Your worst layout/Train running mistakes

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Allstate81140, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. Allstate81140

    Allstate81140 Member

    Hi all. I am not much into HO type stuff yet, as I am just getting back into 027/O guage, so consequently, I don't converse much right now.

    Was wondering if a bunch of you wanted to post your worst disaster either running your trains (no matter what scale) or building your layout. Would be interesting to read that someone else made mistakes of the calibur that I did as a kid.

    All have a nice evening. Jack. :wave:
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Well, how about a duckunder with benchwork that is only 4 feet off the ground (I scraped my back regularly) and how about dangling a soldering iron over said benchwork and ducking under, forgetting about the solderign iron, and giving myself a new brand mark on the arm? :) I've since eliminated the duckunder.
  3. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I destroyed about 1500$ worth of brand new carpet when I spilled black paint in the train room when I was a kid. The train room had linoleum but I made the mistake of carrying the newspaper that I spilled the paint on all the way through the house the the garbage can in the garage, dribbling paint over 40 feet of carpet and hardwood floors.
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    When I was eight, I got my first train set, a battery powered, HO scale steam engine and four cars on a loop of track. I remember it being HO scale because I found thru a little covert experimenting that my Dad's AHM 4-4-0 Genoa could run on the track. One day, soon after Christmas, the batteries did what batteries always do, they ran out, leaving me with a train going no where. Being the resourceful 8-year-old that I was, I scanned the room, looking for the magical fix when my eyes fell upon the space heater. "Heat!", I exclaimed to my younger brother and sister, "That ought to fix it...."
  5. fifer

    fifer Active Member

    Last year I was soldering feeders under the layout and I was sitting on a small stool. I had put the soldering iron on the benchwork and had turned to look at the plan which was laying on the floor. Being of middle age I could not see it and picked it up to eye level. Within a matter of a minute or so , I smelled a horrible smell . Turned out to be my hair , which was on fire and had to beat my head to death to put myself out. I looked funny for awhile but all was well. It turned out to be that the train room was a good place for a Stick-Up. :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

    :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave:
  6. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    When I first considered starting a model railroad I bought a simple plastic water tank kit to try out since it had been 25 years since I last put a model together. Wanting instant gratification, I used Super Glue rather than the slow drying plastic modeling cement of my youth. Needless to say, it was harder than I remembered, especially with the lack of male/female alignment tabs I was used to. Gluing the hexagonal base proved especially challanging and I ended up with it glued securely to my hand with all my fingers and thumb seriously stuck together as well. :curse: Now add in the facts that it was 11:30 at night and my wife uses non-acetone nail polish remover. Luckily I found an all-night mini-mart that carried regular nail polish. I think the clerk was afraid I was going to rob him since I kept my hand in my pocket the entire time.

  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Jack,When I oops it usually a good'n..My first oops was on my first small industrial switching layout.You see I laid the track without checking to see if the buildings would fit where I placed the track..Nope wouldn't fit..So I had to remove and redo the track work using the buildings as a guide something I still do today.
    While Ds'ing at the club,I forgot about #3 The Great Laker (a crack passenger train) and held it in a passing siding for other trains.The Laker is superior to all other trains except #1 another crack passenger train.Now,we had some NMRA members in during the NMRA convention in Columbus(Oh) (91/92?) and was again I was DS'ing.Well fate played its hand..I threw a switch under a moving train with the well known results with about 40-50 people looking on.. :oops: I knew dang well that train was not in the clear in the passing siding and what ever made me reach up and flip the switch is still a mystery.
    Of course over the 53 years in the hobby I have had more then my fair share of cuts,burns and oops!
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    On a New Years eve several years ago I had a nephew over along with 25 or so others and around 11:00 he wanted to see my trains run. I was close to drunk and took him downstairs and got a couple trains running. Ones that never give me any trouble. I was called upstairs for something, considered shutting things down but my nephew was enjoying it and there shouldn't be any problem, and I would be back in a minute or two. My nephew comes running upstairs calling Uncle Gary Uncle Gary! One of the trains, a coal drag, had uncoupled and left a half dozen hoppers sitting and of course the other train eventually ran into them, sending them to the floor. Fortunately the loco of that train didn't go to the floor and damage was minimal. His immediate warning to me prevented the first train from having time to navigate its way around the layout and piling on. Don't drink and drive! Ever notice how a train that runs say 50 to 60 laps with no problem will derail or uncouple after it's gained your confidence?
  9. Allstate81140

    Allstate81140 Member

    Hi all. Loved the stories. Brings me back to the time when a young kid with my first Lionel, and in my dad's basement there were no outlets. My older brother eventually put in a double plug for his workshop. His workshop never materialized.

