Derailment Problems

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by veridian, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. veridian

    veridian New Member

    Hi Everybody!

    I'm brand new here - and fairly new to HO scale. I got my son a Bachmann train a few months back and for Christmas he received the parts he needed to complete a layout with 5 switches. The problem is that every time the engine crosses a switch, it derails. Can anyone help me? My son can't play with his train!

  2. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    Several questions, first, does it derail regardless of direction? Is it a diesel or steam loco? If you push the cars across the switch without the loco, do they derail too?

    Those are questions to start troubleshooting.

  3. veridian

    veridian New Member

    Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for your quick response.

    I've been playing around with the track and seem to have most of the switches working (manually) by banking the outside edge of the track a bit. The derailing now occurs most often in the curved portion of the switches. This seems to be because the movable portion of the switch is lower than the adjoining sections of track or even the straight portion of the switch.
    Direction doesn't seem to be the problem - entering on the bottom curve of a RH switch and leaving on the bottom (curved) leg of a LH, both cause the back "truck?" to slip off the track. The other 3 switches are now operating properly.

    "Is it a diesel or steam loco?" Diesel - Bachmann Silver Streak

    "If you push the cars across the switch without the loco, do they derail too?" No - cars are fine.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Is this Bachman EZTrack? Switches often have a problem with the points -- the pointy ends of the rails that move -- that the points aren't sharp enough. This causes the rail ends to stick out a bit from the main rails (called the stock rails). The wheel flanges come down and hit this bit and go over it rather than being pushed around the curve. The solution is to take a small file and file the points sharper so that there is a smooth entry to the curve. There may also be a rough joint at the other end of the points that also needs filing. Clean up the track afterwards because the metal filings do nasty things in motors.
    Also check how the points were put in. The curved bit of the switch starts 1 1/2" in from the end so that you can't just put one in at the start of a circle without a similar bit on the other side.
    You may have to do some close observation to see at which point (PUN!) the wheel comes off and go from there.
  5. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    Derailed fun for son

    Here is a picture of the parts 60103 is talking about:


    I have also had to file the frog "V" so it is level with the Guard Rails as well as open or close the Guard Rails some to stop derailments/shorts.
  6. roch

    roch Member

    I am having the same problem with my n scale atlas switches. I have never used them before tonight. I am glad I remembered this thread.

    Would solving the problem in "n" be the same? Its so small. :eek:


    P.S. : It is doing it to my cars also and is the points. No clue how I am going to file them. It would be nice if they were easy to remove.
  7. veridian

    veridian New Member

    Switch Swap-Out

    60103 Is this Bachman EZTrack? ... 12-27-2007, 12:18 AM [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG] PWRR-2207 Derailed fun for son 12-27-2007, 09:52 AM

    Thanks 60103 and PWRR-2207!

    I talked to the folks at Bachman and was told they will swap out any bad switches. So I'm mailing them out. I found that there were two that were the real problems and that they actually worked going in one direction, but not the other. But each failed in the opposite direction from the other. Go figure. Not sure how I would file the points, so hopefully, the new switches will work.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Roch: the same thing happens in N. You need a good set of modelmaker's files or miniature files. A square one about 1/8" around or triangular, or even a small flat file.
    Look at the end of the points and see where it might need filing. There might be a burr where the point was cut off. Attack that first so that the point sits right next to the stock rail. Then the head (top of the rail) on the inside. This should be filed to a nice point, but the bottom doesn't need it. You can make it more solid for filing by putting a bit of matchstick or similar between the point and stock rail. Sometimes you can get away with filing off just the top corner of the end.
    The other part of the problem may be wheel flanges that are either sharp or square. They should be rounded so that they slide off the end of the point and the pointed bit of the frog and any other bits of rail. I don't suggest you try this yourself, but replace any offenders with better wheels. (See the N gauge section for ideas.)
  9. roch

    roch Member

    I will try all of that if the hobby shop I bought it at won't just swap me out a new one. They are really cool about that.
    Right now I do have a couple switches that work fine and the base coat of paint on my new layout is dry so I am going to lay some track and have fun.

    Thank you,

  10. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Get an NMRA gauge and check the gauge of the locos wheels. Some of the Bachmann's are notorious for being out of gauge.
  11. roch

    roch Member

    ticked off

    I bought a new pair of trucks for my "n" scale LIFE LIKE train. I had lost a spring and a pair of wheels from one of the old ones andthe old couplers keep coming apart.
    Now the problem is much worse because the wheels on the new MICRO-TRAINS trucks are smaller in diameter and I can't return them because I lost one of those pairs of wheels. wall1wall1wall1

    I am ready to just quit. :curse:


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