badly needed engine advice!!!!!!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by rcline, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. rcline

    rcline Member

    Here's my problem! I have two incline's that are ten feet long and I was forced :cry: into ending up with an angle of 6 degrees grade. So I need something (in both diesel and steam) that will do a really good job of pulling! I'm getting tired of only being able to pull a total of 4 cars at a time up hill. :mad:
    PLEASE PLEASE help!!!!!!!!!! (HO Scale)
  2. Joepomp

    Joepomp Member

    Try an Athearn SD70 I have 2. One can pull 20+ cars two can pull every car I own.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    What sort of minimum radius are you running?
  4. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Wow... 6% grade is a tough one. For steam I'm going to suggest Rivarossi engines which typically come with a set of drivers that have "traction tires" (i.e. rubber on the edge of the wheel). Rivarossi recently went kaput, but still plenty to be found in stock at various vendors and on Ebay. I know is running a clearance sale on several Rivarossi steam locos. Other brands sometimes offer "traction tires" on their steam locos, and you should definitely be looking that way.
  5. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi rc,
    Do you have a 6 degree grade (12.6" of elevation over a 10 foot span)
    or a 6 percent grade (7.2" of elevation over a 10 foot span)?

    Inclines like this are most often specified in percent. Just trying to clarify. :) :)

    6 degrees obviously will be a lot more difficult to climb. 6 percent you can
    probably overcome with traction tires or doubleheading. Extra weight in
    the loco will also help.
  6. rcline

    rcline Member

    Cidchase - you are right, I have 6 percent grade, only I don't! I went back out and measured again, I don't know what I was thinking. what I have is 5 1/2 " height gained in 8 1/2' feet of length. At the bottom of both grades I have 22" rad.curves. And at the top of the hill,(both runs) I have 15" rad. curves.
    So far I like the sound of both of the engines referenced above. I'll try to get my RightTrack program to work to show what I have laid and what I am still thinking about.
  7. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Cid -

    Unless my math is wrong, you still have a 5% (plus a hair) grade, which is pretty hefty and you definitely won't be able to just run biz-as-usual type trains...
  8. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Ha rcline, Sounds like you have two problems, the steep grade and tight curves. The 15" radius is really going to limit the locos and cars you can run.
  9. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Ahhh. Missed the 15" radius bit... In that situation recommend you consider a logging/mining type layout where you can use geared locos like Shays or Heislers
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    You can always do what the real RRs did - use helper engines to get up steep grades. You could even make that part of your operations, because quite often the helper engine would only be used for the grade. So, you have an enginehouse at the start of the grade, the helper comes in to form an MU consist, then leaves the train at the top of the grade.

    The logging idea is also a very good one.

    Good luck! A lot of times our limited spaces force us into tight curves and tough grades. But, there's a prototype for everything!

  11. rcline

    rcline Member

    Track Layout

    This is how my track is laid out. :confused:

    Attached Files:

  12. rcline

    rcline Member

    Rats, I can't get it big enough to see well!!!!!
  13. rcline

    rcline Member

    try it again here for larger size!

    Attached Files:

  14. trainworm

    trainworm Member

    with a grade like that and curves that tight, you are going to need a small steamer with traction tires, but i dont know who makes good ones with TT's anymore. for diesels, I dont think anything as big as a SD70 would make the 15" curves. try an Athearn blue box locomotive (not one of the RTR) the metal they use on those wheels gets some pretty good traction. then glue in some extra weight to the inside top of the shell for added traction.
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    NO! That SD70will not make the 15" curve..Its a long wheel base engine..Try a P2K GP7 or GP9.They have the weight and should make that 15" curve.
  16. rcline

    rcline Member

    Thank you everyone for your good advice. :thumb: I guess that I am forced into smaller engines and useing helpers also. Later on I will be adding another section of table on to what is all ready there. Plan is to have the final table size covering an area of about 16' by 24'.
    Right now the table looks like the letter "E" :confused: so as I can walk all around and reach any derailment with ease. The rail yard is on one leg, the town is on the middle leg and the village is the third leg. The outside edges of the table are about 6" from the track. So you can see that I have a funny shaped table, but I can reach anything anywhere with ease. When I start the addition of more table space, I'm going to try to keep every thing with the largest rad. of curve that I can. Using lot and lots of flex track! "And no more steep grades!"
  17. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Oh.... 6%. hmmmmm....... Don't think you'll ever get a satisfactory run out of that. Struggle up one side, then WIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ down the other. :)

    However, I had a steep incline on my last layout that nothing would get up. I gave the track a good sanding with light sandpaper (roughen it up a bit) and it did a helluva lot better. Do you have a curve on this incline as well? That makes it doubley difficult for locos to haul their load up.
  18. rcline

    rcline Member

    Woodie - I have sanded my track many times, it helps a little. What I found out is that my little 0-6-0 with tender that came from, I don't know where, will out pull my diesels by a long shot! The little steamer out weighs my diesels by almost 50%! I added weight to my deisels, but by the time I got enought weight to stop wheel slippage it got almost to heavey to pull the hill. I guess it's time to make my runs a lot longer to reduce the climb angle. My game room has an AC unit built into the wall and I have to get the track above the air vents. The air vents are becomming caves from which blows the spirits of Indian Chiefs, I think I saw a hobo camping out in there last week!
    Thanks for your help a lot and many happy rail running days!
  19. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Rcline - I think you may be coming to a necessary conclusion... 6% grades are just pretty extreme. The more "average" grades one finds like 2% or so are even extreme in terms of prototype... For examle, 0.5% grades are considered pretty hefty in the real world (at least were on the road I model) and generally required double-heading, helpers, etc.

    I don't think you'll have much luck getting anything to go up 6% grades except locos that were rather intended to handle extremes: Shays, Heislers and the like. And even they didn't exactly pull long trails of cars behind 'em when they did it.\

    Believe me, I know from compromise... Every time I have to pass up an articulated loco that just won't handle my 22" radius curves (not without looking ridiculous), I cringe. Every time I run my 80' passenger cars (despite the fact they look kind of ridiculous) on those same curves, I lay plans to annex the room next-door to my train room... But c'est la vie. But I think you're in a catch 22. If you want to run "mainline" type trains, you have to get that rise down to a more realistic level. OR, if you can't get it under 6%, you may have to consider modeling another sort of prototyping -- logging, narrow-gauge, etc...



    PS - I love the caves idea! Light a little incense inside them and the 'great spirit' can smoke the peace pipe with the hobos...
  20. tweet469

    tweet469 New Member

    Do what they did on the prototype and double the hill. When facing a short steep grade and no helpers, they broke the train down and pulled up half or even a third at a time. This and alot more information is in the John Armstrong book "Model Railroading for Realistic Operation." It is a must read if you are in the hobby to stay. It explains how to design your layout from an operations point of view. It was a very enlightening book for me.

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