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15 Inch Track Curves

Jim models HO and asks:

“I have a curve in my main line that is only 15 inches so are there any passenger cars that can handle that? And if so where can I buy them?”

2 Responses to 15 Inch Track Curves

  • Mikesays:

    Hi Jim,

    15 inch curve radius it’s 381mm in metric. For most of manufactured cars minimum radius is about 358 – 366mm, so 15 inch radius should be enough. You have to know, that for such close track radius long cars (>10 inch) require more space on inner side of curve (refer to MNRA regulations). You may also have problem with couplers – cars may uncouple if you change left turn to right turn rapidly.
    Small radius is more dangerous for steam locos. They should be designed for the same minimum radius ac cars, but it happens, that long locos like German BR52 (2-10-0) or similar may have problems on such a tight curves.
    In my opinion very tight curves do not look nice on layout when it’s passed by a train longer than loco and 3 cars.



  • Randall Styxsays:

    There are two questions: 1. Can the car negotiate the curve?; and 2. Will it look good even if it does? While some of the “modern” passenger cars (80 or more scale feet) might negotiate the curve, they won’t look good doing it. The older 60 to 72 foot cars (Athearn had a line of shortened passenger cars) will probably negotiate the curve, but it will have to be your opinion on how they look. The “old style” passenger cars of 40 and 50 scale feet will probably be fine on both counts.

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