1 MARCH 2000
Figure 3-1. Combining Curves
d. Curve Resistance. Curvature adds to propulsion resistance at an average rate of 0.8 lb for each ton
of train weight for each degree of curve. As a 1-percent grade adds resistance of 20 lb per ton, a one-
degree curve is then equivalent (in resistance) to 0.04-percent grade.
e. Curve Compensation.
(1) When laying out a route, the additional resistance due to curvature must be accounted for in the
design. This procedure is known as curve compensation. Compensating a grade for curvature is almost
always required for ruling grades, and is recommended for grades in moderate and higher categories.
(Curve compensation is sometimes omitted where curves are very short or of gradual degree).
(2) Where curve compensation is needed, grades on curved track will be reduced by the following:
G r = 0.04 x D
Gr = Amount of grade reduction (percent).
D = Degree of curvature (decimal degrees).
(a) Actual and Effective Grade. Table 3-4 illustrates curve compensation for a 1-percent grade. As
shown, if a train travels around a long curve of 4 degrees on a 1-percent grade (uncompensated), the
combined resistance is equal to a 1.16-percent grade. To maintain an effective grade (as experienced by
the train) of 1-percent, the actual grade constructed through the 4-degree curve must be limited to 0.84-
percent. Since the actual grade is reduced, compensating for curvature requires a longer track length to
reach a given elevation.