Bachmann Message Board

Discussion Boards => General Discussion => Topic started by: Robertj668 on August 16, 2009, 09:08:01 PM



Title: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 16, 2009, 09:08:01 PM
As I am getting closer to  "Nailing Down" the final track plan I am coming across some problems of concern. 

The problem is derailments. Mainly with my switches and only with my Pennsy K4 4-6-2 and my Russian Decapod 2-10-0.  The culprit switches are my DCC 44137 and 44138 crossovers and occasionally my 44130 Left Switch & 44131 Right Switch.  Usually its the front wheels on these engines that starts the derailment.  But sometimes its not.  Sometimes when the train is running, I'll see the train look like it is hitting a speed bump.

We run the engines at a normal speed rarely them fast. The derailment can occur at normal slow speeds and even to the faster as well.  The connector between all of the tracks are holding strong.  But even when properly connected some track has gaps.  So I replace them to reduce or eliminate the gap. 

I am running 22" on the main rail and 18" on the inside.

As for my other engines the Diesels never derail nordoes my my J 4-8-4 rarely derails.  All of engines are Bachmann.

I saw the KATO track this weekend and fell in love with it.  But it would expensive to replace it.

So I need advice of ideas on how to fix this.  I may post a picture or two later exactly what I think may be causing the problems.  As an experiment the front 4 of the 4-6-2 making it an 0-6-2 and it ran fun fine.  I just wanted to see if indeed they were causing the derailments.

Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Jim Banner on August 16, 2009, 10:16:03 PM
Robert,
The first thing I reach for when I have a derailment is an NMRA track and wheel gauge.  It is used to tell if the rails are the right distance apart, the flangeways in the turnouts have the proper clearances and the wheels are spaced correctly.  Adjusting the trackwork and/or the wheels solves about 90% of the derailment problems but you don't know what to adjust or in which direction to adjust it if you do not have a gauge to measure it.

As you have noticed, the lead or pony truck is often the culprit.  That is because it usually does not have a whole lot of weight holding it down on the track.  So if rail and wheel gauge look okay and the flangeways seem right, check the pony truck.  Lift the front of the locomotive until the front drivers just come off the rails and check that the pony truck wheels are both still on the rails.  If not, adjust the truck so that they can move down a little farther.  Also make sure the pony truck can swing freely side to side by putting the locomotive on the tightest curve you run it on,  Then lift the pony wheels just clear of the rails and see if they can move a little further toward the center of the curve.  While you are at it, make sure the truck moves freely side to side.  Reverse the locomotive and repeat.  If the truck cannot swing far enough for any reason, the only choice the wheels have is to rise vertically, then the one(s) on the outside of the curve hop(s) over the rail.  If it is a four wheel pony truck, there may also be a problem with restriction of the fore and aft tilting of the truck.  Make sure you can lift the front pair of wheels clear of the rails without the back two wheels lifting off, and vise versa.  If the front truck still derails after you have checked gauge, clearance, and tilt, then you might have to add a little bit of weight to the truck.  Often you can find room for only a few grams of lead, but often that is all it takes.

Jim


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 16, 2009, 11:03:47 PM
Jim
I cannot believe that I have yet to get a track and wheel gauge. Oh I guess I need to go to the Hobby shop tomorrow.  I am going to add pictures of exactly where I am seeing the problem with one of the engines

(http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac56/Robertj668/014-1.jpg)
(http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac56/Robertj668/015-1.jpg)
(http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac56/Robertj668/017.jpg)


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Jim Banner on August 17, 2009, 01:44:55 PM
Robert,
I have taken the liberty of enlarging part of your photograph and showing it here:

(http://www.members.shaw.ca/sask.rail/picked-point-2.jpg)

Just to the left of your red arrow is one of the two points of this turnout.  It is hard in the photo to see if the tip of the point is sticking out a little bit from the stock rail (the straight through rail) or if it is below the top of the stock rail.  Any clearance at all between the tip of the point and the stock rail can cause a wheel, particularly a lightly loaded wheel like a pony wheel, to catch or "pick" the point and ride up over it.  Ideally, you should be able to slide the edge of a business card along the inner edge of the stock rail, at about the same angle as your arrow, and not have it slide between the point and stock rail.  It should follow the point rail to the left, just as a wheel should.

