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Author Topic: inclines and train not climbing  (Read 14872 times)
billgiannelli

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« on: December 09, 2014, 08:20:39 AM »

Hello,
I have a Bachmann "Jingle Bells Express" set and added track and the graduated piers. But it seems the train can't climb the incline with all the cars.
What incline can my train climb? How do I judge what inclines I can setup with trains I may have?
thanks
Bill
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jonathan


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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 08:31:15 AM »

The 0-6-0 is a fairly light locomotive and won't be able to pull much up any incline.

However, you can add weight.  I put lead in the sand and steam domes.  Also, I remove the smoke unit and fill the plastic cavity with lead.  This greatly improves the pulling power.  I can pull three or four fully weighted box cars up a 3% grade with no problem.  Doesn't sound like much, but this is a switch engine and wasn't intended to pull up long grades.

Regards,

Jonathan
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billgiannelli

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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 12:27:44 AM »

Hi Jonathan,
thanks for the information.
Are there any model steam engines that are better at climbing inclines?
thanks
Bill
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James in FL

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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 01:08:33 AM »

Humor me if you will,

Measure the length of the incline from where it begins to the highest point in the rise.
Then measure the distance from the surface of the layout to the bottom of the track at the highest point in the incline.

What are those two dimensions?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 01:10:14 AM by James in FL » Logged
jward


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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 01:18:36 AM »

I have a roundhouse old time 2-8-0 which will pull about 12 cars up a 4% grade. this locomotive is smaller than the 0-6-0 you have, but has more drive wheels and is much heavier. I don't believe they make them anymore, but you may be able to find one on ebay.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
woliners

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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2014, 11:40:12 AM »

I pulled the weights out of my rolling stock on a recommendation from someone on this forum a few years ago.  If you do a good job laying track, they won't derail or wobble.  It worked for me after I re-laid my track.  I don't know how many cars you can do this with or if the curve radius matters.  I pull 7 cars with my 2-6-0 that came with the original Jingle bells set without adding weight to the loco.   Anyway, my simple Christmas track has min curve radius of 24" and max grade of ~4%.  I also clean and dry the rails regularly and I don't use the smoker....they gum everything up. Now the only thing that stops or derails it is the cat. Haven't figured that one out and I'm not allowed to squirt Tabasco sauce in the house.

For my bigger layout in the basement, I use the heavier locos and leave the weights in the rolling stock....and the cats aren't allowed in!

Good luck

Bill
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jward


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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2014, 12:56:23 AM »

removing weight from your cars is not a good idea. most cars are too light as it is.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
rogertra


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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2014, 03:00:46 AM »

removing weight from your cars is not a good idea. most cars are too light as it is.


Agreed, 100%.

Cheers

Roger T.

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Doneldon

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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2014, 05:19:24 PM »

wol-

You will do much better in the long run if you run your trains within NMRA standards. That means careful attention to track and wheel gauge, rolling stock clearances, transition curves, moderate grades, electrical integrity, precise coupler adjustments and adherence to correct weight for your rolling stock. I believe that you can get more light cars up grades than you can weighted cars but I'm guessing you have to be very careful with your speed to do so. You can run your trains a little faster, maybe closer to prototype speeds, if you double head your locos or make the excessive four percent a little more shallow.
                                                                       -- D
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electrical whiz kid

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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2014, 02:07:55 PM »

Most of my equipment has or is being planned on having-lead bird-shot poured into them.  I use an un-lubricated "condo" so that the load tends to "snuggle" down to the lowest point it can, and still be "self-contained"..  This has worked for me through the years-and has also made the druggist very happy.
Locomotives I am a bit more by the book-but still run on the heavier side-or as much as possible without causing problems.  Grades are by strict standards, as is the rest of my track-work (or was on the last layout).
I have found [that if] you follow NMRA guidelines, you should minimize any hassles with track-work, grades, etc.

Rich C.
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fs2k4pilot

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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2014, 04:57:51 AM »

wol-

You will do much better in the long run if you run your trains within NMRA standards. That means careful attention to track and wheel gauge, rolling stock clearances, transition curves, moderate grades, electrical integrity, precise coupler adjustments and adherence to correct weight for your rolling stock. I believe that you can get more light cars up grades than you can weighted cars but I'm guessing you have to be very careful with your speed to do so. You can run your trains a little faster, maybe closer to prototype speeds, if you double head your locos or make the excessive four percent a little more shallow.
                                                                       -- D


Adhering to NMRA recommended weights for cars isn't as important as the other stuff (I basically just ignore that particular recommendation).  Good RP-25 metal wheels and metal couplers at the correct height are more important in my experience.  I have a coal drag that currently stands at 65 cars.  It's a mix of Bachmann, Athearn, Accurail, and other stuff.  All the cars have metal wheels (mix of Walthers, Bachmann, and occasional Kadee wheels as well), and Kadee couplers (all Standard head, as I have found these to be less prone to uncouple on uneven track).  Even though virtually all are underweight, they roll and track very well, and the train performs almost perfectly on my club's Helix track, even though the train extends almost two full turns around the outside track of that Helix, and despite the uneven grade and mediocre track work.

