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I believe you are referring to a term called "Super Elevating".  I have used this on all my curves. I am running minimum 90" radius'. Real railroads did this to help cars lean into curves better and I think it helps on our model railroads as well. I used somewhere between 1/16 to 1/8" depending on where the turn is located. I didn't do that on curves in my yards.

I super elevated the curves on our club's modular layout (min 072) using 1/8 inch  plastistruct shims.  This equates to 6 scale inches of elevation at the center of the curve tapering down to zero at the ends of the module. Ample ballast filled in the gaps and actually supports the track when glued down.  The effect is quite noticeable to visitors and we often receive comments about it. On a permeant layout the addition of spiral easement is even more dramatic. I hope to do this on my planned home layout.  Give it a try. You won't be sorry.


Fair warning, if you run long trains with lots of drag, or have very light cars in the middle of your consist, superelevating the outside rail of curves can lead to more frequent 'stringline' derailments. Counter-intuitively, if you actually bank the track by raising the *inside* rail slightly, you can reduce string line potential. But it looks kinda silly. But we had to do it in a sharp curve in our layout that was in a steep incline.

Unless you're running at very fast scale speeds around wide curves, banking the track by raising the outer rail is not going to help in any practical way other than looking more prototypical.

The double track curves at each end of my around the wall layout are a 12 foot in diameter or more. One end is tunneled the other is not. I super elevated the exposed scenic end and it looks good to me.  The super elevated end handles scale 65 to 80 mile an hour trains. Passenger trains with 12 to 15 scale pullmans and slower local freights with 10 to 15 cars.

I shimed the cork ballast not the actual track.

I would suggest anyone super elevating curves to thoroughly test before ballasting and adding scenery.

Good luck and have fun !

Ron H

This is one of those situations where the forum Search function is indeed your friend, as long as you know the proper term to search for.

Thanks to folks for bringing up the word "Superelevation".

Type this in the Search box and at least 150 hits return.

It's been discussed here many times before, and there's a wealth of good, and very pertinent, commentary on it within those hits.

You might want to take a look.


Thanks to ALL of you, I just added super elevation to one end of my layout this morning. Wow. For a little work, the outcome is great. Used rubber shims (pic attached) that I had on hand from another project, and 1/8 inch as the high point in elevation. I use Atlas track so it was quick and easy. Added a few screws on the inside ties.

Thanks again for the help, resources and suggestions!  Terry


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I used Post-it notes for shims during my "proof-of-concept" stage, where I didn't want anything permanent. They are easy to add/subtract as needed. Jeff-the-Coaster-Guy made a good point about string-lining though. That's why all my leading cars are gondolas or box cars are full of rocks or other weights. My hoppers are full of popcorn. Made a world of difference.

On a related note, my father used to ride the train daily to Boston. The line through Swampscot, MA had track super elevated for 105 MPH. When the train stopped at the station, you'd better be holding onto that coffee!

Last edited by endless tracks

I had almost all of my O27 track elevated on the curves for years.  I used one popsicle stick then graduated to two, then back to one.  I did not elevate my 31 Marx 1590 switches.  So you can see I was not all elevated.  We like to run trains fast!

Recently I purchased a Lionel 561, 0-8-0, a recent loco for me.  It would derail on most of my curves.  I found out if the elevation was remove the derailments on this engine stopped.  Since 027 only has two track sections to make a 90 degree curve there are frequent transitions from curve to straight track where I think my derailments were happening.  I never missed not having the track elevated.  I do not think elevating track really makes much difference on 027 track.


I used thin cardboard on the outside rail under my cork roadbed.  I like the way it looks.

Just a thought about "Search".  I like it and use it on occasion.  But if we all used search all the time, there would be nothing new to look for and discuss.  What if there is a new idea or new contribution?  Search won't pull that out.

At the time I'm posting this, 796 people viewed this thread.  That 796 views that would not have happened if the OP just did a search and never asked the question.

796 people were obviously interested enough by the title to read this.  And OGR got 796 views which I would think they and their sponsors like.



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Ron, your track looks amazing! It's easy to see the realism added by your shimming efforts in the video. Watching it once wasn't enough!

On the "search" discussion, I always search a topic first if I have something specific before I generate a new post,  but the lion's share of my viewing and subsequent replies to a topic come strictly from surfing the Recent Posts. I think your comments with regards to new posts on "old topics" are well placed. There's more often than not, something new to learn that would otherwise be missed. Just my 2 cents!

Happy Labor Day!

I did it on two curves. One was at the top of a grade (027) and looks like the engines could tip over. I think I did 1/8". Not an easy spot to access so it remains. It did stop derailments, especially with K-line diesels.

Then I had to replace some unsupported curves on my upper level and added a 1/16 piece of basswood to the outside of the curve. Not much of a difference but enough that the trains don't look like they will fall over the edge.

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The wealth of knowledge on this forum is incredible. Probably the most comprehensive database for O gauge modeling too!



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I used N gauge cork roadbed to raise the outer edge of the O gauge foam roadbed, filling the gap between the N half-segment and the inner edge of the foam path with light spackling compound.  Trains looked good before ballasting - and even better since. Especially eye-pleasing when the streamliners pass (104/112" curve diameters).  My fellow club members who have seen it think it's the most attractive feature of my (incomplete) layout.   Zero operational mishaps, to date, which surprised me.

On an elevated line using k-line 042 shadow rail I had slightly elevated the curves (outside rail)  but noticed cars being separated (couplers did not open). When I removed the shims no separation. I can't quite figure out why. The reason I initially banked the curves was that the heavy Hogworts Express engine would flip over if going too fast on the curve and using the shims helped to eliminate that. 

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