If the card does slide in between the point and stock rail, then there are two possible fixes.  The easiest and quickest is to bend the end of the point rail for better contact with the stock rail.  First set the switch to the straight through route.  Then take a pair of needle nose pliers, held vertically, and grasp just to the left of the tip of the point.  Then gently, gently twist the pliers so that the tip of the point is just a tiny bit closer to the stock rail than it was before.  Reset the switch for the diverging route (the route shown in your photos) and check with a rail gauge.  Also recheck with the business card.  If the tip of the rail is now tight against the stock rail, the card should not go between them, and if there is still the proper distance between the point rail and the other stock rail (the one at the bottom of your photo) then you should be in business.

The admonition against twisting too hard or too far is because you can bend a little more if the first try was not enough, but bending then bending back can cause a kink in the rail or worse can break of the tip off the point, rendering the switch useless.

If it turns out that the point rail is tight against the stock rail and what we are seeing in the photo is the top of the point rail being lower than the top of the stock rail, then you need to take a different approach.  In the enlarged photo, it looks as if the edge of the point rail is nice and sharp and square.  You can test that by dragging the flat of a finger nail across the edge of the point rail at a right angle to the rail. If the rail tends to grab your nail, the edge is sharp and square.  That is fine for the edge that abuts the stock rail, but can occasionally cause problems when that sharp edge tries to make wheels take the diverging route.  The square edge can dig into the round radius where the tread of the wheel meets the flange of the wheel, causing a drag which opposes the turning force we are trying to generate.  The easiest solution in this case is to round over the edge with a jeweler's file or a fine emery board without applying too much pressure to the point rail.  When rounded even a little, the edge of the rail will no longer catch the flat of your finger nail and should no longer try to steer the wheels to the right.  If the finger nail test shows this edge is sharp, you may want to round it over even if you have already cured the problem by realigning the point.

Jim


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 17, 2009, 01:53:17 PM
Jim
I will try these this afternoon. Thank you for the help.
Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: renniks on August 17, 2009, 03:20:21 PM
Robert,

The gap in the red square is nothing to give concern. As with any joint between sections, if you run a finger across the gap the rail ends should be level showing that the joiners are 'engaged' correctly.

Eric UK



Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 17, 2009, 05:56:04 PM
Eric UK
Thanks I was hoping that would be the case.
Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 17, 2009, 08:00:46 PM
Jim
Option 1 worked for the Decapod 2-10-0. It has been running for 20 minutes now and still no derailment.  We are exercising the switch to make sure it works for both directions.  I will try the K4 4-6-2 next.
Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Paul M. on August 17, 2009, 10:05:31 PM
If problems persist after filing the points and inspecting it with a gauge, weight the pilots. They may be too light.


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 17, 2009, 10:20:51 PM
Paul
I have 2 of the four working of the crossovers.  I may need to file one down but the K4 4-6-2 still is giving me problems. So I may try a temporary weight to see if that helps.

I love the Kato track but I am really not interested in switching.


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 17, 2009, 10:23:47 PM
Paul

I forgot to ask.  Do you live in Texas too?
Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Hellhound on August 19, 2009, 04:06:00 PM
Same problem here with one switch in particular. The point sticks out just enough for a wheel flange to get behind it and try to go straight instead of following the curve. This can happen to any rail car and some locomotives at random. Seems to depend on how they hit the switch. This seems to be a common problem with bachmann switches since I have seen complaints in other model railroad message boards about the same issue. I have some old Atlas switches from the 1990s that never caused derailments. I notice that the straight rail has a recess cut into it that allows the point to fit into the straight rail so the point doesn't stick out to trip a wheel. When I got back into model railroading, I bought an ON30 set with the EZ track. I like to change and move my layout quite a bit so I use the roadbed track and bought more of it to make a bigger multi track layout. All was well until I started adding switches and the derailments began. I don't think the Atlas roadbed track and Bachmann will fit together so that may not be an easy solution.   


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Jim Banner on August 19, 2009, 04:45:26 PM
I too like E-Z Track for temporary setups.  But one of the previously owned turnouts was giving me problems.  So I popped it off its base, sanded the top of the base until it was flat and smooth, and glued on an Atlas snap switch plus an 18" radius 1/3 curve.  It was easy to hold in place while the glue dried - I used three pieces of E-Z track hooked to the turnout base and held to the turnout itself with regular Atlas rail joiners.  If you use a new Snap Switch, it normally comes with rail joiners and a 1/3 curve.  For glue, I used Pliobond but I suspect Walther's Goo might work also.

