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Clearance

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  • Member since
    February 2017
  • From: Harrisburg, PA
  • 219 posts
Clearance
Posted by hbgatsf on Monday, May 3, 2021 1:57 PM

If you are running straight track and there will never be an oversized load passing by, what is the minimum clearance desired when passing the corner of a building in an industrial setting?

Rick

Edit:  This is what I am working on.  Originally I was only going to run two sidings through this spot but it looks liked I may be able to fit three in.

 

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, May 3, 2021 2:36 PM

If the track is straight, your widest piece of rolling stock (and locomotives) will determine the minimum clearance. For example, a boxcar from one manufacturer might be 1/32" wider than all of your other widest equipment. That widest car will dictate the amount of clearance necessary...it could be simply an additional 1/32" more than the car's width, or it could be an additional 2" or 10'. 

Take your pick...I usually settle for what I think looks reasonable.

Where it gets more complicated is when the track is curved, as not only width needs to be considered, but also length of the equipment being used.

I don't have set distances for clearances in or around structures, but I have deliberately included situations which some particular equipment will not clear...this involves mostly low clearances for bridges and tunnels, rather than ones of width.

Since I'm the sole operator, I know what and where those restrictions are.

Wayne

  • Member since
    January 2010
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Posted by peahrens on Monday, May 3, 2021 2:43 PM

[quote user="hbgatsf"]

If you are running straight track and there will never be an oversized load passing by, what is the minimum clearance desired when passing the corner of a building in an industrial setting?

Rick,

The only thing I know for sure is that I don't know.  But googling unfamiliar topics can be appealing.  Here is the first thing I came across, an Iowa study that notes some non-mandatory guidelines by AREMA (American Railroad Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association).  It looks like that suggests a 9' from center of tracks (less 2' 4" would be about 6' 7" from the rail) standard clearance, where less would be non-standard, suggesting warnings, etc.  Loading docks get special consideration.

 Microsoft Word - Close Clearance.doc (iowa.gov)

Another doc suggests 8' normal side clearance from center of (straight) track, 10' for signs and pipes, etc.  

Here's a bing search for "railroad close building clearance":

railroad close building clearance - Bing

From the modeling standpoint, I found that one of my background building clearance needs was set not by the wall, but by the overhanging loading awning protrusion that hit the upper side of a big passing loco.  In that case the awning was trimmed enough to just be missed by a passing loco, not technically correct but practical enough.

 

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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    June 2007
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, May 3, 2021 4:01 PM

I don't know about clearance but John Armstrong has always recommended 2 inch track centers on straightaways.  Curves you'll need at least 2 1/4 inch centers and if they are tight, maybe 2 1/2 inch centers.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, May 3, 2021 5:08 PM

There is a NMRA gauge for that.  One of the must have tools

https://www.nmra.org/store/products/ho-standards-gauge

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, May 3, 2021 5:25 PM

All of my equipment has a maximum overhang of 15/16" from center, so I could theorically have 1 7/8" track centers with no problems. I will have 2 1/8" minimum track spacing.

It is easy to build a guage and check/control the width of your equipment. Still, I would not recommend dropping below John Armstrong's recommendation of two inches.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, May 3, 2021 7:15 PM

My rolling stock is about 1 1/2" wide.

My thumb is about an inch thick.

If I wanted to easily be able to pick up rolling stock, I'd have track centers at 2 1/2", for parallel straight tracks.

 

 

Railroads prefer 20' (2 3/4" in HO) for ladder tracks in yards.  Since a freight car is about 10' wide, that's a goodly bit of room.

Absolute minimum would be 13' (1.8" in HO).  That would allow 3' between cars for straight track.  That's VERY dangerous for workers between moving rolling stock, so this is more about storage yards.

 

 

Ed

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  • From: Franconia, NH
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Posted by dstarr on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 11:01 PM

The NMRA Standards cover clearances in detail.  Try S7 Clearances and S8 Track Centers.  All NMRA standards and recommended practices can be downloaded from the NMRA website.  Google or Duck Duck Go will get you there.  I had a copy of John Armstrong's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation when I was building my layout.  I considered Armstong to be the Bible on layout matters.  I'd have to check, but I think Armstrong's recommendations are based on the NMRA standards. 

It is always nice to be able to pick up or rerail a car or two without knocking a train on an adjecent track off the rails.  That means enough room between adjacent trains for a set of fingers to fit in. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Harrisburg, PA
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Posted by hbgatsf on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 1:36 PM

BigDaddy

There is a NMRA gauge for that.  One of the must have tools

https://www.nmra.org/store/products/ho-standards-gauge

 

I have used the standards gauge for years to check track, wheels and other things without realizing it also had clearances.  I found this pdf which helps understand what it can do.

https://www.nmra.org/sites/default/files/standards/sandrp/pdf/rp-7.1_tangent_track_centers_and_clearance_diagrams_2019.01.pdf

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