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1  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Front wheels 2-8-2 pop off on: March 02, 2017, 11:44:47 AM

I've had the same problem - going along fine then suddenly the pony truck (in front of the drive wheels) comes off the track.  It turned out that the screw holding the pony truck on was put through a VERY-WELL-Machined hole -  i.e. it was tight.  I easily fixed it by using a metal drill bit and manually reamed out the ends of the two holes (top and bottom.)  That usually fixed it, but if it was still a problem I also bored out the screw hole with a drill bit one size bigger than the hole. 

As info, I've had a couple of steam locos illuminate the problem by the front of the engine just lifting the pony truck a little (from a little rise in the track) and when the pony truck came back down its wheels were derailed (especially on a curve.)  Easy fix, see above.

Hope that helps.

2  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: rail care on: February 07, 2017, 11:07:06 AM
My 2 cents:

For over 26 years I've put 2 or 3 small drops of Wahl hair-clipper oil close together (from a hypo syringe) on the top of each rail (Code 100) about every 20' apart and just continue running the train(s).  The railcars' wheels spread the oil on the rail heads - very lightly. (Does this make the loco wheels spin?  No.)   Except of for a few very small dots of oil/dirt mix on top of the rails in about 5 places, which occur from a lot of running, and usually show up in the same locations time after time (which are easy to rub off with a cloth or a cloth with a little oil on it) - that's it.  How long between Wahl oiling time?  About 4 to 6 months, and I run one or more trains at least every other day.

As info, I've never used any type of abrasive rail cleaner.  The most "abrasive" cleaner I've ever used has been a piece of thin cloth (often with a drop of oil on it to help loosen the dirt/oil mix on the rail tops) wrapped around my pointer finger.

Hope this is helpful.

3  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Berkshire 2-8-4 HO Pere Marquette Jerky at low and mid range speeds on: January 30, 2017, 10:59:11 AM

This may sound crazy, but most all of my Bachmann steamers were were not smooth runners out of the box.  I don't do DCC but I did find the problem - the plastic plate on the bottom of the engine that holds the drive wheel axles in was screwed too tight and made some of the drive wheels sort of jerky - it pinched them.  I learned to back the screws off about 1/8 or 1/4 turn, and that fixed all of them.

This may not be your problem, but easily could be.

4  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Building a Coal Mine on: January 18, 2017, 08:39:26 PM
HoModeler - regarding making mounds of coal - here's what I've done:

1. Get some styrofoam (that you can scrape; the stuff I used was green, not white) at Hobby Lobby or ??

2. Get some HO coal (or if you have access to any real coal, put some in a cloth bag and beat it up with a hammer then run it through a kitchen flour sifter (if you have a wife don't let her catch you doing this!)

3. Back to the styrofoam, cut a piece out, rough-shape it, and mold/sculpt it with a hobby knife or bigger by running the knife blade at right-angles to the styrofoam, smooth it out (sand paper will work here too), coat the rounded mound on top and the rest of it with white Elmers glue, turn the mound up-side down or on its side and push it into and/or roll it around the coal.  The coal needs to hide the color of the styrofoam.  Shape, trim and tweak as needed.

Additional info:  As info I've got lots of hoppers and gons with coal loads in them.  They look realistic and don't add any weight to the railcars.  Also, if you want to have empty gons/hoppers, just gently pry the coal loads out with a hobby knife.

Lastly, with these type of coal loads in railcars, if you have them in gons or open top hoppers and you have a derailment that turns a car over or on its WON'T have any mess to clean up!

Hope this was helpful.


5  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Large scale modeler starting anew on: December 09, 2016, 11:28:17 AM

When I first read your post above a particular word jumped into my mind - "conundrum".  Definition:  "A question or problem having only a conjectural answer."  Well, I think we can do better than that!

I've been into model railroading for about 56 years, and HO for 45 of those years (I'll be 69 years old in a couple of weeks.)  Whenever I need to futz with an engine, railcar or track, I have to use glasses.  Does that irritate me? A little bit, but basically, no.  Also, my eyes are such that I can see clearly far distances fairly easy.

The reason I'm sharing this is that these are physical factors that need considering.  For me I plan to continue as long as I can because I enjoy the hobby. 

Could I now or later "get into" a larger scale or even a smaller scale?  Sure.  Am I concerned about that now?  No-----if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Now, saying all that, have I done things with the model railroad to make my life easier?  Yes. For instance, when I built the layout did I make its structure such that it could be easily disassembled and moved to another house?  Yes, I've moved it twice, and am thinking of doing it again. 

