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HO Track Spacing

Richard wants advice from others in the hobby and asks:

“What is the spacing of tracks where two run side by side? What is the spacing on curves? Previous answers have referred to NMRA standards but that means nothing to me. If I want to design my own layout how do I space?”

Please add your suggestions to help Richard below.

7 Responses to HO Track Spacing

  • Greg says:

    To be honest Richard I dont go in for measures and numbers my approach is too simply adapt the curvatures to suit your longest bogie wagon or coach, I insist on Peco Flex track to modify to suit.Place say a passenger coach on each curve side by side move them thru the curves to ensure they each other works for me

    Greg G
    Western Australia

  • Ernst says:

    I just go by the eye. It is after all one’s own creation. For me the hobby is my wonderland and i do it as i please. I would suggest exactly the same thing as Greg. That is the way i also build my curved tracks and straights. but if you really need to be exact, just go to the nearest real life track of your local train network and measure and scale it down.

    Ernst H
    South africa

  • Bob says:

    I agree with the two other posters. It’s harder to go with the NMRA specs than it is to visualize with actual cars on the track. For example, I had a long passenger car that looked ridiculous on a short radius track (18″ radius) so decided NOT to use it. Had I done so, besides looking stupid, the car would surely derail. Borrow the cars you need, temporarily space track where you think it should go and test it..

  • Keith W says:

    You can buy a gauge that will go between the tracks, it is called a 6ft gauge. I model British and that is what we call it. For the curves you will need one to suit the radius, or do what Richard does and use your two longest pieces of rolling stock and put them side by side so they do not touch. The correct term for this is end throw and centre throw.

    Good luck Keith

  • Stephen W. says:

    Here is the first thing to look at. Are you building it to NMRA standards? If so the have standards on their website. If not there are tools you may purchase say through Micro-Mark that space the rails for you. I would give at least 3 ” from the edge of the layout to put the tracks just in case of derailment. Any other questions e-mail me off line and I will help you.

  • Rick says:

    2 in. spacing works well. I made a guage ; I”x 6″ wood with rail slots 2″ apart.This worked well for me. HO guage. This works well on curves and in my yards . This spacing is rail to rail .

  • Mike says:

    HO I assume? On straight tracks do the 2 inch center to center. On curves I go no less that 2 1/8 and most of the time 2 1/4. The smaller the radius the further apart you want your tracks. You can make your own spacers out of small pieces of acrylic or styrene.(much smoother than plywood. If you have access to a micro mart power table saw it works perfect for cutting the groves as it has a very thin blade. Measure in on one block about 3/16 and cut a grove in a block about 2 inches long. Set that block on your track with the grove over one rail. Slide the next set of rail next to the block lifting it up so the block rests on the closest rail. Measure what you want for the center line and then mark where the rail is and cut another grove in the block. Then measures from that groove about another 3/16 and cut the end off the block. You can buy commercial made ones for about $4.00. See your Walthers catalog.

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