maximum grade for "cut" not to roll

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by BigJim, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Anybody have some experience in this area?

    My current plan has some passing lanes where I might want to drop or park some passenger cars. Does this area need to be dead level so the cars won't roll to the main line? I was thinking about 1/2% to 1%. I think I can do what I want without it but it is easier with a slight grade in this area.

    Has anyone done their entire layout on a slight grade? I want a stream flowing out of a pond and it would seem to be easier if the entire layout had a 1/2 to 1% grade side to side.

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Whether the cars will roll or not depends entirely on how free rolling the trucks are. I have some Kato cement hoppers that roll so well that on any sort of grade at all, I have to put 1 truck in the ballast to keep them from rolling. If the rolling resistance of the trucks is greater than the pull of gravity, they won't roll. If not, they will.
  3. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Is using real water the reason why you want to build on a grade?

    It's not a real good idea to use real water if that's what you are planning.. For one thing, real water doesn't give the right illusion of depth at that small scale.. Real water also introduces a whole bunch of construction and maintenance issues to the layout that makes life a lot more complicated (waterproofing your layout's electricals, plus waterproofing your scenicking, and maintenance issues like mildew, etc.).

    I would stick with level grade and make the ponds and streams out of envirotex.
  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    My log cars will roll on almost any significant grade. they are metal and have Kadee trucks.
    Some prototype yards are on a grade out of necessity.
  5. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Not using water

    Since I have not been able to locate any HO scale water molecules to make it look right I am not going to use real water :)

    Both the terrain and majority of the track will be heading downhill to the left I thought it might be easier to tilt the entire layout rather than "cut & fill". I know this would require some work to keeo the track level side to side when transversing the grade but that might be easier.

  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Most free-rolling trucks start to roll with a weighted car at about a .75% grade. A very few will roll on a 0.5% grade. Passenger car trucks are generally not quite as free rolling, especially if they are 6 wheel trucks, or have electrical pickups for lighting.

    My rule of thumb is spurs and yards cannot have more than a 0.5% grade any place where a car is likely to be "parked".

    my thoughts, your choices
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Unless your objective is for the railroad to actually gain (or lose) altitude, it will be easier in the long run to build the track flat, and vary the terrain around it.

    One option for keeping cars in place is to have "weeds" growing between the tracks on the various sidings. As long as they can be "run over" without derailing the car, they should work. Either that, or you'll have to equip your models with working brakes... ;) :D

  8. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    One of the tricks I've heard of for parking cars on a grade (setting the brakes) is a wire, that comes up through the ballast and catches the axle. Usually this is connected to a "slow motion switch machine", and operated with a toggle switch, but could also be manually operated. Keeping sidings level is still the simplest way to keep cars from rolling away.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Yes. But then they have to leave the brakes on when a car is left on a track. Our models don't have brakes.
  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Another modeling trick to keep cars in place is to stick a piece of moderately heavy-gauge fishing line near the beginning of the spur, sticking out high enough where it will engage the axles of cars passing over the tracks. When pulled by a train, the fishing line will bend over and allow the trains to pass, but when being pushed backwards by the milder forces of gravity on a grade, the cars hit the fishing line and stop.

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