How To Avoid Model Train Derailments
It frustrated me to the point of wanting to give my model train hobby away..!
Here are 7 ways to stop your model train from derailing:
Slide your finger across the joint. It should feel level with the gap between the tracks kept to the absolute minimum. I solder my joints because this stops any problems with expansion and contraction opening and closing of the joints.
With a small file I am able to create a continuously level track and have a beautifully smooth running model train.
2 – Check your track gauge on joints, turnouts and frog assemblies.
A wide track gauge will also derail your model train as the wheel flanges can not span the track properly. The gauge can be adjusted using a soldering iron to gently heat the rail, moving the rail to the correct position and allowing it to cool.
3 – Check your switch points for sharpness when they switch.
Some new switch points can be fairly blunt on the movable section where it strikes up against the stock rails. This can grab on the wheels and cause a model train derailment.
A small file can be used to gently smooth the moveable part of the points to allow a nice smooth transition. Remember to check the gauge in both positions.
4 – Check all your model train couplers.
A snagging coupler will cause model train derailments. Some new carriages can come with unpolished couplers which can catch and force derailments.
Clean off any rough edges and adjust the couplers for proper centering. The manufacturers usually provide these instructions.
I find that most freight cars are too light and sometimes all the wheels do not contact the rails equally. By adding a small amount of weight to the cars your model train will run smoother and you will eliminate derailments, especially on the tight radius’s.
Just make sure you add the weight as low as possible to the car and in the centre, keeping a low center of gravity.
6 – Check all your wheel sets for proper operation.
Wheel sets that are out of gauge, not aligned or moving freely will cause your model train to derail. Check your wheel sets and make sure that your carriages are not crabbing and forcing the wheel flanges into the rail, making it prone to derail.
The carriages should rock freely to take up any small imperfections in your track.
7 – Lubricate the squeaks.
Sometimes the smallest drop of light oil will cure a problem with your model train derailing. An unlubricated or snaggy wheel, or coupler, can cause a slight tip over, or jar, which usually forces the wheel flange to snag the rail and derail your model train.
Oil attracts dust and can damage paintwork, so make sure you use only the smallest amount required.
Now you have no reason to put up with your model train derailing.
It usually comes down to a small bit of maintenance from time to time. With the quality most manufacturers are producing today, and some ongoing maintenance, you can make model train derailments a thing of the past.
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