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Perfect trackwork is never perfect!

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  • Member since
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Posted by Southgate 2 on Saturday, December 4, 2021 12:19 AM

Most derailments seem to happen at the switches, but dips can cause derailments when a leading car and trailing car's couplers grip each other hard enough not to slide up and down, lifting one for that nanosecond it takes... this usually happens toward the front of the train where the pulling or pushing forces on the couplers are greater.

I ought to know, I just had the pleasure of leveling a dip where a switch was ballasted firmly down. This of course begs the question: Why wasn't there a problem there before the switch was ballasted, right? 

Ah, but there just aren't any absolutes... Dan

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Posted by wrench567 on Friday, December 3, 2021 11:00 PM

  The last module I built (12 years ago) I. Put an industrial siding and 4 track storage yard using ties from Central Valley cut up and spaced apart. I used code 55 rail and purposely put in yaws, dips, gaps and rusty dirty and maybe two pieces of ballast every other tie. Weeds everywhere and places that appear to be mud pumping. No derailments ever except for me running a closed switch and pushing a cut of hoppers into the bumper. Strive for perfection and rarely achieve it. Strive for realism and put in slow orders.

      Pete

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, December 3, 2021 9:55 PM

gmpullman
Slightly higher initial cost but well worth the investment.

You did good to score that from GE.

We get nothing from Home Depot. Everything gets scrapped or liquidated.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, December 3, 2021 9:46 PM

SeeYou190
It will not shatter like Plexiglas or Acrylic, and is a much better option.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to grab some scraps from GE. These are polycarbonate, or Lexan® which can be bent, cut or drilled without fear of cracking.

Slightly higher initial cost but well worth the investment.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, December 3, 2021 9:39 PM

At Home Depot, in the flooring section, we have 2" wide clear plastic strip about 1/16" thick that bends and drills very easily. It is some kind of a transition threshold.

It will not shatter like Plexiglas or Acrylic, and is a much better option.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, December 3, 2021 8:10 PM

Clear acrylic works. Easy to curve with careful use of a heat gun. To drill mounting holes a brad point bit is best, drill slowly to cut rather than melt. I have also melted holes with a pointed soldering iron, using a chisel blade (exacto also works) to clean off the melted ring. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, December 3, 2021 4:15 PM

Lastspikemike

Looking really really good. You've taken a lot of time and care getting the alignment you want and the effort shows. 

When completed, if you find you still have exposure to rolling stock derailing and taking a dive to the floor  consider making clear acrylic strips to serve the same function as your cardboard walls. It's surprising how low barrier can be and still provide adequate protection. 

I plan to have a minimial barrier at least using the fascia to stick up a bit, at least a half inch or maybe and inch.  Clear barrier is something that sounds good too.  I've heard plexiglass can be pricey but maybe there are other materials that would do the job for less cost.

Picked up some sheets of hardboard to get working on view blocks and fascia's.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Friday, December 3, 2021 4:12 PM

I claimed at one point my trackwork was perfect.

That Mr. Murphy guy was listening in on me....

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, December 3, 2021 3:00 PM

I've heard stories of folks that when they put two cars next to the other a derailment occurs.  Strange things will happen.  I hve had plenty of such weird issues, to include a derailment that I solved by losening a coupler screw by a 1/4 rotation.  Gotta love the hobby's odd happenings sometimes.

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Posted by Southgate on Friday, December 3, 2021 2:04 PM

rrebell

Also what you run is sometimes the issue. 

Yup. A while back I got a Hobbytown PA 1. Recently I got a CMX track cleaner. Figured I could use that big ol' PA to tractor it around. The long rigid 3 axle trucks cant get through the switches. Dead Maybe I'll remove the center axles? Dan

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, December 2, 2021 6:34 PM

Looking really really good. You've taken a lot of time and care getting the alignment you want and the effort shows. 

When completed, if you find you still have exposure to rolling stock derailing and taking a dive to the floor  consider making clear acrylic strips to serve the same function as your cardboard walls. It's surprising how low barrier can be and still provide adequate protection. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, December 2, 2021 4:54 PM

Following up on the S-curve question, I got some track down now and ran a couple of Tangent 86' Greenville autoparts cars throught it and they went through fine, no derailments or issues.

I hot glued some cardboard guard rails up until I get scenery in just to prevent trains from going over the edge.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 


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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. 

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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.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 


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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.

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