The layout is a Marklin American, or 509, or 510, or Noch Barenweiler. It goes by a lot of names. The inner and outer loops are designed for independant operation and have independent throttles, but in my layout there are a pair of circuit switches which, when active, allow the inner and outer loops to operate as a spiral, with a single train alternating between the inside and outside paths.
The total track distance of the spiral path is about 492 centimeters, or 1082 scale meters, or 1/3 mile. The front portion of the layout is the lowest, and there are fairly steep grades. Combine the grades with tight curves and lots of switches (and my trackwork), and you have a hard layout for any train to manage, especially at low speeds.
The tape shows two complete circuits of the track by an unmodified MT GP-35 pulling a short consist. You'll note that the speed of the train varies considerably as it negotiates the grades and curves. Total clockwise lap time is just shy of 2 minutes, yielding an average scale speed of roughy 21 mph. Couterclockwise is a little more challenging, and the throttles for both track segments had to be boosted to make sure the train didn't stall. Average scale speed counter-clockwise is about 33 mph.
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