Car weight

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by joefryfry, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry

    My coal hoppers weigh 4oz like they should according to NMRA standards. I want to increase the weight to try to fix some minor derailments. I want to add 2oz of weight. I will be pulling twelve of these cars with a Proto 2000 dc GP38-2. At what point is enough enough and too much stress on the engine? Thoughts?

    I have my track laid and I am ready for either ballast or to start laying chicken wire and paper mache' the land forms. I need some thoughts on which order to do this. I know it should be ballast, but I almost want to do the landform first.

    Thanks for the helps.
  2. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    I assume HO.
    If you are having derailments with properly weighted cars, I would suggest that you might want to find and fix the problem before adding more weight. Several things come to mind.
    1) The wheels are not in gauge. An NMRA gauge can help with this.
    2) There are kinks in your rails at joints.
    3) You have turnouts failing to close properly.
    4) There are dips in your rails.
    5) You have couplers hanging too low and catching on track and turnout parts.
    6) You are mixing talgo (couplers mounted to the trucks) and body mouted couplers.
    Several of these can only be caught be getting your eye down to the track, or by using a mirror on the track to examine it. A car may actually ride up on the rail and then derail some distance away from the problem.

    Bottom line? Look to the track and wheels before you load your cars more heavily.

    I hope that this helps,
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    only thing i can add to Rogers list is make shure the truck mounting screws are not too tight.
  4. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    Roger pretty much answered your first question. I would also look for off-centered wheelsets that might otherwise still be in gauge. Your second question, go either way. I have done ballasting before landforms, and I have done it the other way, depends on my mood at the time or which materials I might have at the time. Either way you go you should cover the track with newspaper to avoid having to scrape up stray plaster or paint. Speaking of paint, now is the perfect time to paint (weather) your track; it makes a real difference in the end.
  5. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry


    I finally got a chance to take a close look at my track and weigh my cars before I did anything drastic. Turns out my trucks were on too tight. I assume they should be able to move somewhat freely (rocking side to side), which they were not. No more derailments. Still some coupler heights to fix. I got a height guage and a standards guage and kadee #58s, so it is looking good. I plan to ballast sometime soon.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    each car should have one truck which will rock both sideways and back-and-forth. The other truck should only turn or rock a tiny bit. The old formula was to lossen the screw 1/4 turn.
    Of course, I operate with cars where both trucks are quite loose.
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Santafewillie is right: paint your rails before you ballast. I used PollyScale paints on mine, applied with a 1/4" brush. It's boring work, but goes quickly, and it makes a surprising difference. I did my scenery, at least the basic landforms, before ballasting. If your layout is on a table top, with no scenery below track level, then you can do either scenery or ballast first. I have quite a bit of scenery below track level, and some track is on embankments, so a lot of the ballast material will roll down the slopes at trackside. If you don't have these areas covered with plaster or another scenic base, the ballast will end up on the floor. I often do some real basic groundcover alongside the tracks when ballasting, as it helps to make the track area a more integrated part of the scenery that I apply later.

    This scene is more-or-less finished. After the track was installed, the slope of the roadbed was done with plaster over screen. Then, in one operation, the rip-rap was applied, followed by coarse fill, cinders, and finally ballast, along with the basic ground cover. Trees and bushes were added later. Without the plaster "ground" in place first, all of the material that's supposed to be supporting the track would've ended up on my basement floor.

    In this shot, the sequence was the same: roadbed, track, landform, fill and ballast, along with just a touch of groundcover alongside the track. The rest of the scenery is yet to be added, but the track at least is already an integral part of the scene. By the way, I don't bother to cover the track when doing the plaster work, as I use a fairly stiff plaster over wire screen. If you use something like strips of paper dipped in soupy plaster, then covering the track makes sense. Removing that tape is easier, and does less damage, if the track is unballasted when when doing your plaster work.


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