How many cars can an engine pull?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jerardr, Jun 30, 2001.

  1. jerardr

    jerardr New Member

    I am kind of new to this hobby. The question is how many cars can an engine pull? I have looked at some die cast cars but they seem to be about 3 to 4 pounds. So how many regular plastic cars can a engine pull and how may die cast cars? Also what is the effect on an engine that has one motor and one that has two. I only use Railking engines.
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    How many? How long is a piece of string? There are many variables. Depends on the quality of the loco motor. Depends if you have any inclines, and how steep they are. Depends on the sharpness of curves. Depends on the weight of the rollingstock. Depends on the guage. cetera cetera. Any loco will haul just about any length that will fit on your layout. I can run 8 - 12 passenger cars on a 4' X 8' HO layout, however it chases it's tail! And forget trying to get it up anything more that a 2% incline at that length. You get engine slip. YOu can always run 2 loco's if it won't haul the length and weight you want.

  3. George

    George Member

    Hello Jerardr, and welcome aboard! [​IMG]

    Railking? You must be talking about "O" scale?

    Woodie's right. It also depends on the manufacturer. An IHC E-8 in "HO" will spin it's wheels with anything over 6 IHC passenger cars. Nice looking model, but what a disappointment performance wise! But a regular Athearn stock loco will easily pull twenty four 40' freight cars without a problem, but like any mechanism, take it easy and stop them after a while and let them cool off! If you lash up two Athearns, a moving fourty car freight train is easily achieved, but it takes a little while to get up to a comfortable momentum.

    What's your gauge and what are you trying to do?

  4. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I can only answer for HO, but on a level, 7X24 layout, I have pulled as many as 102 cars with one loco. It almost strained and slipped a bit, so I backed off to 75 cars, freight, box cars, flat cars, tankers and such, all fairly light, mixed brands mostly plastic original wheels (as long as they rolled good), and hook/horn couplers. One loco is a Riverossi "Big Boy" and the other is a P2K E8/9. Another I just got, a Riv. 4-6-6-4 Challenger takes off smooth as silk and rolls easily at 1/3 throttle. So, as you can see, there are a million variables to consider in answering your question
    Lotsa Luck
  5. billk

    billk Active Member

    Hey All -
    Maybe a more practical answer is that under normal circumstances (grade not too steep, all the wheels are turning, typical home layout, not chasing your tail, etc.) you can pull more cars than you can get behind the loco!
    Bill K

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