longest train?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by MustangMark83, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. MustangMark83

    MustangMark83 New Member

    Hey I was just curious how many cars you guys have put on your model trains, and if you have any pictures to share. I am thinking about purchasing a model railroad and going for a goal of like 200 cars or something crazy. Is it possible to use more than 1 enngine on the same track to help with all the weight? I'm totally clueless and I have always found trains fascinating, I want to get started building a model railroad soometime this year.

    thanks mark
  2. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    The longest train that ever I saw
    Went down the Georgia line
    The engine passed at six o'clock
    And the cab it passed at nine

    - from In the Pines, by Leadbelly

    Sorry - I know that's no help, but I couldn't resist. :)
    Are you thinking of pulling 200 cars oin one train? Despite the space constraints, I think you'll run into many other problems, the chief of them being friction. I can't imagine such a long model train.

  3. MustangMark83

    MustangMark83 New Member

    Great help, thanks for the response!

  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Mark, what scale of "model railroad" do you plan to "purchase"?
  5. MustangMark83

    MustangMark83 New Member


    I think they are the best kind, they had a huge exhbition at the theme park where I live "Cypress gardens" in the central florida area. I was always fascinated by that. They had a few dozen different trains running on different tracks, going through cities, mountains, tunnels, snow, across bridges... It was just very captivating to see that as a child and I've always wanted that type of train.... now I'm older and I have more money, I'm going to get my own collection started.
  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The longest train you will be able to run is dependent upon your space constraints i.e. the length of track you have. A 4' x 8' layout isn't going to allow a very long train, while an "around the room" shelf layout will probably allow for more train length. A 200 car HO scale train is going to need at least 100 feet of track, and that is assuming rolling stock on the shorter end of the spectrum. Now, on top of that, a train needs a place to go, so you need quite a bit more track to allow your train to run. In my opinion, if you plan to run a 200 car train, you will need a bare minimum of 300 feet of mainline.

    I did see an ad in an older magazine where a club with a large layout had run a 500 car train, with quite a few locos needed to pull it. But this was only a gimmick to advertise a new "high-power" controller. The train was essentially chasing its tail around the layout.

    so, for your consideration of train length, you should determine your space available and let that dictate your train length.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The local modular club (www.hotrak.ca) has set ups that occasionally have up to 14 scale miles of mainline. A scale mile is 60 real feet...!

    Some guys do try to run very long trains, but only "after hours" ;) :D

  8. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    In answer to your part of the question regarding using more than one engine, yes you can do that.
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    You'll see from this video that my 26 car train pulled by 2 locos stretches almost 24 feet---pretty impressive, even on a large club layout like this one. One's eyes tend to only take in most, not all of the train, making for the perception that it is even longer than it is. The record on this layout is 5 locos pulling 76 cars, not bad when you take the 1.75% grades into account.

  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    and at a basic average of 10.00 each, thats 2000 dollars for cars plus another 4 to 6 hundred bucks for locomotives. Welcome to model railroading and to The Gauge. Oop's, forgot the cost of track and a power supply.
  11. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    just playing around i got one rivarossi big-boy 4-6-6-4 to pull 122 cars on a 1 pecent grade but i would never do that around a trainshow cause it take up half my layout! it was about id say 40 feet of a solid coal hopper train!.its almost stupid how much a real big-boy can pull.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think you might have problems running a 200 car train. On the modular club layout we have tried to see how long a train we could run when we have had a large set up. We have found that when the length gets too long, the weight causes the front cars to derail trying to pull the cars in back. If we put midtrain helpers on, it gets complicated trying to synchronise the throttles.
  13. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    what is the longest 1:1 scale train anyone has seen? I remember counting cars as a kid and seeing 100-150 sometimes.

    I'm lucky. The prototype I model couldn't manage more than 3-4 cars per train because of tight curves ans steep grades. 4+ a caboose is all I can manage on my layout as well!

  14. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I'll have to dig up that old magazine ad with the 500 car train and give the particulars. I seem to remember that they did have locos spread out through the train to deal with the slack and derailment problems.
  15. Big Boy is a 4-8-8-4, you either have a Challenger or you just miswrote the wheels.

    Yeah...200 cars? Good luck with that, I'm only going to try to run 12 or so!...

    In other words I have no idea how to go about doing this. I'm a total Big Boy fanatic, so whenever there's a mistake about one I just feel the need to spread the true wisdom of the Big Boy.

    sign1 [​IMG] [​IMG] bounce7
  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I've never seen as much as 150. Around here, trains in the 100-125 car range are normal for grain, potash and sulfur. Intermodal trains are usually 80-90 cars, and mixed freights are variable but usually shorter.

    Many US railroads do regularly haul 150+ car trains. Back in the 50s and 60s, the Chicago Great Western was famous for 200+ car trains pulled by large F-unit consists.

    In northwest Australia, 200-300 cars or even more are normal on iron ore trains.
  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Everything is big in Oz... don't they haul 4 or 5 trailers with a single truck cab too...!?! :eek:

    I know that CPR has had to lengthen some of its passing sidings out west. A few a well over a mile long now, and they still aren't long enough for some trains...!

  18. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    oops sorry about that spawn.i meant 4-8-8-4 my bad.
  19. Pete

    Pete Member

    That was back in the mid 80's and was done by MRC (Model Rectifier Corporation) to demonstrate the power of one of their powerpacks. I think it was 501 hopper cars, with maybe 8 or 10 engines spread through the length of the train. And it was chasing it's tail - just inches from the last car to the lead engine.
  20. jtloconut

    jtloconut Member

    My club has 35" and 33" radius curves, has about 90 feet double track main line. 3 locos pull around 90 cars. The problem making it longer is it wants to pull streaght in the curves. :cry:

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