Deciding Grades For Rising Track
A common question from model railroaders is how steep to make the slope of a track before having problems with derailments, burning out the motor, or poor wheel traction.
Rule of thumb means generally anything over a 3% slope (3 inch rise in 100 inches run) is going to cause a problem for trains.
Approximately 2ft of run is needed for a 3/4” rise. That provides roughly a 3% grade. If you are prepared to run shorter trains, then you can go steeper than that.
The danger is in burning out the motor if the locomotive has to work to hard to pull the train up the grade. Traction tires make it possible to run longer trains up steeper grades, but remember the risk of burning out the motor.
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You can also go steeper on a short grade where less than the full length of the train is likely to be on the grade.
However, if you want your trains to have the longest run then it is usually best to make the grade as gentle as possible.
Another little model railroad tip relates to curves. If the grade is on a curve, make the grade less steep. This is because the curve adds drag.
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