Another thing that can help is to run engines that use traction tires, or if your engine doesn't have these, there is something called Bullfrog Snot which can be very effective.  It is a liquid rubber compound that can be applied to an engine's drive wheels.  Once it has cured, it will improve your traction by quite a bit.  It will eventually wear off, however, and will need periodic reapplication.  It also by necessity prevents electrical contact in the treated wheel, so you should only treat one or two sets of wheels.  As an example, I added 2.5 oz of weight in the firebox and applied Bullfrog Snot to the rear driver pair of the front and rear engines of my two EM-1s, and now either one of them can take fifty of my coal cars up the Helix that I mentioned, unassisted.  Two other members of my club also have EM-1s, and they were rather impressed with the extra power that my engines have.

As far as the Bachmann 14-piece graduated pylon set is concerned, if you space each pylon at the joint of a 9" track segment, I think it makes something like a 6% grade.  That's Shay country right there.  Even if you do what I did and use two sets of pylons to ease the grade, it's still in the neighborhood of 4%.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 05:14:58 AM by fs2k4pilot » Logged
rogertra


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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2014, 06:46:41 AM »

One thing my model railway will never have is traction tires.  Period.

They wear out and cause wobbling.

They cause wobbling before they even wear out.

After 15 to 20 years replacements are hard to get.

They limit power pick up as the wheel they are attached to cannot pick up power.

If the engine stalls unnoticed on a grade, such as inside a helix, the wheels cannot spin due to the traction tire and this causes motor burnout.

To avoid traction tires, I make sure my grades are reasonable, I try for a 2% maximum.

I make sure all my locomotives are weighted so they can pull whatever train is expected of them up the steepest grade they will encounter enroute.  This is currently 20 cars + caboose for mainline freights that are steam hauled by a single locomotive.  Locomotives cleared for 20 cars are my through freight engines, 4-8-2s, light and heavy and 2-10-2s.  If a type of engine isn't cleared make the grade with 20 freight cars, the 2-8-0s, Russian 2-10-0 or 4-6-2s, then the train either doubles the hill or a helper is provided.  Yes, in Canada, it was common to see 4-6-2s on freight trains.

All my diesel powered trains currently are hauled by two powered diesels so 20 cars is not an issue.  And similar rules are in place for passenger trains.

Applying tonnage ratings to locomotives, both steam and diesel is prototypical and makes prototypical operation more interesting.

In my not so humble opinion, traction tires should be banned.  I don't care how good a model locomotive looks, if it has to have traction tires it means it's poorly designed (Not heavy enough) so I won't buy it.

Of course, as usual, YMMV.

Cheers

Roger T.
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jward


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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2014, 09:18:24 AM »

interesting, is2k.....you are running 65 car trains of underweight cars through a helix? what is the radius? how do you keep those cars from popping off the track when the slack runs in going downgrade?
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jbrock27

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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2014, 12:39:50 PM »

F4FPilot, I happen to agree with a lot of the things you do and agree that while I add weight to just about any car I work on, I agree that it is not always necessary to meet the NMRA standard; in other words, a little less is  not the end of the world.

But I agree with Roger regarding traction tires.  Also, not a fan of bullfrog snot.  I think if you have to use those 2 things to operate they way you want, you are better off doing 1 of 2 things: revise what you are doing or use different locos.
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Keep Calm and Carry On
fs2k4pilot

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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2015, 07:46:53 AM »

@jward I have rarely had a problem with my trains jumping off the track going downhill, even when I come flying into the helix at the top, and must slow down to enter the yard at the bottom.  In fact, I can't recall ever having my cars pop off from all the slack bunching up.  The outside track on the helix is a 30" radius, the inside is about a 27", and the grade varies from 2-4% (well, 0-4% technically, they put flat sections every quarter turn).  But it's an open helix, so we can keep an eye on what's going on inside it.  And then again, there's a couple of cars that go in the tail end of the train that aren't quite as free-rolling as the rest, so that probably helps a bit.

@jbrock27  I like my steamers to be able to haul like their prototypes.  That means traction tires and BFS, since most companies don't make their steamers anywhere near heavy enough to do the job without them.  In fact it annoys me that some of my engines can't do that, namely my Bachmann 2-8-4s, even with extra weight and BFS.  A Nickel Plate Berkshire on level track could manage over 120 cars unassisted, but my Bachmanns don't even come close, even with extra weight and BFS.  I doubt even my MTH Alleghenies or my BLI Y6Bs (both types feature full die-cast metal construction) could handle prototype-sized trains without traction tires.  My other engines, which have plastic boilers, certainly can't.  And these are top of the line engines, or at least as top as you can get without going brass.  

I like running heavy trains using steam power.  That's not about to change.  Occasionally I use diesels for variety, but mostly I use heavy steam.

@rogertra I haven't had any of those problems on my traction-tire-equipped engines, although I haven't had any of my engines long enough to worry about them rotting.  They all run smoothly (the BFS can get lumpy during application, but I'm getting better at avoiding that), and they all have motors powerful enough to  spin the drivers when the engine stalls regardless of whether it has traction tires or not.  And when you have anywhere from 7-12 axles wired for electrical pick-up on the engine and tender, losing one or two axles to traction tires or BFS isn't a huge deal.  As far as weighing down the engines, there's only so much space under those boiler shells, and it's often not enough for my needs.  And besides, even my die-cast metal Alleghenies and Y6Bs have traction tires, even though they each weigh over two pounds without their tenders.  If that isn't heavy enough for you... Huh?

As for banning traction tires entirely, you're perfectly welcome to not use them on your layout, but others, myself included, don't share your opinion.
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