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Track Radius Needed For Rivarossi 4-8-8-4 Big Boy

Ryan asks:

“I’m re-configuring my HO layout and have recently acquired a 40-year-old Big Boy loco to pull several tank cars, boxcars, etc and navigate curves without issues. I was thinking 18″ radius curves but on second thoughts am inclined to try and accommodate 22″ curves instead. Input from anyone with experience would be great. Thanks very much.”

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8 Responses to Track Radius Needed For Rivarossi 4-8-8-4 Big Boy

  • Alvin McPherson says:

    I bought one brand new and the instructions said, not less than a 22″ radius curves.

  • Paul says:

    At a minimum do the 22”. You will constant derailment if you use smaller.

  • Brent Anderson says:

    22 min

  • Brent Anderson says:

    Min 22 inch

  • Bob P. says:

    I would go 24” if you can, it has a more realistic look to it. If you have double tracks make sure the front of the boiler doesn’t interfere with the other cars on the other curve next to it.

  • Peter Skennerton says:

    Go with the biggest radius you can fit into your available space. I have the Big Boy and 2882 Mallet and while they may cope with smaller radius curves (22″) they will perform and look better on wider curves.
    +1 for the track centre space on curves, the tighter curves will have more boiler swing for you to deal with.

  • Phillip Collins says:

    As large a radius as possible!


    I have used 18″ code 100 Atlas track without a problem for my 4-8-8-4 BIG BOY purchased in 1967. The locomotive still has the “horn-hook” couplers. The locomotive operated on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.

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