Train direction question (again)

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    These questions came up in a thread in the "Caboose" but I thought I'd ask them again here because I wasn't 100% sure on the answer.

    I've run my trains in a clockwise direction a LOT during the past two years but it sounds as if I should run them counter clockwise for now to avoid uneven wear on the gears. Someone at a recent train show also advised this. It will feel very strange to run them in the opposite direction!

    Also, in "real life," do trains normally back their passenger and freight cars down sidings (& then uncouple them and leave), or do they head down sidings loco first? I just assumed that they backed down sidings but now it sounds like they normally do both. Just curious!

    Thanks again,
  2. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I know how you feel. It still feels weird for me to run my trains counter clockwise as well. I do it for their little gears though.

    I suppose if they are just dropping off a few cars and then moving on down the line, they back in. If they're pulling in and waiting for a load to take back out, they might pull in forwards.
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Cannonball! So I'll start running my trains counter clockwise then. Although it will feel weird, I'm sure I'll get used to it!

    That also makes sense regarding sidings (that both procedures are prototypically correct). I'd never thought about it much until now. I'll have to find a location where I can view switching & freight operations ... I'm sure there are many in and around Toronto, I just need to find them and know how to get to the good viewing spots.

    Cheers, Rob
  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Remember, prototype railroads don't go around and around. They go from here to there and back. We periodicly reverse the direction of our locomotives on the club layout to even the wear on the locomotives. I've never heard of a rule that says trains can only go clockwise or vise versa.
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Jim. Yes, I'll experiment with changing the direction of the locos to even the wear on their gears.

    It's kind of bizarre, but I basically just got used to running them in just one direction. So it wasn't a matter of there being a rule or anything, I'm just a creature of habit!

    But I figure I better start running them counter clockwise for awhile to avoid any uneven wearing.

    Thanks again, Rob
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    GO trains run in push-pull form, so on the outbound trip the engine may be pulling the train, but on the return trip it's pushing.

    There are cases where the trains are run with the engine pushing, but that's usually over a short distance, or because there's no runaround track at the end of the line. Most spur lines have a passing siding that the loco can run around it's consist, and so lead coming and going.
  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Squidbait. Yes, I've seen the GO trains operating this way ... actually, I think this practice goes back into the early years of railway operation. I wonder if these real locos encounter some sort of "uneven wear" if they always travel the same route the same way?

    Cheers, Rob
  8. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Well I guess it depend where the train is and what type of train.

    1) Metro train- They have a cab on each side (or in the US and Euro they have a loco then a driving trailer on some of them) so they go into a siding or platform forwards. The driver walks to the other end, and pulls out from that side.

    2) Mainline trains- A mainline train pulls into the station forwards. There is normally a "passing loop" where the loco/s can uncouple, pull past a switch and run around the train, or to the loco shed or wherever- one must remember that it is not too prototypical for a mainline train to run into a siding without a passing track, let the locos uncouple and wait for the yard switcher to fetch the train once everyone has disembarked as this would waste the railroads money.

    3) Tourist trains- These can be run as the above two or they can be run backwards into a siding. A couple of years ago when I was still working on a tourist train as chef we went around a reverse loop (Much like a model train one- VERY SHARP CURVES flanges squeeling the whole way!), we stayed for the night so they backed us into a stub siding and left the train over night.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The only prototypes I can think of that run in a circle are the Glagow subway and the London Underground's Circle line. Both run, of course, in both directions. The Circle line does take one train per day and run it through a wye at the east end in orger to even the wear on the wheels.
  10. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    Are you talking about running the trains running gear in reverse?Because i cant see where just running the train clockwise or anti clockwise on the layout would make any difference to the train as it just goes forward..Excuse my newb obsevation as i may not be seeing the forest for the trees.:confused:
  11. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    Agreed, you are not reversing the direction of force on the gear teeth my turning the engine around and running it the other way around the track.

    I'm thinking someone started that as a joke and now that its getting around at train show and on the net is really laughing his/her *** off.

    The only way to get even gear wear would be to run them equally both forward and reverse with the same load and speed applied.

  12. pooka2hot4u

    pooka2hot4u Member

    yea i always wonder that too, how does running it CW or CCW make a difference, its still running forward, you would have to reverse the train, and that would look a bit weird on some trains like steamers and F units (do steam trains even have the ability to reverse? something makes me think they dont)
    also the Moscow metro has a lot of loops on its system, the whole thing is just one big loop with several branches splitting off into surrounding neighborhoods.
  13. jesso

    jesso Member

    I think it has more to do with the turning. When you only turn the one direction, it wears it out more on the one side.
  14. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    The narrow gauge tourist train at Cripple Creek - 2 ft gauge - takes tourists halfway to Victor and back. It runs forward out if the station and pulls the train to the Anaconda Wye, then backs up to return the train to the Cripple Creek Depot.

    This appears to be because despite the wye at Anaconda, there is no way to turn the engine at Cripple Creek.

    In point-to-point operations, engines are constantly turned so there probably would not be a problem.
  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    This question always strikes me as odd, because trains should be going in BOTH directions.

    Perhaps I'm being obtuse because I have always had a philosophical objection to loop layouts. I like point-to-point myself. But don't take this wrong... Some of you with "loop" layouts are fantastic modelers and your layouts are superb.
  16. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    I have a layout planed that requires backing up a good deal, so running counter-clockwise only is fine for me.
  17. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I feel that, even if your layout is a loop, it should allow for running in both directions. In real life, if there's a track where trains only go one way, it's because there's another track nearby for trains going the other way.
  18. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Rick ... Just when I thought I had this figured out I'm getting confused again! First, I'll admit that I'm not really mechanically minded at all, so someone could give me all sorts of explanations and I'd probably buy them!

    Initially, I thought that running trains continuously in one direction would cause uneven wear on the bearings and wheels. To me, that seemed to make sense. But then folks were suggesting that the uneven wear was not to the wheels but to the gears & motors.

    Maybe, since I haven't encountered any problems yet (and this whole thing seems to be a kind of "urban myth"!), I shouldn't worry about it at all. As some of you have mentioned, to be correct I should be running them from both directions anyway so I'll do that.

    Thanks again but I'm still curious to find out more about this!

  19. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! I'm still trying to figure this out but I may be worried over nothing! My logic was this: If a loco is almost continuously turning to the right (as in CW) that should cause uneven wear to the wheels or bearings. And I have some sharp 18" curves on my layouts.

    For example, I'm sure that automobiles -- i.e. their wheels and tires -- show wear that reflect the type of driving. That's partly why we have to rotate our car's tires every other oil change.

    Then I heard that the wear was not to the wheels but to the gears. I was basically trying to avoid any future wear or maintenance problems. I might be worried over nothing but I'm still curious to find out if this direction thing is a myth or not.

    Thanks, Rob
  20. paceway

    paceway New Member

    Think about it this way. A train axel is joint between the wheels. When the train goes around a curve, especially a tight curve, the outside wheel is traveling further then the inside wheel. One of the wheels is going to slide on the rail. That's why when a full scale train squeels so much when it goes thru a very tight curve. The wear is going to be on the wheels and track.

    With the load on scale trains you will probably need to make about two or three million circuits around the layout before you will see any signs of ware.

    I wouldn't loose a lot of sleep about the problem...

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