Still planning

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by NewGuy, May 5, 2005.

  1. NewGuy

    NewGuy Member

    I know that in the prototypical world, you would never see much more than a 2.5% or even 3% grade. But, in modeling, would it be acceptable to increase this just a little to save a little space? Or would it really make a long cut of cars too hard to pull up the grade? I have this idea for an "elevated track" through the mountains, but don't know if I reach that level from the rest of the layout with out a pretty steep climb. Any thoughts?

  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Modellers have used some pretty steep grades but the usual penalty is that a loco can only pull fewer cars up the grade than it can pull on the level. Another way around it is to add one or two more locos as helpers just like the real railroads do, even though grades are seldom more than 2% in the real world.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Other ways to gain elevation include:

    - Using a helix
    - A "nolix" - in which your entire layout (especially around the room types) are on a grade that is steep enough to provide separation by the time you get back around.
    - a train elevator
    - cassettes or other 0-5-0 type switching...

  4. jasbourre

    jasbourre Member

    I have a 6% grade it look odd, so I but some buildings around it to hide the elevation, oh yes I also have two locos pulling the load. And it climbs nicelly.
  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    New Guy,
    I wanted to do the same thing. I ended up going to 4% max, but I only plan on running short trains. From my research, most modelers don't like to go over 2%. I also cheated by using 2" foam over my entire layout. That way I can cut the scenery away and make the higher portions seem that much higher without increasing the grades. If you can't raise the bridge, lower the water.

    There have been numerous prior posts on this topic. You might want to do some searching through the archives.
  6. NewGuy

    NewGuy Member

    Thank a million for all the info. Guess I will have to go back the drawing board and see what develops. Wish me luck....

  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Also keep in mind that if you put a grade on a curve, it will effectively increase the effort required to pull a given train up the hill. For example, a 4% grade might be doable on a straight, but don't try it on an 18" radius...!

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    JD: if you are trying to cross tracks, you can have the lower track go even lower so that the top track doesn't have to go so high.
    There are other tricks. You can tilt some of the scenery (the horizontal lines next to the grade) so that it looks as if it's climbing more.
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One solution would be to build a test track complete with some "S" curves on a one by twelve and prop up one end at different grades and see what effect it has on your locomotives pulling power. There is nothing wrong with putting extra power on the head end to get the tractive effort needed to pull the grade. In the steam era they used helpers to get loads up and over mountain passes all of the time. On Cajon they used to use helpers to get trains up the grade, then make light engine moves to get the helpers back down to be available to help the next train up. They also used to put a string of empty cars behind a loaded train at the summit of Cajon for extra breaking while bringing the train down hill. Now they put the helpers on the train to get up the grade, and then at the top, they'll switch them over to the next train going down to get extra dynamic brakes on the train to help hold it back coming down.
  10. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    I wouldn't be too frightened of bigger grades. Sure, grades on curves count as tricky, and anything over 2% is going to require shorter trains or more engines, but it happens. It isn't prototypical for huge trains crossing continents, but it certainly is for smaller branch lines and shorter trains, grades up to 7 or 8% exist (though are rare) in the real world on main lines, and certainly in logging and mountain railways. Try to make them realistic, though -- if you make them go up gratuitously they'll look toy-like. Make a big grade up a serious-looking mountain and it'll look much better.

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