Figure 3.2. Determining Track Curvature.
You can also quickly determine the approximate degree of curvature with a standard 62-foot stringline
superelevation, discussed in section II. Stretch the 62-foot
cord between two points on the inner side of the outside
rail--the same method used for the 100-foot chord in the
preceding paragraph and in figure 3.2. The distance
measured at the halfway point of the stringline cord, the 31-
foot mark, to the head of the rail in inches is equal to the
degree of curvature. The sketch to the right shows how the
measurement is made.
Often, you may need to know the radius of a curve even though you already know the degree of
curvature. If the curve is not too sharp, an approximate value of the radius can be determined by the following
formula in which R represents the radius in feet, D represents the degree of curvature, and 5730 is a constant.
For example, a curve of 1.5 degrees has a radius of
or 3,820 feet.
The three types of curves used to change the direction of a rail line are the simple or circular, the
compound, and the reverse. They increase the amount of resistance to the pulling power of