Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by indy197905, Nov 2, 2006.
What's the maximum number of freight/passenger cars that you can pull with one loco?
That entirely depends on the 1) grades, 2) locomotive model, and 3) freight car weight.
& so much more. However, to give you something that resembles a real answer....
In N scale, double heading, I've pulled 50 cars. I've seen others do more.... a lot more. But again, it all depends....
That's a hell of a lot of cars.
It was a while ago but if I remember correctly, the train was around 15-17' long. I had a whole mess of different length cars my engines were pulling. I basically used everything I had at the time. It was on the club layout which is mostly flat with a few slight grades here and there. I may have been able to pull more but at the time our reverse loop cut you off at a certain amount or the engines would clip off the end of the train on the return trip!
On a level oval, NMRA weighted cars, metal wheels, a P2K E8/9 OR a 4-6-6-4 Challenger could pull 102 cars by themselves. A level 7 1/2 X 24 oval. No space for more cars, but they were just barely beginig to strain. They may also have slipped with more.
But small diesel switchers may only haul 10-15 freight cars on level track.
Don't spend a lot of time trackside, do ya?
I suspect he was saying 50 model cars is an impressive model train. It is for me since most of my trains are about 15 cars long.
The most 'generic' read on this is probably in Model Railroader's reviews of locos. They hook the loco to a drawbar, measure the most it can pull and translate that into "X" number of cars (assuming the cars are all at NMRA recommended weight).
For example, I think the Big Boys they reviewed in the latest issue were rated at about 100 cars each (The Genesis with traction tires, the precision craft without). That kind of rating removes any individual-specific limitations like available track and cars, but is a hair on the "in theory" side. With the couple locos I own that have also been reviewed in MR, I typically find they'll pull more 'real world' cars than 'theory' cars stated in the review.
I don't know what is the "strongest" loco they've ever reviewed - either in terms of drawbar ounces of pull or "number of cars".. That'd be a fun fact to know...
Oh it's got to be a high dollar Big Boy or DDA40X. There've got to have twice or more the weight of the common model engine and after the electric motor the weight is where the real 'strength' comes from.
Bigger == Better
I have actually gone and asked the question over at "their place" to see if the occasional editor breezing through might offer an expert response.
As to your statement about size mattering... Dagnabit! I knew she was lying about that!
Weight on powered axles. At least in smaller scales, some articulateds have only one set of drivers powered, and can pull no more than a small-to-medium engine.
About 4 year's ago I pulled up 129 car's with 5 Athearns. Made it around three time's on level track but someone didn't changed their couplers out on a brand new car to KD's and one snapped. It pulled every car in the curves off the track. About 20 minutes worth of clean up lol. I think Kato's rate up to 40-45 on level track with a single locomotive. Now adding weight to an Athearn will give it more tractive effort such as lead shot glued in the top of the shell. I have added weight to mine for better performance. Thing is you can't add to much because it'll stat putting a strain on the motor.
The trick to adding weight to any locomotive is to always test it for wheel slip. As long as the engine can spin the drivers on the track, it won't overload the motor. It just occured to me that I think an ideal little tool to make for weighting engines might be a set of small cloth "saddle bags" that could be laid over the engine at the point where you want your center of gravity. If you add shot to the bags a bit at a time on each side and then test the engine to see if the drivers slip, and keep adding weight until they don't slip, then remove weight to let it slip, you should be able to max out the pulling power of the locomotive.
I'm guessing it would depend on the type of engine your are using and the condition of your rolling stock
Since we're on this topic, the longest train I've conducted was 92 cars long. Took four locos up front and two helpers in the rear. It was at the Paper Valley MRR back in January of 2006.
100 car coal drag
In the late 1960's I was a junior member of the Cincinnati Northern model railroad Club in Glendale Ohio. we had a coal drag that was loo cars long. I had a pfm 25 ton shay that was smaller than the original motor in my shay would cog at very low throttle, with the armature pausing slightly on each plate of the commutator, before jumping to the next. with the 45 to one gear ratio on the locomotive, it would move the 100 car train about one car length in 15 minutes, It wasn't obvious it was running unless you looked in the cab, and saw the open frame motor 's armature moving. when we had a meeting, I used to hook that locomotive up to the coal drag, and get it moving, after the meeting the cut of cars would be just a couple car lengths down the yard.
In my personal opinion, there are additional factors in relation to what has been discussed so far. In our club here in Sao Paulo, we have a great layout with lots of curves and several stretches uphill. The new layout will be built in two levels, and it will have a connection helix between them, as show in these images.
The large number of switches and curves there, and inner characteristics of some trains, such as length, height, model and weight of each car has shown us that we can't always handle very long compositions without problems. The longest train type in our club is always ore transportation (about 80 cars maximum, four engines). Other kind of freight trains run with 35 to 45 cars normally.
We also have the concern to avoid such long trains that turn out of proportion to the track where it is in operation.
I've never seen an HO train with 120 cars, but I can imagine it must be amazing!
Anyway, our old layout still in service has 12m long by 5m wide. The newer one will be a little larger.
nice looking track
That is some nice flowing track
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