Mainline laid but have a problem...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by vanda32547, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Hi Ya'll,

    Well I finally have the mainline laid on my layout and all is working well with the exception of 1 spot. When the train runs clockwise there is no problem...when the train runs counter clockwise I have one spot where I get a derailment. Engine problem but with cars it derails.

    I've checked the track and there is no bumps, spikes or uneven track junctions. This is on a curved area and the track is banked there to keep the train level since the platform surface is slanted there. :confused: I am stumped?

    I am thinking of just replacing that section of track but I'm not sure that will solve my problem...very frustrating.

    Any ideas of what I might check before redoing that section?

  2. 2slim

    2slim Member

    Does your loco have truck mounted or body mounted couplers? What about the cars?
    What is your curve radius?
    Without knowing the above I 'd say your curve radius is a little sharp for the loco when cars are coupled, (this can be worse on 6 axel diesels or larger steamers).

  3. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Bob - I have to echo slim and say "more info please"... Especially what is the curve radius. But also: Is this flextrack or sectional or other? IS there a junction there (even if you find it to be "even")? Is this on a grade or flat? etc. etc.

    Having said that, I'll add that out-of-gauge track has been my usual culprit when I find a "no other reason for it" derailment spot. If your gauge is too narrow, the wheels will "squeeze" out or if too wide "fall" in...
  4. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    More info...

    I am using flextrack and it is coming into a turnout however the cars seem to derail a couple of inches prior to the junction at slow speed. They seem to do better if the throttle is faster.

    I will have to check the track spacing with my NMRA gauge when I get home. The engine couplers are body mounted Kadees and so are the cars. The engine has 4 axels. The radius is about 18". Yes it is on a grade. Thanks for all the questions and input. And of course its in an area that is hard to reach :eek:

  5. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Of course it is!

    In the situation you describe, I'm still voting for out-of-gauge. However, I'd also look at the left/right can't of your track. You say it's banked, and you may be facing a deadly combination of curved/banked/narrowish radius/heading into a transition... Not that this itself is a problem, but it's going to make ANY slight issue into a big one, e.g. being just slightly out of gauge might cause a derailment here where it would not on the straight and level.

    I had a truly devilish spot that was coming into/out of a switch, curving, graded and banked... It took me several many hours of fiddling to get it just so, and locos with poor downforce on the leading truck (which means many of them) will still lose it there no matter what I do -- that I think is a function of a curve/downgrade at the same time, not an "error" per se, but simply that the track "falls away" from the leading truck and it doesn't have enough "spring" behind it for the wheels to follow...

  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Bob,I suspect the track is out of gauge..Some times while laying track we will push the spike or nail to far into the tie..This will cause the track to become to tight as it bows the track inward and thus becomes out of gauge.
  7. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Will be replacing used track with new...

    Morning all,

    It's not the engine that derails but the rolling stock that follows it. I agree that it may be out of gauge. I checked it with my NMRA gauge and it seems a might tight on the bend. I have been using my used track from my previous layout.

    I am waiting on a flextrack order to arrive. I am going to take y'alls advise and replace the used track with a section of brand new flextrack. Maybe this will solve my derailment issue. I will keep you posted.

  8. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Look for an S-curve somewhere on this length of track: if you have a sharp curve to the left that suddenly curves to the right (or vice versa) you will get derailments even if your trackwork is perfect and in gauge. Switches can cause inadvertent S-curves if not planned carefully.
  9. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

    Hi, Bob

    Something you might try is to take a picture of the problem area. Sometimes when we have built something ourselves, we tend to overlook minor imperfections. A photo will help you take a fresh look at the area.


    JOE ALOIA New Member

    Mainline Laid

    This may seem out of bounds,but i had a similar problem. when i was running a passenger train it ran perfect at one half of the circle. then the other half the
    cars would derail. I checked everything of the tracks etc. Finally i turned to the couplers,and i found that the body of the car was restricting the movement of the coupler. so, i cut away a 1/16 th of material, so that the coupler could move more freely. It worked,now it runs at both low,and high speeds without derailing. It may not work for you, but it is something to look
    into if all others fail.

  11. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I will be checking out all the ideas suggested.

    I'm still waiting for my flextrack order from Standard Hobby Supply! It seems that they were moving into larger space and nothing shipped until yesterday. Had I known that I would have ordered from someplace else. I want to have trains running smoothly by Christmas.