Have I thought of changing scales during all these years?  Yes, but it's not been much of an issue.  I like HO and am content with it.

And the one thing that's neat about this hobby is:  Can I ignore it for as long as I want and won't be penalized for doing so?  Yes!*

* I am ignoring any, um, irritated input from a spouse.  Smiley

Hope this is helpful.


6  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Spouses and model railroading on: September 13, 2016, 09:26:37 AM

A thought about your restricted space - one side of a flat model railroad layout could be hinged.  If the equipment is removed from the layout board you could raise it 90 degrees or more (so it sits vertically or more - i.e. out of the way.)  Note: if you do this be sure to secure it well in that vertical condition - don't want it falling down and conking someone on the head.

7  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Spouses and model railroading on: September 05, 2016, 09:49:03 AM

"Does your spouse support your model railroading pastime?"  No.  But she doesn't fight it either (see below.)

"Or even participate in it with you?"  No.

Is it a problem?  No.  Here's why. 

My layout takes up one large room in the house.  So, to be fair, I/we paid about $4,000 to have a stand-alone building about 14Wx16' long built and delivered to us (with 2 windows and a door) and set-up (it's only diagonally about 10' from our back porch).  I then spent many hours finishing it on the inside - electricity, plumbing, painting, etc., and painting it on the outside.

We now have two happy-campers for the last 7 years.  And it also easily functions as a place for guests to sleep.


8  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Just stopped by to say "hi". on: August 13, 2016, 12:15:00 PM
Ahhh, I see - she's just continuing the family tradition.  No penalty for that, right?

9  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Bachmann HO GP30 on: August 12, 2016, 10:00:41 AM
Hey quark51:

Regarding the glass-less cab window, I pop the shell off, cut out some of the clear package plastic, cut it to size, and glue the "glass" in the blank cab window space (I can't get any of the nice Bachmann people at headquarters to come down to my layout in Missouri, so I gotta do it myself.)   Smiley

10  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Just stopped by to say "hi". on: August 11, 2016, 09:35:07 AM
Hey Terry:

Is that fence not only for colorful light bulbs but to keep little hands off the train and track?

11  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Favorite Train? on: July 04, 2016, 09:19:06 AM
Favorite Engine?   SD40-2 (by a big margin)

12  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Weighting Locomotives Traction vs. Wear on: April 28, 2016, 10:53:07 AM
Rich, just a thought about your, "I think that, in use with super-elevation-especially towards the apex-this might be a pretty good idea." -  If you run long trains with super-elevated track, be very careful - you can string-line trains real easy this way (just like some of the 1-to-1 trains do.)  Don't ask me how I know this. Smiley  So, I don't have any super-elevation at all.

K487 (Doug)
13  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Weighting Locomotives Traction vs. Wear on: April 27, 2016, 12:28:15 PM
Johnny, it looks like you'd make a better engineer than me (and maybe have more fun too) - you have undulating track!  That's a fine train engineer teacher.  And I like your fix for a stalled train - send in a helper/pusher engine.

I'm more of the laid-back "engineer" - let the trains slowly move around on flat track - except every once-in-a-while I do come down with a bad case of brain-belch and HAVE to crank up the power packs and let 'em rip.

14  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Weighting Locomotives Traction vs. Wear on: April 27, 2016, 09:45:48 AM
With one small exception, I fully agree with Jeffrey and Roger. 

The exception is that I like to stuff as much weight inside the engine shells that I can, and do it so I get the total weight of the engine equalized (50% over each truck) as much as I can (for the best pulling power.)  And in my 54 years of model railroading I have not been able to put enough weight under the shell to stall any any of the HO drive wheels or motors.  (I sort of feel like and sometimes operate as I have seen more than one Trainmaster/Dispatcher do - put the maximum tonnage permitted behind the engines, add 3 to 5% more, and go for it - i.e. let the engineer fight it out!)

PS - Once in a while I take one of my B'man SD40-2s that I've added weight to and equalized it, put it by itself on the head end of a 65 car train with 22" radius track curves, and run the train forward and backwards.  This engine handling comes real close to the mimicking the way I've seen the way (as a brakeman) the 1-to-1 scale engineers handle their long (120 to 150 car) trains successfully - including bunching the slack and being VERY careful with the throttle and the brake handle.

15  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: New engine on the railroad on: March 17, 2016, 09:54:17 AM
"He went diesel."   WOW, that sounds really bad.  Maybe he needs steam therapy.  Smiley

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