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Author Topic: Track grade  (Read 1606 times)

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« on: December 26, 2014, 08:26:58 PM »

I'm planning a new layout with some hills and tunnel. What is the recommended grade that I should use for designing overpasses? I have a 'Western Maryland #760' as my engine that I plan on using.

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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2014, 08:34:31 PM »

keep the grade as low as possible. 4% is the maximum I would use, 3% is better. those work out to 3/8" and 1/4" rise per full track section respectively. keep in mind that grades drastically reduce pulling power. a locomotive can only pull about 1 car up a 4% grade for every 6 cars it can pull on level track.

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2014, 07:06:30 PM »

2% That is the correct answer max 2.5 % any more and your asking for problems especially if curves are involved!

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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2014, 10:23:29 PM »

Grades on model railroads are a tricky thing. We don't all have a lot of space but to get any sort of height, we would need either a longer run or a steeper grade. I wanted to put a grade on my layout originally but seeing as I have a 4*8 due to limitations, it wasn't practical. Jack is right that 2% is a good choice however you should be able to deal with 3 or even 4, just keep in mind that you will lose a lot of power. Also, if there are any curves, take it slow or you could find that train has taken a plunge

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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2014, 09:24:29 AM »

Most standard 'Up-and-Over' type pier sets used for Figure-8 layouts on a 4x8 table give roughly a 3% grade. This is considered steep, and limits your operations considerablly. A 4% grade is extremely steep, and generally only seen in 'back woods' logging operation type layouts.

If you have the room, grades between 2% and 2.5% should be the maximum used. Most model locos can handle them, while pulling a decent size train, with no problems. Of course, on the prototype, a 2% grade would be considered a problem, as they try to keep grades in the 1% or less range if at all possible.

Oh, if you're wondering, '% grade' is just Rise divided by Run times 100, or 100(Rise/Run), where Run is normally specified as 100 to simplify the math, but could be any distance. So a 100" run of track that rises 3" would give (3/100)=0.03*100=3% grade. Simple.


If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
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