  12. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Just a few questions.

    Does your curve commence immediately at the join with the turnout, or do you and an inch or two of "straight" before the curve?

    Is there a transition from the incline to level at the turnout join?

    When you say "reverse" along, is it the first cars to go over this point that derail, or the last ones (closest to the loco)?

    And when you "reverse", is it "up" the incline, or "down" the incline?

    And are the cars that derail, long cars with bogies, or 4 wheel short trucks?

    Is the track on roadbed, if so, what type, and is there a join in the roadbed close by?

    Have you weathered any of the track (seeing it's "old")? I found on my layout, at a particular spot of derailment, that there was a very tiny piece of rail weathering paint. Just run your fingernail along the track (slightly down the "inside") and feel for even the slightest imperfection. It was the most tiny piece of paint, caught between the track spike and inside the rail. Could not really see it, but with touch, there was the most slightest bump there.

    These things can be a real **expletive**er of a thing to find, and you may need to sit there for hours watching extremely closely how and when and why you get a deraliment.

    Sometimes, though it's quicker and easier just to replace that section. But, if you can, avoid going direct from the turnout into the curve. Have an inch or two of straight track first.
  13. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Answers to your questions...

    Thanks for your questions about my problem.

  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    for re-gauging, you can often do it with a couple of 3-point track gauges and a soldering iron. Put the gauges on the track each side of the problem area (single point inside) and heat the rail enough to soften the plastic that holds the rail down. Then run the track gauge onto the spot and leave until the plastic hardens again. If it's a long stretch, you may have to repeat.
  15. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Morning all,

    Finally...yesterday I got my flextrack order! So this afternoon, after work I will be replacing that bad section of track (WooHoo). Hopefully this will solve my derailment problem.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas you all have given. It has been greatly appreciated. Soon I will be wiring up the layout for DCC with the heavier gauge wire bus and feeders. Once the derailment problem is corrected I will be soldering the rail joints to insure proper conductivity.

  16. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    ahhh..... because your loco is pushing all that weight of the other cars, on curves like that, it may "buckle" under the weight of the other cars. (Mine do, sometimes) especially if they are lightweight cars).

    I assume you have tried other cars in that position? (next to the loco).

    Also, try weighting that car down quite a bit. i.e. weigh it down with some coins and see if you still get the derailment.

    Also, if you can, avoid going straight into the curve direct from the turnout. You can get an impercetible "kink" by joining flextrack at a curve's commencement.
    Good luck. :) :wave:
  17. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Just to add to that, one method I use to find kinks and imperfections in track (even though they might not cause derailments, or be perceptible to the naked eye) is to use, say, a 4-6-0 steam loco, and closely watch the front 4 pilot wheels, and their movement in relationship to the body of the loco. Their movement is quite accentuated compared to, say, a deisel loco or freight/passenger car wheel/bogie movement.
  18. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    I'm glad I don't have track problems...... hey, one outta two ain't bad !

    Bob :oops:

    Attached Files:

  19. KCS

    KCS Member

    hmmm i agree great questions. i am in a club so over time I've learned that because sometimes we pull such a large amount of cars of at least 150 cars. the most we ever pulled was 220 cars and backing up is not good at this point other wise you will be there a few hours picking up cars. (trial and error) now the trick to solve this little problem is put your heaviest cars behind the locomotive and the lighter ones in the back. other wise like what was said b4 in this thread that if any heavy cars are in the back and you have a "feather weight" car somewhere in the front or middle this will cause the light cars to slightly lift off the track as they buckle and the trucks begin to wonder until they derail. also the vise versa reason: if the rear of your train is to heavy with light cars in the front, this will cause the load to be so severe on the light weight cars that it will pull them right off the track in a curve. Exspecially if you have banked curves. Also check your turnout. I've seen this more times than I should have but the mail rail's right before reaching the points where track connects are made have a tendency to break easily if not handle properly. and if your points have a tight hard push that it pushes the broke rail(s) out and cause's the used section of track rail to move. I've seen this a few times and have had to fix the problems. but see if the switch connection point is loose if so, hit it with a gauge and spike it down other wise it'll just keep happening. on used flex track which i have seen a lot also sometimes when being removed for the first time cause's the rail to kink and reinstalling it to a different radius can make one rail kink even more. Hope this helps. good luck.

  20. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Bob was tryin' to lay some 3-rail ...

Share This Page