Frustrated

wpkelley Jan 22, 2014

  1. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    You've got to love a challenge... because if you don't, you're in the wrong hobby!
     
  2. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Has the OP considered installing rerailer track sections on either side of the staging yard switch/turnout ladders?
     
  3. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well... that's sort of a band-aid approach. The goal really should be to eliminate the cause of the derailments.
     
  4. alhoop

    alhoop TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well how about running a string of cars with body mount couplers and pizza cutter wheels through and see what happens.
    Al
     
  5. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    I'm guessing the problem has to do with the rolling stock and not the track work. Cut off all the trip pins, check the wheel gauges and try the experiment again.
     
  6. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

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    What nobody is saying here is that there's a "Logic Train" which should lead you to the source(s) of the derailment problem, and determining what the problem is should be approached as a process of elimination. Just assuming that it's the turnouts, then replacing all of them, then having the same problems is an expensive, labor intensive way of failing to find/fix the problem.

    Here's an example of a logic train that will eliminate certain variables:

    Before getting started, vacuum your trackwork with a brush attachment with turnouts thrown both ways to eliminate possible problems caused by foreign objects.

    This is for what rolls on the track...
    Motive Power:
    (1) Check the gauge on a diesel locomotive that you're going to use on your layout and correct any gauging problems so that your wheelsets are EXACTLY set to NMRA specs
    (2) Make sure the coupler trip pins are set at the correct height above the rail heads so as not to interfere with diverging rails on your turnouts.
    (3) Run the engine through all possible combinations of how the switches can be thrown to see if it derails.
    (4) If it does derail, see if it derails consistently at a particular spot, either "in" the yard, or a particular spot on your turnouts, or on a particular spot on one or two turnouts and take note of the spot or spots.

    Outcomes and Deductions:
    (1) If correcting the gauge of the wheelsets and making sure the trip pin is correctly positioned fixes the problem, then you can deduce that the problem with any cars that are derailing is probably caused by low coupler trip pins, since only very rarely are car wheelsets out of gauge.
    (2) If correcting the gauge of the wheelsets and making sure the trip pin is correctly positioned does NOT fix the problem, note WHERE the engine is derailing as the problem is very likely to be associated with your track.

    Cars:
    (1) Segregate your cars into two main groups: (A) Five cars with low profile wheesets, and (B) Five cars with pizza-cutter wheelsets
    (2) Closely inspect each car to make sure (A) All wheelsets are secure between the truck sideframes, (B) All wheelsets spin freely, (C) NO wheelsets are wobbly or have broken flanges, (D) May as well make sure that all wheelsets comply with NMRA gauge specs, (E) Make sure that all trucks rotate freely on their bolsters (F) Make sure all coupler trip pins are set at the correct height (G) Make sure that couplers are securely fastened and have no more than normal vertical movement (H) Weigh each car and make sure it is correctly (to NMRA standards) weighted.
    (3) Couple up five Lo-pro cars and switch them through all possible combinations of how the switches can be thrown both pulling and pushing.
    (4) Note which cars consistently derail
    (5) Note which cars consistently do not derail
    (6) Note if cars derail when being pushed or pulled or both
    (7) Note WHERE the derailments are occuring and check for patterns

    Repeat steps (3) through (7) with pizza cutter cars.

    Outcomes and Deductions (apply for both low-pro and pizza-cutter cars)
    (1) If all cars run without derailing, then the problem was most likely coupler trip pin interference with diverging rails in turnouts.
    (2) If all Low-pro cars run without derailing, but Pizza-cutter cars are derailing then the problem is with your track
    (3) If all cars derail consistently, then the problem is with your track

    There is an equivalent logic train to determine what's good and what's bad with your track installation too, but my fingers are getting tired so just eliminate problem areas by consistently and in an orderly fashion running your fully inspected and corrected engine and your fully inspected cars and take notes of where and how they derail, the first order of business would be to make sure all clearances and gauges are compliant with your NMRA Clearance Gage, and if there is a specific spot where derailments are concerned, visually and tactilely (running a finger along the railheads to feel any uneven or rough spots) inspect the spot and correct any problem you can see, feel or measure.

