Hellllpppppp!!!

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


BIG DOG

Member
Hi again,
I am having a hard time :(

situation: I bought 2 sets 1 bachman 1 model power, I also bought 6 Atlas snap switches (3 the day after Christmas and 3 last week), I have also bought misc pkgs of Atlas track all cd 100. The lay is roughly 50sq ft includes 2 tunnels and 3 bridges

When I designed my layout and then run the track, the train ran ok and had no derailments. I decided this was the lay out that fit my needs and tacked the track down NOW the train ( i just run 1 at a time) stops in 3 places and de rails consistantly, I did all this before I knew of a train forum. the places it stops are on the far side of me, and the power pack. I have checked the track and its in place I have worn out a life like track cleaner and a plain eraser, it run fine for a lap or 2 then start shutting down again in the same places, and another note, can the control for the switches be bad from the factory? My 3 new ones won't switch with the control that came with it but when I change them to the 1st ones they work fine, So is it the controler?

Thanks for any help
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
First of all, run power to the far side of the track. Typically you want to trust wires, not rails to run power. Depending on the joiners, etc., you could just not be getting juice. Space your electrical drop-downs out every 3-4 ft.

You have two power packs with your sets. Use one for track power and the other for switches and accessories.

There are two reasons you could be derailing:

1) It's your track

2) Its your train.

The turnouts are the first place I would look. Make sure the points are closing tightly against the rails. Then file the points until they lie absolutely flat. Even though the trains are coming off at the turnouts, the wheels might have already pooped out somewhere else and stay close enough until they get to the turnout. File all the joints in the track to make sure that there are no abrupt transitions either vertically or on the inside of the rails. Watch your trains closely all the way around the track. Fix anywhere it jumps at all.

With the cheaper cars, there's a good chance that some are going to be out of specs. To test this you need an NMRA gauge. They run around $12 and can be obtained at any LHS. Check the wheels on the cars and engines to see if they are correct.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
What kind of controller are you using? If its a train set one, I'd suggest picking up an MRC one, they work great. However, did you nail the tracks down? I made the mistake when building my 1st layout, of using too big of a hammer and i nicked the rails, I also happened to drive some nails in to deep...

On chips note, plastic axle, plastic wheel cars are notorious for derailing due to wobbly axles, and un-round wheels. ALSO, they may be extremely light.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BIG DOG

Member
Thanks guys, To hammer the nails I used the track tacks and a broken nut driver that was flat on both ends ( it was the kind you get at the dollar store and had all the various sockets and stuff you put on the end) the bachman set has metal wheels and both sets have weighted cars, power is on the far side of the track should I drop a couple more? Also I am using the model power pack for accesories, any I idea about the switch controls (the part with the button you push?

Thanks again
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Thanks guys, To hammer the nails I used the track tacks and a broken nut driver that was flat on both ends ( it was the kind you get at the dollar store and had all the various sockets and stuff you put on the end) the bachman set has metal wheels and both sets have weighted cars, power is on the far side of the track should I drop a couple more? Also I am using the model power pack for accesories, any I idea about the switch controls (the part with the button you push?

Thanks again
The switches could be bad or it could be the switch machines in the turnouts. Find one you are sure of and use it to test the turnouts. Then use each swich on a turnout that you know does work and repalce the broken stuff.
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
Hi Big Dog

1. Track is not a good conductor of electricity.
2. You cannot depend on rail joiners to carry the current.
3. You can't really depend on swtich points either.

1. You should solder at least 10 foot or less of track together as one unit. Use lead and acid free rosin electircal solder.

2. You should run at least 18 gauge solid wires (Red & Black) under your track and run a lead to each 10 ft or less track section. Continue on with the 2 copper wire mains to the next 10ft or less section. I use wire nuts for the leads it's the easy way.

3. Also solder the switches into the sections.

After doing this you should have no electical problems. I'll have to post some soldering tips on how to do all this. I know this all sounds like a lot of work but it does the trick.

