N scale minimum radius question

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by crazyro, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. crazyro

    crazyro New Member

    Guys and gals, as I'm planning for a small shelf-type N scale layout for my garage, I was wondering if you can help me out. I love passenger trains, so my layout will be based on this type of operation. What is the minimum radius on some of, say Kato's EMU or DMU sets? I'm wondering if a 10" would be ok for these. I know that some 85' passenger cars will negotiate that, but it would look really, really bad, so I'm trying to stick to sets that may look "decent."

    Much appreciated.
  2. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    Welcome aboard...

    I'm not familiar with the sets you mentioned, but generally speaking most passenger cars with which I'm family will negotiate a 10 inch radius... barely.

    I use 19 inch radius on most of the visible part of the layout (with a couple of "cheats") and 11 inch radius in the staging areas, all with no worries. I can run passenger trains with no issues on all of this trackage, but it doesn't look very good on the 11 inch radius-- which is OK because no one sees it there.

    I would consider trying to go to at least a 15 inch radius if possible; 19 inch will allow everything I know in N Scale to run well and look reasonable.
  3. crazyro

    crazyro New Member

  4. TrainGuyRom

    TrainGuyRom Member

    I have had some Kato Uni-trak that is 11"R. My more modern passenger cars can take it, but like you said, look stupid. I agree that 15"R is a good minimum for passenger cars.

    If you are modeling an older period (such as 1890s-1940s although very few in the 40s) you can probobly get away with 10", but that's really pushing it. I suggest 11"R as a min. for 80s & back. most of my N scale trains can neggotiate that radius.

    Bottom line: Go like what he said 15"R

  5. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    I agree

    Before I read this I bought Kato unitrak 15" to test my amtrak superliners. They work great and don't overhang enough to sideswipe adjacent track.
  6. crazyro

    crazyro New Member

    Another problem I noticed is S curves. I know they are an issue on most radii anyway, but on the test 11" track I have, that'll be a big problem. Fortunately, on the layout I designed, I don't have any tight S curves.
  7. diesel

    diesel Member

    Hello All,

    I was just looking into kinda the same thing... I'm an HO modeler. I want to do an N gauge layout for home though as I don't have the space to do an HO layout here. I really only want to do bethgons and rolling stock to support a small ethanol plant. I do want to have a coal mine, the western coal flooder that is and if I can fit it a power plant. If I can fit that, I'd be happy.

    Anyway, I want to run SD70s and -9s. Is 11" radius ok, or do I need more open radius, can I get tighter? -9" radius?

    I have 2'x13' possibly turning into an 'L' for another 2'x4'. Does it sound like I can get those 3 industries in there without over crowding. I run BN/BNSF in HO, BUT may consider running CSX/NS ect. at home just for something different, especially if I can't fit everything. That would also change the scenery and what I have on the layout, I like to be 'somewhat' proto where I can. Our club layout is almost total Eastern freelance. Only the sequence of towns is realistic, but I don't even think the 'route' is real.

    What do you all think?

  8. TrainGuyRom

    TrainGuyRom Member

    I think 9"r is pushing it. Bu with 11" you have two inches between the ends. I don't know if those engines will run. I know in Bachmann's 2008 catolog, all of the standards will do OK, but the Spectrums require 19" (it says so in the catolog). Those industries will fit fine, unless they are massive, just spread them out along the line. Kato Unitrak is much more expensive than standard track. so if you want to do lots of track, go standard sectional and/or flex track.

    hope I helped,
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Most 6-axle diesels will run on 11"; I'm pretty sure all the Katos will. Apart from looks, of course, the issue is keeping rolling stock coupled. On these curves, you may need long-shank couplers on the engines.

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