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Model Railroading > N scale ?

Date: 10/12/20 05:49
N scale ?
Author: santafedan

I am designing an N scale layout for a friend.  He plans to run full scale passener cars.  What is the recomended radius for the curves?

Date: 10/12/20 08:49
Re: N scale ?
Author: SPDRGWfan

It depends on the passenger cars but in general, I'd suggest a minimum radius of about 15 inches.  Many are probably designed to function on tighter curves, such as 11 inches however.

Date: 10/12/20 09:15
Re: N scale ?
Author: aehouse

15 inches of course equates to just 30 inches in HO scale.  I'd go wider, using a  minimum of 18-inch radius.

Art House

Date: 10/12/20 09:36
Re: N scale ?
Author: goneon66

IF you can, 29" looks great..........


Date: 10/12/20 10:09
Re: N scale ?
Author: SPDRGWfan

I still have some Atlas sectional track left over from the 80's and it came in 18" radius curves.  Long cars looked pretty decent on it compared to the 9 and 11 inch radius curves.

That said, it's all about how much room you have and who much you can dedicate to having broad curves.  Builting layouts is all about compromises but I always recomend the broadest radius you can manage in any given area.


Date: 10/12/20 10:13
Re: N scale ?
Author: andersonb109

Many N scale passenger cars such as Rapido have couplers mounted to the undercarriage.They need a broad radius. Others like Kato have couplers mounted to the trucks so can take tighter.  

Date: 10/12/20 11:10
Re: N scale ?
Author: kscessnadriver

I've got a bunch of passenger equipment, but due to the space I've got, the best I can do is 11 inch radius. The equipment runs, but it doesn't look good doing it. If I had the space, I'd be looking at 18 inches minimum for good looking track for longer equipment.

Date: 10/12/20 16:17
Re: N scale ?
Author: MojaveBill

I run HO curves on my N scale layout because I like passenger trains...

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA

Date: 10/12/20 16:53
Re: N scale ?
Author: NDHolmes

I've got a minimum 21" mainline radius on my N scale CR&NW, with most mainline curves up in the 24 range, and even that gives me more overhang than I'd really like on 85-89' cars

If you're going with long passenger cars in N, particularly with body mounted couplers, you're going to want big curves for reliability.  I'd say 18" as a minimum, bigger if you can.  I've got one 15" curve coming out of the ore storage yard, and it's basically a no-go for passenger equipment.  Works just fine for strings of ore jennies, though.

Date: 10/12/20 18:57
Re: N scale ?
Author: wabash2800

When track planning do functional and cosmetic curves if not all curves are visible. For example, in N, use 18 R for curves where the trains are seen and the less than that for passenger cars ( 11 R?) to run RELIABLY in places they aren't seen.  For example, on an HO layout I'm planning with brass steam locos and passenger cars that look best on 42” R but need a minimum of 30” R,  I’ve drawn up compound curves with easements on the visible ends. In the hidden section the R is 30 but it is connected to a 42 R. That way, I can save space for the larger R cosmetic curves and other scenic features.

Victor A. Baird

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/20 19:06 by wabash2800.

Date: 10/12/20 19:39
Re: N scale ?
Author: AZSP

Try and get the largest radius feasible within your planned space. Will your route be relatively flat or will you have grades? Longer rolling stock can prove difficult to operate with radius of less than 18” and grades over 1-1/2%

Posted from iPhone

Date: 10/13/20 06:37
Re: N scale ?
Author: Arved

santafedan Wrote:
> I am designing an N scale layout for a friend.
>  He plans to run full scale passener cars.  What
> is the recomended radius for the curves?

Take a look at NMRA RP-11. Bottom line, plan on 21.5" for the old "P" standard (85' passenger cars) or 24" for the current "P" standard.


Arved Grass
Fleming Island, FL
Arved Grass

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