Frustrated

wpkelley Jan 22, 2014

  1. wpkelley

    wpkelley TrainBoard Member

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    I have a hidden staging yard that is giving me fits. I used atlas cd 55 and had derailments. I then tried fast tracks and still derailments. I now have ordered all peco medium radius electro frogs with peco flex track to redo the entire yard. This has been holding me up because I want the hidden staging to work as best as I can get it. Do ya'll think this will work?
    another question is I'm beginning to feel like I'm getting things to complicated. I'm using digitrack and jrmi panel pro to control the turnouts. It used to be a lot easier by just flipping a switch and start running trains. Does anyone else feel this way?
     
  2. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Not really, sounds like there is something wrong with the sub-roadbed.
     
  3. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sounds like you need to check the gauge on all of your loco and rolling stock wheels.

    As for turnout control, a rotary switch and a diode matrix is about as simple as you can get; can't see the need for anything more complex.
     
  4. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

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    I second the repliy about the gauge of the wheels. But are you pushing the trains or pulling them into the staging yard? Many times the truck mounted couplers do not like to be pushed over switches and will cause the trucks to pivot and derail. This happens to me with especially long trains but sometimes with only a few cars. I have Peco switches in my yard and enjoy slow speed switching, but I have to watch the cars while I'm pushing them. Body mounted couplers would help.
    I only have a few switches on an HO module that I have a DS 64 to control the switches. I like the hands off route setting ability which would be good for a hidden staging yard.
     
  5. glakedylan

    glakedylan TrainBoard Member

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    did trains run on other layout without derailing?
    could be:
    wheel gauge as noted
    too sharp of radius in curves including frog angle of turnouts
    couplers truck mounted or body mounted
    track not laid smoothly, level
    sub-roadbed bad
    weight of cars
    wheel flange size on code 55 track
    ???????
    can you provide any other info?

    respectfully
    Gary
     
  6. alexkmmll

    alexkmmll TrainBoard Member

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    If you're having trouble in your staging tracks but not the rest of your layout, can you identify anything that's different between the two?
    Did you use a smaller turnout to squeeze your staging tracks in? Are the turnouts not level or placed awkwardly? Are you operating your trains there differently than anywhere else in the layout?
     
  7. wpkelley

    wpkelley TrainBoard Member

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    train 104.jpg train 105.jpg train 106.jpg train 107.jpg

    David Smith this is your track plan. The yard in back will be covered. I have cameras to tell where the trains, with labeled post to see where to stop for clearance are and led lights to see.

    I have checked some of the wheels gauge.
    They are # 5 turnouts.
    Low profile wheels.
    Track is smooth.
    Have not checked weight.
    Couplers are where they were from factory.
    I have JRMI set up to throw turnouts like a ladder switch. One click aligns all turnouts properly.

    I just want to get this done and move on to something else. I've heard Peco are very reliable so I'm going to be real careful laying them and give it a try. I will use the fast track turnouts where they can be seen.

    I just feel stuck.
     
  8. alexkmmll

    alexkmmll TrainBoard Member

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    Are they derailing only on that ladder on the left side of the staging yard?
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The switches are aligning as desired? Not by some accident, wired so they throw the opposite of what you'd planned?
     
  10. wpkelley

    wpkelley TrainBoard Member

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    They derail on the ladder left and right.
    They are aligning correctly.

    I thought the fast tracks would solve my problem. Just the area where they are installed is a little hard to get to. This makes adjusting them difficult. I hope the Pecos work like everyone says they do. I'm also having problems with some of the other atlas turnouts and plan on changing them to fast tracks.
     
  11. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ya might wanna give Unitrack a thought in hidden staging if all else fails. Pretty reliable stuff.
     
  12. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    There's three common ways to derail on a turnout..... and they are not created equally....

    Usually, running the specific offending car through the turnout with your fingers will let you feel what is happening. Get your fingertips where you can feel the truck sideframes if you can. You can almost always feel this happening; don't rely on just running the train through and piling it up. Something specific is happening. If you can't get to them easily in a staging yard throat, that's a real concern anyway, and that will continue to be frustrating unless you can attack that through some method like rolling the layout out from the wall (assuming free-standing), a hatch big enough for a hand, etc.

    1) Picking the points; points not ground sharp, points not fitting tightly into stock rail, switch mechanism not firing consistently. Some wheel profiles are a lot 'pickier' than others if there isn't much flange fillet in there.
    2) Dropping at the points; wide gauge at the points combined with possible narrow tread/gauge on the wheels.
    3) Picking the frog; wheel climbing up over the point of the frog and derailing; narrow gauge at the guardrail or narrow gauge on the switch; will usually happen consistently on many cars (or you can at least feel it hitting, it may or may not be bad enough to dump the car, but you can feel the 'hit')

    Noise is often a giveaway as well, many times you can hear a 'hit' before it will actually dump the car. That telltale 'click' is usually a flange impacting something, it may or may not be enough to derail it, but that's the clue.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with the yard concept or design here, particularly if you are heading into it instead of backing into it. It's in a position where it's a lot harder to see what's going on though. Even in a relatively perfect world you're going to derail on a switch through operator error so access gets critical. I designed my staging yard to be as goof-proof as possible, and it can still produce the annual cataclysmic error that means every access hatch gets pulled. Last time it was a dropped truck pin that derailed a train ABOVE the yard inside the hidden area, dumping 25 cars on top of eight stored trains below it.

