Inclines

Discussion in 'How to' started by Richard, Dec 27, 2020.

  1. Richard

    Richard Full Member

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    Hi Iam looking at building a small turn around branch station, at the back of my layout, and I wish to have it slightly raised, around 200mm I have around 3 meters of run to play with what/or how do I measure/calculate the incline. My stock is 99.99% steam.

    Cheers Richard
     
  2. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    A typical incline would not be more than 4% and that would be pushing it. That equates to a 4cm rise for every 100cm traveled. So in reality, to gain 200mm, you would require 5m of track !

    Having a gradient on a curve can also inhibit a locomotives performance as there is a lot more resistance on a curved incline, whilst pulling stock.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  3. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Richard,
    If I were doing it I would divide the run (3 meters) into easy sections of say 300mm.......over 3 meters that gives you 10 sections.......an easy calculation.
    Then divide the height you need to get to ( 200mm ) by the sections ( 10 ) which gives you a result of 20mm.....therefore section 1 rises from zero to 20mm, section 2 rises from 20mm to 40mm, section 3 from 40mm to 60 mm and so on until you get to 200mm.
    To give you a basic figure or understanding of how steep the incline is, you divide the overall length of 3000mm by the height 200mm which gives you a figure of 15.
    This means the incline is 1 in 15......every 15 mm....it rises 1 mm.
    I regard that as steep, however it depends on your rolling stock. Usually the minimum incline should be 1 in 30......the bigger the number the better.
    I would lay some straight track on a length of timber....the longer the better. Raise the timber at one end to simulate your incline of 1 in 15 and test some locos on it and see how they go.
    Straight is easier, if you have a curve in your incline, it increases the friction and makes the load harder to pull.
    Hope this helps
    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  4. Richard

    Richard Full Member

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    thanks I'll give it a go
     
  5. D827 Kelly

    D827 Kelly Full Member

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    You can get things that are claimed to improve performance on a gradient. DCC Concepts sell a product called Powerbase, which is effectively steel plates that go under the track and a magnet under the locomotive to improve traction. Videos on the product suggest it does reasonably well.

    I have plans for a gradient on my industrial layout, but as yet I've not looked at how severe the gradient might turn out to be, and might have to rethink that element of the plan yet!
     
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  6. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    On my layout roughly 80% steam, 20% diesel with models from the 1960s to current I restricted my mainline gradients to 1 in 48 (for a 6 coach passenger train or equivalent length freight) and the industrial branch line to 1 in 30 with maximum freight train lengths equivalent to 2 coaches long. I paused gradients at level on bends when less than about 24 inch radius.

    I estimated these maximum gradients by placing a piece of track on a plank of wood and tilting it and using a relatively heavy load of 1960s Dublo wagons to determine how much a variety of locos could pull on it. Tractive effort ratings of the prototypes did not map well to their model counterparts particularly with 1970s Triang-Hornby whether those with magnet grip (useless on nickel silver rail) or the very light locos with tyres.

    British steam traction in model form has much less grip than diesels which have many more driving wheels which is why spirals are difficult for steam era modellers.

    One feature not to overlook is having a gradual transition from level to incline and level again, trains do not like the equivalent of car maintenance ramps, I split the baseboard in such away that the track bed follows a bent piece of wood to give a natural transition. This also infers that you do not have a joint between rail sections on the transition either, keep those on the level or constant gradient.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  7. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    ‘this is another big subject, I’d suggest lots of testing on a raised planks before committing, the big advantage you will have is that your loco fleet will be kit built and should be a lot heavier than rtr stock.
    Kim
     
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  8. D827 Kelly

    D827 Kelly Full Member

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    Yes, it will mostly be kit built, but the problem is the Harton No.2 and No.10 are smaller than a 21T mineral wagon in 4mm, so I'm unsure how they'll handle the gradients without assistance.

    My backup plan is 3 levels, 1 the viaduct level, the other the staithes level and the 3rd the dock/harton line lower down. Until I start getting the staithes tracks in place I can't be sure what the gradient is going to look like fully, though I should be able to calculate it from the Templot plans to some extent, once I work out how high the staithes line has to be off the board top.
     
  9. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    If you are using DCC then double heading is an extra dimension that can be implemented.

    I have a steep climb up from the mineral dock and to aid trains uphill I converted an old wagon to have no couplings at the train end with large buffers and a ballast weight so it doesn't get squeezed into the air. Banking can be then achieved without actually coupling to the train, similar to prototype banking. The wagon is being made up to look like a local one off wagon. In other words, rough and ready and made from what was to hand and a welding torch!

    Jim
     
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  10. D827 Kelly

    D827 Kelly Full Member

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    Yes, I'll be using DCC, though it might be a struggle finding a suitable DCC decoder to fit into such a small 0-4-0 locomotive (Nos. 13-15 are Bo-Bo so not so bad and probably will manage alone).

    I'm unsure if the Harton ever used banking, generally being electric I suspect they didn't have the need, where there was the steepest gradients they used gravity to shunt.
     
  11. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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  12. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Well we have to make many compromises in any form of engineering related to appearance, functionality, available materials, cost and many other factors.

    That is worse for model railways, we very much have to compromise on train lengths, curves and inclines even before we consider the scale of scenic items, in reality a railway line is dwarfed by it's landscape, whether it's a quarry slate line in Wales or mainline through the Scottish highlands, so operating issues at model size needs a 'tweak' too.

    Many of our models, in particular steam do not match their prototypical tractive effort ratings relative to each other so apart from trying to match a locomotive to a prototypical load, we may need double heading. So, I run my trains with that in mind. In reality the trains that needed double heading were either extra long or heavy except for Lickey, or some descents to harbours restricted to tank engine axle weights.
    Aeromodellers have it worse, just think an airport in 1:144, or ship modellers a 1:1200 model of Southampton docks, and then flying or sailing the models :scratchchin:

    So if your inclines are actually somewhat steeper than prototypical, accept it and double head, just as if the prototype needed it, loco axle weight on the prototype may not have accepted a single larger electric loco. Or shorter trains. Otherwise modelling a gravity assisted mechanism could be an interesting modelling challenge.

    I think feel and plausibility is an important aspect of your model particularly for the industrial scene where many features are inaccessible for public view.

    Jim
     
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  13. D827 Kelly

    D827 Kelly Full Member

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    You make very valid points Jim. Certainly will be some headscratching I expect.

    Having the idea in my head is after all one thing, putting it into practice quite another.

    I'll post on my layout thread when I get the chance to get to work on it.
     
  14. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    I know the feeling, I'm not sure which is the hardest, the idea or the implementation of the idea.

    I'll keep an eye out for your work, Jim :)
     
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