Rokuhan test figure 8 track:

Why make a test track, and why a figure 8?

I wanted to make a good test track for breaking in locos.

One thing I noticed is that most people use a loop. Watching a lot of locos at my friend's loop, I noticed many locos had problems on the curves not the straights, and sometimes it was a wire not making contact, torque that pulled on pickups/wipers, etc.

I also noticed that some locos ran fine on a right hand turn but turn the loco around on the same loop and it ran poorly.

Lastly, I thought, some of the break-in period on a loco is "scuffing" the surface of the wheels.

So, it dawned on me that the best "equalizer" was a figure 8 layout, not a simple loop. This would excercise left and right and equalize the wear.

I decided to try to use Rokuhan to make it simple especially since they announced a 90° crossing.

I also decided to use the largest (except for the 490mm radius) curve so the test track would work for Big Boys.

So the criteria became:

  • figure 8 to equalize wear
  • large enough to handle the largest locos
  • some straights to test not on curves
  • large enough to handle a short train for load
  • portable
  • can be made by others without tools or modifying stock track parts.


At first, I just got the larger curves, some straights and the crossing and tried to figure it out. As usual with sectional track, nothing is really exactly as the track planning software shows. Eventually I figured it out. After I figured it out, I noticed a tiny piece of paper folded up in the crossing blister pack. In incredibly small print, they give a list of the parts to make figure 8's with different curves. Pretty funny. Thanks Rokuhan (although next time put it on your web site in a place easy to find! I went to your site told that there were a lot of track plans. The site is pretty much a waste of time)

Parts list:

1 pack -  R025 - 90 degree crossing

3 packs - R015 - 270mm radius, 30 degree. (packs of 6 pieces). Each pack of 6 is 180, so a pack and a half is 270 degrees, need that for each "loop"

1 pack -  R009 220 mm straight pack of 4

1 pack -  R008 - 55mm straight pack of 4

I've listed the setups for figure 8's using different curves below, this is what is on your "secret information" paper in the 90 degree crossing box!

R270 - 220mm and 55 mm
R245 - 220mm and 25mm
R220 - 220mm
R195 - 110mm and 55mm and 25mm
R170 - 110mm and 55mm
R145 - 110mm and 25mm
R120 - 110mm
R95  - 55mm and 25mm
R70 - 55mm


I decided I wanted to make it portable, and also be resistant to damage. I thought of a thin box with a reversable top. The box would be thin and light. It would be just deep enough to hold some Z scale cars, and maybe a power supply. Luckily master modeller Don Fedur built the frame with the reversable "top",





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