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HO to G

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
HO to G
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, February 2, 2004 8:45 AM
Hello All,

I live in Phoenix AZ where the climate is mild in the winter and HOT in the summer and am considering going to G scale. I currently have a 5x12 HO layout in the garage but would like to landscape the backyard with a RR.

I have some thoughts on where I would like the track to go but haven't started the track planning yet. The area I would like to cover is an 'L' shape. The leg of the L is in grass with an in-ground spa and waterfall. This area is 30' by 55' wide. The vertical part of the L, at the end where the grass is, is 32' (for a total width of 87' across the back of the lot) this area tapers to 21' along the house up to the garage. The vertical part of the L is about 80' or so long. The 32'-21' by 80' is not landscaped yet - still in dirt. I would like to put a waterfall, pond and a walk-over bridge in this area as well as a place to sit and enjoy the backyard.

My questions, before I start the track planning, are:
1. Like HO, is there a recommended minimum curve radius?
2. Are switches (turnouts) numbered like HO - #4, #6, #8 etc.?

Thanks for any help,

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Monday, February 2, 2004 9:09 AM
Yes to both questions. The minimum radius you need will be dicated by the locomotives and rolling stock you intend or hope to ever own, and some turnouts are numbered. Which manufacturer's product you use is going to have an effect on this last part -- LGB turnouts are equivalent to something like a #2, but don't actually carry a number. AristoCraft makes true scale numbered turnouts. I use #6 stainless steel turnouts, which are 3 foot long. AristoCraft curved track comes in diameters from 4 foot to 20 foot, and you can get either Euro or USA style track. I use only AristoCraft track because it looks better and their crossties are UV resistant, which is vitally important to you and I here in Arizona. Another thing you MUST do in the Phoenix area is change all of the wheelsets on your rolling stock to metal. The rail is going to get so hot in the summer sun that it can melt plastic wheels. Sierra Vista, being at 5,600 foot altitude, is not as hot as Phoenix, but I use metal wheels because they sound and look better. Another possible solution you could consider would be to hand-lay track and bend your own curves. I've visited every hobby shop I could find in Tucson and Phoenix, and the only one that has G-scale is Arizona Train Depot, 755 E. McKellips, on the North side of Phoenix. He didn't have much track in stock, and doesn't carry AristoCraft stainless steel track, so I had to get my track through mail order. Most people use brass rail, which tends to corrode and require more cleaning than stainless.
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,737 posts
Posted by vsmith on Monday, February 2, 2004 9:41 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Snake

Hello All,

I live in Phoenix AZ where the climate is mild in the winter and HOT in the summer and am considering going to G scale. I currently have a 5x12 HO layout in the garage but would like to landscape the backyard with a RR.

I have some thoughts on where I would like the track to go but haven't started the track planning yet. The area I would like to cover is an 'L' shape. The leg of the L is in grass with an in-ground spa and waterfall. This area is 30' by 55' wide. The vertical part of the L, at the end where the grass is, is 32' (for a total width of 87' across the back of the lot) this area tapers to 21' along the house up to the garage. The vertical part of the L is about 80' or so long. The 32'-21' by 80' is not landscaped yet - still in dirt. I would like to put a waterfall, pond and a walk-over bridge in this area as well as a place to sit and enjoy the backyard.

My questions, before I start the track planning, are:
1. Like HO, is there a recommended minimum curve radius?
2. Are switches (turnouts) numbered like HO - #4, #6, #8 etc.?

Thanks for any help,




Welcome Snake-man.

Like Cacole said, dont use plastic wheels (I'm amazed they are still around on new items) and wider is better regarding curves. using the wider curves allows you the freedom to run almost any locomotive and cars. Most manufacturers are recommending 8' diameter (4' radius) as the minimum and some require 10' diameter (5' radius).

BE AWARE in large scale curves are referred to in DIAMETER not radius. This can lead to confusion if your coming from HO which uses radius as the primary measuring unit.

It mostly depends on how much space you have avalible and what type of trains you want to run. If the yard is very small then 4' diameter (the smallest) and small industrial type engines are wwhat you can run. Largers allowances mean you can run bigger trains. Aristo's big 6 axle diesels require a 8' diameter, while a smaller 4 axle engine can work on a 6' or 5' diameter.

It sounds like you have plenty of room for a large layout . Planning a layout outdoors is no different than HO indoors, just much bigger. the same planning technics apply. The primary differrence is that for outdoors most plan on continous running , not switching. Makes sense outdoors, you want to see the trains running. Good Luck with it.

   Have fun with your trains

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