Realistic train size for N scale

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

#1
I have a 46x80" board for my layout. I like long freights. Realisticly(sp?) how long can my train be and not be too much? Is this a question that can be easily answered?

Paul
 

vato loco

Just a Foolish Saint!
#2
I have a 46x80" board for my layout. I like long freights. Realisticly(sp?) how long can my train be and not be too much? Is this a question that can be easily answered?

Paul
Depends on the length of sidings and stagging yard storage! In N scale a mile long train measures 33' +/- a foot. that should help you in your train size question some.
 

bnsf971

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#3
Depends on what kind of train you have. 20 fifty foot boxcars will be longer than 20 ore cars. Many people use the "twice as long as the longest visible straight stretch" rule of thumb. I have a 10'x3' layout, with a maximum of 20-25 fifty foot boxcars for train length.
 

vato loco

Just a Foolish Saint!
#4
Depends on what kind of train you have. 20 fifty foot boxcars will be longer than 20 ore cars. Many people use the "twice as long as the longest visible straight stretch" rule of thumb. I have a 10'x3' layout, with a maximum of 20-25 fifty foot boxcars for train length.
Terry, remember how long the trains I ran on that small 30x60 layout with the sucide grades! LOL's
 

bnsf971

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#5
Terry, remember how long the trains I ran on that small 30x60 layout with the sucide grades! LOL's
They were just a bit longer than 20 cars...The locomotives would be on their knees on the upgrade, and almost sliding their wheels downgrade. Those were big 6 axle diesels, too.
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
#6
Good question indeed. I don't have much space myself (54" x 28") and like running long trains. Naturally a train following its tail looks ridiculous - hence I propose a double track cross-over model, that way the tail is on the other track at least LOL. Head and tail end meeting a the crossover makes for a 2000ft train! This can be bumped to 2500ft with bigger radius, adding curves in leau of strait track and widening the layout. Another way would be to replace the crossover with a bridge - this would enable a 4000ft of train with the head end not seeing the tail on the strait portion. However being so long much of the time he would be running along himself, looks kind of bad, plus how about those grades? Can a grade over tracks even be achieved on such a small layout?

On the plus side, by adding a turnout, one can have a traditional circles along with plenty of siding room for servicing elevators and so on (parked hoppers) that can quickly be turned back into the mainline.

Food for though.:rolleyes:
 
#7
I'm building a 10' x 2' 6" layout, and plan to run 15-25 car trains, max. If you have a lot of room run long trains, on a small layout run small trains, I'd suggest on your layout size 10-12 cars max.
 
#8
The layout I'm working in my long box room--11'X15'--takes up three walls and a small peninsula.

I'm running, at times, up to 30 cars with two lokes at the point. That's when I'm doing a hotshot run.

A local would be up to 15 cars depending on the traffic being generated.

I think that the question could be asked--what type of train are we running? Hot shot or just your local switching turn? Then go from that as well--:D:D
 

vato loco

Just a Foolish Saint!
#9
I'm working on a 26x48 display layout and here is an example of size trains for it! These are typical for the size of locomotive. The beer train is my pick of the litter!
 
#10
Prototype trains run typicall in the 70 to 80 car range with modern trains tending to be longer (modern unit and stack trains run in the 100-135 car/platform range). So pretty much any thing you have in your basement isn't "realistic". What you want to shoot for is what LOOKS acceptable to you. That could be be any size and has no bearing on what the prototype does ('cuse you ain't gonna be even close).

So pick what you think works for your space, design, era and operation. A lot of people in HO think a 40-50 car train is wonderful, I personally think its too long, but its all personal taste. My trains are designed to be in the 6-16 car range (1900-1905 era).
 





ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Top