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Plastic Rails by ME-Models

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Verschiedene Curvesradien for LEGO kompatible Eisenbahnschienen von ME-Models

New radii for the LEGO train system

January 2015: After a long time waiting the new radii for the LEGO train system are now available from ME-Models.

Currently ME-Models offers:

  • Curves with radius 104 studs (R104)
  • Curves with radius 88 studs (R88)
  • Curves with radius 72 studs (R72)
  • Curves with radius 56 studs (R56)
  • Straights length 32 studs (Double Straight)
  • Straights length 16 studs (Standard Straight)
  • Straights length 8 studs (1/2 Straight)
  • As color for the plates and connectors Black, Dark Bluish Gray, Dark Brown and Reddish Brown are offered.

All products can be purchased on the ME-Models website in the ABS Plastic area.

Please notice!

I am not selling any ME-Models products by myself. I also do not organise any mass orders.

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Curves – R104

Curves – R104

Curves with radius 104 studs – the standard radius for LEGO curves is 40 studs (diameter approx. 70 cm) – have modelnumber ME901-104. One bag contains material for a half loop of track. This half loop is build by 16 sections. For each section 2 connectors and 4 plates are provided. In total you get 128 pieces plastic for 32 US$.

A loop of R104 curves has a diameter of approx. 175 cm.

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Curves – R88

Curves – R88

Curves with radius 88 studs have modelnumber ME901-88. One bag contains material for a half loop of track. This half loop is build by 16 sections. For each section 2 connectors and 3 plates are provided. In total you get 112 pieces plastic for 29 US$.

A loop of R88 curves has a diameter of approx. 150 cm.

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Curves – R72

Curves – R72

Curves with radius 72 studs have modelnumber ME901-72. One bag contains material for a half loop of track. This half loop is build by 8 sections. For each section 2 connectors and 5 plates are provided. In total you get 72 pieces plastic for 22 US$.

A loop of R72 curves has a diameter of approx. 122 cm.

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Curves – R56

Curves – R56

Curves with radius 56 studs have modelnumber ME901-56. One bag contains material for a half loop of track. This half loop is build by 8 sections. For each section 2 connectors and 4 plates are provided. In total you get 64 pieces plastic for 19 US$.

A loop of R56 curves has a diameter of approx. 98 cm.

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Straight rails
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Straight rails – set-up

Straight rails

Straight rails are offered in 3 different length:

  • 32 studs (Double Straight) ME901-DB with 4 sections for 14 US$
  • 16 studs (Standard Straight) ME901-ST with 10 sections for 20 US$
  • 8 studs (1/2 Straight) ME901-HF with 8 sections for 11 US$
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Set-up

Set-up

Due to the fact that the ME rails do not come as single track element it takes a while to set up everything.

Except for the R56 rails, the clutch power for the connectors and plates to the rails is ok. While connecting the R56 sections the rails seems to pop of the connetors and plates very easily. Setting it all up on the carpet could be come a night mare if you are not patient. While running the trains, no connection failed, which is good. Even without ballasting and just on the carpet. Maybe this is why ME-Models mentions "This ME Models product is intended for hobbyists 12 years of age and older." on the back side of the bag's paper?

The other radii didn't have these problems, the just work fine, both setting up and running trains on them. Again be careful when moving a bunch of sections from the table down to the floor. The ABS seems to be smoother then LEGO ABS and accedently I droped some sections ... which needs a full rebuild.

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Identification of the inner and outer rails

Obviously the inner and outer rails have different length. On the backside of the rails you will find the size of the radius and an O for outer rails. The inner rails are marked with an I for inner rails.

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Assembling the plates

Each section has some fixed points for the connectors and right in the middle there is a little elevation. At all other positions it it up to you, where you put you sleepers/ties. Each bag has enough 2x8 plates to set up a similar 2 studs gap to the next plate as we know it from the LEGO standard track.

The connectors for curves only have on stud to connect the rails, the connectors for straights have two studs to connect the rails. This is caused by the various radii, only a connector with one stud is flexible enough to be used for all radii.

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Test runs

Test runs

To set-up the test runs I needed to move some drawers out of the way. A R104 loop requires some more space …

The ME plastic rails work very well with the older ME metal rails and with the standard LEGO track sections (just tested 9 V straights).

Videos

Different trains running on differnet radii – YouTube Video

Different trains running on differnet radii, on the right you might spot the older straight metal rails from ME-Models – YouTube Video

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Test runs

All trains are powered by PowerFunctions.

A standard 6-wide train powered with one PF train motors can run at high speed all the time in all curves. I also tested some steamers which uses either Emerald Night LEGO spoked wheels or BigBenBricks train wheels. Power Function powered BigBenBrick wheels on smooth ME rails does not make a lot of grip and my BR 23 (with XL BBB wheels and a XL Power Function motor) could only pull a three heavy cars. I can assume that this configuration will not work if the trains wants to go uphill.

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R104 S-curve

S-curve

Using 4 sections of R104 curves you can set-up a very nice S-curve which ends exactly 16 off the straight track. Such a S-curve is 80 studs long.

Let's hope for the future. A switch in this geometry is highly welcome in the world of a LEGO train hobbyist. Michael Gale has allready published some ideas on Flickr.

Layout planning with BlueBrick

Using the free and open source software BlueBrick by Alban Nanty you can plan your LEGO train layout virtually with the computer. Just a few days passed by since the real ME rails became available they are also available as additional parts for BlueBrick.

The installation of BlueBrick is really simple and adding the new library with ME rails is just a job of seconds.

  1. BlueBrick Software (download, documentation etc.) by Alban Nanty
  2. ME Models Track BlueBrick Library by Michael Gale

Discussion

Further information about this topic can be found in the LEGO Train Tech forum at eurobricks.com.

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