track curves/turns

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by the_kid, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. the_kid

    the_kid New Member


    I'm starting my first layout 1.2m x 4.8m (3.9' x 15.8') and although I have a good idea of what I want to do, but I need a little advice on curves. Can anyone tell me what is the smallest diametre I can make my curves/turns. I know it may depend on the length of trains I will be using. That's OK my sets are not that long.

    Any information would be appreciated.

    Secondly, what does WYE stand for? I have read several books and articles about WYE's and I know what they are about, but I don't know what WYE stands for.


  2. 91rioja

    91rioja Member


    As for the curves, we would need to know what scale (N, HO, O, etc) to give you a smallest radius. As for WYE, I think it is just the phonetic spelling and really doesn't stand for anything.
    Then again, I could be wrong.
  3. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Ya, Chris is right, Kid, it's just like plumbing, ya got ells, tees, and wyes:thumb: :) :)
  4. the_kid

    the_kid New Member

    Curves etc

    Thanks cid & chris

    Duh ! Of course... How dumb of me.

    My layout is/will be in HO scale. Also, are flexible tracks better for curves or should I use the standard fixed peices.

    Thanks for your help
  5. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Kid, I would use flex track for sure. You can get away with a 20" on the 45" table, but
    I would expand the 2 ends if it's at all possible and get a 24.5" radius outside a 22"
    radius for a more realistic appearance, if you have a double main line.
    The benchwork you propose is pretty big to fit in a room. You might want to consider that
    the actual floor space you need is at probably least 2 feet bigger all around. An
    around-the-walls layout might be more to your liking, since you're starting out big anyway.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Even more important than short trains for tight radius is short equipment. You didn't mention what type of equipment you will be running.
  7. the_kid

    the_kid New Member

    Curves etc


    My sets are usually about 15" - 18" long and each peice abous 4" - 5".

  8. the_kid

    the_kid New Member

    Curves etc


    My sets are usually about 15" - 18" long and each peice about 4" - 5".

  9. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Are you modeling Modern day? If so what types of engines will you have. If you want to have big engines (ie. 6 axle) then you will need at least 22 degree radius for the mainline(s). I have 22 degree radius on my mainlines. If you will have smaller engines (ie. 4 axle) I would still recomend at least a 22 degree radius for the mainline(s), just in case you change your mind and want to run the BIG BOYS (SD70MAC ...) For the yards and sidings, it depends on what cars will be rolling down the tracks. I mostly use 18 degree radius. But then again I don't have huge 89' boxcars or autoracks, those require at least 22 degree radius. Most of the time though, you will be able to use 18 degree or 15 degree in a tight spot. Don't use 15 degree if you want anything bigger than 50' cars on there though.
  10. the_kid

    the_kid New Member

    Hi Josh

    I have an old British Tri-ang set which a friend gave me and was old when he was young. I have several Thomas the Tank Engine sets and rolling stock as well as a Harry Potter, Hogwarts Express. I know they are not in the same league as other Guage members trains, but I am just starting out.

    I have had several ideas about themes for my layout and I want to do something completely different from old time and am thinking about some sort of fantasy layout for my granddaughter. I want to have the trains traveling through nursery rhyme scenes, visiting different characters and places.

    I am having a room built above my garage which is about 7m x 5m (23’ x 15’) for my layout/s. Unfortunately I have to share it with the boss, for her sewing. But there is still plenty of room for both of us.

    I’m quite happy to just plod along and learn from my mistakes (of which there will be many. I’m sure). Thanks for your advice, it will be most helpful when I get going.

  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'm not familier with all of the trains you mentioned, but I think the Thomas and Hogwarts will operate nicely on 18 inch radius or even smaller. If you are going to stick with small British steam engines, you won't need the large radius curves, and you can get more railroad in a smaller space.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Can you take it all the way around the walls of the room? Or a lot of the way? You could make the scenes as dioramas or modules which could be a foot to two feet deep and maybe 4 feet long. Or just make the scenes on a base that can be placed on the railway. (This will be flexible for when your granddaughter grows a bit older.)
    With all that space, try to get large curves in the corners. A large curve doesn't cut into the room much farther than a sharp one and will pay off in the long run.
    Old Tri-ang may be a problem on modern track -- the wheel standards were coarse and variable so the flangeways on switches and crossings were made wide, and modern stock has problems with them.
  13. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Here is a Montana, USA interpretation of the word wye. Think of the letter Y. One track diverging into two. Around here the term is also used to denote roads that split and go different directions. Also used as a way of denoting location. "Go to the Wye Tavern and take a left". A wye is also used where there is no turntable available, to turn locomotives at the end of a branch line.
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    In railroading terms a wye is more than a letter "Y", it is the "Y" with a bar across the two top pieces making a delta shape with three switches, and three tails long enough for a train to get clear of a switch so itr can be thrown to allow a backing move to turn the train around.

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