# HO angle of rise

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by universalcabbie, Aug 11, 2001.

1. ### universalcabbieNew Member

What max. angle of rise (in degrees) should be used to start an incline in HO? Thank you
2. ### shamusRegistered Member

Hello universalcabbie, first of all, welcome to the gauge.
As a rule of thumb for H0, keep it to a rise of 1" in 36", better still if you can use 1" in 60" for the climb unless you are making a logging layout in which case 1" in 20" can be used.

Shamus

NARA Member #24
3. ### Gary PfeilActive Member

As Shamus has indicated, the % grade acceptable for a railroad depends on the type of railroad you are building. However, as I read it, you are asking how abruptly you can get into that grade. This is an important point that many beginners learn the hard way. Let me mention that in order to make it easy to calculate grades, I cheat a little. Since a 1% grade would rise 1" in 100", I simplify and convert to 1" in 8', or 96". This is accurate enough for me. I try not to use anything more than 2% on my mainlines. This would be 2" in 8'. Easy to measure with a 2' level by putting a 1/2" block under one end of the level. A 1/4" block yields a 1% grade, and so on.
Back to your question, I cannot state a particular ideal starting grade, I am not an engineer and have never read anything relating to this issue. I am aware that a level track abruptly changing to a 3 or 4% grade will likely cause problems, such as uncoupling or even a coupler pin striking the ties, also steam loco pilots contacting the rails, with resultant short if the pilot is metal. I start my grades with 2' of track at a maximum of 1%. You can then make the next 2' at 2% and continue increasing as required. I think one of the mistakes many people make when designing their first roads is not allowing enough length to rise over another track and winding up with some of the problems I mentioned.

Hope this helps, Gary
4. ### shamusRegistered Member

Make the transition between flat and the first part of the rise as easy as possible, in other words if I were to make a run up somewhere I would need approximately 2’ to make the start of the run which would only have risen around ½”. From then on the climb can take place. The end of the climb needs a further 2’ to make the transition back to flat.

If you want to make a track climb over another one, the difference in height from one track to the next depends on the thickness of your roadbed plus the track. 3" clearance is ample for HO rolling stock. Now to get from one height to the next using 1" in 36" would need a run of approx. 108" this does not take into account the roadbed thickness, so lets assume you roadbed is 1/2" thick, this adds a further " overall so now we 1/2" need a further 18" added to the 108 to be able to climb over the tracks at 3" between roadbed and track, plus the 2' either end as discribed above. making a total length of 174" start to finish.

Shamus

NARA Member #24
5. ### Bill StoneMember

For a transition, level to incline, I've always used a 12 foot radius as a minimum. Was told this somewhere, a whole lot of years ago, but cannot remember where or by whom. But it has always worked for me. It isn't difficult to make a (relatively short) template with a 12' radius, to use as a guide. If using half-inch plywood as a subroadbed, I make the transition subroadbed of two layers of 1/4" ply, sandwiched and glued approximately to the 12' radius.

Remember never to transition from level to incline on a curve, or through a turnout.....

By the way --- if you really want degrees --- a 1% grade is 0.5720 degrees, a 2% grade is 1.1458 degrees, and a 3% is 1.7357 degrees.

Bill
6. ### shamusRegistered Member

This is a trestlebridge which is level to incline on a curve and it's 9' long,

I also use a curve going down grade through a tunnel. Never had anything drop off yet.

Shamus

7. ### WoodieActive Member

incline steps

universalcabbie,

I thought it would be OK to just begin the incline straight into the proposed gradient. Do NOT do this. as long freight/passenger cars will derail as they move onto the incline. The long cars begin to be rasied as they enter the incline, raising the level of the car that the following bogie cannot cope with and derails. I had to realign all my incline begins/ends to pad them out to leseen the shock of the incline. This gradual move into the incline should be at least twice the length of your longest car. I just padded my start/begin inclines with varying numbers of sheets of paper to even out the sharpness. I did this for about 1' either side of the incline begin/end. Hope this helps. Also do not place turnouts right at the begin/end of incline declines. Make sure the track is on the same level/incline for at least 6" either side of the turnout.

Hope this helps.
8. ### Bill StoneMember

Shamus,

Do I understand you correctly that you have track transitioning from the level to an incline ON a curve?

That's interesting. All the old guys who taught me trackwork years ago always said that was an absolute NO NO. I guess I've never questioned it. If you've done it successfully, that would certainly save some space (well, actually it wouldn't save space, but would lower the percent of grade a bit) on the layout I'm planning.

Bill
9. ### shamusRegistered Member

Bill, YES I have track transitioning from the level to an incline ON a curve. The same principal is applied as I explained above. There has been 100 of curves on inclines built by many modellers, I am not the only one to do this. Many a helix is done this way.

Shamus

NARA Member #24