Question from a newbie

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Play-Doh, May 13, 2006.

  1. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Howdy Folks, Im brand new here and brand new to the hobby to so bear with me if this sounds like I stupid question, but if ive learned anything about this hobby is that its all about asking questions. Ill do my best to give all the info I can.

    My problem is this:

    I am using HO scale and I have laid a basic oval layout on a 4x8 sheet. The ends of the layout (the turns) are 22 degrees radius turns (as suggested by a person at the hobby store).

    On the oval, closer one end, I am doing a turnout that links up with the other side (So technically its a 22 degree circle connected to one side) Here is a pic (of one end)


    I have allready laid roadbed and bought flextrack. I also purchased a couple electric switch turnouts. The problem is this. On the back it says the additional piece included (which I am not using) is for an 18 degree turn. Since I am not using this, I just backed the turnout up a bit and attached my flextrack and the 22 degree circle seems just fine. Will this still work? Here is a pic.
    I have not yet purchased cars or a loco (I have been told since this should have been my first purchase) so will this cause a derailment? Again, I am using Flextrack (code 100) and I am not using the add on piece. The man at the hobby store said that since I am using flextrack and keeping the radius intact, it would not be a problem but I would like a second opinion.

    Any thoughts on this would be most appreated.

    Thanks, and I look forward to getting to know you folks.

  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    As long as where your rails join do not have any kinks, you should be OK. Also, keep in mind you should buy engines that can handle such tight curves-- That means stick with 4-axle diesels or smaller steam engines. Don't expect an SD90MAC or UP Big Boy to go around those curves without problems.

    Good luck!
  3. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    THanks for the info, good to know...Just a couple more questons.

    When people say "Kink in the rail" are they reffering to an actual crease in the rail or something else?

    Also, you mentioned bigger engines may be a problem. (I know VERY little about engines) but I am planning on buying a UP #7000 MT-73 4-8-2 Steam Loco. Would this be a suitable for those turns?

    Thanks again for the help!
  4. Wyomingite

    Wyomingite Member

    Hi There PlayDoh,

    When you join your flex track somes times you get the piece you cut to long. This will kink your track pushing it right or left If it comes together nice and straight you will be fine. That extra piece that comes along with the switch is used with section track so don't worry about it. I'm in N-gauge so I'll let the size of your engine up to the Ho guys. Thats a fair sized engine so it could be a problem. Someone will join in and answer that question for you. Welcome aboard and have fun building your layout.

    Ron :wave: :wave: :wave:
  5. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    The Kink everyone is speaking of can be eliminated by not cutting the long inside rail. Slide the next one in to match it. Do this at each joint and the staggered rail joints will solve the kink problem. I only cut the long rail at the turnout where must to make it work. Also keep the rail that slides on the inside of the curve. As far as the 4-8-2 is concerned I am not sure because I don't have tight turns. My tightest is 33 inches, but it probably will be OK.
  6. i own a nyo&w ursa lt 4-8-2 and 2 conrail 8-40cw and none of them have a problem with my 22" rad
  7. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Thanks for all your help folks. One last question.

    Should I hold off on ballasting the track until I have bought my Loco and tested the track? I have one freight car coming that will be part of my rolling stock, so I can run this around the track by hand and test it, or should I wait till I have tested it with my loco?

    Thanks again
  8. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge:wave: what are the makers minium radius requirments for that loco ?and on the track make shure the rail ends line up .
  9. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    After doing some reasearch on that loco it seems that it recomends the 24" for best maybe that is not the best to go not well educated in locos....but I am wanting to go union pacific steam era, 1930-1950. Can anyone recomend a steam engine that could handle 22" curves and as small as 18" curves? I really would like to keep it union pacific steam. Or, if not, a website where I could find one?

    Or, does this loco "recomendation" have some gray area and might it still be able to handle the 22s and 18s. Heres a link to the loco.

    Thanks again folks, its nice to find some answers.

