Smallest HO scale curve radius

Gerry’s been in touch – he’s kindly done a video update of his HO layout, which talks about the smallest HO scale curve radius.

As you’ll read below, your engines may run smoothly on the layout you have, but what about when invest in large loco that you’ve always wanted?

As Gerry found out, it could be troublesome!

Now, I know what you’re all going to say:

“record the vids with your phone held ‘landscape’… ”

Well, we can’t have everything.

I’m just happy to have this to post, it’s getting a bit thin on the ground this end, so if there’s anything you’d like to share, just mail me with your pics.


Thanks to your blog I have used many ideas building my HO layout over past 5 years.

Now it is time to upgrade and expand some more! Thought I would share it…!

Thanks for greasing this blog Al!

Gerry in Florida”

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

model railroad

model railroad

Smallest HO scale curve radius

Smallest HO scale curve radius

Smallest HO scale curve radius

Smallest HO scale curve radius

Smallest HO scale curve radius bench

Smallest HO scale curve radius track plan

model train track plan

model railroad

Thanks to Gerry for sharing the thorny issue of what is the smallest HO scale curve radius.

He’s man of few words – but the video made up for it, so I thought I’d post.

I found it really interesting listening to folk talking through their layouts.

Gerry is changing his because his large trains won’t run through his tight curves – amd that’s something that comes up quite a lot on the blog.

The locomotives you have now may run fine, but there’s nothing worse than spending on a small fortune on an engine you’ve always wanted, for it to derail on every turn.

There’s quite a few posts on this that are helpful:

Track curve radius.

Minimum HO scale track radius.

How to stop derailments.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you’re feeling left out – why let everyone else have the fun?

That’s all for this time. Keep ’em coming, folks.



PS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

25 Responses to Smallest HO scale curve radius

  1. Rich B. says:

    This layout’s pretty nice, intricate. The mountains appear to be a ready made module store bought as is. How clever, look good too, steep.

  2. Macbear says:

    A lot of good stuff here, thankyou, Gerry. I particularly like the coal handling plant. The lawnmower parked under the bench in the final photo worries me: is Gerry’s grass that realistic?!
    Keep smiling,

  3. Doug Tanzer says:

    classic example of pitfalls of building scenery before laying the track but keeps us busy rebuilding

  4. Martin Gliddon says:

    Very nice layout.
    Only one comment is I wish when people use a mobile for video or photos, they turn the mobile on its side so a landscape picture is made. It stops all this wiggly-waggle movement as the operator tries to fit everything into the limited screen space that’s seen under portrait mode.

  5. Ron says:

    Could’ve been a very interesting subject but the herky-jerky camera movements were making me dizzy and out of focus. Normally I watch videos 2 3 times. But not this one. Too bad; it had a lot of potential. Seems like a nice layout.


    Don’t move the camera so much or so fast, other than that a great attempt.

  7. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Nice job Gerry…Very busy…To the one who said “Bought mountains” go look again…..And yes his video was jerky but he made up for it with the photos…Best garage usage I’ve seen…Thanks Gerry…..Mike

  8. Harry Palmer says:

    Very nice layout and see you have put a lot of time and work into it. My only suggestion would be to hang a sheet or something behind the layout as all the garage stuff behind and below takes away from the visual effects.

  9. Rob McCrain says:

    Gerry, good idea enlarging the curves. You have more options now. Interesting layout and good use of space. Rob McCrain – Farland Howe.

  10. Jim Burlingame says:

    Looks like a good idea but I really could not follow what you were trying to show. Too much camera movement. The recommendations for videos are “Let the subject do the moving not the camera. I know this would not apply too well in your case so hopefully next time you will pan the camera slower. Jim B Rochester, NY.

  11. Burch Ouellette says:

    Still queasy from the video! Nice layout.. I’m getting ready to lay track and I am always interested in track planning, I have made a few tries at videos with my phone camera an are still trying to perfect it.

  12. Nice layout Gerry, I am starting on my layout also in my two car garage. You must be like me you still need to have your tool in the garage along with the layout I’m selling out some of my tools that were for metal working for more space space for my layout, I like your schematic of your track. What size is your garage?

  13. Will says:

    As others have stated your videos would be much better if you didn’t hold your phone vertical. TV is not vertical, computer screens, movie screens as well. Try It, you’ll like it. The thing about panning slower is also a good idea.
    Keep on building!

  14. Tom Sawyer says:

    I agree with the video critics! Great layout,poor filming.

  15. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Looks great Lee

  16. Michael Childs says:

    Great Layout Gerry, Can’t wait to see the update. Also – Go State! (I noticed the pencil lying there).

  17. Rod Mackay says:

    Slightly puzzled by the sketch plan for the rebuild, as it doesn’t seem to reduce the curvature much. I’m surprised you have had problems running bogie diesel locos, they’re usually pretty amenable, and the curves don’t look all THAT sharp? I’m actually moving the other way, I had to dive under my doughnut shaped layout numerous times on Sunday when we had a practice running session, and ended up swearing my next effort will be end to end – no more duckunders thanks, too hard on the knees!

  18. Gerry from Florida says:

    Thank you for all of your suggestion and I will do better on next vidio. But now we are moving to Michigan to a new lake home and I will be disassembling the 3 tables which are bolted together and reassemble up there! Gerry from Florida!

  19. fred says:

    oh i see you ran into the same problem i did. small space demands r18 curves. are too small for cars over 50ft scale and the sd 40, 45″s ect and bigger don’t do well

  20. Cary B says:

    Nice layout Gerry, the new track plan looks good. Model railroads for most people and never finished. Change is a good thing. Look forward to see your progress
    Cary from Maryland

  21. Gerry Brown says:

    From Gerry! I am surprised to see this posted again from 3 years ago… I have moved to Michigan now and started on a totally new lay out that I will send in pics and a landscape video this week. I appreciate the comment again now and promise to do better on the wiggly stuff…. Chu Chu my friends…. Gerry

  22. Dick Holmes says:

    I am moving to Florida, Naples area, and will be rebuilding my HO layout in the garage. Are you far enough south in FL to worry about the humidity – weather etc? and if you are can you give me some advice>

  23. Rob says:

    For Dick Holmes. A little warning from Tamps florida. If you intend to insulate and seal your garage door and then add air con I would commandeer a bedroom in the house. To much temperature variation causing a lot of contracting and expanding

  24. Erick says:

    Pretty neat.? I hope mine turns out that good.

  25. Dave in Niagara Falls Ontario says:

    Great layout, but slow down with the camera. You have a lot of detail and very nice but hard to comprehend with the camers motion. Great layout.

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