Jim


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on August 19, 2009, 05:19:00 PM
Thanks Hellhound for giving me an idea.

Jim -  Do you think I Could create a small recess in the straight track switches to help out with things?

Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Jim Banner on August 19, 2009, 06:10:20 PM
It would worth a try, but filing vertically when you can move the file only 1/10" inch is not too easy.  On the other hand, you really don't have to file very much.

I always use a notch when building large scale turnouts so that I can leave the ends of the points a little thicker and stronger.  But in H0/0n30 I usually just rely on a very sharp point.  However, I can see no problem with using a notch in H0 but would make sure it was no deeper than the amount of rail head that hangs over the vertical web.

Jim 


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: RAM on August 19, 2009, 10:39:35 PM
Walther's Goo is bad news on some plastics.  so test it before you use it.


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Hellhound on September 03, 2009, 05:54:44 PM
...Wonder if I could get just the EZ track roadbed for switches and crossings and mount Atlas track on them. I have a lot of EZ track and don't want to scrap it all and start over. I wanted to get some number 5 or 6 switches for long passenger cars but I am hesitant since those are pricey and I will be very unhappy if they don't work any better than the standard switches. ...It should not be necessary to rebuild something that should work right in the first place.


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Jim Banner on September 04, 2009, 12:13:36 AM
I have run into problems with Atlas turnouts as well.  They don't seem to cause derailments but the internal "wiring" loses contract with the rails  so you have to add jumpers around the switch, and sometimes to the point rails within the switch.  I thought maybe it was glue seeping in when ballasting, but then found the problem in some that had never been ballasted.  At one time, I believe Atlas spot welded the flat metal "wiring" to the rails, but one of the failed ones that I tore apart had no signs of spot welding, so maybe they quit that and are relying on the plastic keeping the various pieces of metal in electrical contact.  Or maybe they all came from the same bad batch - they were all purchases from the same supplier at about the same time.

The only words of consolation I can offer is that at least we no longer have to built our own turnouts from scraps of rail and match sticks.  Having said that, I will also brag a bit and say the most reliable turnouts on my layout are the hand laid ones.  When a leaking pipe soaked one of them a few years ago, I was sure it was a write-off.  The spikes were rusty, there was green stuff festering up from the rails, and the wooden base had swollen so much that the points refused to move.  But the wood eventually dried and and shrank to more or less its original size, the rusty spikes still had enough of their heads left to keep the rails in place, and the crusty green stuff came off with a tooth brush.  A few passes with some 400 wet and dry paper and some oil, plus new rail joiners over the ends of freshlycleaned rails, and it was back in business.  I am not advocating that we spend all out railroading time hand building turnouts, but somehow having to tune up commercial ones seems mild in comparison.

Jim   


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: CNE Runner on September 04, 2009, 10:06:40 AM
Having read all the posts as well as viewed the excellent photos provided; I finally decided to include my two cents. Having recently built a switching layout with Bachmann EZ-track (my first experience with the product), I can unequivocably say; "Never again!" Look guys, you get what you pay for. My suggestion is to stop trying to "make a purse out of a sow's ear" and cut your losses. Scrap the EZ-track and get yourself some good stuff...like Peco. Robert and 'Hellhound': If you are having track trouble this early in the game - you are going to have more in the future. Unless you have a compelling need to 'fiddle' with your trackwork; tear up what you have, sell it at a train show, and get a decent product ('sorry Mr. Bach Man but EZ-track isn't in the same galaxy as your Spectrum locomotives...I tell it like it is).

Peco (and some other brands) of track can be had from the following website. I find Bill's Trains and Tracks to have some of the best prices/availability on the Internet. Personally I use Peco Code 75 products; but the code is up to you and the look you are trying to achieve.

http://billstrainsandtrack.net/home.php (http://billstrainsandtrack.net/home.php)

BTW: On December 5th, we will be vendoring a train show in Birmingham, AL. I will have my small supply of EZ-track for sale...at almost giveaway prices. I know I sounded harsh -  but I feel your pain and wish you all the best.

Ray


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Johnson Bar Jeff on September 04, 2009, 10:54:03 AM
I hope nobody raps your knuckles for expressing an honest opinion, Ray.

I can't imagine using E-Z Track to build a large, elaborate, layout, but for a simple, temporary loop--with no switches  ;D --that isn't fastened down--say, for around a Christmas tree--I still think it's pretty good.


