Intro and loco-tender coupler question

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by taylorg01, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. taylorg01

    taylorg01 New Member

    I spent my youth in two different locations in my small town Oklahoma upbringing not 100ft from Sante Fe tracks. Rode my bike up them and watched the trains pass daily without ever knowing it was anything more than a 'train'. Having a son changed all that. My then 2-yr-old liked trains and began really expressing an interest in them. Because of him we've been to see and ride several real trains that include the White Pass and the Cass Scenic. We have a small and still-under construction HO setup and he enjoys it immensely. I am still learing and have to read a good bit to keep up. Our daily commute takes us past a fairly large manufacturing switching yard (NS) and cross both NS and CSX lines. From our home we can hear the trains pass over two tunnels within minutes of the house.

    One of the locos he's had the longest is a bachmann N&W 610 4-8-4 Northern. Now that we have the tracks secured to the layout board (and are set on the design) there is a problem with the articulation between this loco and it's tender. The loco could traverse a section of switches that allow moving from our outer loop to the inner and back again along one straight. The problem is the coupler doesn't allow the loco and tender to offset enough. This has the affect of lifting the rear trucks on the tender off the track and/or the leading truck on the loco which then causes the drivers to step off the rail.

    I have tried to modify the coupler somewhat, but it's very limiting in what you can do because of a lack of material.

    Does Kadee or someone else sell a replacement that will articulate more...? What are my options other than laying out the tracks differently...?

    We use EZ track so changing contours is really not an option. We use this track because I never imagined we'd build a board or layout and we got this type of track for my son to setup the layout on the floor of his room. We'd invested a good bit to get him electric switches, bumpers, and lots of track so he could get some decent stuff going. Besides, it's real easy to work with and replace/repair sections as needed. As a novice/newbie that's just the way it's going to be until my son gets a little older and can help his old man out. I wasn't really planning on a new hobby as I got older, but it's fun to watch my son 'work' the consists on his layout.

    Maybe I'll post a link up with a few pictures soon.
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    What you have is the dreaded S curve. a 4-8-4 is a rather large engine, and while it may take a sharp curve okay, they will derail if the curve takes a sharp S - as with two facing switches. I'm not sure there is anything you can do to solve the problem with the loco other than to use #6 turnouts. I am not sure if there are #6 EZtrack turnouts, though. The issue with the loco is the pivot point fot the tender drawbar is too far behind the last drive wheel - Something that is inherent to the loco type and would be difficult to modify.

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    further to Nachoman's post: I think there are longer turnouts in EZ track -- you want the ones that go straight after the frog. I think they also make one-piece crossovers that don't have the S. These usually let you put the parallel tracks closer together.
  4. taylorg01

    taylorg01 New Member

    That is exactly what we're dealing with and it is indeed something that looks difficult to modify. I have a couple ideas and I will look at it more this evening. The wiring from the tender to the loco is a bit of a limitation I plan to work within because I do not want to cut & slash at the factory wiring.

    What the coupler/drawbar needs to do is slide to one side or the other without being lengthened much if at all. Lengthening the drawbar could relieve the issue, but that would run into wiring issues and the look of the pair together will be diminished. Of course, this may not be an issue to my 6-yr-old. We'll see. Perhaps I'll mock up something temporary and see how it goes.

    Why on Earth did they couple these this way........
  5. CRed

    CRed Member

    They do have crossover turnouts,I'll see if I can get a pic for you off the net.

  6. CRed

    CRed Member

  7. taylorg01

    taylorg01 New Member

    Okay, I see the bachmann cross overs. That would work, but...

    We have LifeLike snap track and I do not think there are adapters for the two. I think the profile is similar so that wouldn't be a big problem. We'd have to change our track spacing, but that is doable. Hmmm.

    I can't find out if LL has any crossover track or even made such a thing because there are no listings since Walthers bought them. We have a LOT of LL track and it works good. Doing a complete redo of the track is not economically feasible.

    Let me know what you think.

    I am also still looking at how I can modify the couple between the loco and tender. that would be a short-term if there is a good track solution because we'd eventually like to run other large steamers on the layout.

    If LL or bachmann make adapters to each others tracks.....let me know.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Sorry; when you said EZ track, we assumed Bachman. As far as I know, there are no adapters between LL and Bachman. I suggested once that somethong might be done by cutting a section of each in half (the plastic parts) and exchanging one end, but no one said they'd tried it.
    I think the problem is that both are patented and they won't talk to each other.
  9. CRed

    CRed Member

    Yeah when I saw E-Z track I assumed he meant Bachmann.Anyways,as 60103 said there's probably a way to jerry-rig the ends so they'll work.Like maybe cutting off their respective connectors so they're even and just using the joiners to connect the track.I'm not sure how the LL stuff works so that's just a suggestion.Another sugesstion would just to switch over to Bachmann,it's pretty cheap stuff,just make sure you get the NS track with the grey roadbed,the steel track doesn't have a crossover.

  10. taylorg01

    taylorg01 New Member

    Sorry about the terminology mixup. I'll try to do better in the future. :)

    I adapted the backman EZ crossing w/ gate to the LL Power-loc track by trimming one side of the LL track and using a typical rail connector (as in the LL to regular track adapters). The height of the roadbed is the same and only a little trimming needs to be done to get everything sliding together.

    That said, we're not as of yet modifying our layout.

    I have always thought the drawbar on a steamer should come from the trailing trucks. Bachmann doesn't think so. I tried modifying the supplied coupler to work and it just won't. It gets close, but the designed is flawed from the outset.

    So I made new lead and trailing truck locator arms from brass stock (ghetto style because I couldn't find the key to the drill press chuck). I then made a drawbar from the center truck pivot to the anchor on the tender. The anchor on the tender has a sleeve with the opening as a range limiter. After some tweaking, the rear trucks stay on the rails, the locomotive can lean in the corners, and the tender stays seated firmly on the track (still needs weight added).

    There has always been a problem with the front trucks not staying on the rail (straight or turn). The design has no tension on the trucks and there doesn't appear to be an easy way to add a spring. After looking at my son's White Pass IHC Mikado, I can tell it's design has tension in it and the only movement is downward from level running. There is no compression.

    So, I'm going to try adding weight to the front trucks and if that'll keep them boogers on there, we're in. Once I make some cleaner-looking parts (with press and belt sander) then I'll post up pictures.

    No, with my level of tooling it won't be prototypical, but it'll work and after it's painted my 6-yr-old won't care at all (if even when it isn't painted).

    If this works we could probably modify any Bachmann 4-8-4 to work on an S-curve using standard life-like or backmann snap track. The DCC Daylight might still be got if funds allow.

    I'm trying to steer him to a 6-wheel driven loco for his next steamer just to make things easier.
  11. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    If I were you, I would swtich to regular flex track, then you can use bigger turnouts, and it is a LOT more reliable. I know from experience, having gone from the similar Bachman EZ-Track to Atlas Flex.

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