Your Idea's....

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Amtrk14, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Amtrk14

    Amtrk14 New Member

    Hi Guys,

    I'm looking into possibly re-doing my HO Scale layout this winter, and I would like some advice. I am open to all ideas....

    Some info:

    1. Have a 8 x 12 work area where layout can go...accessible from all but one side...

    2. Would like 24-26 inch radius curves...nothing bigger...

    3. I model the modern era...

    4. Would like one main line that doen not just follow the edges of the table (in other words, I don't want a huge oval)...

    I have been playin around with the idea of a 2-Level layout. But I don't know how a helix would work. If a helix could work, I would use 22" radius curves on it....

    Hopefully you guys can give some ideas on a cool track plan. I am all out of ideas.

    Thanks in advance, and Happy Holidays.

  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Sean, I am no good at track planning either. I find a track plan on the net, and modify to fit my area. A good place is mike's small track plans. Thier "N", but with your area, you could rescale them.
  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Is it an 8' side or a 12' side that's against a wall?
    Why nothing bigger?
    That'll make quite a steep grade. Usually, helices need broad curves.

    The 8x12 space obviously can't be a solid rectangular table. There'll have to be operating space in the middle. In this size range, the main question is: Can you accept a duckunder to a central operating area?
  4. Hey Sean, I am also relative new to HO RR modeling and before joining this board I had used Atlas layout #19 (double dog bone with a branch) as a starting point and modified it to where I was happy. Some of the people on here have some terrific thoughts and ideas.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    A helix using 22" radius curves will require a 4.1% grade to climb just 3 inches and a 5.5% grade to climb 4 inches in one turn if my calculations are correct.
  6. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    2*pi*r = circumference, so 2 * 3.14 * 22 inches = 138.16"...

    To climb 4 inches with 22"r, the grade would be 4" / 138.16" = 2.9%. That's actually not too bad.. But the rolling resistance is greater on a curve, so most likely one loco should pull only a relatively short train of around 10 cars or less to get up that helix.

    The chief advantage to having a wide helix is you are able to make it climb higher per turn, and the increased space between turns makes it easier for you to reach in with your hands and fingers to rerail/retrieve derailed cars. I'd say give it a shot if you don't have much room but want a double-decker layout. If you got a lot of room, a wider helix is definitely more preferable to make it easier on the locos and easier for you to clean up derailments or other accidents.

    Hope this helps!
  7. Amtrk14

    Amtrk14 New Member


    Thanks for your calculations.

  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Thanks Tom, I got the right circumference, but missed on the grade % calculations. It has been 40 years since I took math in school.
  9. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Heck, I'm a math idiot too. :D I didn't comprehend all those equations until after an exam, when I had some time to try to understand it rather than just cramming it in overnight. sign1

    Amtrk14: From your handle, am I to assume you will be pulling stuff like Amfleet cars up that helix? I'd say a stock Athearn P42DC locomotive or a Kato F40PH can probably handle up to 5 Amfleets going up a 22"r helix. None of the Amfleets out there (Walthers or Bachmann) are particularly free-rolling. :rolleyes:

    One can try to increase the power of the engines by adding weights.. Good thing about passenger locos like the P42 or the F40PH is that they got plenty of internal space for that!
  10. Amtrk14

    Amtrk14 New Member

    If I do the helix, I will be pulling 9 Walthers Superliner Cars with 2 - 3 AMD-103's. I model the Western Trains...Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner...

  11. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member


    Yea 3 of those AMD103 P42DCs should be able to handle 9 Walthers Superliners. Just make sure your power delivery system is up to the task (bus and feeder wires, power booster for DCC, etc.) The Athearn P42s have motors do eat up quite a few amps, especially with those notoriously non-free-rolling Walthers trucks on the Superliners.

    I model southern New York State railroading so I also have a sizeable fleet of Athearn AMD103s and Walthers passenger coaches. :thumb: One of my AMD103s is on the sacrificial altar right now, to be hacked into a P32AC-DM-- The dual-mode AMD103 unique to my area. :cool:
  12. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

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