Amazing Inclines

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Woodie, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    All the regulars will probably know that I did my inclines on Garahbara too steep. Well, I have no idea what has happened to them. Someone may be able to assist.

    I have been running double-headers on long trains to get them up and down the inclines smoothly. With two locos, it doesn't slow down or slip, or race down the other side.

    I have been running like this for a while now.

    About a week ago, I tried just one loco and VIOLA! Works just as well as two loco's. It never did, but it does now. I just thought it must have been the loco's "wearing in" and the motors developing some more rigidity etc as they were run in from new.

    As part of a refix of Garahbara, I have removed some turnouts from halfway up the incline, and hence had to replace some of the track with new track.

    So i put the single loco and train back on the track and guess what! Won't go up the incline again. But only on the new track section. It slips again. A "gentle hand" past the new track section and it's all OK.

    What could have caused this? Does track "wear in" over a period of time?

    Perhaps those with an "incline problem" could do to their track what I had done to mine........ but I don't know what I did, other than run trains on it!!!!
  2. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member


    I think there are two things that probably have an influence on your ability to get up the inclines. First of all it is summer in Australia and we all know how bloody hot it is down there, and the second and probably most important consideration is that Australia, being on the underside of the world has a different gravitational pull than those of us up north. :D :D :D


    Finished Bryson's book. Atomic bombs or not the book is some kind of funny, and the guy obviously loves Australia:cool:
  3. RI541

    RI541 Member


    I've heard that the track gets pitted over time due to the electrical contact between the rail and loco wheels.Every time theres a spark you get a pit,sorta like taking a long screw driver and touching the two terminals on a car battery but in a much smaller scale.the rougher the surface the better the traction.

    just my 2 cents worth.

    Another trick you might try is jellybeans and butter,I saw this on The Little Engine Take Could "I think I can, I think I can".

    This was an American Easter Cartoon about 25 yrs ago.

    I know, bad joke sorry:rolleyes:

  4. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    My theory is that one of the Shiny People got offended by the recent thread on them and went out and greased your rails.

    Everyone had better keep an eye on their layouts!

    I don't have to worry about that, though, because I don't have any people on my layout...yet...

  5. RI541

    RI541 Member

    All my people are still hanging around on trees I've only put clothes on some of them The rest are kinda bare.:(

  6. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Woodie my friend, with new track, it takes around two to three weeks for the track to get worn in if you like. As the loco's and rolling stock travel over it, they deposit a slight amount of grit from the dust and they become more tacky if you like and receptive to loco’s running on them plus the fact that they have a better electrical contact also, but that is beside the point. Once you clean your track with whatever stuff you use, they will unfortunately slip once again until they have that slight deposit of dusty/grit on them. If you want to alleviate that problem forever, use some 1200 wet/dry emery paper in a circular movement over new track as soon as it is laid also on track you have cleaned, that way the small amount of dusty/grit is present from the 1200 wet/dry paper.

  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Woodie, Perhaps you have the sand valve on your loco closed? Check to make sure its open...:D

    Seriously, new track has an oil residue on it from the manufacturing process. Try cleaning in with some alcohol or some other solvent to remove it. It may take several cleanings to get rid of it all. Hope this helped...Vic :)
  8. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    track cleaning


    That's the only other thing I could think of. regular track cleaning (bout once a week). My track accumulates this black oily/greasy stuff. I use a fine wet/dry sandpaper to clean the track regularly, and the slip/non-slip doesn't happen after track cleaning (no difference). I can only think that the track cleaning has roughened the surface up a bit. I suppose it was about 6 months I was running double headers on long sets, so I cannot say how long it was before it only required one loco. However I am keeping an eye on how long it will take for the new track to "settle" in and require only one loco again. I'll monitor what I do, and put the results back here. May be helpful for those with inclines that are just that bit too steep. At the time, I thought it may have been the rolingstock had "loosened up" a bit, providing less resistance for the loco. The only difference now, is the new track, so it must be something I have done to the track, to provide the loco with better grip.

    It wasn't the track weathering process I used either, as it used to slip well after I'd weathered the ties & rails (Did I mention Tyson!!):rolleyes:

    It's not the "ageing" of the loco's either, as a new loco didn't slip when I put it on the layout about a month ago. I just thought it was a good loco! But it now slips on the new track as well.

    It used to be the loco would not haul more than 3 passenger coaches up the inclines, now it will haul 7 - 8 no probs. So perhaps my inclines were not to steep after all.

    All others with inclines too steep? Never fear..... I'll work it out what can be done!;)

    This is the rehashed area.
    There used to be 4 turnouts there, with track crossover and two branch lines heading off to the bottom left (for extension). Too much squeezing twisting etc, causes derailments all the time, so I have replaced the area with just one turnout to bring the two inclined tracks together, and round the bottom corner. Left out the "extension" turnouts.

