Minimum Curves

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by rockislandmike, Jan 24, 2002.

  1. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    My wife has promised me half the basement for my trains whenever we buy our first house. While this is no doubt at least a couple of years away, I've been busy sketching when not working on my small office layout, assuming the house was the same size as the one we're now renting (i.e., the train area would be 25' x 15').

    While it's made me change my mind on what to model on the 4x8 in the garage (i.e., I'm going to model a 4x8 section of the final layout so it can just be plunked right in when the time comes), my mind has turned to minimum curves.

    The mainline that runs from end to end, specifically. While 36" minimum curves seem excessive to me (especially when I want it to loop at each end), I was thinking more like 26" (the final loop would probably be 26" easements into 22" curves).

    My question (which is finally just about here) is this: does any trackmaker make HO track with greater than 22" curves, or would I have to use flextrack for that??? I checked Atlas' website, and all they have is 18" and 22".
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    I'd say use flex track for everything (except turnouts, etc., duh). Longer sections means less joints means less problems. Also you mentioned easements, you can make them a lot better with flex.
    Bill K
  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    If you're using 4x8 dimentions, & wanting to loop the train around the end of the 4x8, then 22" is going to be about the maximum you can get away with in that amount of space.
    Regardless of what minimum radius you settle on, flex track is always the better way to go. In addition to giving you more freedom in laying out a track plan, it also looks better, & gives you better performance.
  4. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member


    I agree with Bill on this one. I use all flex track on straight aways. I use curved sections on my turns. The local model club has told me, "Use the largest turning raduis as possible."

    Cab you believe that I have 18" curved track at an "S" turn? Make things even more complex, I run my IHC passenger cars on it!!!:eek:


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  5. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    You're looking at a possible 25'X15' layout, and you want to , in the mean time, do 4'X8' which will be incorporated into the larger, in the future. So,,,,, 36" radius curves are not excessive. This is about a 22 degree curve, and sharp, especially if you are running dash9, or 70,80,90 mac with modern freight. Why don't you start the planning for the larger layout, and select a portion of the final plan to do 4'X8'. Make the smaller a switching layout that could become part of the larger, but if plans change for the larger, you still have a switching layout to play with. The 8'X10' modular layout I built while on active duty had 24" minimum radius curves(hand laid), which were the biggest I could use in the space I had. They appeared fine with steam era equipment, but six axle SDs,auto racks,89' box cars,etc had too much overhang(or maybe that was hangover), and didn't look good.
    No question in my mind, use flex track!

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