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Minimum Radius for Locos Test


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I have been exploring making a UK style layout (i.e., scenic section in front with fiddle yard hidden in the back by a scenic backscene) as opposed to the US style (i.e., no backscene or hidden fiddle yard, with scenery over the entire baseboard) of my current one. Since I prefer continuous running (not end-to-end) but want a narrow baseboard, I bought a couple packs of 8.5" radius Kato Unitrack and set up a test oval to see what locos and stock could manage a curve even tighter than Peco Setrack 9" radius. Such curves would of course be used out of sight.

 

So far, I have tested the following, with the following results:

 

Farish Class 37/0 (Poole built, '80s): No problems running on this radius. Probably could not go tighter.

Farish Class 40 (China made): No problems running on this radius. Probably could not go tighter.

Farish Class 46 Peak (China made): No problems running on this radius. Probably COULD go tighter.

Farish 8F 2-8-0 (China made): No problems running on this radius. Probably could not go tighter.

Farish MN 4-6-2 (China made): No problems running on this radius. Probaly could not go tighter.

 

Dapol Gresley coaches: No problems running on this radius.

Farish Mk IIIs: No problems running on this radius.

 

The locos were not pulling a train when tested and I have also not yet tested the coaches in rakes, but I will get around to that, along with testing additional types of locos and coaches.

 

I admit this is sort of a silly endeavor but I was and am still curious to see what can cope. I was particulary surprised the Peak seemed to have enough side play left in the axles to take an even slightly more tighter curve.

 

Anyhow, perhaps someone might find this information useful.

 

Matt

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My Dapol Britannia is happy at 9" but not tighter, while the Dapol B1 and Hall will take the slightly smaller Unitrak. B17s seem a bit variable, mostly happy at 9" and mostly NOT happy with 8.5".

 

All Union Mills will take the small Unitrak.

 

If you want REALLY silly curves then the Farish 04s will happily pull Dapol 7-plank wagons (but NOT Farish ones) round the 5" radius Tomix tram tracks...

 

Hope this all helps.

Les

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I tested some more stock on the Unitrack 8.5" radius. All the following ran just fine: Farish 37/0 (new China tooling), Farish Warship, Farish 24, Farish Deltic, Farish A4 (China), Farish V2, Farish Prairie (China), Farish 20, Farish HST (Poole), Dapol 26. Some of the diesel locos emitted a faint scuffing sound (most noticeably on the Dapol 26) going around this radius, but there was no drop-off in performance.

 

Also, the N Gauge Society Snowplough, Stove R, and Queen Mary brake van all ran fine on the 8.5" radius. I was impressed the 3 axle Stove R could do it.

 

From the other postings and my own tests, I think its reasonable to conclude that just about everything (with a couple exceptions) currently available RTR can manage this curve.

 

Matt

Edited by oreamnos
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  • 1 year later...

Sorry to dredge up this thread a year later, but Kato very recently released Unitrack "Compact" track which is fully compatible with normal Unitrack in appearance and in using standard unijoiners, but with 6" (150mm) and 7" (183mm) radius curves.

For the fun of it I bought a circle of 7" radius track. Eight pieces to a circle, total cost $15 US. To my surprise, everything I tried on it ran just fine except a Farish B1 which wasn't happy.  [Edit - It turned out after investigation that the B1 wasn't happy on any radius and had a mechanical fault.]  BachFar Peaks, Class 40s, new (2011) Class 47s, Class 50s, Class 55s, Prototype Deltic, Class 37/0s, Warship, V2, A4, MN, J94, Dapol 122, Class 26, M7, Terrier, Ixion Manor, Union Mills D20 - all of these were perfectly happy running on 7" radius. The 1Co-Co1 locos were difficult to rail on the radius but if you railed them on an adjacent straight track, they were fine going around the curve.

I didn't bother trying any coaches and buffer and coupler fouling might be a problem - and 7" radius is clearly the absolute minimum radius any of the aforementioned will run on because all were at the limit of lateral side-play in the axles, but for those people who really want a tail chaser layout but only have a shelf-width of space to use, this new track WILL work for that.

Matt

Edited by oreamnos
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I have a colliery line in the middle of the new layout I'm building. To see if I could turn this at the ends and get it emerging nearer the centre of the baseboards I bought a circle of the 6.5" radius Tomix fine track.

 

All 0-6-0 types of Farish and Dapol origin are fine as is the M7 and 14xx. They will even pull a Fairsh suburban coach.

 

BUT

 

Dapol hopper wagons buffer-locked. (back to R1 Peco.....)

 

On the 7 inch I suspect most coaches (except probably newer Farish with couplers on non-MOROP spring mounts) will work, and most wagons will work. You might have to use longer-shank couplers to avoid buffer locking on some.

 

VERY silly is a Farish 04 diesel propelling a Mk1 suburban through a Tomix tramway loop. It stays on the track brilliant but.......

 

All the very best

Les

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