    And, since I wanted a table for my layout, I used took my younger brother's crib apart (mom stopped using it, but was still ready to kill me) and used the ends for the table. Eventually needed a bigger table as I acquired more Lionel stuff (all needed repair but was cheap) from the rich kid down the block, and as luck (I think luck) would have it, the carpenters down the road gave me two 4 x 8 sheets of plywood from their forms. Chipped concrete off for a week and I was ready.

    Problem was, after extending the table, I still lacked for a light. So, I bought this Mickey Mouse thing you screw a bulb in and then plug in. At least twice a week, that piece of crap fell out of the outlet and smashed all over my train layout. What a mess. Finally used a wad of airplane glue (all there was back then) and glued that ---- thing in place. Ha ha. No wonder my steamer never ran right, and eventually burned out an armature. Ha ha.

    Not an real funny experience, but a frustrating experience for sure. Ha ha.

    All havea great day. Jack.
  10. Freelancer

    Freelancer Member

    The worst thing that has ever happend to me in this hobby is, well....starting it in the first place! LOL

    I haven't had quite as bad of experiences as you guys have. My problem started with my first train set, when I dropped it. Needless to say it didn't want to run too well. Luckily my little brother got the exact same set. He soon found it quite odd when my engine started working just fine, and his engine had the problems. LOL

    Then there was the time that I was finishing up the trackwork on phase 1 of 3 on my last layout, and I couldn't wait to get a train running around in a loop, but it wouldn't be able to loop until phase 2 was started. I thought that it would be a great idea if I just put a temporary track down to see how well it all works. After a few times around it worked fine, but disaster was sure to strike. My new 4-8-4 soon derailed and found the edge of the benchwork, it took a four foot dive to the cement floor. Hmm.... maybe that is how the axle got broken in it. :D

    Besides that, there is always the typical destroyed decoder. :curse:

  11. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    When I was about 8 years old I had a Hornby windup train. The hollow tin track sections were connected by inch-long nail like pins.
    Now and then my cousin and I used to put up an big oval with one passing track and one or two sidings. Then we ran our trains. I had a red steam engine and my cousin a green one (models of British LMS and LNER locos?)

    One day we heard of 'electric model trains', but of course we never had seen one in action. :confused: My uncle, who ran a hardware shop and also sold some train stuff in his store, told us that we were still too young for that sort of trains and we should please wait for next Christmas. Perhaps... :(

    But Winter was far away, so I decided to act myself. :rolleyes: Trains we had, so all we needed for an 'electric train' was electricity, right? And after all, the connecting pins of the track looked so much like the pins on a power plug...

    I convinced my cousin to assist me to set up an experimental electric train. I figured that it would run much faster than a windup train. So I proposed to connect all straight track sections for a high speed run. The start point was placed at the end near of a (you guessed it!) power outlet in the wall. :eek: We lifted the track end onto a shoe box, so that the rail pin was only centimeters from the inviting socket hole.

    Carefully I put my engine on the track near the outlet. Then I went to the other side of the straight to catch the loco. And finally I ordered my cousin to plug the track in, so that our 'electric train' could start its maiden run... :eek: :eek: :eek:

    I still see that flash out of the socket, and I hear his shriek, when he cartwheeled across the room. Luckily he yanked the track out, so all he got was a nasty shock.

    Strange, from then on he flatly refused to 'play trains' with me again. :curse: :curse: :curse:
    And I had learned my first lesson in electric technology - from this day on I understood that somehow 'electric trains' must be powered differently than I had thought before... :D :D :D

  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    RON WINS. Hey, at least he knew which end to be on!
  13. Allstate81140

    Allstate81140 Member

    Hi all. Ron, that was hilarious. I can see you are a person who is very carful. You saw to it your cousin was on the hot end. Ha ha. That was funny. I bet that track was very soft and rather uneven. Ha ha.

    All have a nice weekend. Jack.
  14. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Poor Bert's 4-8-4!!!

    I think it was a 4-8-4???"';+$@**, as I scratch muh head- but anyway...

    I made the mistake of running his loco- a real nice steamer- back over

    (what was a reversing move- for the yard was full and the train outside could wait for the hogger to clear the leads- kinda thing!)

    a viaduct (Approx- 5' above the *deck- *Read as Concrete) leading into the yard- warded off by traffic and creating a back up.

