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Offline Mr. Ron  
#1 Posted : 08 September 2022 05:55:04(UTC)
Mr. Ron

United States   
Joined: 05/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 261
Location: Mississippi, Vancleave
Why are there so many "S" curves on European model railways? Are the real railways so curvy? The model trains, especially long passenger cars take on a "snake" like appearance when going around S curves.
Offline H0  
#2 Posted : 08 September 2022 08:05:12(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,628
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: Mr. Ron Go to Quoted Post
Why are there so many "S" curves on European model railways? Are the real railways so curvy?
Are there "many" "S" curves? On all layouts? On many? On some?

If a railway line follows a river valley, there will be all sorts of curves.
If you have a double track and need room for a platform, there will be S curves.
If there is anything you have to avoid - a rock, a town, a city, a river, a hill - then you will need a curve or maybe an S-shaped curve.

Temporary S curves caused by construction works:
https://www.bing.com/map...amp;lvl=16.8&style=a
Vilich S curve.jpg
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline Copenhagen  
#3 Posted : 08 September 2022 11:32:27(UTC)
Copenhagen


Joined: 23/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 244
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
I think it's mostly a space related issue. We often want to squeeze in as much track as possible. Using R3, 4 and 5 curves would look nicer but they take up a lot of space.
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Offline Toosmall  
#4 Posted : 08 September 2022 12:17:11(UTC)
Toosmall

Australia   
Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 276
Location: Sydney
Australia has a lot of straight track, but if you would like to model some S bends. Google the railway line both east and west of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. I have been on it a few times, once on the Indian Pacific train, and it snakes through the landscape, along the top edge of a narrow river gorge and 10 tunnels from memory.


https://en.m.wikipedia.o...wiki/Blue_Mountains_Line

'The Blue Mountains line is a section of the Main Western line which opened in 1868. The line was built with gradients as steep as 1 in 33 (3%) and curves as sharp as 8 chains (160m). Most of the curves were eased to 12 chains (240m) with duplication.'
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Offline JohnjeanB  
#5 Posted : 08 September 2022 13:56:49(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,187
Location: Paris, France
Hi
Originally Posted by: Mr. Ron Go to Quoted Post
Why are there so many "S" curves on European model railways? Are the real railways so curvy? The model trains, especially long passenger cars take on a "snake" like appearance when going around S curves.

No there are no curves in modern European railway lines. In the old days, they were a succession of straight and curved sections. Now it is about parabolic connections. Now the TGV lines have often radii above 6 km and straight lines streches above 40 km are not so rare (it depends on the population density) but this is not matching the old-style train landscape cliché of trains following a valley, a river (like the rail lines along the Rhine). European modelists like this "old-style train landscape"
Jean


My layout videos
latest vid
marshalling yard
Offline H0  
#6 Posted : 08 September 2022 14:09:30(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,628
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
No there are no curves in modern European railway lines.
Good to know.

Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline Toosmall  
#7 Posted : 08 September 2022 15:08:03(UTC)
Toosmall

Australia   
Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 276
Location: Sydney
Even I would find Australia's longest section of straight track modeled in Z gauge a little bit tedious at 2172 metres!
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Offline kiwiAlan  
#8 Posted : 08 September 2022 19:41:30(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 7,001
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: Toosmall Go to Quoted Post
Even I would find Australia's longest section of straight track modeled in Z gauge a little bit tedious at 2172 metres!


BigGrin BigGrin BigGrin Even more tedious if it was to travel it at the scale speed of the real train - it doesn't get that fast, only about 40-50kph maximum as I recall.

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Offline Toosmall  
#9 Posted : 08 September 2022 20:06:15(UTC)
Toosmall

Australia   
Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 276
Location: Sydney
Not as tedious at having to walk to the other end (one hour return) of your 2172 metre layout because the train stopped for some unknown reason, wishing you put in some bloody S bends!

I think I have about 32 metres of main lines on my layout but 2.7 metres is a long enough walk for me!

