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I'm going to be building a layout where there's 2 mainlines.  The outer mainline at one point goes over the inner mainline.  Because of space issues I've had to allocate 327.5" on one ramp and 310" on the second ramp.  Both ramps have a maximum of 4% (I've also accounted for transitions between flat and graded track), which I wanted to avoid but couldn't find a way around it.  How problematic will it be running trains up and down?

EDIT: I am using Atlas O 3-rail track.  One of the ramps is starts on 64.5" of straight track, then goes in a half circle made of O-81 curves, goes straight for 20", then goes over 2 O-81 curve sections and then ends after another 30" of straight track.  The other ramp starts with two O-81 curves, straightens for 11.75", goes over four O-81 curves, straightens for 99.25", goes over four more O-81 curves and then ends after 40" of straight track.  The largest engine I plan to use on it will be an AC-12 Cab Forward but the average size will be closer to a 2-8-2/4-8-4 for steam locomotives and EMD E7s for diesels.  As far as consist size goes, I'm in the mindset of "as long as possible".

Last edited by Justin Acuna
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Answer depends on a number of factors; locomotive(s) being used, length of train and type of cars being pulled, grades mixed with curves (or all on straight track), type of track you are using, etc.  Most modelers try to keep grades lower than 3%, but if you're using strong pulling engines and small trains, you probably will not have any problems.

Chuck

I am using Atlas O 3-rail track.  One of the ramps is starts on 64.5" of straight track, then goes in a half circle made of O-81 curves, goes straight for 20", then goes over 2 O-81 curve sections and then ends after another 30" of straight track.  The other ramp starts with two O-81 curves, straightens for 11.75", goes over four O-81 curves, straightens for 99.25", goes over four more O-81 curves and then ends after 40" of straight track.  The largest engine I plan to use on it will be an AC-12 Cab Forward but the average size will be closer to a 2-8-2/4-8-4 for steam locomotives and EMD E7s for diesels.  As far as consist size goes, I'm in the mindset of "as long as possible".

30" to transition between grade percentages at a minimum.  For both ramps, at the bottom, it goes from 0% to 1%, 1% to 2%, 3% to 4%, then transitions back down to 0% at the top.  Each of those sections have a varying length but no less than 30" since I figured that with longer locomotives with the Ac-12s the wheels might not like anything shorter.

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