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Robert Gift

former OL presenter
Somewhere I learned that tracks near Horseshoe Curve, PA, had to be separated a little more because of railcars touching other railcars on a sharp curve of parallel tracks. Did cars actually touch or was there a potential of touching? (Is this due to l o n g e r cars?)

Are there any yards where straight tracks are especially close?
Thank you.


The old ATSF Barstow yard tracks used to be on 13' centerlines requiring the yard crews to walk on top of the cars to switch them.. At that spacing there wasn't enough room to walk between the cars much less give hand signals, especially at night.


Remember, on a curve, the centers of the car will be offcenter ... the longer the car, the more offcenter the center will be. This might not be a problem with a 40' hopper, but imagine how much greater the offset on an 80' autorack might be?

If the tracks are too close, the offset center of car might strike the end (over the trucks) of a car on the adjacent track.

This is why they space the tracks further apart on curves. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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