    All that being said, I suspect the problems are associated with low trip pins and engines being out of gauge.

    Good luck!!

    Cheerio!
    Bob Gilmore
     
  7. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    I don't know how many times a low trip pin has caused me to go nuts. I always forget to check them when I get a new car. Next thing I know, the trip pin is stopping my loco, causing it to spin in place. (Almost always one of my moguls) or it derails the cars. And its always at a couple particular switches. Pizza cutters on the other hand, do not like our newer switches. They will appear to jump up on the frog. Some work on the frog with a file helps, but your better off replacing the wheels completely..

    Sent from my Commando
     
  8. wpkelley

    wpkelley TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll let ya'll know what I find.
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hope so. A lot of curious folks out here, wondering...
     
  10. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    Yes sir we are.. Just seems odd. I am gonna bet he has low hanging trip pins. Dang things.. lol

    Sent from my Commando
     
  11. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    What does one deduce if the outcome is (4) that all Pizza-cutter cars run without derailing, but Low-pro cars are derailing?
     
  12. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Band-aid or belt and suspenders.
     
  13. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

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    That you're in the Twilight Zone....hahahahahahah...Seriously, the deduction would be the same as (2), but the track problem would be a different problem, which the elimination process would find out in the logic train dealing with track...most likely a big difference in railhead height or horizontal position at a rail joint.

    Cheerio!
    Bob Gilmore
     
  14. locomcf

    locomcf TrainBoard Member

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    If you're having problems with multiple turnouts (both in the staging yard, AND elsewhere) even after you've changed many of them over then I think you need to start looking at other possibilities.

    I'm not sure whether it's cars or locos that are derailing, but in my experience:
    (i) most of my locos had at least one axle that was out of gauge when I got it;
    (ii) even on brand new cars, MTL coupler pins are often sitting too low;
    (iii) MTL's original low-profile wheels with pizza-cutter flanges are almost as likely to catch point blades as their previous wheels.

    I wouldn't make any further changes to the track until I have confirmed that the poor performance is not due to one or more of the aforementioned possibilities.

    Sitting down and closely watching what is happening for an hour or so is the best way to identify the cause of the problem.

    Regards,
    Ron
     
  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Gonna agree on wheel gauge problems. I just recently preformed a complete tear down maintenance on a FVM locomotive. Never had derailment problems with it before. After cleaning it...it started to derail in one area. Frustrating for sure. I checked the wheel gauge and all seemed well. It kept derailing. Checked the track to see if it was uneven or narrowed in the area...checked track gauge...nothing. I finally figured that when I was cleaning the wheels I must have pushed the wheels out a silly MM by holding the wheelsets by the axle with thumb and index finger while scrubbing the wheel treads. I moved the wheels in the front truck in just a silly MM. No more derails !

    My thoughts: Better to be a silly MM to narrow on wheel gauge then to wide. JMO YMMV.
     
  16. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Could the deduction not also be that one or more bolster pins/screws on a low-pro car are too tight, so that the truck cannot move vertically to adequately compensate for imperfections in the track?
    In this case, the high-pro flanges are deep enough to prevent derailments while the low-pros are not.
     
  17. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

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    Nope. You took care of that in the second step in the "Cars" logic train here:
    (2) Closely inspect each car to make sure (A) All wheelsets are secure between the truck sideframes, (B) All wheelsets spin freely, (C) NO wheelsets are wobbly or have broken flanges, (D) May as well make sure that all wheelsets comply with NMRA gauge specs, (E) Make sure that all trucks rotate freely on their bolsters (F) Make sure all coupler trip pins are set at the correct height (G) Make sure that couplers are securely fastened and have no more than normal vertical movement (H) Weigh each car and make sure it is correctly (to NMRA standards) weighted.

    Upon further thought, it COULD be that by making the bolster pin looser than spec (not completely seated), this would compensate somewhat for really bad trackwork (vertical differences), however the idea is to bring both engines and cars to a common spec so that both pizza cutters and low-pros will run flawlessly.

    This would be another "band-aid" solution and entail loosening up all the bolster pins on every car equipped with low-pro wheelsets or convert every car to pizza cutters. Seems to me it would be much more intuitive just to re-do the bad rail joint.

