HO track spacing?

St. Clair Feb 14, 2010

  1. St. Clair

    St. Clair New Member

    How far should I space my paralel tracks on curves and on straights? I am using 18" radi. curves (if that matters).
  2. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

    According to John Armstrongs "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" book, 2.0-inch track centers on parallel staight track and you need more distance on curves. I believe it was 2.25-inches on 24-inch radii and a bit more if its tighter curves - I'd recommend 2.5-inch distance between track centers on tight curves like 18-inche radii.
  3. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    Agreed with 2.5 inches. Especially if anything you're running is long and has a lot of overhang at the ends. Those will cause the most trouble in tight curves - the middles of cars and/or locos on the outside track might snag the overhanging ends of the cars or locos on the inside track if they're too close together.

    Test your longest motive power and rolling stock on two curves running next to each other and make sure you have lots of clearance (at least 1/4 inch, preferably more). And think ahead - if you're planning on running even longer stuff, you'll need even more clearance - assuming the items can actually take the 18 inch radius.
  4. tsalacri

    tsalacri E-Mail Bounces

    Im 2.5 on curves HO 24" & 22" parallel curves. Im as close as 1.75 on long straights.
  5. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Supporter

    Mains and sidings can usually be tightened up to look prototypical, but in yards, fiddle yards, staging, and on helices with double tracks, you would want lots of room for your meathooks if you have to reach and pick up items of rolling stock that are jammed, stuck, derailed, whatever.
  6. tsalacri

    tsalacri E-Mail Bounces

    Aptly put. Especially if you have chunky hands!
  7. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    When I laid out my yards, I left room for my fingers between the cars. If visitors don't like it, the door opens both ways! Works like a champ for me!!

    I lay the tightest curve first and put an (engine or car with the most over hang at its ends and center) on that track.
    Then I temporarily fasten flex track on the outside (and another engine or car) on that. By rolling the two cars past each other, and adjusting the space, I can make certain there is 1/4 inch clear at all points between the two cars as they pass. I can run in opposit directions at full speed with assured safety.

    Hope this makes you think...
  8. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    I've made an Excel sheet to calculate the clearance.

    This way I get the clearance in dependency on the car length, radius.

    Erik84750 likes this.
  9. tsalacri

    tsalacri E-Mail Bounces

    I approached the job from a different angle. I started with the outside arc (24" radius) to make sure it fit on my platform. From there I worked the parralleling 22" radius curves. And finally , I had an inner service arc alternating 22" & 18" radius curves at 2.5". My straights are much closer to the prototype (1.50") on my large return loop (32'). The other straights are 1.75 "on center coming out of the 22" 24" radius tracks. Yes, unfortunately, you do need at least 2" finger allowance in yards.

    Remember "Moving forward while neglecting corrections means moving backards in the future to correct it"
  10. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

    Okay, see the "very schematic" layout below. Staging is in purple. For those of you operating with conventional staging tracks. I had a question and "searched" this forum. This seems like the place to ask.

    So, WHAT IS the recommended spacing for "staging tracks". I have started construction (will take a year to finish the room) of framing and finishing my attic. I am making allowances for "knowns" at this time about my layout. One known up there is where the staging tracks will be.

    My staging tracks will have a double-track mainline passing through and 7 staging tracks. All on a 22'-6" long X 27" deep (aisle to wall) straight right-of-way. My planning says 2" center between the double-track mainline (at the back of the stagine track) and then 7 working tracks for actual stagine. I am figuring 3" center to center for the staging tracks.

    I don't want to "cheat" on my distance and cut myself short here. ON THE OTHERHAND, I also don't want to "needlessly" short-change maxing out what I can get into the space.

    I claim 3", but I really want to hear from those of you that are actually operating with staging tracks.


  11. cajon

    cajon TrainBoard Member

    Staging yard spacing depends on if you need "finger" room for 0-5-0 ing cars on/off staging. In HO you should be able to get away w/ 2.5" spacing. But doing a lttle experimenting w/ a couple of pieces of strait track to see what spacing works for you.
  12. Erik84750

    Erik84750 TrainBoard Member

    Very good post!! What a lot of information on those links. Thank you so much..

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