Track Close Along a Wall Behind a Viewblock
Track Close Along a Wall Behind a Viewblock
I was contemplating how close to the side wall of my layout I could place a long straight track that would sit behind a viewblock to disguise the train traveling behind the viewblock? Being a straight track I figured it could be as close as 1” to the centerline of the track, then another 1” to the viewblock.

But if long steam engines etc are going to be using that track, then clearances need to be allowed for the overhang swing of those engines as they entered and exited that track. I went back looking at my experiments with a number of locomotives, and discovered several that needed as much as 1+3/8” clearances, this Bachmann 4-8-4 Northern. (and the Big Boy & the PRR GG1, etc)

So my thoughts turned to whether I might make just the entrance and exit points have 1.5” clearance while the remainder had the 1” clearance? I decided to get out that engine and perform a little mock-up test on my outdoor work table.
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(that white piece of plastic is 28.5" radius)
One end of that 'hidden track' was going to have a Peco large radius turnout on it. I took notice that the loco did NOT have that big 'tail swinging out motion' when utilizing this turnout!! In fact it was very little. I attributed that to the very large radius of the Peco turnout itself. It was acting like a very good 'easement'

Wow, could I disregard providing the full 1.5” wall clearance if I utilized this Peco turnout on the one end of the hidden track, and provided a corresponding easement on the other end??   I think so.
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Here is that large radius Peco coupled up with a fixed curve 24” radius and still no problem with the tail swing of that long loco. (BTW I don't intend to utilize that tight of a curve following the Peco large,...just experimented) Its made me a big believer in using as large of a radius Peco as I can anywhere on the layout.

Does anyone see a problem with my analysis here?
Looks good to me, Brian.  Doing actual tests, as you've done, rather than relying on the manufacturer's specs gives you results that will work (or not) for your particular situations.

I didn't even think about the easement that the Peco large size presented when I first thought about the situation. It was a pleasant surprise.

One fellow on another forum commented about that 'narrow' 2" channel being difficult to extract a derailed train from, and he has a point. But since this narrow channel I am considering would be behind stacked containers of a port facility, I'm thinking the viewblock might be the containers themselves, which would be moveable?

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