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Old 16-06-2018, 10:49 PM   #1
mcleod4569
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Default Help out a beginner with 1st Radius loco issue

So I have done a lot of reading about 1st radius curves in n gauge and 00 gauge and I have come away quite conflicted. Some people say it is ok, some the opposite. Some say that some locos will run and some won't.

I am going to be starting out in N Gauge in the next few weeks and going through the process of planning my layout using Anyrail. Because my area I am working in is a bit small I used ST-12 Peco set track curves in my loop because they leave me a nice bit of room to do some scenery on the outside of the track. So I was just looking for a bit of advice or perhaps a list of which N Gauge models will handle st-12 track and which won't. Sources I have seen so far contradict with other. Can anyone guide me?
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Old 16-06-2018, 11:01 PM   #2
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As you said there are conflicting stories out there on this subject, but as a general rule anything larger than an 0-6-0 loco is likely to struggle on R1. Best advice is to avoid R1 completely.
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Old 16-06-2018, 11:22 PM   #3
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Contradictions generally stem from the fact that some people have simply been lucky and got away with it. To me it would make sense to avoid any risk and do everything possible to avoid running challenges and the best options are to either stick with very short locomotives or, if you want a bit more flexibility in the future, avoid 1st radius curves completely.

Just my personal taste but I think a 1st radius looks quite unrealistic in most set ups. Have you thought of using flexi-track?
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Old 17-06-2018, 02:04 AM   #4
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One of the difficult questions which the answer is based upon theory more then fact (Even with a few items sold by manufacturers that are said not to negotiate first radius curves can actually use them, or in the case of others, can with minor alterations).
While I can only speak for 00 gauge as my experience into N gauge was brief, I found that in 00 gauge that items that didnt like to run round first radius in later years (prior to this it was rare to find models that didnt run round them), that it in some cases I saw, that there were purposeful moulded chunks of plastic to prevent things like coaches (And the odd bogie diesel) from running on first radius curves. When I removed these they did work without any difficulties other then with some cases, the design of the couplings themselves.
It is true that 0-4-0 locomotives and short wheelbase 0-6-0 locomotives should all work round first radius curves, as should all short wheelbase and most medium wheelbase wagons.
I use 7mm narrow gauge which often uses 00 gauge chassis and I rely on their ability to negotiate much tighter radius then first radius, so it is naturally important for me to know what will and what will not work round such tight corners. (My boards are just 2ft wide and I have an oval of track on my layout. 00 gauge first radius needs 3ft wide boards to do this). Most chassis merely need alteration to a different design of coupling rather then other modification, though I have (E.g. with a six wheel diesel I'm currently building) sometimes needed to remove the flanges off the centre pair of wheels.
As the market used to all run on first radius curves, larger multiple wheel models along with long wheelbase rigid framed 4-wheeled wagons or even coaches often had compromise built into the design to enable then to do this. If one wants to model true scale radius curves in 00 gauge one would need a board of something like 32ft wide (16ft wide for N gauge) just for the tightest curves, let along what the larger express engines would require, so you can understand that nearly all our models are a compromise to begin with. (I find it funny when purists in the hobby state that the prototypes would never run on first radius when they go and use third and fourth radius curves, when a real model scaled down couldn't even cope with those curves.... But that's another story!)
I will assume here that N gauge is similar to 00 gauge in that nearly all older models will negotiate first radius curves and only the 0-4-0's and the 0-6-0's will negotiate them with the modern made models.

Here lies the problem. Some models which the manufacturers claim dont work round such tight curves do actually work as with those models, rather then test them, as production is in a totally seperate place to the design and the location of the company, it is often easier to assume they won't based on a similar loco which does not work round the tight curves, then test every model they sell. I have found this to be true for a good many models where it is often not the models themselves that are not suitable but the coupling design doesn't allow for sufficient compromise in the design. This is more of a 00 gauge issue of using the trend for narrow couplings. The older wider couplings worked OK, as did the narrow couplings with sufficient sideways flex built into the design.

I did see a good idea on another site where one modeller had started to check all his 00 gauge models (And any other model he could borrow) to test which worked and which did not around first radius curves, and he had made a table fore modellers to look at. This would be a good idea to expand upon in all the popular scales (Especially N and 00) that use fixed radius sectional track curves so modellers can check before they buy as often us modellers need to know because at the end of the day, all our models are a compromise and its just that some of us need to compromise more then others. Its actually ludicrous for a manufacturer to sell curves that many items can't negotiate unless they state what models can or can't use them. At least these days most manufacturers are making the effort to label their boxes, and hats off to those who do.

Last edited by Mountain Goat; 17-06-2018 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 17-06-2018, 05:56 AM   #5
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Which radius of track do Graham Farish put in their ready to run train sets? Because I have watched reviews online of various sets and locos don't seem to have a problem with them.
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