    Good trackwork will allow cars and engines that are correctly gauged (exactly), with coupler trip pins either snipped off or correctly adjusted, with freely swiveling trucks and undamaged low-pro and pizza-cutter flanges to operate flawlessly, which is what we're shooting for.

    Adapting your cars and engines to compensate for bad trackwork is just the opposite of a good solution.

    However, in the OP's case, I'm leaning heavily towards okay trackwork, but low trip pins and out-of-gauge motive power wheelsets.

    Cheerio!
    Bob Gilmore
     
  18. rrjim1

    rrjim1 TrainBoard Member

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    My biggest problem is usually coupler pin height, never had a problem with out of gauge wheel sets. Have you consider maybe your running a little to fast, I know if I head into my yard at above 25 SMPH I will have a derailment, usually the car right behind the loco. All my turnouts are Peco insulfrog.
     
  19. gcav17

    gcav17 TrainBoard Member

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    What I have not seen here, is what manufacturers trucks and wheels are you using. I have had a few problems with FVM wheels. Generally going through shinohara switches they would derail at the frog. No where else was there a problem. So I changed out the wheels with some from my scrap box to see what would happen, and that fixed it. I later put micro train wheels in.
    I do find it kinda silly to keep changing brands of switches.
    One more question. Is your track consistent in height ? What I mean is are you using something like code 80 track and code 55 switches? That will always cause problems for freight cars ,steamers, and some diesels. Just a crazy thought. But one worth noting since we are all waiting on atlas and cant wait..

    Sent from my Commando
     
  20. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    If you go back to page 1, picture 3, a little reminder there that there's more switches on the layout than just the staging yard, and OP is having issues just with the staging yard ladders. The main line switches 'look like' Peco to me. I can certainly understand how Pecos could be working and Atlas C55's wouldn't, particularly if you can't easily see what is going on back there at the staging yard. That's a tough spot to work in, period. And there's no comments here about derailing on all the other turnouts on the plan in random fashion, just sayin.

    If that's true - that on an otherwise all-Peco layout the finer-scale switches are causing problems, and you've got the usual out-of-the-box mix of equipment with mixed wheels, trucks, etc.... I'm not particularly surprised here. The original question, if you read it, was that Atlas C55's caused problems and so did fast-tracks, and the plan was to put in Pecos and hope that would fix it. If you can actually get in there to see what's going on, you'd be able to isolate this pretty quickly. But that wide of a 'standard'; i.e. Atlas C55 in one area and Pecos in another, is a pretty wide standard. And if I'm backwards (the main line switches are Atlas and you're putting in Pecos in the staging yard) that's not necessarily one bit better either!

    It's tough in N when the evolution toward finer wheel and track standards has caused this much deviation. It's right on the ragged edge of working and in some cases (like the narrow-tread BLMA wheels that had to be widened slightly) has gone over the edge against some commercial turnouts. I'm not advocating going backwards, I'm just stating what to me is obvious and to say give the poster some help here rather than assuming that 'everything' is wrong. I've got a mix of Atlas C80's and Peco C55's, and 'thought' that I could get away with the finer wheels, and the truth is that it's not necessarily the flange, it's the tread, and no, they don't necessarily all work. I've swapped out wheels on new cars and done extensive testing to find out what works and what doesn't. One thing you can assume in this day and age is that not all wheels work consistenly with all track, that's pretty safe statement. And that's beyond the usual basic checks of track and turnout gauge, that's frustrating by definition and not nessarily something that is either accepted or known.

    Robert's got the analysis plan for sure, but we're still back to not all turnouts and random derailments, just the ladders.

    I've got my own axe to grind when I had to sell my brand-new Atlas 85' cars even after I fixed all the problems with flange scraping on the mold ejector marks, clearance problems against the bolster, and too-tight bolster pins. Derailment analysis clearly fingered the horizontal coupler swing and I couldn't fix that one and had significant stringlineing tipovers and derails. Wheels were OK. But yeah, you go through some rather exhaustive testing and analysis for stuff that 'should work' and doesn't, everybody willing to pile on with their own agenda, and like Robert says, it's an analytical process. But it will get you there.
     

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