Rolling stock size

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Raistlin, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Raistlin

    Raistlin Member

    HI there. I am running an HO scale setup, with 18" radius curves, and was wondering what the maximum scaled size of rolling stock I can use without derailments.

    I have some 40' and 50' and they are fine, but I don't want to buy any bigger yet until I know how big I can safely get.

    Also, as a side note, I just bought a Broadway Limited Hudson J1e (TH&B) steam engine. Love it!!!

    Thanks for any information in advance.

    I posted a long time ago asking for advice on my layout. Unfortunately I had to take it down because my daughter grew up enough to reach the tracks and started pulling it apart on me. I have since moved rooms and starting building my layout up again.
  2. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I've gotten away with 60' harriman cars and an SD9, but I wouldn't dare go bigger, I've tried that. Any car longer than about 60'-65' will have ulta-unrealistic overhang and may take out some you your (future?) scenery! :eek:

    By the way congrats on the BLI hudson! (does it take the turns well? :thumb:
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Athearn 72 foot "shorty" passenger cars work on 18 inch radius, so I think you would be ok with up to 60 foot cars like mill gons. I would not try any 85 foot or bigger cars.
  4. Raistlin

    Raistlin Member

    It does take the turns well. On a simple elongated circle. haha. I am building the layout more complicated now with a bridge, and some turnouts. I haven't got it complete yet, but it did go fine on the 18" curves in my initial tests.
  5. Raistlin

    Raistlin Member

    Awesome! Thanks for the information. I feel more evil plans forming haha.
  6. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    I used to belong to a modular club that used 18 inch radius track and found darn few larger cars that could negotiate the curves with a comfortable margin of safety (making a complete lap around the track without derailing most of the time). I feel that the Athearn passenger cars (streamliner or standard) were safe bets. MDC Harriman coaches are fine, too, when they are properly weighted (I would double the weight furnished in the kits).

    BTW, I used to run a Rivarossi (or AHM) 4-6-6-4 Challenger with a centipeded tender on 18" radius without a derailment problem. I am convinced that the oversized wheel flanges were a factor. It may not be prototypical, but it really shows off the articulated quality of the engine and becomes a topic for conversation. And, who loves a conversation about trains more than a train nut?

    While on the subject of reliability, I would like to remind you to check coupler heights of all of your cars to prevent them from disengaging on uneven track. Nothing more embarrassing that some little kid yelling: "Hey, Mister, you left half of the train in the tunnel."

    Please share your experiences with us.
    Yours Trolley,

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