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Derailment woes

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  • Member since
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  • From: Phoenix, AZ
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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:15 AM

Rich, you are succeeding in being entirely pessimistic.  And I am being fatalistic about this.  If it comes to replacement both joiners will be replaces and soldered, nailed, glued, riveted, welded, in short, done in such a manner as to cure the problem once and for all.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:20 AM

richhotrain

To be entirely pessimistic, I cannot see fixing the problem without replacing the rail joiner (both rail joiners, in fact) and, for good measure, soldering the rail joiner into place since the rail joint is on a curve.  Sad

Rich

 

 

It can be done by using a pair of pliers and HO spikes. Squeeze the joiner together then spike the track back in gauge like I said before and there is less waste.

If Bear lived near by I would have it fixed in five minutes since I already have the things I need..

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:23 AM

Brakie, I assure you, if you lived near me I would be begging you to come over.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:48 AM

I am going to differ with Larry on this. Using nails to solving the problem is not solving the problem. That is like putting a band aid on an open wound when sutures are required.

I have had to make this type of fix more than once, and my problem was just like yours. Started out with nails, did some filing, did this and that. The real solution is to replace the rail joiner and solder the joint. 

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 9:26 AM

If I can somehow get a picture of the joint that is not out of focus I'll post it.  I need to get out my macro lens and somehow steady the camera from above, which is going to be a challenge.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, March 20, 2017 9:38 AM

richhotrain
I am going to differ with Larry on this. Using nails to solving the problem is not solving the problem.

First I said spikes not nails there is a big difference as you should already know.

This method has served me well for for over 50 years and is far more then a band aid fix.  I never found the need to rip out the track and more then likely replaced the old flex track with a new section since once ballasted the old piece may not be easy to salvage.

BTW..I never use track nails.. I use 5/8" HO spikes for laying track.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 20, 2017 9:46 AM

Spikes or nails, it's  matter of semantics. They re both used to accomplish the same purpose.

For one thing, spikes/nails are too imprecise for this purpose.

If the rail is out of gauge, too wide, the spike/nail needs to be applied from the outside of the rail. In my experience, it is tough to precisely apply the spike/nail to push the rail into gauge.

If the rail is out of gauge, too narrow, the spike/nail needs to be applied from the inside of the rail, likely interfering with the wheels rolling over it and, again, tough to precisely apply the spike/nail to push the rail into gauge.

Rich 

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, March 20, 2017 10:00 AM

First I would check the engine, have had wires too tight (don't know how they moved from orig. position), cracked truck, loose screw in truck, gunk in truck ect. ect.

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Posted by dstarr on Monday, March 20, 2017 10:02 AM

That the derailment occurs at the same place, suggests the problem is trackwork.  That the problem occurs at a rail joiner strongly suggests trackwork.  On the other hand, that only ONE locomotive is derailing, suggests a rolling stock problem.  Could be a little bit of both. 

   Was it me, I 'd start by checking the track work.  Are the webs of the rails properly inserted into the rail joiner.  Or did on rail joiner slip clean underneath the rail? Is the rail joiner fresh and new and tight?  With a good strong light and the NMRA gauge, check the track guage very carefully. Do it a couple of times to make sure.  Run your fingers over the railheadSleep.  If you can feel roughness, it is trouble.  Sight down the track, looking for a kink at the track joint.  Check for bits of ballast stuck to the rail just high enough to hit the flanges. 

   On the locomotive, check the wheel gauge, all eight wheels.  Clean the wheels and inspect them for chips, bits of stuck on crud, dings in the flange. Check for free swing on both trucks.  Check for too low coupler gladhands or truck sideframes. 

  Good luck.  With enough fiddling around you can fix it.

 

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Posted by dieselsmoke on Monday, March 20, 2017 10:16 AM

Bear, turn the loco over and see if you can move the wheels on the offending axle. If the gear has suddenly cracked the wheel  could widen the gauge a bit, and thus cause a derailment. Can't hurt to check.

 

Jim

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 20, 2017 10:33 AM

dieselsmoke

Bear, turn the loco over and see if you can move the wheels on the offending axle. If the gear has suddenly cracked the wheel  could widen the gauge a bit, and thus cause a derailment. Can't hurt to check.

 

Jim

 

Good question, Jim, but the problem with it is that more than one wheelset would be involved based upon bearman's testing methods.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Canalligators on Monday, March 20, 2017 11:43 AM

Derailment-type problems can be so insidious.  There are many variables.  I had one recently where I went back and forth between it being the locomotive and the trackage.  In the end, it was the trackage: a guide rail was about an eighth of an inch too short, so the lead wheel of the lead truck was walking up on the frog.

