# Minimum radius for long train?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by fastlane, Feb 29, 2004.

1. ### fastlaneNew Member

My walk around layout will have 48'' or more radius curves with long straights leading up to them. One peninsula sticks out 5'(60''wide) = 180 degree turn. Could I run a long train (75-100 cars) out on peninsula or will they derail? I hope this makes sense.
2. ### trainmasta13601Member

They Shuld not derail. I think it depends on the car your pulling. If they do try making for lead cars slightly heavyer and mabye lighten up your end cars.

Hope this helps
3. ### Will_annandActive Member

You will have to make sure they have strong couplers on them, that would be a lot of weight to pull.
4. ### neilmunckMember

I wouldn't have thought this would be a problem. You might have to put the long, light cars at the rear of the train and the heavier ones at the front of the train - but this is a problem real railroads had and that's what they did too so it is realistic.
5. ### Fred_MGuest

I run long trains and I agree the biggest problem becomes couplers. An example is, if your locos hit a dirty spot and jerk then the knuckle snaps off the coupler or the knuckle pops open, be it kadee, mchenry, whatever. I have also broke coupler pockets off and broke the shank on plastic couplers. If it happens in a curve then the center of the train can also be pulled into the center of the curve derailing it. Same with accelerating or slowing down with the train in a curve. And forget about pulling a long train up a curve (like a helix). S curves also play havoc with long trains as do under 30" radius curves ( I use 36 and 38 radius in the big train area). Also dips in the track cause uncoupling big time on long trains. Just a slight dip causes the couplers to work off center and then the pull and casting draft in the couple knuckles causes one to slide up and the other down and they detach (worse with plastic couplers and couplers that are longer than need be). For best results use kadee metals aligned perfectly, use the shortest coupler possible, and paint the coupler knuckle inside with acrylic paint for some surface roughness. Or use horn hooks which are superior in long train pulling reliability. And the longest I run are around 50! FRED

7. ### fastlaneNew Member

Good equipment is the key!!! Thanks But thats not what I wanted to hear. LOL Another roadblock. My rolling stock 350+ cars are mosty Tyco etc.(started collecting almost 40 years ago, only get about 10 out for Christmas) I have DCC and Atlas Masters. I did put Kadees on one end of 10 cars. Properly weighted cars with good hooks is the answer!! Noooo problem( unless the wife finds out) Thanks again. Don
8. ### jon-mononActive Member

Kadee couplers are not expensive if you ge tthe bulk pack:

http://www.1stplacehobbies.com/cgi-bin/prod.asp?pn=380-11

This does not include the draft gear box (i.e. coupler pocket), and you usually won't need it. You can get a pack of those cheap for the occasion that you might have to add the box:

http://www.1stplacehobbies.com/cgi-bin/prod.asp?pn=380-232

They have a selection of shims and bushings and such you may need as well.

http://www.1stplacehobbies.com/cgi-bin/prod.asp?pn=380-523

Or not:

http://www.1stplacehobbies.com/cgi-bin/prod.asp?pn=380-520

are not expensive either, and for me has worked well in the tyco and AHM trucks, but I don't know how long the plastic axle on a plastic bearing will last. Graphite them and they spin freely.

If the couplers are truck mounted, the best course is to replace the whole truck and mount the coupler to the body. That gets more expensive.

Oh ya, be sure ad get "The Tool" or the Exxact Socket" to clean out hte journals, highly recommended:

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9. ### Fred_MGuest

A cheaper solution to mount kadee style couplers into truck mount (talgo) is to use kadee talgo adapters 212 http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/page146.htm and medium shank Bachmann easymate II couplers. Though this doen't work well for really long trains they work great for 25 to 30 car trains and allows conversions for under \$1.50 per car. This is especially useful on cars, like the one I show, that would make it hard to install pockets. I use the ez mateII because it has a metal spring and cast in centering springs which makes installation a snap. FRED

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10. ### brakieActive Member

Actually proper weight has nothing to do with it nor the coupler style..You biggest problem to over come is YOUR train handling skills..We run 50 car trains(except for passenger trains and way freights) at the club as the norm.These cars at stock weight(weight that comes with the car*) and equipped with KD couplers.
99% of our problems with these long trains come from our new members that lack train handling skills until they get use to running these 50 car trains.You see one has to know when to apply power and when not to and must be done very smoothly-no sudden speed changes especially on curves.

* The only exceptions to this apply to front runners and impact cars.We add enough weight to bring these cars up to the stock weight of the common car kit.The club does not follow RP20.1.
11. ### Fred_MGuest

I still think couplers are important. Here's what happens to ez mates II if you overstress them. This was on a Walthers dash 8 40b pulling 33 cars on level track. Only horn hooks or kadees are reliable IMHO over 25 cars long. FRED

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12. ### Fred_MGuest

The eyelet where they wrap around the pin (hose) break as they are thin plastic. FRED

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13. ### brakieActive Member

Fred,You are quite correct..I goofed in my reply-I should have stated either the X2F or KD coupler will work on long trains..I guess my mind was faster then my finger or my finger was slower then my mind either way I just caught my mistake..I should have proof read before posting.

Like the real thing, when it helps, I use pushers. Just make sure they run the same as the lead units. Slower or faster will result in cussing.
15. ### trainmasta13601Member

I never tried this cuz i have DC but couldnt you just run a Loco or 2 in the center or close to end of your train? i mean your running DCC so it should not be jerky just a possiblity?
16. ### brakieActive Member

Trainmasta said:I never tried this cuz i have DC but couldnt you just run a Loco or 2 in the center or close to end of your train? i mean your running DCC so it should not be jerky just a possiblity?
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It does not matter if you use DC or DCC.You can run locomotives as mid train helpers.The key is to put the faster locos in the front unit constist and the units that are a little slower as mid train helpers ditto for pushers.It will balance its self out.
17. ### Fred_MGuest

If I'm reading this correctly you are assuming DCC elimates jerks and sputtering on dirty track. Sorry, but if anything it makes it worse depending on how you have your decoder setup. It definitly don't make them run better on dirty track . FRED
18. ### fastlaneNew Member

Hi Train Master,