    While this thing is pricey, it almost looks like you need something like it: http://www.micromark.com/topside-creeper-step-ladder-support-system,8854.html

    It's a guessing game until you get a little more precise in your analysis and everybody tends to pile on to their favorite cause, be it code 55, low-profile flanges, truck mounts, hidden yards, etc.

    Never underestimate the ability of a specific car to have issues that look like track. Last one I had was an Atlas 85' piggyback flat, between the flash on the mold ejectors right under the flanges and flash on the coupler pocket preventing much coupler swing that car derailed more in one week than any other car in a year.


    I think once you get us down to a little more detail here you'll get better advice.
     
  13. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

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    Since you have a double ended staging yard are the derailments occurring with the trains being pulled into the yard or while being pushed into it? You didn't make it clear in your posts.
     
  14. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    Lets not forget that little piece of copper that drops down off of the coupler. I don't know how many times that has either stopped a train or derailed a car.

    Sent from my Commando
     
  15. wpkelley

    wpkelley TrainBoard Member

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    I pull into the yard and pick another train to pull out.
    Yes I thought about unitrack; but, decided to try Peco.

    This afternoon I think I'll pull all the other trains off and just use one. Then I can try each track and run through it. Maybe I will be able to see what going on. When the upper level is put on I'm going to have to be careful making it easy to remove.

    Thanks everyone for your advice. I really appreciate the sincere suggestions.

    David Smith I'm not as good of modeler as you. I hope I don't mangle up your track plan. Thank you for posting it for others to use.
     
  16. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Oh, I think you're doing a fine job; It's nice to see this plan being used by someone. I'm just sorry you're having so much trouble with switches. I hope you find a solution to your problem--there's a lot of good advice posted here.
     
  17. alhoop

    alhoop TrainBoard Supporter

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    So they are truck mounted -if Peco switches solve your problem that points to poor track work.
    Al
     
  18. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Judging from the photos, the trackwork does not look shabby. Atlas #5s are on record as having some issues, at least certain batches of them. The question mark in my mind is why the Fast Tracks switches caused the same sort of grief; they're not for the casual hobbyist, so there may have been some assembly issues. But Pecos are not flawless, either; their flangeways are known to be a bit too wide for some wheelsets, especially low-pros, so this may not be the cure. If it was me, I'd start by checking all flanges for proper gauge, then checking all coupler trip pins for proper height. Then I'd do a serious round of testing on each of the Atlas switches at the workbench to see if any issues can be detected. I understand the frustration this creates all too well. Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet; it will take time, diligence, and most especially patience to solve the puzzle.

    As an aside, did I notice the Atlas N scale switches being powered by HO snap track machines? If so, I don't think I'd do that. Solenoid machines are hard on switches, and Code 55 track is rather delicate, and may suffer from the punishing snap action. I'd much sooner go with slow-motion machines, such as the Tortoise. But, that's just me
     
  19. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    You just won't know until you know.

    As my son the IT whiz says; 'the problem with variables is that they keep changing'. And with train consists, weight, etc. there's a lot of variables.

    I get defensive when people blame MT trip pins... but that's not what this thread is about, at least not yet!

    I'm on my fourth hidden staging yard, if you include my little 21x42 module with a tiny three-track one. There's a whole lot that can be done to lessen the number of variables in design and operation, that may or may not apply here. The one thing that does apply is what I consider a relentless pursuit of derailment analysis, I simply don't accept them. The ones that still happen are either operator error (pure stupidity), untested equipment, or truly bizarre things like running over an insect, dropping a truck pin on a downgrade and piling up on it, broken parts, etc.

    One sure assumption you can make is that out-of-the-box equipment still has to be checked for gauge, coupler pin height, truck swing, coupler height, RDA head trim, etc., no matter who it is from. The last real stunner I got was a brand-new MT car (brown wheels and couplers) that piled up on a specific turnout that nothing else ever did, was picking the frog; checked the wheel gauge and ONE of the four axles had a wide set - this is on a one-piece cast wheel/axle, mind you, and it was wide by a good .015 at the flange. How does that happen? I've gone through boxes and boxes of low profiles and never seen that one before. Literally one of those 'it can't happen' deals.

    David has a good point on the solenoids. If you are going to use solenoids, make sure the connecting wire/linkage has both plenty of excess throw distance and is also relatively 'soft'. On a staging yard, you really ought to attempt to have it soft enough that if you do accidentally pull a train through a locked switch, it won't derail. You can also use extra Rix contacts on Rix machines or the contacts on Tortise machines to 'hotwire' the trailing-side rails so that the ONLY way you can get through the turnout from the exit is if the switch is properly lined for you (one of my goof-proof things).

    My 'big' staging yard occupies the entire lower level of a 5'6" x 8' layout, nine tracks, capacity about 150 cars. It's designed with one entrance and one exit, is operated in one direction only with switch interlocking and diodes to lock you down, it's impossible to enter the wrong end, reversing loop used to swap train directions rather than allowing bidirectional approach. You can't even accidentally back up anywhere without holding down an emergency red button. All 'exit' switches float free on the points, so you can't misline a turnout. Every track has a gapped 'stop' area with a bypass pushbutton and occupancy detection circuit so that the train just....stops without fouling the exit... and you have to hold down the button to get it out. All switches were moved out to the table edges, all routing switches have both trailing power interlocks and lit indicators on the panel. Complete and total overkill. Now operating successfully since 1983! So hang in there, it really can be done.
     
  20. RatonMan

    RatonMan TrainBoard Member

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    Are the couplers truck, or body mounted?
     

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