Skip to main content

I'd like to know, what is the minimum radius that modest-sized traditional AF trains will reliably operate on. No passenger cars or big locos. I know that the conventional track is nominal 20" radius and Pikemaster is 15" radius.

I might consider making a long and narrow S layout if I can reduce the end width with custom-curved track. I don't currently have any S-gauge flex-track to experiment with.

A related question: how many of the old AF trains could negotiate Pikemaster track with 15" radius curves?

Yes, I know that wider curves are generally preferred, but I don't have space for a larger project. Tight curves or nothing. I'm not interested in shelf-type switching layouts.

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I can tell you the only rolling stock on which the trucks can pivot far enough would be reefers and box cars. On all the others the couplers will hit the steps on the bodies first. Gilbert two rail flanges are much smaller than Lionel wheel flanges and are designed for the Gilbert flat top, prototype profile rail. I suspect a cut of cars may stringline when attempting to pull them around an 027 curve on Lionel round top rail.

An Atlantic engine may go around an O27 curve without derailing. Keep in mind all the Gilbert trains are full 1/64th scale length, the passenger cars just model 70' cars. Even when these 1/64th scale trains were introduced by Gilbert pre war in O gauge they were not designed to run on O27 or O31 track. Gilbert prewar O gauge three rail track was 40" in diameter.

The best way to test smaller radii would be to get a couple pieces of S gauge GarGraves flex to bend to small test curves.

Dave, that was my recommendation as well. GarGraves S gauge flex is easy to bend, nothing like 3 rail O gauge. I built an entire S gauge layout with GarGraves by bending it around my waist. that gave me about a 12"radius. I then just carefully widened it to match the track centerline marked on the layout and tacked it down. Resulted in very smooth curves and a slight easement at the tangents.

@Drummer3 posted:

Perhaps buy 1 or 2 pieces of GarGraves AF (S-gauge) 3' flex to experiment with.   I've heard that they can bend fairly tight if you are careful and go slowly.  First cut a plywood jig for the radius you want, then form the track around it.

@AmFlyer posted:

Dave, that was my recommendation as well. GarGraves S gauge flex is easy to bend, nothing like 3 rail O gauge. I built an entire S gauge layout with GarGraves by bending it around my waist. that gave me about a 12"radius. I then just carefully widened it to match the track centerline marked on the layout and tacked it down. Resulted in very smooth curves and a slight easement at the tangents.

What, GarGraves flex is easy to bend???  When did that happen?  It has been about 30 years since I've bent any GG, but compared to AM, SHS/MTH, and what I see in FV flex -- I've always wondered why anybody would use GG.  AM flex is not that friendly to bend, but a pleasure after GG.  GG does not cut easily (at least when it was tubular) -- again, compared to what is out there now.  Don't know how they compare cost wise or if GG turnouts have been made to finally work.  Then there is appearance...

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

I am not recommending GarGraves, That is merely a cheap and easy way to determine a minimum usable radius. Way easier than trying to regauge Lionel O27 curves. In my opinion GarGraves is easy to curve and cut. I used a reinforced cutoff disc in a Dremel Mototool. My permanent layout uses MTH flex with handlaid turnouts because someone named Tom quit making turnouts before I could place my order.

The reason for GarGraves flex in the old days was because I was using a mixture of Gilbert turnouts and R-O-W Industries turnouts.

@gunny posted:

I doubt many engines will handle 12.4"

Good luck

Gunny

I agree. Let's remember that the "typical nominal" track radius in HO scale is 18".

FWIW, my Flyer Pacifics and even the Enhorning F unit I have are just fine on the sectional 42" (21"R) Gargraves that I'm currently using. Obviously I would prefer a larger radius, but like most of us, my space is limited.

Mark in Oregon

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×