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Jim Banner on September 04, 2009, 12:15:42 PM
I wonder how many locomotives E-Z Track has saved?  One of the things our modelling group does as part of our volunteer work at the local museum is fix trains.  Every year, starting in January, there used to be an endless parade of train set locomotives that had to be taken apart and the lint and pet hair removed from the axles.  Invariably, they had been run on the old style sectional track laid on a rug.  Johnson Bar Jeff's posting reminds me that we haven't had that for quite a few years.  I can think of two reasons for that - wall to wall carpeting isn't as ubiquitous as it used to be, and train sets mostly come with E-Z Track or something similar these days.

Like JBJ I like to keep a supply of E-Z Track on hand for testing, demonstration and breaking in.  For the latter application, a figure 8 is particularly useful as it forces the locomotive to turn both ways.  I have not had a problem with crossings.  The only two E-Z Track turnouts I ever had came used with a bunch of used track.  One appeared to have been stepped on and the other was permanently set to the straight route with copious amounts of glue.  Not exactly the samples I would wish to base an opinion on.

Jim


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: CNE Runner on September 04, 2009, 02:33:13 PM
Jim, as usual you are the source of good ideas. Rather than take a severe 'beating' on my leftover EZ-track, maybe I could hold back enough to make a circle (for running in engines) and a couple of lengths of straight track for troubleshooting. The turnouts will have to go however. Another good idea was using some EZ-track around the Christmas tree...good suggestion. Like Jim, I have spent an inordinate amount of time - cleaning lint, pet hair, and carpet fibers out of Lionel locomotive motors and drivetrains...point taken.

Thanks for the suggestion,
Ray


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on September 04, 2009, 11:36:05 PM
Wow

For some reason I was not getting the updated posts. Even though I subscribed.  Some great information in the last day or two.

Ray
I am still tempted to switch my track but it is only 2 engines that give me trouble. The K4 4-6-2 and the Decapod.  All others run fine.  Even my larger J 4-8-4 works great.  Having  said that I love the kato track.  I have never been good with laying down my own roadbed.  Though even in that field there are some great improvements.  Yes I have a lot of money invested in the EZ track.  Especially i started with 18" and went to mostly 22".  I still have not "Nailed" the track down yet.  I guess I am afraid of the huge commitment.

I think the EZ track is a great idea but the jury is still out if it may or may not suit my needs.

Thanks again

Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: CNE Runner on September 05, 2009, 10:07:08 AM
Robert, I understand your concern (particularly the financial one); but remember my quote: "If you are having track trouble this early in the game - you are going to have more in the future." I had to scrap a whole layout because of endless turnout problems (no, they weren't EZ-track). I couldn't remove the old turnouts because I [foolishly] soldered and spiked them in place AND they were #4s whereas Peco small radius turnouts are something akin to #4.5 or #5. In other words the track geometry wouldn't have matched. Live and learn. It would be a whole lot easier, and cheaper, if you change now as opposed to later...your decision.

Good luck with whatever course you take,
Ray


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Hellhound on September 06, 2009, 02:16:53 AM
I am seeing problems with 2 out of 6 switches and a 90 degree crossing. Pushing railcars through the turnout is almost impossible. Did severe damage to a switching locomotive when it hit one of those switches at medium speed and ended up on a hardwood floor. I have seen too many other people with EZ track switch problems. I will probably keep some EZ track curves and straights for testing and temporary setups and abandon the rest. My entire layout is now dismantled and put away since I am doing some remodeling on the house. Looks like I will be shopping for better quaility track when I rebuild the layout.


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on September 07, 2009, 10:20:21 PM
Update
On the Decapod 2-10-0 I added a small weight to the pony wheels. Guess what! No derailments!  It has been running beautifully.  Now for the K4 4-6-2.
Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on September 12, 2009, 12:19:39 AM
Update #2

On the K4 4-6-2 I added a small weight to the pony wheels. Guess what! No derailments!  It has been running beautifully. But what to do.  Do I keep the track now since I fixed the problems? For now yes.  I am not totally sold yet.

Robert


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: budlidman on December 28, 2012, 08:08:25 PM
Has anyone had any trouble with the right dcc crossover?


Title: Re: Question about E-Z Track and Steam Engine Derailments
Post by: Robertj668 on December 28, 2012, 09:01:56 PM
I did only with my decapod steam engine and my J class. Diesels were just fine except the little switchers. When I can afford it I will switch to Kato.