Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by xnavyguy_bm3, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. xnavyguy_bm3

    xnavyguy_bm3 New Member

    I have alot of 15" radius track from when I was a kid. Now I am working with my 9 yr old son on his train. Are 15" radius track pieces ok to use, or am I gonna have alot of derailments?
  2. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    18" radius is the commonly accepted minimum radii, however I believe 15" will be okay if you are going to operate very small locomotives and freight cars. You also want to keep in mind if the old track is brass it will be harder to keep clean, when brass corrodes/tarnishes the residue is non-conductive and will cause erratic operation.

    I probably would go with minimum 18" radius nickel silver.

  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I agree with Dave. Buying new track is cheaper than putting up with the frustration.

  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I'd stay away. 15" will work okay for locos and cars that are either very short (switchers and <40 foot cars), but for anything larger that couplers must be truck mounted. Since most of the new stuff on the market today has body mounted couplers, you will be forced to run old used equipment that didn't even run that well even when it was new. If your layout is small (4x8), it won't cost that much to replace your track. The frustration you will save will be worth the extra few bucks.

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have used down to 9" radius with a traction layout that use MDC 36' cars. I wouldn't use the 15" radius with modern equipment.
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    HO or N?

    HO, only for small engines & short cars.
    N, fine for anything.
  7. xnavyguy_bm3

    xnavyguy_bm3 New Member

    Well, thanks for the info. I just wasnt sure if the 15" was ok or not. I will rethink my track plan. i will just have to let the wife know that i have to make the layout BIGGER!! I am sure she will just be thrilled! lol
  8. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...All of the above opinions are pretty much in keeping with standard practices...
    Now...as to the wife...Generally they'll shrug a bit when the word "layout" comes up, or just mutter something under their breath about men & toys...When both words "layout" and "bigger" are used together...their reaction is unpredictable, ranging from the above-mentioned shrug & mutter, to the extreme of throwing dishes and/or locking you out of the house...You take your pick....sign1

    It's probably better to just make it bigger, on the chance she won't notice it....:mrgreen:
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    It is always easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission sign1

    As for the old 15" track, try to do without it. If it's brass, definitely junk it. It'll be more trouble than it's worth.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You haven't mentioned what scale you are going to build,yet. If ho, there is nothing wrong with 15 inch radius as long as you don't want to run anything too big to handle that tight radius. If you model the 1940's or 1950's with either yard type switchers or a gp 20 as your biggest engine and keep freight car lengths at 40 feet or below, it should operate fine. If you have the space, getting some 18 and 22 inch radius curved pieces to transition into and out of the 15 inch radius will make for better operation. I don't know how old you are or how long you have had the track, but I bought some nickle silver snap track pieces in 1980.
  11. xnavyguy_bm3

    xnavyguy_bm3 New Member

    i think i am just gonna buy some flex track and go a bit bigger. i believe the bigger the better anyway!!
  12. xnavyguy_bm3

    xnavyguy_bm3 New Member

    I am building in HO scale. my old track is from in the late 70's early 80's. i know that it is brass. i have part of the layout done, and have run the engine over the few brass sections i do have and they run fine. will they not run fine in the future? i never had a problem in the past with that track. just had to clean every once in a while.
  13. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    The problem with brass track is that you do have to clean it quite often. The reason you have to clean it is that it oxidizes (like steel rusts, but faster). The oxide is non-conductive. So the rails eventually become insulated, and your trains won't run well.

    Nickle-silver track oxidizes too, but its' oxide conducts electricity, so you don't have to clean it as often.

    Something I don't think anyone's investigated is what happens when you mix both types of track. As anyone who works with metals will tell you, when two different metals come into contact, you're setting yourself up for corrosion... in our scenario probably only at the joint, but it would be much faster than having only one type of metal rail.

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