    Attached Files:

  9. RI541

    RI541 Member


    I'd try to clean the rails with a liquid cleaner like Vic mentioned,I use Goo Gone which cleans up dried latex paint.I use this about once a month, as I have a track cleaning car and I also have the Relco electric track cleaner which works better than I thought it would.

    Other than this I dont know what to tell you

  10. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Ahhh Haaa!!...Black oily stuff on the track...Thats oil and dust. Perhaps you may have over oiled you locos? Try disassembling them and clean every thing up with alcohol and a swab. Then re oil them with a high quality oil such as La Belle synthetic. Be very sparing with it. Make sure the wheels on the locos and your cars are clean. I avoid oiling the wheels/axels on cars. The oil seems to "creep" down on to the track. Get the track squeaky clean and try again...Hope this helped...Vic
  11. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Woodie, Shamus will concur with this suggestion:-

    At the bottom of your incline introduce a company operating sign post (Rule #325) "Shay locomotives only beyond this point" :D

    It worked for me! :cool:

  12. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Oily stuff


    If it's the oily/greasy stuff that's given the track extra grip as it has got older, then I DON'T wanna clean it of!!. And if it was the greasy/oily stuff on the track/wheels, you'd think that it would make the locos slip even more!! "Something" I have been doing has given the track extra grip.

    However i do clean the track regularly. I have never used any fluid/liquid to clean the track, just fine wet/dry sand paper. I have not oiled my locos for months (since new). I do use labelle stuff, and just a smidgen. It can't be that the lube has made it's way onto the wheels to give extra grip, as a new loco had the same "extra" grip as the older ones. If it was the rollingstock wheels (dirty/oily etc), then that would slow the thing down, not help it up the incline.

    Everyone seems to be offering suggestions on what to do...... What I wanna know is what it is, that I HAVE been doing, to make the track MORE grippy than it was when new.
  13. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    So what is the incline???
  14. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    The inclines are in the pics above. The left track goes up, the right goes down and under. The incline also continues down round the bottom of the pic. It's around 6% at it's steepest.
  15. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Hhhmmmmm thanks; I'm going to have a steep incline up to my mine, only a switcher will need to get up there with 4-5 short open hoppers. 6% may do it.
  16. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    That pic may be a little deceptive. The lower left of the pic is already half way up the incline (flat area). The incline then goes back down to baseboard level, while the left most track continues on up the incline. This give the pic a sort of "double wammy" look to the incline. But the two mainline tracks are going down, while the leftmost track continues on up.:confused:
  17. RI541

    RI541 Member


    Have you had any luck finding the problem/solution?

    I dont know if this will help you but it's worth a try.Have you sanded the new track at all,Maybe this will give your loco a little extra traction.

    Have you read Lionel Strang's article in the febuary issue of MR?

    Keep us posted this is interesting.

  18. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Did a little experiment last night. Yep.. The loco's slipped. So I got my usual wet/dry emery paper (fine scale), and "polished" the new track, using a circular (which includes sideways/across the track motion). Just few minutes along about 1 metre of track, and VIOLA!!! Loco goes up the incline! It slows down considerably, but does not end up stationary/slipping. The loco's also do not have the "rubber tyres" on them either. :cool:
    So I think I have solved the prob. :) Since I laid the original track, I have used the emery paper to clean it (just wiping up and down the track) but would have done it quite a few times over the last six months or so.

    "February issue of MR"? I assume you mean the US edition? I don't/can't get that here (Oz). Is it online anywhere?
  19. billk

    billk Active Member

    Hey Woodie -
    A lot of past MR articles are online at There's a semi-decent forum there also (not as good as The Gauge, of course!)
    Bill K
  20. RI541

    RI541 Member


    You must be way down under,I thought that MR was international from their reader forum.

    I know that they have iternational subscription rates.

    Heres an address you can try:

    I havent been there only to the cover page.I cant understand why you couldn't get a subsciption.Heres thier customer service line:

    It might be worth a try.

    Did you say that you had a new loco ? if so how do the wheels look? are they clean? as another exsperiment you could clean them up and try that.I always keep mine clean and dont have a problem hauling 15 cars plus the track cleaner car(which equals about 5 cars) up a 4% grade in N-scale.

    I know I'm going to get alot of feed back on this but here goes.In all the articles I've read they say that black crud isn't good for your locos as it causes poor electrical performance to you loco.There was one article that i remember that they analized this crud.I dont remember off hand everything they found.But they found metal grindings from the loco wheels,house hold dust,oils/grease and plastic grindins from wheel sets.

    I think you answered your own question as to what you did to improve the traction.

    Just my 2 cents worth


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