If you need to work out how steep your model trains will climb on your layout then you can either calculate the required incline manually or use a tool to assist you.
Incline calculators are a simple and quick way to work out the gradient you need.
To help you calculate model train gradients we've created a simple online tool that works as a model train incline calculator and allows you to work out the grade required on your layout.
Model train incline calculator
Our online model train incline calculator is a simple tool that provides an accurate way of calculating gradients based on track length and the rise required to haul trains to a higher or lower level on a model railroad layout.
Simply enter the values, then press 'calculate' and the incline calculator will output the percentage grade for you.
Calculate model train incline tool
What is track grade in model trains?
There are three main terms that we need to understand when referring to model train gradients that'll help us calculate the incline required.
Let's take a look at them:
Track grade is an incline, slope or gradient on a model railroad which determines the rate at which model trains are able to travel to a higher or lower level on a layout.
The rise is the change in vertical height from the beginning of the grade to the end.
The run is the horizontal distance from the beginning of the grade to the end.
How to calculate model train inclines manually
Using an online model train incline calculator isn't the only way to work out the inclines for your layout.
You can also use a simple formula to manually calculate model train inclines.
The rise and run can be measured in whatever units you'd like (e.g. feet, inches, centimetres or millimetres) as long as you're consistent and use the same unit for both values.
You need to divide the rise by the run and then multiply the result by 100. That'll give you the grade as a percentage.
Here's an example:
(2.5 inches / 150 inches) * 100 = 1.67% grade
We have a rise of 2.5 inches and divide this by the run of 150 inches, we then multiply the result by 100 to give us a percentage grade of 1.67%.
The incline or grade is how model trains are able to travel to higher or lower levels on a model railroad layout.
Rise is the vertical height change and run is the horizontal distance being covered.
Our model train incline calculator provides an easy way to work out the gradient that you need to implement on your model train layout using the rise and the run.
You can also calculate the required incline by manually using the gradient formula that we've covered in this guide.