It feels good to have solved it, but for crying out loud, it was worse than finding a memory leak in embedded software.  I think it took me about eight hours of debug time and trying different things.  In the end, I figured it out by removing the shell and truck sideframes from the loco that exhibited the problem.  Once I did that, the problem was obvious.  I've added that tactic to the debugging tools.

p.s. The solution was to remove the molded-in guide rail and install one I made.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, March 20, 2017 11:55 AM

I think you've got a kink in the rail at that point.  If you don't have steady temperature in your train room year round, some expansion may have taken place as the weather warms up and there's a bit more humidity.  Expansion problems may show up if there are no rail gaps, but they are more likely caused by wood expansion of the subroadbed.  At the joint where the engine derails, is there a small gap, or are the rails butted directly up to each other?

It's not likely with a 4-engine diesel, but how flat is the track leading up to the spot where you have problems?  Steamers, in particular, will sometimes rock as they reach the apex of a vertical kink, so that some wheels may lift off the track and be more prone to slipping over the rail and off.  This can often be remedied by simply sliding a piece of thin cardboard under the ties to lift one side of the track just that small amount.

I once had a problem that took me months to actually diagnose.  I could see no reason for the derailments I was having.  They were at a turnout.  I ran the cars over and over, pulling and pushing, with an engine and without, but they would not derail.  Finally, I realized that the problem was actually a couple of feet before the derailment became evident.  The problem cars were rocking up and on to the rail head, but they didn't actually leave the track until they got to the switch points.  It's stuff like this that drives us crazy.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 12:25 PM

The problem has been diagnosed!  The track is out of gauge on the tight side.  So, the section is going to have to be torn up and replaced.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, March 20, 2017 12:59 PM

Hi Bear:

Glad to hear that you have identified the problem.

Since you have to re-lay the track might I suggest that you consider offsetting the joiners by a few inches?

Dave

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:05 PM

Dave, given that tearing up a few inches of track and replacing it is not an option, your suggestion is noted and will be implemented.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:12 PM

bearman

The problem has been diagnosed!  The track is out of gauge on the tight side.  So, the section is going to have to be torn up and replaced.

 

Excellent news. Keep us posted on the final fix.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:23 PM

My guess is the fix will be to remove the entire curve and a small part of the straights on either end and then replace it with flex track and figure out how to avoid a rail joiner at that location.  Trouble is, I use foam road bed, so I am going to have to probably take that out, and the ballast and whatever ground cover gets incidently removed when I douse the track section with 90% alchohol, and clear everything out down to the subroad bed.

And of course there are feeder wires to consider.  This is a real project.

 

And here I thought my track laying days were over.

 

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:27 PM

If you use flex track and solder the rails in the curve, then by all means, you can continue to use rail joiners in that location. Just solder the rail joiners against the rails on the work bench, and then install the soldered flex track.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:29 PM

If I can avoid the joiners, I will.  But I think I am going to go your route, Rich, on this one.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:41 PM

When I need to lay a curve, I set two full pieces of flex track on the work bench and install rail joiners to connect the two sections of flex track. Then, I apply solder on the outside of each rail at the connection. That done, the curve can be laid with no kinks.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:48 PM

That is certainly the way it will get done Rich. More than likely I will have to replace some feeder wires as well.  Going back underneath the layout is not going to be fun.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by floridaflyer on Monday, March 20, 2017 1:57 PM

If the out of gage section of track is caused by a lack of expansion space on the one rail it would be possible to at least attempt to relieve the pressure on that rail with a gap. Let the world take a couple turns and recheck the gage. If that fixes it fine , if not you are no worse off for the attempt.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 20, 2017 2:01 PM

bearman

That is certainly the way it will get done Rich. More than likely I will have to replace some feeder wires as well.  Going back underneath the layout is not going to be fun.

 

It never is, and please don't ask me how I know. Zip it!

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by bearman on Monday, March 20, 2017 2:45 PM

Then, floridaflyer, it is break out the dremel tool time.  I will try anything short of commiting a crime to avoid tearing up and replacing.  And, Rich, I wont ask.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, March 20, 2017 5:41 PM

I have had trackwork that I tried over and over to "fix."  In the end, it took less time to tear it up and do it right than the multiple, frustrating attempts to fix it without tearing it up.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, March 20, 2017 5:52 PM

bearman

The problem has been diagnosed!  The track is out of gauge on the tight side.  So, the section is going to have to be torn up and replaced.

 

Sadly shaking my head..Not needed but,have at it.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, March 20, 2017 6:19 PM

Are locomotives or cars derailing, have you checked to make sure the coupler is not dragging on anything?

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:21 PM

ATSFGuy
Are locomotives or cars derailing, have you checked to make sure the coupler is not dragging on anything?

ATSFGuy:

With respect, it sounds like you haven't fully read the thread. Please read the thread. I believe your questions have already been answered.

Dave

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, March 20, 2017 8:55 PM

BRAKIE
Sadly shaking my head..Not needed but,have at it.

Larry, I certainly agree with your suggestion about spiking the rail, as I've used it several times with success.  
However, learning that all of this is happening atop foam, I'm not so sure that it would work, as foam would give little grip for the spikes.
Mine were all done on wood or plywood sub-roadbed, sometimes with cork, but usually directly into the wood. Quick, easy, and solid.

Wayne

 

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