  10. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    the BLI has 22 listed as the min. rad. :) but a smaller loco like a 2-8-2 might be better.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The U.P. ran a lot of USRA small mikados (2-8-2) that is one of the most common steam locos made by manufacturers over the years. The 2-8-2 should work well. For passenger service a Pacific (4-6-2) or Hudson (4-6-4) type should work well. Those types of locomotives are offered by Mantua, IHC, Model Power, I think BLI may offer some of them, and Athearn Genesis. I'm not sre if Bachmann offerd any in the Spectrum line. The only one I know of in that line was the K-4 Pacific and that was a distinctly Pennsy model.
  12. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    I think I am going to go with a 4-6-2 UP. I am (eventually) run both a freight line and passenger line but I would like to use the same engine. This sounds best for it. Thanks for all your help folks.

  13. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    As far as ballast goes in my opinion do it last. I wait untill all other scenery is done before I venture into ballast. If you do it now you will spill something on it and it is hard to clean up.
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I test the track and wiring thoroughly before ballasting; in fact I've been testing my layout for about 10 years.
    There are 2 ways to have kinks in the track. If your hobby shop leaves the flextrack out where the general public can get at it, it develops right angle bends and other formations that never fully straighten out.
    If you don't line up track joints carefully you can get angles at the joints. Also if your flextrack rail ends don't want to be circular.
  15. Play-Doh

    Play-Doh Member

    Good advice folks, and thank you. I am going to hold off on ballasting till I test the track completely.
    I have narrowed it down and I think I am going to buy a 2-10-2, DCC Ready, UP Steam from IHC. I was shocked to hear from the person selling it to me that it can handle 18" turns...although im sticking with 22s for now. I had no idea an engine that size could handle a turn like that. Before I buy this, I want to ask the experts. Can this truley do an 18? I could find no documentation online about the radius. Does anyone know of a website for this IHC loco? (Where it mentions the radius?)
  16. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Rivarossi made big boy that would run on 18" .
  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    What does IHC say about minimum radius for their 2-10-2? It is possible that a 2-10-2 will require a bigger radius than a 4-8-8-4 simply because the 5 axle set of drivers may need a bigger radius than a solid 4 axle set, and the big boy has 2 4 axle sets with a hinge in hinge middle.
  18. Agamemnon

    Agamemnon Member

    Has to be the Big Boy's articulation, yeah. They probably made a fair bit of compromises to make it run on most domestic railroads.

    It's always best to take recommendations with a pinch of salt. For example, the Bachmann DDA40X can't negotiate its "recommended" 24" alone, and I think it'd take 36"+ to make it carry a train through in one piece.
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Bear in mind that the 18 "degree" curves you refer to are in fact 18" radius, and the Atlas Snap Switches (turnouts) you are using are built on the geometry of an 18" radius curve. So even if you have a bigger radius after that, the engine will still have to negotiate that little bit of 18" radius.

    With a 4x8 base though, you are limited to 18" and 22" radii if you want a complete loop. I used snap switches, and 18" and 22" radius curves on my first 4x8, and it ran well. I did not use any steamers with more than 6 drivers (i.e. x-6-x), and most freight cars limited to less than 50 scale feet. Worked well.

  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One thing we discovered at the modular club in one setup a few years ago. Most if not all "plastic" articulated locomotives are made to run on tighter model railroad curves. They all have two pivot points on the drivers, a pivot at the center of each set. On brass models, they are faithful to the prototype, and the pivot is a single hinge between the driver sets. We had a guy run a brass challenger 4-6-6-4 on the layout and the overhang of the front of the boiler was so bad that we could only run it on the outside main, and then only because there were no scenery elements to the outside of the tracks that would foul the locomotive. We run a 36 inch minimum radius; but for a brass big boy or challenger, the minimum radius should probably be more like 40 inches or more.

    Also one comment on Andrews observation of the radius of snap switches. Quite often a locomotive that won't negotiate a constant 18 inch radius, will make it through a snap switch or even a single piece of 18 inch radius track as long as the curves on either side of the 18 inch are larger radius.

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