Parallel track spacing?

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by SleeperN06, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    I'm sure this has been asked before and I have tryed searching with not much luck. Ok, I'm lousy at searches, but I know somebody must have a quick answer.

    I'm in the middle of designing my new layout with Atlas RTS-8 and I'm trying to remember what a good parallel spacing is for Code 55. RTS keeps defaulting to 3.6.

    I will be going to go through some portals and the last time I did this, I had to shave the inside off the portal because it was close to a bend and the ends of my passenger cars were clipping the edge of the portal. I can't get away from this problem because I can't move the bend. I do want the spacing consistent through out the layout and don't want it look weird. I also have a double crossover using #10 switches and I don't know if there will be any problems with that. 1st time using #10s.

    I think I had about 1-5/16" on my last layout. Is that too close?
  2. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

    JohnnyB, what is your minimum radius? I see you are running passenger cars so that will affect it also. Track spacing depends on your minimum radius and your largest cars you are gonna run. I'm pretty sure prototype track spacing in N scale is around 1". Depending on your curves, I'd go around 1-3/8" or 1-1/4", so you are right in there with your 1-5/16". For straight, you could put them closer together if you wanted. On my layout I'm running my centers at 1-1/8" to clear my autoracks, but my min. radius is 20"

  3. fieromike

    fieromike TrainBoard Member

    Atlas C55 works well at 1.25". You can use two turnouts to make a crossover, and they will space the tracks at 1.25". You're on your own with the double xover...
  4. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    Thanks guys, My outside main is a 20" radius and I guess the inside radius depends on what the spacing is. RTS draws the parallel track according to the distance specified.
  5. Rob de Rebel

    Rob de Rebel Permanently dispatched

    Main track spacing depended on what RR and where it was. Central had in the east 13 foot on the mains. some others 14 and 15 feet. I imagine that mains are going or will be going to about 20 feet (not counting the terrain/or city space considerations. On curved tracks you can widen the spacing somewhat to operate long cars. ERA is important too! earlier was tighter as most cars were shorter then.

  6. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    With a 20 inch radius on the outside and 18.75 should work very well. On my last layout I ran a minimum of 18 inch on the mains and the second track was at 19.25 and nothing hit.
  7. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

    I use 13' on center because that is what the Erie RR used ; )
  8. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    13 feet on center. You have one large train room. :D Okay I know it is a scale 13 feet. That is 0.975 inches in N-Scale.
  9. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    That seems pretty tight.
  10. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    How do you figure that? I just remember that 10' is approximately 3/4", but I can only guess at what 13' is.
  11. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    You are right 10 feet is 3/4 inch.

    the math is really simple FEET*12/Ratio

    the ratio for N Scale is 1:160

    10*12/160 = 0.75

    The Track plan book 101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders gives N-Scale track centers for the following

    • Sharp 1.25 (16.7 scale feet)
    • Conventional 1.125 (15 scale feet)
    • Broad 1.0 (13.3 scale feet)
    • Straight tracks as close as 13 scale feet from center to center
    It defines minimum curve radii as

    • Sharp 9 inches
    • Conventional 12 inches
    • Broad 15 inches
  12. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    All right, thanks. :thumbs_up: I got to write this down in my notes. I don’t remember if I have the 101 track book or not, but it does sound familiar.
  13. Rob de Rebel

    Rob de Rebel Permanently dispatched

    Closer spacing reduces the impact on the scenery, (aka less real estate) also looks better (at least for period layouts up to the late 50's. I find quite alot of modelers use to much space between tracks, which take away from the realism and reduces the scenery advantages. Some folks toute that they need to get thier big fingers between cars. well mod some salad tonges with a flat surface and felt contact points, when you pick up cars you won't leave finger prints.

  14. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    I used 1-1/16 on 18-inch minimum radius curves. It's really close when two passenger trains meet, but I've never had a sideswipe. Some larger N-scale steam hangs out a bit more than the prototype, but I don't run passenger trains behind a 2-8-8-2.

    I use 1-1/16 for yards. I could go a bit tighter, but then it's nearly impossible to pick out a car with the old 0-5-0.
  15. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    I'm running diesels on a modern railroad with only one passenger train. It is mostly taking up dust on my current layout because of too many derailments. That’s one reason why I'm designing a new layout.
    I've had my eye on some Amtrak trains for a lot of years now. I have almost on more than one occasion bought a Kato Amtrak starter set and say the heck with it and just build a layout with Unitrack. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to run an Amtrak Train on my new layout, but thats my goal.
  16. Triplex

    Triplex TrainBoard Member

    101 Track Plans was first published in 1956, IIRC. N didn't exist. The figures for N were added to later editions simply by halving HO figures. Those curves are supposed to correspond to HO 18", 24" and 30". In N, those should be about 9.75", 13" and 16.5". The track centers were derived from Westcott's standards of 2.5", 2.25" and 2" for HO. So you may get some sideswiping with using his spacing figures on those curves.
  17. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the info, I was going to stop at my one and only LHS to check it out, but I ended up working a 12 hour day.
    Do you any ideas for a good N-scale referance book?
  18. Richard320

    Richard320 TrainBoard Member

    If you can decipher it, here's a link to NMRA standards.

    It appears the 1-5/16 would be okay, but if two switches align with 1-1/4 spacing, I'd be awfully tempted to use that, myself.
  19. gregamer

    gregamer TrainBoard Supporter

    Here are a couple of photos that may help you decide.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    1 1/4" vs 1" track center spacing.
    From my blog posting Layout Progress Report 10/16/2008

    Personally, I like 1" for the yards. 1 1/4" for the mains.
  20. H81627Allegheny

    H81627Allegheny TrainBoard Member

    Thats exactly the center to center spacing I was working with, 1 inch, and that was for yard & main though. I am now in the process of laying track but now I am contemplating using unitrack since I got some of it. My only concern is spacing say between 2 mains on account of switches, I.E. a crossover from main to main. Also concerned as to the spacing of tracks in a yard as to the distance center to center on account of the switches involved. Unitrack #4's look like they may be around a Peco #6 and unitrack #6's look more like Peco #8's to me but I am only going off of photos and diagrams I have on Kato's unitrack I got online. If anone knows or has input please give me a shout as I am doing the big search for any and all info on unitrack.


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