels (for train to go under another track) which must be more than 8cm, due to the train height.

    Sorry confused

    I have now downloaded and working with RTS 7.0 so I hope to give you a proper layout once I learn how to use it.
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    Your math is correct. However, you do not have to rise 8cm in N to cross one track over another, but you do in HO. I don't model in N, but I would think you could get by with 5 cm rise. So the absolute minimum distance your track would need to travel before it could cross over enough track is 100cm, and 200cm would be far more realistic, and operate much better.

    It is very tough to get one track to cross over another on a table top layout in HO, as your math shows. Basically you end up spending the whole loop climbing and then going down again, with little room left on the table for anything else.

    That is one of the big advantages of N, the ability to get much more layout in a given space.


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