Steam locos compatible with 18" radius track

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by radodrill, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. radodrill

    radodrill New Member

    I'm interested in adding some steam locos to my collection; but am not sure what loco sizes will run properly on 18" radius track.
  2. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Very small ones. :)
  3. radodrill

    radodrill New Member


    I'm not expecting to be able to run 4-8-8-4 big boys or anything of that nature (don't have that much cash anyways).

    I have a Bachmann 2-8-0 that runs nicely on it but would like to know if locos such as a 4-8-2, 2-10-0, 2-6-6-2, etc. would or would not run on it.
  4. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    You'd be pushing it with the 8-coupled or larger. The IHC, Athearn and Trix mikes will do 18", as will the Spectrum 2-6-6-2 - but it's painful process.

    You're better off looking at smaller steamers, like the Spectrum 4-4-0, 4-6-0, 2-10-0 or the Roundhouse 2-6-0, 2-8-0, or the Proto 0-6-0, 0-8-0.
  5. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    I have a Mikado that runs on my 15", 18", and 22" curves very well. Also, I have an older Bachmann 4-8-4 that runs on them well, but it looks a bit funny. 4-6-2's and other 6 drivered engines will be best for 18" radius turns
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Check out the IHC 2-6-0. It's based on a Southern Pacific locomotive. Cheap and nice (I don't care for their other engines).

    Spectrum's 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 are also great.
  7. radodrill

    radodrill New Member

    Thanks a lot for the input :)

    Maybe I should note that all my rolling stock has knuckle couplers (I hate horn-hook) ; so I'd prefer not having to change the couplers on a new loco as well. Further, I just switched over to DCC and would prefer not having to install a decoder from scratch (not that I couldn't do it :cool:)
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    No one's mentioned a Pacific yet (4-6-2), so I'll recommend the IHC/Mehano Pacific. Not much of a looker in terms of detail, but can be made up nicely. Also a strong puller... :)

  9. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    A lot of the model compound steam locos(Big Boy, Allegheny) are designed for 18" radius curves(15" would really push it). They just look weird because of the overhang. Thats why, they really recommend a wider radius of 22" or greater.
  10. radodrill

    radodrill New Member

    Perhaps I should clarify that I'm trying to get a reference point as to what the largest steamers are that will properly negotiate 18" radius turns and not as much looking for recommendations for a specific make/model.

    The reason why I started this thread is that I once tried an old Bachmann 4-8-4 Class J and it would bind in the turns; so I don't want to run into that predicament again. I had also purchased a set of IHC heavyweight passenger cars and converted them to knuckle couplers only to find that they overhang in the turns and in general are too big for my layout (currently selling them on ebay).
  11. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    The early (Bachmann Plus) 4-8-4's would do 18" radius curves. I have a Niagara that will do it - but there's so much overhang on the tender that it puts a lot of strain on the couplers. The newer ones (Bachmann blue-box standard line) don't do it... for whatever reason, the drivers don't have the lateral play to make it around.

    Stick with steamers that have 4-axle tenders, too. The longer tenders you tend to get with 6 axles will give you overhang issues as well.
  12. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    My Marklin Big Boy, 4 8 8 4, runs easily on 18" radius track. No problem at all. It's articulated. Bob:mrgreen:
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Another issue can be that while the locomotive will negotiate the curves, it won't always allow its tender or train to stay on the tracks in the process.
  14. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. ;)
  15. Don7

    Don7 Member

    All of the above will run on 18" radius tracks, the 4-8-2 Spectrum Light not the Heavy which requires 22" minimum.

    Keep in mind that the larger engines will certainly not look their best though, I would suggest if possible nothing less than 22" except for hidden areas. And of course the overhang is extemely noticeable.
  16. rhtastro

    rhtastro Member

    My Marklin Big Boy tender with it's 10 axles easily stays on the track on 18" curves as does the rest of the 25 car train. I've yet to have a de-railment. Sure, there is overhang, but who cares, it's just a model.
  17. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    I have two engines for sale at extremely fair prices in the buy, sale , trade section that both run perfectly on 18 inch radius curves. The IHC 0-8-0 and the Rivarossi Hudson, 4-6-4. I have an 18 inch oval inside a 22 inch oval and these two engines are the ones I used on the 18" all the time, and they look good doing it----I'll make you a great deal on both--PM me-thanks------John R.
  18. jr switch

    jr switch Member

    Radodrill-----forgot to mention that both of these already have knuckle couplers and the 4-6-4 is already set up for DCC from the factory--John R
  19. Rivarossi Big Boy, DCC installed, $295 or so. Minimum radius, 16.5"
  20. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    The only problem is that there is no standard: as we have seen already in this thread, there are some big, long models that can handle an 18" curve that will derail a shorter locomotive. Generally, the more drivers you have the more tight curves will be a problem, but there are solutions, like blind drivers (the middle drivers not having flanges) or articulated chassis (only found on locos with two sets of drivers) or just the model company taking into account 18" curves when designing a model.

    The other factor is the trackwork: carefully laid track with easements and an 18" minimum radius can probably handle a longer locomotives than banged-up Snap-Track 18" curve sections.

    So, the answer is "it depends."

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