In our previous article, I talked about some of the benefits of building small model railroad layouts, very small layouts, which include the pizza and micro varieties. We now get started on a new pizza layout in N scale here at Raildig.com and I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to this project. Hopefully we can even convince a few non-model railroaders to take the plunge and try their hand at a small layout.
The first thing I wanted to do for our N scale pizza layout was to determine its actual size, what radius track to use? Given its reputation for looks and reliability I’ve chosen to go with Kato Unitrack but now comes the radius question, just how large (or small) to go for this pizza layout? As we’re using the Micro-Trains Line SW1500 switcher for this project, I figured I could really push it with a small circle of track. Just to be sure, I bought enough track to build 3 small circles of track using 3 different curved radii: 9-3/4”, 8-1/2” and from Kato’s Compact track line, a 7” radius.
I set up all three circles of track and tested these using the SW1500 pulling a pair of MTL 40’ boxcars. I assumed the 9-3/4” radius track would work and felt pretty confident about the 8-1/2” radius track as well. I really bought the 7” radius track as sort of a “what the heck, let’s try it” impulse buy. As expected, my current pizza consist of the SW1500 and 2 boxcars ran well on the 9-3/4” and 8-1/2” radius track but I have to admit, I was surprised when they also ran nicely on the 7” radius track!
The main reason for building this pizza layout is really to have fun and to illustrate just how little room is actually needed to run trains right out of the box in a very, very small space. If we can tempt a new user in to building their first small, fun layout… that’s icing on the cake.
Another goal with this layout is to see just how good we can make a small, operating layout look. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be using the 7” radius curves for this layout, I think I’ll let the trains run for a while on it this week just to make sure no problems pop-up, but it’s good to know what my minimum radius is with this locos and rolling stock.
I took a series of photos of the SW1500 and a single boxcar from an overhead as well as from a side view. Before I commit to a radius, I wanted to get a sense of how these smaller curves look with trains in place. I found it interesting that even with the smallest 7” radius; I didn’t get severe engine or boxcar overhang, at least not over the edge of the ballasted roadbed. You know, I think I’m talking myself in that 7” radius!
In our next article, we’ll have decided on which radius curve to use and we’ll begin on planning the basic theme of our pizza. As we’re featuring the Micro-Trains Conrail locomotive… I’m thinking a slightly grungy, rusty East Coast feel to the piece.
Micro-Trains Line N Scale Locomotives
Category: Raildig Build Projects