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Old 15th November 2012, 16:43   #1
AndyB
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I'm still working on a track plane for my grandsons layout. Currently I am thinking 2 loops with 3 or 4 branches. I want one loop to rise up over the other at one end. One because he seems to like the idea of a train disappearing into a tunnel and two he also likes the idea of one train helping another run up a hill.
So my question what is a workable grade for the small Bachmann Thomas locos?
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Old 15th November 2012, 18:13   #2
TCWORLD
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The best way to check how much it can pull at what gradient is to get a straight piece of track, and put it on a board of wood (temporarily). Then you can change the gradient of the piece of track and keep going up until it can't move with the loads you want to pull.From memory, 3% is generally a good maximum. I certainly wouldn't go above 5% if you can avoid it.
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Old 16th November 2012, 04:10   #3
BR60103
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4% (1 in 25) is generally considered a steep grade in model railways. (and prototype). To get up 3" (in OO/HO) would take 75" or about 6 feet. And another 6 feet to get back down. And a bit extra at the top and bottom to avoid the sharp joint.
Test the grade by taking a straight 8-foot board and laying a length of track along it. As 8 feet is 96" and this is close to 100", you can approximate a percentage grade by raising the one end that number of inches. Then load your loco with the length of train you expect and see what it does. Curves add to the load.

I have a 2% grade on my layout and a 10 foot long goods train gets double-headed by a Q1 and an N15. The Devon Belle has 7 coaches and is handled by a West Country class Pacific that has had a couple of ounces added over the drivers. 8 coaches won't do.
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Old 16th November 2012, 15:00   #4
AndyB
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Thanks guys for the info, I'm not sure I will have enough room for that much straight track. So perhaps to obtain the tunnel I will run the inner loop down a grade into the tunnel while the outer loop runs up a grade thereby halving the %. If we want helpers perhaps we will have to use our imaginations or add more cars.
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Old 17th November 2012, 03:51   #5
BR60103
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Andy:
Some locos do better on grades than others. If it has traction tires, it may climb better than 4%.
The one track up, one track down scenario is acceptable, but the amount of track may be the same in some plans.
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