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N Scale Track Radius

Patrick posted:

“I found Allan’s article very interesting thank you. The problem is that I model N scale so wondered if anyone could give me a comparison for his radius dimensions in N scale?”

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6 Responses to N Scale Track Radius

  • Garth Familtonsays:

    Hi Patrick,
    I model in N scale and when planning the layout (using a computor program) I made my mainline minimum radius 620mm. To get this dimension, I marked on a board a number of different radii, laid flextrack on the lines. I then placed the longest car I would be using (in my case Amtrak superliner) on each sample track. I did not want to see the outside track beyond the side of the car as it went around the curve and I found 620mm to be satisfactory. When laying double or more tracks on a curve, the inside track is 620mm and each parallel track is 26mm larger in radius.
    For yards etc, the minimum can come down alot, I use 420mm which matches the radius of the turnouts I use in yards. Curves in yard areas tend to be quite short, so the smaller radius is not so noticeable.
    Hope that all helps, Cheers, Garth

  • David Stokessays:

    N Scale equipment will run at much smaller radii that you would expect – down to less than 9″, but if you want it to look good, and you have the space, anything over 15″ is recommended.
    The issue is not so much mechanical as aesthetic – does it look right. Remember that with an 8 x 4 in HO you need to move your eyes to see it all from 4 feet away, but a similarly proportion N Scale will be 2 x 4; and you see the whole catastrophe at one glance, and the railway that goes from A to B becomes a roundy-round no matter how clever you get with tunnels and hills.

  • G Lake Dylansays:

    multiply H0 dimensions by .54 as 87/160=.54

  • Phillip Collinssays:

    As regards seeing the whole thing at once (if I understand this point correctly), if the layout is built more or less at eye level, it looks a lot better. I made my minimum radius about 450mm, and I use Peco’s medium radius points, but I don’t run very long coaches or trucks. What I have found on the very short radius curves (e.g. 250mm) is that the locos manage, but body-mounted couplers cause derailments; so I had to do some quick revision of the trackage.

  • DSchmittsays:

    Rule of Thumb from MRH works in any scale

    2.0 x Some equipment may track reliably, but 2x is generally considered pushing it.
    2.5 x Most equipment will track reliably if everything is of similar length.
    3.0 x All equipment should track reliably; coupler performance adequate if altered to allow 50% car width swing.
    3.5 x Equipment will look less toy-like when viewed from inside the curve.
    4.0 x Equipment will look less toy-like when viewed from outside the curve.
    5.0 x Most reliable coupling on curves with body-mounted couplers and near-scale draft gearboxes.

  • Patricksays:

    great suggestions everyone thx

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