Troublesome Track...Do You Have Any?

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Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
I've started a Thread about the problems I encountered with an Athearn SD-39 and derailments. Do you have any section(s) of track, turnouts or crossings that give you problems and what are your plans to fix or repair the bad section or will you just put up with the problem if it isn't too severe?

I've watched life size trains run through some bad trackage as well as watching videos of model railroad and seen some shaky cars going through turnouts or crossings, not to mention areas of track.

Please share your experiences.

Thanks.

Greg
 
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kjd

Go make something!
I have a small layout, maybe a total of 100 ft of track including staging and industry track. Some of it is temporary but has been in place for several years. It is a mix of four or five brands of track in two rail sizes. The only spot I had trouble was a junction with two routes in and three out. It is four atlas code 100 number 6s. It is also on a change in grade and also not on solid roadbed, just some blocks of wood shimmed with business cards. It basically breaks all the rules for good trackwork. The only trouble I had was a SD60M with scale width wheels didn't like the route that was off camber because of the grade change. Like you, I carefully watched and ended up adjusting some of the shims and now it works fine. Granted, going full send down that route will probably make a mess since it is the route through the rotary dumper and I use live loads.
The most challenging derailment issue I had to solve was similar to yours. I had an Athearn SD40-2 that would always derail one end. The cause ended up being the metal tab on the truck that supports the frame. The tab was not exactly flat. It had a slight angle which when fixed stopped the derailing. The challenging part, the problem was on the truck that didn't derail.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
With 6 1/2 scale miles of double track mainline and another 12 scale miles of sidings and yard track, I've had a few difficulties due to the benchwork swelling or contracting. It's just a matter of track maintenance, just like the real thing. Get the tools out and fix it.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
The only thing worse than diagnosing mechanical problems is diagnosing electrical/electronic problems. If a derailment problem that occurs with only one locomotive or piece of rolling stock, then it is usually that item rather than the trackage. But not always. There are some cases where a particular locomotive simply won't negotiate a particular turnout or section of track. Unless the problem is on a main line, it may be the better part of valor to simply make that section of trackage off-limits to that particular item. The real railroads often place limitations on what locomotive can run over a particular branch line due to the weight of the engine on the track, or weight limit on a bridge. I have #3 track at the major station/yarrd that my 2-10-2's and 2-10-4's simply won't handle without the lead trucks derailing. The curve leading into #3 is 18 in., but those big locos just won't handle it. (Elesewhere, 18" curves are NO prolem for them...go figure.) The solution is very simple: Only shorter steam locomotives or switch engines are allowed. On tracks #1 & 2, no problems.
Happy New Year!
 

dennis461

Member
I have one tender (MDC 2-8-0 old timer) that derails on an Atlas Customline #6 turnout, when backing on the straight mainline against the points.
Only the one tender and only that turnout. I have another Atlas Customline #6 where there are no derailments. And I run several other HO steamers and diesels without trouble.

I've tuned up the turnout to the point of exhaustion. Planning on changing the track in the near future.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
I've got a couple threads going in the Layout Design and Construction board right now, actually, on a couple of troublesome sections.
It can come down to a specific loco a lot of times, I have found. I have one loco that hates one particular turn out. One loco that despises backing up through a certain section of track. And another that, despite my best cleaning efforts, always finds whatever microscopic sections of dirt it can find to disrupt the flow of power.

It's like the old saying goes, though slightly modified, "You can please some of the locos all of the time; all of the locos some of the time, but you can't please all the locos all of the time!" :D :D :D
 

kjd

Go make something!
I had a SD60 that ran great for years and then one day started having issues that seemed related to dirt I couldn't see. It turned out it had stopped picking up power on one side of one truck. It still mostly ran fine but would stall at one particular place. A continuity check followed by a dot of solder and all was well again.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Every new locomotive points out a place it doesn't like, and this is across four layouts to date. One time I had no choice but to cut out and lift an entire length of flex track after softening the ballast and using a knife to cut through the thin coating of caulking I'd used for a fixative. I had to scrape clean the roadbed, and then added shims to the outer tie ends along the whole curve. After the ballast had dried, the outer rail was now elevated enough to keep the outer flanges on a 2-10-2's tender inside the outer rail, and I never had problems again. The whole thing, once I clenched my jaw and accepted that I was going to have to perform this drastic surgery, took about an hour. That hour bought me many months of happy use of the one steamer.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
I believe I cured my one section of bad track which has a length of approximately 3 inches. Today I'll run train through this section to be sure that I am correct and then re-ballast.

Thanks.

Greg
 
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CGW121

Member
I have 2 turnouts that have issues with a single loco going one direction. One can be solved by installing a tortise switch machine, the other I guess not running that loco is the best answer. Funny thing is thing its a Lifelike F3a and I have a lot of them and have no problems with them.
Mike
 



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