Main line fly through:
Flythrough.mov (1,380kb) downloaded 53 time(s).
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Offline PeFu  
#10 Posted : 09 September 2022 07:38:33(UTC)
PeFu

Sweden   
Joined: 30/08/2002(UTC)
Posts: 978
Gotthard Bahn

Above, the Wassen section of the old double-track Gotthard Bahn. ThumpUp

Elevation is also a major reason for S-curves here, as well as rivers, lakes, valleys, hills, villages and cities. Sometimes, even the search for better ground (geology) could be the reason. But I agree, newer high-speed lines tend to run over, through or under these obstacles.

Smile
Inspired by Swiss railways SBB and BLS | C and K track | CS2 | TrainController Gold V10
Youtube Channel for the Andreasburg-Mattiasberg layout
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Offline Mr. Ron  
#11 Posted : 12 September 2022 19:51:38(UTC)
Mr. Ron

United States   
Joined: 05/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 261
Location: Mississippi, Vancleave
I looked at a Google map of Germany, specifically around Hamburg nad could not find any examples of "S" curves. Curves were very gradual. I suspect the reason for tight "S" curves is to suit model layouts and their space availability. The really big layouts, like Miniatur Wunderland and Dr. Porches' have the room for gradual curves.
Offline H0  
#12 Posted : 12 September 2022 20:22:28(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,628
Location: DE-NW
How about this snippet from Hamburg, the line heading north by northwest:
Hamburg-Harburg S curve.jpg
https://www.google.de/maps/@53.4606199,9.9871927,1129m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-GB

Of course, radii are much larger than the R5 or even R9 we have with C track.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline kimballthurlow  
#13 Posted : 12 September 2022 23:31:09(UTC)
kimballthurlow

Australia   
Joined: 18/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 6,337
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Originally Posted by: Mr. Ron Go to Quoted Post
I looked at a Google map of Germany, specifically around Hamburg nad could not find any examples of "S" curves. Curves were very gradual. I suspect the reason for tight "S" curves is to suit model layouts and their space availability. The really big layouts, like Miniatur Wunderland and Dr. Porches' have the room for gradual curves.


I don't think anyone is silly enough to believe that model trains are anything other than a compromise in regards to scale.
It is unrealistic to think otherwise.

The early railway builders were smart enough to build curves that would allow unimpeded travel of their flanged wheels (or wheel types that were in use) along whatever rail was used.
By the 1840s engineers had settled on a minimum mainline radius of 804 metres.
In HO scale that is 9.2 metres.
(Most mainlines in Britain were built to a one mile radius ie. 1609 metres).

So all model or toy train builders simply required track systems to allow unimpeded travel of their flanged wheels.
The Märklin C track largest radius is about 1 metre (and their models are designed to run on a third of that radius).
That is 1/9th of what it should be if you wanted perfect scale.
But as explained by other contributors a 9 metre radius is entirely impractical for most operators of toy trains.

Kimball
HO Scale - Märklin (ep II-III and VI, C Track, digital) - 2 rail HO (Queensland Australia, UK, USA) - 3 rail OO (English Hornby Dublo) - old clockwork O gauge - Live Steam 90mm (3.1/2 inch) gauge.
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Offline Mr. Ron  
#14 Posted : 13 September 2022 20:13:26(UTC)
Mr. Ron

United States   
Joined: 05/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 261
Location: Mississippi, Vancleave
Originally Posted by: kimballthurlow Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Mr. Ron Go to Quoted Post
I looked at a Google map of Germany, specifically around Hamburg nad could not find any examples of "S" curves. Curves were very gradual. I suspect the reason for tight "S" curves is to suit model layouts and their space availability. The really big layouts, like Miniatur Wunderland and Dr. Porches' have the room for gradual curves.


I don't think anyone is silly enough to believe that model trains are anything other than a compromise in regards to scale.
It is unrealistic to think otherwise.

The early railway builders were smart enough to build curves that would allow unimpeded travel of their flanged wheels (or wheel types that were in use) along whatever rail was used.
By the 1840s engineers had settled on a minimum mainline radius of 804 metres.
In HO scale that is 9.2 metres.
(Most mainlines in Britain were built to a one mile radius ie. 1609 metres).

