Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

2 Qs.. One on scale of trains, the other....

694 views
11 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
2 Qs.. One on scale of trains, the other....
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 2:21 PM
Hi,

I have 2 Questions for the Model Railroaders out there...

First, what is the normal amount of cars on an HO scale train? Some people have told me 20 is the actual norm.

Second, I have both 18 and 15 radius track on my layout design. Will I be able to run the newer 60, 70 and 80-some foot cars-such as car carriers, centerbeam flats, and trailer train Intermodal cars? I am also concerned about passenger cars, they being really long. Thanks again guys. I love coming here, because I get the answers that I am seeking! You guys are great. Thanks again.

-Wolv33
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 7:33 PM
Question #1.... I'd say that 20 freight cars would be about right for a good looking train. I'm persuming that you aren't asking as to how many cars can an HO train pull...that has a lot of varibles. 10 Passenger cars looks good too.

Question #2....You might be able to get by with 50 or 60 foot cars on 18" radius track. There will be a lot of overhang on the cars in the train and false uncoupling might be a problem. As for anything in the way of a longer cars...70ft passengers cars will operate on 18" radius track provided they have truck mounted couplers but again there will be a lot of overhang. As to the 15" radius track you are going to be limited to 40 foot or shorter cars and even the 40 footers are going to have trouble. Unless your 15" curves are anywhere else besides a slow speed switching area you might want to re-thing the track plan a bit and see if you can eleminate them...Hope this helped....Vic
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Niue
  • 735 posts
Posted by thirdrail1 on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 8:18 PM
If you plan to use 15 and 18 inch radius curves in HO, forget about using ANY car longer than 40 feet or any locomotive bigger than a small switcher like an SW1. The curves you are suggesting are tight for autorack and 85 ft. passenger cars in N scale!
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 4:16 AM
Thanks Vic,

Your help is always appreciated. In this instance though, heheheheh....since I have went back and forth to the computer to design this thing, it comes as a bit of frustration. Oh well... better to have it right than not right at all. Thanks again.

-Wolv33
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 4:19 AM
Hi Gregg,

So, I should use the 22 radius instead? They do not make anything larger than that, other than the Atlas flex-track.... HELP!

-Wolv33
  • Member since
    June 2001
  • From: Anderson Indiana
  • 1,173 posts
Posted by rogerhensley on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 6:32 AM
22 inch radius? Yes. However, you will still have overhang problems with long passenger cars. You seem to reject flex track, but that would be the best if you have the room.

In my case, I use 22 inch and my shorter Athearn 'shorty' passenger cars work well, but the longer scale cars don't.

15 inch radius is great for old time cars and locos as most of them are 28 to 40 foot long.

Roger

Roger Hensley
= ECI Railroad - http://madisonrails.railfan.net/eci/eci_new.html =
= Railroads of Madison County - http://madisonrails.railfan.net/

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 7:07 AM
22" would be much better, if you've got the room. As others have said, you're going to be disappointed when you try to run longer trains on 15" or 18". (I disagree that 20 cars is "right" for an train, but that's a different issue.) It sounds like you're willing, and perhaps have the space, to do some redesign before you get started. I'd strongly suggest it.

Why did you mention only Atlas flex track? There are lots of different manufacturers of track. Are you intending to use one of the products that has the roadbed and track together, or are you using cork or homosote?
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 8:52 AM
I never intended to imply that 20 cars in a freight train and 10 cars in a passenger train are the exact numbers to look "right". The question as posed was what would look good. If we want to be prototypical....
The length of of a thru train is determined by the amount of tonnage to be moved from one destination to another. Factored into this are varibles such as available motive power, tractive effort of the available power, percent of grades to be encountered, fuel consumption, track conditions, and other traffic on the line. Real railroads don't run in circles as do our models and cost effectivness is their primary concern.
Take Care and Have Fun....Vic
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 14, 2002 7:33 AM
Hi,

I went and re-designed the layout with 24 radius track. However, I just have the mainline on the design, with a branch line running from one end of the main to the other. I gave up trying to figure out which turnouts to use, since I want the longer cars to be able to be used. I watched a UP train come through here yesterday, and she had a lot of the longer cars on her, so dropping those types of cars is NOT an option for me.

I use Atlas track exclusively, and I made a small error in saying that 22 radius track was all they had, besides the flextrack. I prefer to use the cork roadbed that Woodland scenics has, because it is already beveled out at the right angle to add ballast to. Right now the design calls for 8 x 4 plywood sheets rather than benchwork. However, I ordered the Benchwork book from Kalmback, so that may change-especially since my design would take a lot of 8 x 4 sheets of plywood!

My question now is, what turnouts to use??

I was totally used to using the standard snap switch turnouts that Atlas has, but with the 24 radius track I gather I am going to have to use the #6 and #4 custom turnouts.

My problem with this is that to make a track straighten after a turnout, I used to use 2 1/3 18 radius off the curved end of the switch, or I would use a 1/3 18 and 2 1/2 18 and it would straighten out. Using the #4 or #6 I cannot get it to straighten nomatter how hard I try. Would it be possible to use the snap switches for industry spurs, sidings and yard areas, or do I HAVE to go to the custom turnouts? And.... what pieces used yield a straight track after placing a custom turnout? I hope I am coming off clear here. Thanks.

-Wolv33
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 14, 2002 7:37 AM
No problem Vic, I knew what you meant.

I have decided to go with 20-25 car trains and 2 or 3 motive power (1 powered 2 dummy) on most trains. Ten Amtrak cars is the norm I have seen around here, so that was good advice too. On coal trains I will be using 4 motive power (1 powered 3 dummy) and one (dummy) at the end of the train-like I have seen come through here a lot.

Thanks for the advice.

-Wolv33
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 14, 2002 9:26 AM
Hey Wolv, Glad your ordered that benchwork book. I think you are really going to like the L-Girder methods described in the book because it gives you way more flexibility with track and scenery that a flat sheet of plywood. It will look complicated at first but once you build the first piece you will be amazed at how fast you can knock it out. My layout is 18x22 and I built all the benchwork in one day!!! About the turnouts...since you want to go with the Atlas you are limited to #4 and #6's. The general rule of thumb is #6's on the mainlines and #4's in the switching areas. Of course we all have to make adjustments for the space we have available. I'd stay away from the Snap Switches if you can considering the length of the cars you want to run. A snap switch's curve is equivlent to an 18" radius curve. As to the other question about getting the track to straighten back out after diverging I'm pretty sure that you're not going to get that to happen just using sections of fixed radius track. You might try using a piece of flex track cut to the right length to accompli***hat. Looks like to me that's one of those situations where you just have to "eyeball" the required track in. Sounds like you're on the way to building a great layout...keep it up and have fun!....Vic
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 14, 2002 1:02 PM
LoL! Thanks Vic!

I just got to get used to these new turnouts is all. The Atlas design software doesn't really like the flextrack. When you place it, it gives you a lot extra left over, but I have figured out how to trim it effectively with the tools given in the software. When laying the real track I know it will be easier. But, I like to work from something of a reference, so I know how it will end when it is finished, and that I have some sort of a history after it is built. Ya know?

Though I got all these books either here or coming, much of my Model Railroad education comes from you guys here on the trains.com forums. I have all of you great guys to thank for that!

I am in the process of designing a new website for my interest in my favorite roads-CB&Q, Rock Island, BN, Santa Fe and BNSF. When I get to my honorable mention page, ALL you guys will be on it! Thanks again.

-Wolv33

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!