NYC_George
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BIG DOG

Member
:eek: OK I've run my drops soldered them in place as well as soldered and cleaned the joiners, still having problems slightly worse another dead spot has arose:mad: :(

I have worked my but off for the since the 26th of December and this thing has yet to make 1 pass around the layout with out stopping or derailing, the bad thing is the girl this was for hasn't even got to see it do that:(
 

Trucula

Drum Driver
A good circuit tester might be some help to locate a weak spot. Sometimes tacking of a track can stretch out the joiners making a bad connection...That's why allot glue track down... Also derailments happen when track is tacked to tightly, if you bowed the ties the slightest then the rails lean towards each other. (as Josh was saying above)
Also clean the engine wheels and pick-ups as often as you do the track.
And as said above; Try better cars. Some "sets" have the cheapest cars..A good way to tell is by the trucks, rule of thumb: If the wheels are plastic, they are the cheapest. You can add better trucks and maybe some weight to them to improve performance. And use a good truck as a "test car" by finger rolling over spots to find bad areas. Don't get frustrated...its all a trial and error process!!
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Track work can be tough and time consuming and it is necessary, for all the reasons you already know. ON my last layout, I spent 45 minutes per turnout making them work and a lot of time filing track.

You patience will pay off if you keep at it.

I started my layout for my son. It was in this phase he lost interest. Don't try to show off until it is working perfectly.
 

BIG DOG

Member
Thanks for the words of encouragement!, I have a circuit tester that come with my cleaning kit, and I have checked all the joint connections and they all seem fine (the light comes on), I'll try cleaning the engine/s,
 

BIG DOG

Member
YIPPEEEEEE!!!!

they are working now for about an hour straight changing engines and cars out (remember they have different couplings), remember when we talked about cars and derailing? 1 thing I notcied was the thing that hangs down on the couplers was actally touching the ties and in the turns and switches is where it was derailing soooooo, (don't be to mad but I filed the hang down thing on the coupler and it is running lots better still not perfect but lots better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

also I did buy higher end livestock car and it caused most of the derailments
(note: it has the metal whels and trucks but is lighter than the others when alone it pulls fine but with others it jumps track (even on the straight aways)

so why is the "better quality car" not perfoming as well as the "cheap train set cars"?

guys thaks so much for all the help, I hope 1 day I can return the favor
 
BIG DOG;40679 so why is the "better quality car" not perfoming as well as the "cheap train set cars"? [/QUOTE said:
Probably because you have it near the front of the consist. If a lightweight car is near the front you will get what is called a string-line derailment. They even get these on the prototype if they put empties in front and loads in back.
 

Steve B

Firefighter
The couplers have a curved metal pin that hangs down don't they ?? you can bend this up to clear trackwork etc. what you can use is a pair of special trip pin pliers from the MR store, they have curved nippers to either make the trip pin bend tighter or wider whichever you require, i use two pairs of fine long nose pliers which does the same job but you have to be carefull not to break anything.
 

BIG DOG

Member
young warrior, I ran it in the front, middle, and right before the caboose same reaction (confused)

space mouse, its gett'n better all the time !!! :)

Steve, I'll check into those when I get to real MR store, all we have here is a hobby lobby

I also noticed that even though the "better car" is the same company tthat made one of my engines (bachman) the coupler sits a tad higher than the rest
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
BigDog: Expensive cars can derail as easy as cheapies if something is out of gauge. I have some cheap BlueBox that some are so light a breeze would derail them and yet they will hug the rails as well as my more expensive types.

Let's say your track is within specs: look for axles that are warped, wheels that are not round, gauge between opposite side wheels are out of spec, truck is warped, screw holding truck to car is too tight not allowing end or side play, air hose catching usually on turnouts, and make sure all your wheels will turn freely (as if they where on roller bearings). Sometimes coupler alignment, if out enough, can cause a bind-up in turns.

On your track: Make sure your joints (track) are smooth on the inside of the rail. If there is a slight lip at the joint, that is enough to derail cars that are more sensitive. A good remedy, other than filing this, is to solder the joint by holding the flat end of a small 1/2-1" file against the inside of the joint until the solder cools. Then you will have a good flush joint.

Always check a suspected area of track or car as Tracula suggested by rolling the car lightly with your fingers and see if you can "feel" the problem. Also, eyeball what is going on for this test as well.

And there are those problems that would make the old timers scratch their heads.

Three tools that are a must for a layout: NMRA gauge, coupler gage, coupler bending tool.:)
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top