Maximum grade before cars begin to roll

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Maineiac, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Maineiac

    Maineiac New Model Railroader

    What is the maximum grade that you can leave uncoupled cars on before they will begin to roll? Some of my cars have free-rolling trucks.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Phil, that depends on the car, the trucks ,the weight of the car, the wheels, a lot of things. I have a couple cars that would roll on a near level until I added more weight.

  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Funny you should ask...I just finished (on Sunday) a tank car kit I had started working on a few days back. When I set it on the track, it started rolling..!! This on a section of track that was level, as per my bubble level..!! I'll be using it instead of my level in the future...
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Steamhead, LOL!!!!! :) My freight cars vary as to which would roll on any particular grade so I'm guessing there isn't a rule of thumb.
  5. Maineiac

    Maineiac New Model Railroader

    Thanks guys, I'm planning my layout and I wasn't sure if I could put a siding on a really slight grade. Looks like I should keep it on the level.
  6. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    most industrial sidings use wheel chalks on the cars. Because we don't have operating hand brakes this could be a way to prototypically keep the cars in place. Some of these chalks have a flag attached to them with the word "chalk" on them and are painted yellow. (A railroad owned siding always requires hand brakes to be applied)
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I recall seeing a modelling tip in either RMC or MR concerning this. If your rolling stock continues to roll after it's been spotted at an industry, consider installing a short length of monofilament fishing line, sticking up between the ties in a suitable place along the siding. Mid-way between the rails should work, and let it stick up only far enough to barely catch the axle of any wayward car. This should be almost invisible to all viewers except you (maybe even to you, once it's been in for a while :lol: ). Pick a "test" appropriate to your scale, and avoid the line that's blue or some other colour.. This little "handbrake" should have no affect on locos that may have to run over it.

  8. Maineiac

    Maineiac New Model Railroader

    Thanks for the valuable info. I think I'll try the monofilament trick, but it may be a while since I haven't gotten any track laid on my layout yet.
  9. zedob

    zedob Member

    How about instead of using fishing line you use a few hairs from a cheapie chip brush. That way it'll look like weeds. If the cars keep rolling just plant some more weeds. The monofilament might last longer, but the brush hairs might be worth a try.

    I guess you could plant twine grass, but that my disintigrate over time by the car's rubbing action.

    Just some $.02 from me.
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    My biggest problem is the newer Athearn RTR cars roll freely..I declare they can do 0-50 in 0.5 seconds on what is supposedly flat track at the club.
  11. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The most free-rolling trucks in HO were (and I believe still are) the Lindberg trucks. They would roll on a about 0.5% grade, even on a lightweight car. Therefore, I use 0.5% (1/2" in 8ft, or 1/16" in one foot!) as my maximum spur and yard grade as part of my layout design standards.

    Testing as I'm building using levels and straight edges is critical to ensuring actually meeting the standard. Vertical height precision of the rail tops really needs to be better than 1/32". Cookie cutter subroadbed and risers are easier to adjust than flat top layouts. When hand-laying track, sanding the tie tops before spiking rail is the final adjustment. If using cork roadbed and flex and/or sectional track, sanding the top of the cork smooth is just as important to getting things right. A straight edge used vertically is the final check for vertical smoothness, and used in conjuction with a level, the final grade check. The great thing about using all this care during track construction is that a lot of potential derailments are eliminated from the get go.

    just my experiences
  12. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    The "Weed" in the middle of the rails is the best way to go. If you make them thick enough - they won't wear out too fast.

    Also, In G -- I use a toothpick (or 2) at the lead end of the siding. It raises the end of the track ever so slightly, to "hump" the car into position... Another thing you can do is use whatever uncoupler you are using, to raise the track. Once it's uncoupled - it'll stay on the "Siding" side if the hump.

    As far as free rolling cars. they are supposed to roll as free as possible, the harder it is to move a car - the more tractive effort the engine has to produce to move them... It's ok for us big guys, that only haul 3 - 5 cars, but I'm sure you HO & N people move a few more than that :D :D :D

    And every once in a while.... someone HAS to make a long freight -- just to see it run...... Beeeeeeeeee U Tee FuLLLL :D
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Several options here:

    Tilt any stub-ended siding towards the end, so the cars will not roll out on the main.

    Keep the siding below the level of the main.

    Use the weeds option to brake the cars.

    Use a blue flag to "protect" (and retain) the cars. A pin can be fitted with a blue flag as per the prototype (or whatever colour your favourite road would have used), and push it in between the rails to prevent run-aways.

  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I bought a MDC caboose a few years ago. I felt that the truck sideframes were to close together (almost rubbing on the wheels) so replaced then with a Bachman pair. I was operating on a friend's layout and had my train in the yard at the top level. When I uncoupled the caboose it rolled away down the grade (space was tight) around the helix and through the previous station.

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