Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by photoman, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. photoman

    photoman New Member

    Hi, my name is Dino Petrocelli, IM from albany ny, IM a professional photographer, if anyone wishes you can view my web site at

    IM slow in the winter and figured I would turn my old studio into a train depot. I went a bit crazy and finally got a track laied, I have 6 switches, the track runs on 3 4x8' talbles I made. I never knew how crazy this can all be, my 5 year old is having a blast and it making me do more. The guy at the train shop loves me I spent 500.00 in 3 days.

    Here is my question, I bought a Sante Fe, engine, and a couple cars. I don't know why but the box car wont carry through the switch, the wheels have a mind of their own. Every other car is fine, are there adjustments on these cars. Its not the switch, all other cars make it. what is the rule on switches and these cars.

    Thank you.

    Hope to be on here a lot.
  2. hiscopilot

    hiscopilot Member

    I cant begin to answer your question there. But welcome and I will watch for the answer because I have a "troublesome truck" who is doing the same troublesome thing. The only thing I could figure out is maybe something in the couplers is pulling it a little...
    Good question!
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Hi Dino, and welcome to the Gauge.:wave: There are several things that can cause a car to derail. One is out-of-gauge wheels. It's a good idea to check the wheels of all cars before placing them in service, and for that, you need an NMRA wheel and track standards gauge. Your new friend at the hobby shop can sell you one: I'd guess $5.00 or so. It has instructions for its use. Another cause of derailments is trucks that are too loose or, usually, too tight. If the trucks are attached with screws, loosen or tighten as required: both should pivot easily, but one truck should be left a bit looser, so that it can rock a bit as the car goes over slight irregularities in the track.
    Another cause of derailments is a coupler that hangs too low, allowing some part to catch on the rails as the car traverses the switch. The solution, if you're using Kadee or similar style couplers, is to adjust the trip pin.
    I hope these suggestions help to solve your problem.
    By the way, nice studio, and some nice photos, too. I hope that you'll share some pictures of your layout here on the Gauge.

  4. berraf

    berraf Member

    Welcome aboard photoman and I hope that you can make this car work just fine.
    Usually the problem that you described are caused byt either the coupler or the wheel-gauge so start the investigation and Good Luck om the way!

    Perhaps you as a photographer could take som pictures of your work and share with us.
  5. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    I've had the same problem with some cars derailing on turnouts while others go through just fine. Sometimes just turning the car around solved the problem, other times taking the wheels out of the truck then putting them back in the reverse order helped. The problem could also be that the car is too light. Athearn boxcars are notorous for this. Adding a little weight may help. I usually solve this by glueing 2 or 3 steel nuts inside the car. If the above doesn't help, it has to be a bad truck. Replacing it is the only option.
  6. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Hi and welcome:wave: . I'd say "E" "all of the above"sign1 . I had one car that would do that. Turn it around works great. Just got a coupler hight gauge and found that the trip pin was hanging way low.

  7. NSES44DC

    NSES44DC Member

    I have an athearn boxcar or two and the coupler boxes kinda hang low..still gotta fix it..but they catch the turnout and either derail or uncouple from the train. I trimmed the curved "hose line" im not sure what they actually are called, but it seemed to help a bit. Check the couplers to see if they arent catching the rails. Or as i just read..old tanker has it right, coupler pin..yeah..just take a look at that closely as it goes by the turnout.
  8. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Welcome photoman! You're getting some good recommendations here. Hope you find the answer to the derailing car. Glad you could join us.
  9. berraf

    berraf Member

    A couple pin height gauge is essential and the only way to not get more mad and frustrated than I already am...

    Another important issue to stay out of derailment is the horizontal levelling. It often tends to be a slack just where the turnout is so pay attention also to this.
  10. photoman

    photoman New Member

    Thank you

    Thanks for all the suggestions, IM going to the train store today and buy the gauge and have the wheels checked. This is like a big game, but fun. Can someone tell me how to post a pic on here, I would love to get some input on the layout. Its only track, not even wired as of yet, it was a trick in its self to lay the track without a forward and reverse track running into itself. I couldn't figure why the train would just stop in hte middle until I split the track and one track wout go forward and I but it past the split and it would go in reverse.

    Thanks for all the answers, I will be working again today, now I have to start making the set look good.

  11. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    On posting pics, having your pics in jpg (jpeg) format is good. BMP doesn't work very well because of the size problems. Upload your photos to a picture hosting site such as or Imageshack. Once they're uploaded, click the IMG tag below the pic and copy the tag into your browser. You then paste the tag line into your document. After you save the document/post anyone who pulls it up will see the pics.
  12. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    By the way, there are ways to make this work. It's called a reversing loop. You can buy a special "autoreverse loop" circuit that will handle it correctly, if in fact you want to keep the reverse loop.
  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

  14. hiscopilot

    hiscopilot Member

    For our issue, weight appeared to be the bulk of the problem. My son put some rocks in his troublesome truck and away it went! :) He figured that out on his own. Thanks

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