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for a 'home only' layout this seems acceptable...however, the crux is...for whom the oval is really intended?

I have built a layout for my young son to enjoy..Thomas, Henry and James not withstanding!

The only real modification done on his insistance was the addition of a Peco turntable.....

I attempted to avoid strict 'trainset' is 'expandable' in a scenic manner, with tunneled portion,etc....and uses Peco setrack points,plus flex track, code100...(setrack doesn't seem to be available in code75!]

HOWEVER...the main criteria I imposed was, the trackwork, etc, had to be as near as possible, totally reliable.

same with the choice of locos he could rely on.

so, even though the odd curve was less than 1st [or is it 3rd?] radius..and Bachmann coaches needed their solebars relieving as the bogies were on 'full swing'' at certain parts.....this has proven to be the case...even over the part where the baseboard 'joins (it splits in half, folded)......using pCB panels with the rail soldered on..

I went to great lengths to achieve this there is nothing more liable to make a youngster 'lose interest' in a model train, than its continual sticking and needing a push...or derailing.

I would take a closer look at that curve if i were you....eyeball from rail level if possible....maybe use a small hand mirror?

look for abrupt changes in direction from straight to curve......also, kinks which create a tight radius spot.
plus, make sure you haven't introduced a slight adverse camber?

derailing on a curve can also be caused by gauge tightening...i try and 'push flex track into the curved alignment rather than 'pulling'....

\another problem to eyeball for is 'twisting' of the track on the curve.

all these may not be the slightest bit apparent from a general overview the loco and wagon at slow speed, look for wobbling, or slight jumping, etc....and find out why?

for young kids and trains, one loco I definately would avoid is the Hornby 'Thomas' and those locos that share it's (for the time, marvellous) chassis.
reason is, its traction tyres on the centre drivers.

young kids sometimes like to push the loco along a bit, rather than 'controlling' it...the traction tyre sets up so much resistance to pushing, it strains the wheel to axle joint, and can dislodge/shear the crankpin.
one broken Thomas!

for kids and reliability, I dont think anyone can beat the Hornby J94.
It is short wheelbase, doesn't stall easily on insulated point crossings...has all wheel pickup, no tyres, runs real slow, smoothly, and can be obtained in a number of liveries and shapes.

warning...the Bachmann 158 DMU my son bought 'me' for my birthday, sometimes snags its exhausts on the trailer coach on his tight curves...but he doesn't care!

If real young kids are involved, I suggest a simple controller...(we use the Gaugemaster one)...I have drilled the knob at right angles to the axis.....[opposite its fixing screw, as it happens]and inserted an L-shaped piece of coat hanger wire....about an inch long....then I drilled [carefully] a hole on hte face of the controller, and inserted a bit of wire covered in plastic (so it doesn't stab anyone] that the L shaped wire stops when it limits how much the knob can rotate.

this limits the MAX voltage to track..thus loco speeds....hence, increases reliability of running...and reduces silly but expensive crashes.

by drilling a series of holes on the face of the control box...or by adjusting the clamping screw on the knob, max desired voltage can be selected.....especially to suit a reluctant engine.

incidentally, the Bachmann Thomas is far superior...we have one, and a james, which uses the same chassis....their eyes move!

These are not available new in the UK for copywrite reasons, but can be had off titernet.

the green tank from bachmann [same loco, no eyeballs] would make an excellent industrial or freelance loco.

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we got ours over ebay from US of A.....quite good value, even with postage, compared to hornby.

themech is a bit cheapo.....and I really think they are more 'scaled' towards HO.....since they are quite compact.......but......they emulate the films better.

James could be larger/longer....and Hornby's Henry is very good considering......

but the bachman 'moving eyes' really do the business.....a trick Hornby could well emulate? [they shift from side to side as the loco moves.......maybe with DCC they could be made to watch you whilst stationary?.............DCC smiles too????
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