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Perfect trackwork is never perfect!

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  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,540 posts
Perfect trackwork is never perfect!
Posted by rrebell on Saturday, September 11, 2021 12:32 PM

Thought I had my trackwork totaly dailed in but was running a steam engine at super low speed and found a few issues that I had not seen before. One was an easy as ballast was glued to the side of a rail and at anything faster that super slow never showed up. Same speed proublem at another spot but this one needed more attention and noticed a slight dip in the rail on one side. Did I do it or was it like that from the get go, who knows but a little filing an other things like compressing (foam inclines from WS under all the scenery and those have space between them so slight adjustments are possible) and all is good.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 7,927 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, September 11, 2021 1:00 PM

Just like the real railroads, there is no free ride as far as things not needing attention. The trackwork on my current layout is 14 years old and I have had very few issues with trackwork needing a tune-up. I can put two of those down to changing humidity levels due to getting a new high-efficiency furnace and a couple of others after small earthquakes. Correcting trackwork is easier than squaring up a door or fixing cracked plaster.Laugh

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 20,065 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, September 11, 2021 3:15 PM

Perfect trackwork isn't a real thing.  However, it is a real goal.

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

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 7,927 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, September 11, 2021 3:48 PM

MisterBeasley
However, it is a real goal.

So far I have been shut out.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 22,801 posts
Posted by selector on Saturday, September 11, 2021 5:52 PM

Nope, not in my reality.  In fact, I can run trains of all descriptions forwards and backwards at breakneck speeds.  I'll come back after two weeks and find that nothing works the same.  I keep a dehumidifier working in there, but I can't control when the driest summer months reduce humidity into the 30% range, not without running a hot plate and a pan of water in there.  

I lifted my large swing-up gate two months ago and didn't notice a wire tree armature snag the layout-end of a rail.  It may be repaired, but it ain't 'perfect'.  Not no more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,540 posts
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, September 12, 2021 10:28 AM

Now these problems were because I ran a steam as slow as it would go, bat out of hell, no problem, slow, no proublrm, barely moving, that where the problems showed up on the main.

  • Member since
    August 2020
  • 242 posts
Posted by Southgate 2 on Monday, September 13, 2021 12:24 AM

I've heard or read of guys having perfect bulletproof trackwork. I dont have much trouble with mine, but  try as I might, to say perfect would be a gross overstatement. At least I'm not alone! Dan

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,540 posts
Posted by rrebell on Monday, September 13, 2021 10:23 AM

Also what you run is sometimes the issue.  Have a BLI NW2 that derails at one area, nothing else dose. Did resurch and found out its the engine, fixable but a pain. Put it in my get ride of pile as I got some Katos that to convert to DCC and now I have one from the bay already converted. Some details on the BLI are grosely oversized like the handrails.

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,913 posts
Posted by snjroy on Monday, September 13, 2021 10:30 AM

Yeah, each new brass engine tends to show a new flaw in my bullet-proof trackwork Sad. The fix usually involves work on both the loco and the track!

Simon

  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 3,149 posts
Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, September 13, 2021 2:44 PM

I always test any newly laid or adjusted or realigned track with several locomotives and then trains, forwards and backwards. It's worth doing your best to get the track laid just right. 

I realigned some track yesterday, changing a Peco wye and #7 curved and out and putting two  #6 in their place. Both of those Peco turnouts are handy in just the right spot but the straight turnouts still work best if you've got the room.

I was able to realign and lengthen a passing siding and create a straighter join into the main loop.  I also relaid the other leg of our reversing wye, taking it out of the yard and running it parallel to the yard ladder instead. Now we have all three legs of the wye as high speed mainline.

One new #6 turnout was derailing our Atlas FP7 pair, which are quite heavy. I was able to determine that the newly laid turnout was not properly supported by the foam roadbed due to a tiny difference in thickness of the foam pieces. The turnout rocked outwards and downwards by less than a mm which was enough to derail the trailing truck of the rear of the two FP7s. A piece of card cut from a Rapido container package slipped under the thinner foam fixed the issue nicely. One handy aspect of foam glued down with latex acrylic painters caulk is such adjustments are very simple to do. The bond detaches with a putty knife slipped under the foam and the card just slips in as you lift the foam.

Alyth Yard

Canada

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 1,340 posts
Posted by PRR8259 on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 9:32 PM

Want to find track problems:

Take at least two Tangent 86' high cube boxcars and couple them together and run them around your layout--especially the ones with the end of car cushioning (they are road specific correct, so some have end of car cushion and some have center of car cushion underframes).  The end of car cushion cars can be the most unforgiving.  I have a small reverse curve, or rather, a tangent of about 4" length between (reverse) long radius Kato curves that was never a problem for any other rolling stock or locos except these boxcars.  One car by itself coupled to other cars is not a problem; it is when you couple multiple 86' boxcars together that you may see issues.

Then, even better yet, take at least two Intermountain Autoracks and couple them to the Tangent 86' boxcars.  Run them all together.  Together they will find the flaws that locos missed.

I cannot back up two HO Intermountain Autoracks without breaking loose the corner ladders at the ends, because they will most definitely hit each other, even on 31" radius track.  I only run Intermountain autoracks in the forward direction when coupled together (I insert Atlas or other modern autoracks or anything else between the Intermountains).  Atlas autoracks have more lateral coupler sway and can better take most curves.  Or consider longer shank Kadee couplers on Intermountains.

I routinely have to loosen at least one truck of the long freight cars to provide enough lateral and vertical motion so that they don't derail.  That solves *most* problems.  The manufacturers tighten trucks so that cars don't rock, but they need to have some play in order to run well on anything less than 30" radius track, so loosen a few screws.

My minimum track radius is 26" anywhere.

John

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,498 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, September 16, 2021 8:28 AM

PRR8259
Want to find track problems: Take at least two Tangent 86' high cube boxcars and couple them together and run them around your layout--especially the ones with the end of car cushioning (they are road specific correct, so some have end of car cushion and some have center of car cushion underframes).  The end of car cushion cars can be the most unforgiving.  I have a small reverse curve, or rather, a tangent of about 4" length between (reverse) long radius Kato curves that was never a problem for any other rolling stock or locos except these boxcars.  One car by itself coupled to other cars is not a problem; it is when you couple multiple 86' boxcars together that you may see issues.

I've got a reverse curve that runs from a 36" radius to a 33" radius passing siding via a #8 turnout with about 12 inches of tangent between (if there were no easement off of the 36" curve), but there is.  So I'm hoping that two Tangent 86' Greenville boxcars will pass though with no issues.  If there is an issue, trains with the 86' boxcars can stay on the main which should be fine with plenty of tangent between the reverse curve, basically 36" radius with easements in between about about 2 feet of tangent.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 1,340 posts
Posted by PRR8259 on Thursday, September 16, 2021 9:38 AM

You might be ok.

I think the curves on either end of my 4" tangent are nominally 31" radius (Kato) track, which is tighter than the 36"/33" you are talking about.

The best thing is to do a test if you have that capability--of temporarily fastening down the track long enough to do some tests.

I ended up custom-cutting one section of Kato track to eliminate another reverse curve.

John

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,498 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, September 16, 2021 9:54 AM

Thanks.  Yeah, this is all custom design to fit the space so not relying on any prefab.  I'm hoping with a bit broader curves and a gentle #8 along with the tangent section which includes the easement, it will allow these to operate.  Worst case is I run them though the straight side of the #8 turnout.  I'm hoping to have some track down to properly test it this fall.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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