How Impossible is HO in 23"?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by PfLeila, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. PfLeila

    PfLeila New Member

    N-scale's my usual poison, but see, I have this plant shelf. It's just up there taunting me with its emptiness. It's only 23" and change wide, with about sixteen inches of clearance, but it's a good twenty feet long. It's up far too high to be viewed up close, but it has real potential for some nice mountain scenery with some lit buildings -- the whole landscape+train seen at a distance effect.

    In this case, I'm looking to watch trains go around, more than I am operations. While I'm comfortable on my rolling ladder for maintenance and all, I don't quite forsee wanting to stand up there for hours. I can do this in N, but HO sized trains would be more visible. Would I be insane to try? Maybe with a short tourist-style passenger setup? I could easily conceal the look of too-small curves with scenery pieces, considering the location, but would it even function?

    Thanks much.
  2. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    23" wide comes to 16.5 radius, the only thing that can turn that is short cars and engines. You can try early American steam 2-4-0 and Overland coach equipment from Roundhouse.:thumb:
  3. NCMRailroad

    NCMRailroad Member

    small PROTO 2000 switchers (S-3) runs well on small radiuses too! Just make sure the track is somewhat level. I use a line level I purchased for $4.00 from my local hardware store. Works well and really helps keep the wheels on track!
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    A width of 23" means a maximum radius of about 10". You would need very short passenger cars (Roundhouse Overton 34ft as an example to go around those curves. Only an 0-4-0 or similar engines will make the curves. You will have to test with the locos, cars, and couplers you plan to use to know for sure. Modifications such as longer shank couplers may be needed.

    my thoughts, your choices
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    If you were interested in a scenic little tourist railroad that went back and forth between stations at each end of the 20 ft shelf you could do that without having to think about return loop radii. You could even get an automatic reversing circuit that would have your train do this trip automatically so you could sit and enjoy. Otherwise you could run it yourself from a power pack and make intermeidate stops, maybe have a turnout that led toward the back edge of the shelf and behind a false building to give the impression it's "off layout". I say go for it! Have some creative fun!
  6. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    If it's that high up, could the shelf be "bumped out" just at the ends to accomodate a 30" diameter loop?
    I'm sure you've thought about this, but just askin'. You would need about 34" to be safe. Another option
    is uncoupling the loco, running around, recoupling at both ends. You even might want to try a larger scale
    considering that a loop would not be required. It's a great project!:thumb:
  7. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    The obvious answers are a "dog-bone" if you must have a loop, but you have room for a wonderful point-to-point layout, but it sounds like that isn't really your bag. If you have some interest in traction, trolleys have little trouble pulling an 8" radius curve in HO. New England trolley/interurban lines tended to weave through hilly scenery, with charming small towns that might fill the bill.

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