    The Viaduct

    ...but anyway, Bert's loco lost a driver screw and the whole loco decided as it was being backed up- to just lift off the rails and toss itself to the floor below to my amusement. HATE When that happens! Well, anyway...

    It was an amusing moment when that loco hit the deck- parts went everywhere.

    I always now have a camera ready for when someone says- "Hey, watch this train back across THE CANYON- it's kewl!!!".

    Mark :cool:

    P.S. Sorry your loco flipped and dived so sweetly, so really kewl onto the concrete and exploded into a bunch of stuff Bert. Breaks Muh Heart :cry: :cry: :cry: :eek: :oops: :D :D :D :D

    Imagine how I felt!!!??? I was devestated!!! I am the victim here. I had to say- "Bert, your loco hit the deck". :oops: NOT!

    Best Regards
  15. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I second it...Crispy Crinkles and you guys use 220 volts over there to boot :eek: :eek: :eek:
  16. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Hey Mark, I remember that loco, I wasn't there for the original event, wish I had been. I do remember that one of the rods on the right side of the loco was only attached at the front, and it would run forward ok, the rod dragging on the ties. We would run it to a point where there was a slope down to a pond and then back it, the rod would jam on a tie, then the loco would throw itself sideways, roll down the hill into the pond. Always good for a laugh. Not as good as the boxcar roof remover tho. Might be interesting to start a thread about late night destructive inventions. It was a good way to get rid of that toy train junk under the layout!

  17. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Couple of things to watchout for:

    When pulling apart two sections of track, make sure that when it lets go your hand will not fly into the end of 1. the track pin on an adjacent piece of track, the pins will go through your hand, 2. the end of a section of Gargraves or similar track. This track is formed by folding a thin piece of steel into a rail, so the end section os a lot like a cookie cutter and will perform said function, again, on your hand. Bleeds a lot more than the track pin trick but doesn't get infected as bad.

    Also, CAB Control panels conduct electricity in both directions. Was at a train meet, setting up the modular layout with the club. Had my siding modules all set up and had my passenger train parked on the rear siding ready to run later in the day. A fellow modeller got the inner loop transformer hooked up and decided to run a train to check continuity on the layout. Well, turns out i had my CAB set to power up the inner loop and just happend to also have the power set to the siding. So, even though my transformer was off, my passenger train backed off the siding to the floor below. Luckily, i guess, it's S-Gauge so when the rear of the train was bouncing off the floor the front of the train was still on the table top. At the first sound of plastic hitting the concrete about five of us started diving for the train and the transformer so only the first couple of cars were damaged.

    Electricity Flows.
  18. DT1967

    DT1967 New Member

    Mine would have to be the AHM engine that an eight year old was afraid to put the wheels in. The box had big scary instructions about how the electricity wrong would damage the motor.

    Thirty years later I finally put the wheels in and promptly run it off the end of the layout. I had pulled off the edging to work on the track and hadn't put it up yet.

    I broke coupler but otherwise it was ok.

  19. Allstate81140

    Allstate81140 Member

    Hi all. Thanks for the great/funny stories all. Makes for nice reading. Why do we always have to learn the hard way?

    Knowing very little about HO, I have no idea of what make I have. Has been packed away for years, but will make it out in the next year or so. Meanwhile, I will persue my Lionel steamer repairs and get some cars for it.

    I know I do have one of those eight drive wheeled steamers. Can't remember how many truck wheels it had. A really nice looking loco and tender that a friend of my oldest son's gave me. When my youngest son was little, he knocked it on the floor from the top shelf. Hadn't packed it away safely yet. Don't know if parts are available or now. Was a beautiful steamer. Bet I will need some wide turns for that one. Must be end wheels slide sideways one way, and center wheels slide sideways the other in order to turn.??????????????????????

    Everyone have a nice day, or evening, depending on your state. Jack.
  20. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    One afternoon a little over a year ago I was working on soldering something at my workbench and it was a weekend so I was still in my boxers. Well i was stitting a little bit away from the bench and as I brought the soldering iron over the top of my leg, a glob of hotttt!!!! solder dropped onto my thigh. All i could do was just let it sit there and scald my leg. During that time i was thinking of what to do and i waited for it to cool enough for me to peal it off. As i was pealing it off some of my leg hairs managed to get stuck in the solder and not only was i pealing away skin but also hairs too!!
    As I said its been a little more than a year and i still have that scar, but it was still quite noticable to myself for at least 6 months. :D :D

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