So all model or toy train builders simply required track systems to allow unimpeded travel of their flanged wheels.
The Märklin C track largest radius is about 1 metre (and their models are designed to run on a third of that radius).
That is 1/9th of what it should be if you wanted perfect scale.
But as explained by other contributors a 9 metre radius is entirely impractical for most operators of toy trains.

Kimball


Yes, I agree with this reply as S curves makes a whole lot of sense to me now.

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Offline STE-BM  
#15 Posted : 14 September 2022 08:24:01(UTC)
STE-BM

United Kingdom   
Joined: 18/02/2020(UTC)
Posts: 29
Location: England, London
I grew up in the Alps and I’ve seen many S curved tracks. They exist primarily because of the difficult geology and secondary because space is limited and towns that exist for 100s or 1000s of years can’t be destroyed and rebuilt.
I picked a few examples close to where I grew up.
First you see there is a lake in the middle of two steep mountains. And the train track follows the natural shape of the lake with many curves. You can see also how they built a road and cycling path on each side of the track cause the space is very limited.
Caldonazzo lake train track

The second example S track is on a mountain, with an elevation, passing in between little towns plus some deep river crevasses to avoid etc etc.
Built in the late 1800 when tunnels were expensive and other engineering techniques were not available.
Mainly used for Commuters(Minuetto train) or freight trains coming from Venice/Est Europe and heading north Europe.
D30BA428-104C-46C5-B596-B016D61C389B.jpeg

Edited by user 14 September 2022 23:21:20(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline Mr. Ron  
#16 Posted : 14 September 2022 21:29:44(UTC)
Mr. Ron

United States   
Joined: 05/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 261
Location: Mississippi, Vancleave
I think I may have mis-informed everyone as to my definition of an "S" curve. I understand that track has to follow land contours, when necessary, but I am addressing curves that reverses in a very short distance where the curve resembles an S. I don't consider (for this definition) a curve reversing itself over hundreds of meters as a "S" curve; only those that do so within a very short distance. I realize why it is done on model railways, but it looks awfully Un prototypical, especially with long passenger cars. The small 4-wheel cars on European model layouts don't exaggerate their swing on curves like the passenger cars do. Just saying, but it reminds me of the unrealistic look of Lionel trains going around curves. I wish we all had the room to iron out curves for a more realistic look.
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Offline Mr. Ron  
#17 Posted : 14 September 2022 21:35:27(UTC)
Mr. Ron

United States   
Joined: 05/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 261
Location: Mississippi, Vancleave
Originally Posted by: STE-BM Go to Quoted Post
I grew up in the Alps and I’ve seen many S curved tracks. They exist primarily because of the difficult geology and secondary because space is limited and towns that exist for 100s or 1000s of years can’t be destroyed and rebuilt.
I picked a few examples close to where I grew up.
First you see there is a lake in the middle of two steep mountains. And the train track follows the natural shape of the lake with many curves. You can see also how they built a road and cycling path on each side of the track cause the space is very limited.


The second example S track is on a mountain, with an elevation, passing in between little towns plus some deep river crevasses to avoid etc etc.
Built in the late 1800 when tunnels were expensive and other engineering techniques were not available.
Mainly used for Commuters(Minuetto train) or freight trains coming from Venice/Est Europe and heading north Europe.



I understand track has to follow land curvature, but even so the track is laid with minimum radii so "S" curves are "flattened" out so the reverse swing between cars is not so great.

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Offline Mr. Ron  
#18 Posted : 14 September 2022 21:45:47(UTC)
Mr. Ron

United States   
Joined: 05/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 261
Location: Mississippi, Vancleave
Duplicate post deleted.
Offline Alsterstreek  
#19 Posted : 14 September 2022 23:35:05(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Portugal   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,323
Location: Southwesternmost
Another pointliess S-curve? Here is a 2019 photo I shot of the warp in ICE track #5 at Hamburg-Altona terminus:
IMG_1113.jpg
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