Yard tracks

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jacon12

Member
What distance between tracks should I shoot for, minimum and ideal, for straight yard tracks? I looked on the NMRA page but can't find it, must be overlooking it.
Jarrell
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
According to Don Mitchell at http://www.trains.com/Content/Dynamic/Articles/000/000/001/376wqlzq.asp

Design yards with people uppermost in your mind. If manual uncoupling will be used, yard ladder tracks should ideally be aligned so that the uncoupling locations on each track are directly visible from the aisle. Similarly, track spacing should be sufficient - I recommend 2 1/2" in HO and not much less in N (fingers don't get smaller) - to provide access for manual uncoupling.

NMRA S-8 can be found here:
http://www.nmra.org/standards/s-8.html
Scroll down to the HO part. I think their numbers are really tight - especially if you are going to be using the 0-5-0 switcher any in your yard.
 

Brakie

Member
I prefer 1 3/4" in order to keep the prototype look.:D I use a small flat tip screw driver for uncoupling cars.
 

NZRMac

In Training Down Under.
Brakie said:
I prefer 1 3/4" in order to keep the prototype look.:D I use a small flat tip screw driver for uncoupling cars.

Inch and three quarters looks great Brakie, that's a good way to get more into a narrow space.

Ken.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
I use 1 3/4". I haven't had any problems with manual uncoupling in this space and can still get my fingers in to remove a derailed car. A larger spacing would make it much easier, but I get more track for the space and as Brakie said, " ...looks more proto."
 
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Fergmiester

M.E.S.S. Maker
I've gone with 1 3/4" and have placed un-coupling magnets just before the turnouts. I'm hoping this will make life simple.

Fergie
 
In the NMRA S-8, the thing that everyone missed is the very first column, M.

From the footnote: (*)M = 2A (from S-7) = Preferred Minimum Track Center Distance for easy handling, coupling, yards, etc. and that is 2 1/16" for HO Scale. Yes, you can use 1 3/4" but it is tight.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
RexHea said:
I use 1 3/4".
SNIP
" ...looks more proto."
That's because it's pretty darn close. 13 feet comes out to 1.79 inches. As long as your tracks are straight, and you're not planning on grabbing a flatcar on a track in between two high cube boxcars on adjacent tracks, you should be fine. You could also get away with that spacing on curved tracks, but only if your curve radius was really huge.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
Depends on how ham-handed you are. If you have large hands, then you need more space. Looking proto is nice, but you can't escape the fact that your hand isn't proto at all.

You have a 50' boxcar that has the front truck totally derailed. There are 5 cars in front of it, and 4 cars behind it. On each side, there are 89' autoracks. Can you rerail that front truck with 1 3/4" spacing? If you can do that without doing the Godzilla thing, then go for it. If you can't, then forget about the proto looks. You're fooling yourself if you say it'll never derail there.

Kennedy
 

jacon12

Member
HaggisKennedy said:
Depends on how ham-handed you are. If you have large hands, then you need more space. Looking proto is nice, but you can't escape the fact that your hand isn't proto at all.

You have a 50' boxcar that has the front truck totally derailed. There are 5 cars in front of it, and 4 cars behind it. On each side, there are 89' autoracks. Can you rerail that front truck with 1 3/4" spacing? If you can do that without doing the Godzilla thing, then go for it. If you can't, then forget about the proto looks. You're fooling yourself if you say it'll never derail there.

Kennedy
Thanks Kennedy, I'll keep that in mind!

Jarrell
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Without a doubt, the 1 3/4" can be tight. I don't try to put a derailed car back on, but lift it out (Kennedy's Godzilla thing:D ) after manual uncoupling. If your hands are to big...use padded tongs.

This is just another issue of scale versus practicality. We always have to consider ergonomics in our hobby, if we plan on having any operating fun. You should look at 1 3/4 and if you believe that you will have problems, make it larger. There is nothing wrong with any of these sizes as long as it looks all right and you can operate effectively. After all, Caboose Hobbies' ground throws are about 3 times scale, but you have to be able to grip them.
 
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Brakie

Member
Guys,Here's the look I am after but,I left enough room to uncouple cars with my screw driver.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=55613

As far as re-railing a car in tight quarters I lift the car up and pull it out where I can get to it better.

As far as the NMRA's 2 1/16" extra wide yard tracks hey,go fer it if you have the space.:D But,I will keep my 1 3/4" for more prototypical looks..Thanks! :D
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
I plan on going with 2 1/2" centers. I went with that because I'm looking at 'worst case' derailments; it'll be the last car in a stub siding, which means I'll have to pull out all the other cars first before I can rerail and slide it back in.

I'm not necessarily 'ham handed', at least not right now! I presume when I age, those motor skills will decline some. So, I look a bit into the future.

Kennedy
 

jrbernier

Milw Road in SW Wisconsin
2.5" may be fine if you are going to uncouple cars with your fingwers. I use 2.0" and uncouple cars using the small scewdriver/tool/skewer method. Rarely do I ever cause a derailment. 2.5" is 20' centers - not very realistic.
For the record. 15' centers became law in the 60's across all railroads for new trackage. I have seen trackage on 12' center(on a curve yet!) in the former 'Harts' yard in Mpls(Milw trackage). The only trackage I have on larger centers are some sidings on a curve(about 2.375" centers).

Jim Bernier
 

Rico

BN Modeller
Well now you got me wondering what my yard is spaced at....
Okay just measured and the tracks are 2" apart. I used #6 switches and that's just what they work out to. I agree with the Godzilla thing, altho the one time I had a derailment I just pulled the adjacent track and sent in the "0 5 0 switcher".
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Rico, that distance worked out good for you and it looks good. Nice looking ladder. Sometimes when a switcher can't pull the wounded to safety, the Godzilla way is the only way to keep the blood pressure down:D .
 




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