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G Scale Train stopped Running

Started by CMO99, April 14, 2024, 04:52:11 PM

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Hello - first time poster here.
I own a Christmas store (open all year) and we recently installed a G scale Bachmann train to run around the store, near the ceiling. I only had it running every once in a while, maybe once an hour for 5 mins (there's an on/off switch on the desk). It's about 60 ft of track in an oval. I didn't do much besides purchase the train and extra track- we had a carpenter build the platform and he then got the train running.
 It worked perfectly for the first month but then it stopped. I was able to get it going by turning it to max speed and physically pushing the train to get it started but this is obviously not sustainable.
Our carpenter said he thinks it's probably the transformer - that the transformer which came with the train is not appropriate for a 60' track and thus not strong enough.
Does this sound right to you? If so, which transformer should I be looking to purchase?
Or, do you think it's something else?
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


A transformer may only be part of the issue, you need to keep the track clean, not easy where located. like wise the locomotive will need cleaning as well. also understand that these locos will not last for long periods of time in such an environment. folks have used lgb equipment  and have reported over time the track wears out in the curves, and flanges become non existant.


Thanks for your reply. Yes, I've read that I need to maintain the track and engine. But, this is a brand new set up, just one month old. Should this have happened in that short of a time? Do you think I should purchase a more powerful transformer?


Yes your track can get dirty pretty fast sometimes.
The problem is friction between the metal wheels and rails.
As I understand it, the black gunk that builds up over time is fine ground metal from both the track and wheels.
It forms a "greasy" film that will stop your train from running if it gets bad enough.
You may be able to make a cleaning tool by using a broom stick, or other long pole, with a Scotchbrite pad attached to it.
Use the tool to scrub the track down, and see if it helps.
Of course, you could look into a track cleaning car, but those can be rather expensive...
For that, I would check Ebay.
I would also advise cleaning all the wheel flanges on the locomotive.
For this, I use a Q-tip dipped in 91% Isopropyl alcohol.
Works great!
I would look into a better power supply for such a large track.
There are many different makers of them so you would probably be better off to ask that particular question over on the forum.
You'll get lots of help, and personal opinions there!
Personally, I use a Bridgewerks 3 amp power supply for almost all of my trains.
Of course , I only run on a 4x5 foot oval indoor track currently, so even a 1 amp transformer is plenty for running simple freights over such a modest layout.
Good luck!



Quote from: CMO99 on April 14, 2024, 04:52:11 PMI was able to get it going by turning it to max speed and physically pushing
Quote from: CMO99 on April 15, 2024, 06:27:57 PMDo you think I should purchase a more powerful transformer?
If it runs when you push, then it is not the transformer. (A better transformer wouldn't hurt.)

I am assuming this is a Bachmann Christmas set, with a 4-6-0 loco and you are using the regular Bachmann transformer? Those locos have been continually improved over the years, and you may have an old one with only a few wheel pickups. Take a look underneath and see if you have a rubber plug between the rear driving wheels - that's an access for greasing the gears - and also check the front truck for wires, which are an extra set of wheel pickups. Let us know which you have.

Are you using the original 'steel' rails that came with the set? Two problems here - they rust fairly quickly and the corner radius is very tight, causing wear on the wheels. For long term reliability, a wider corner radius will be a great help - 4' radius / 8' diameter is recommended.  LGB 16000 track is about 4' radius, or you can use flexible track.

You did oil all the axles before you started running it?

Mike's (Railman63) comments above are probably your next step. Clean the wheels and the track and see if that improves things.


Thanks so much guys. I've got a lot to do and check - thanks to your help and input.

Here is the train I have:

I'm not sure if that link will work, if not, it's the Bachmann Night Before Christmas Ready to Run G Scale.

I bought extra Bachmann track, same as what came with the set. Some of what I purchased was used - maybe that wasn't a good idea?

As far as the radius - the track support has already been built and installed into the wall, so changing the track with new radius won't work.

I'll look into getting a more powerful transformer. Anyone have any specific recommendations for a 60' track G scale train? If not I'll head over to mylargescale and see what they think.

Thanks so much for your help!


Good afternoon,
The good news is that the 90037 set that you have comes with the Version 5 locomotive chassis, so if properly cleaned and lubricated, it should give you good service.  Long-term, you will want to plan on replacing your steel track with brass if you plan to run the train year-round; just keep an eye on those curved sections for premature wear.  As others have mentioned, a more powerful transformer is also a good idea.  The Bridgewerks units are about as good as you can buy, but MRC also makes good units that are easier on the budget.  I'm running a no-frills MRC 20-amp transformer that is plenty for most needs.  Others will chime in with more options.
Best of luck,

Loco Bill Canelos

Hi CM099,
Just got back home and saw your post.

My club managed a large around the wall layout in a children's hospital.  We had the following problems.

We used brass track and it required monthly cleaning. We used a track cleaning car and also plain old elbow grease.  When we first started we found that the track needed to be absolutely tightly connected in order to make proper electrical continuity which caused problems like you described. We ended up using track clamps. We found that our curved sections wore heavily and had to be replaced every three to six months. The Bachmann steel track you have was designed for small circle of track like that which came with the set, and not for the way you are using it. It can be hard to keep the connections tight, which will cause many problems. 

We used a 10AMP power supply and set it up so that the train could be started up by a button at floor level which when pressed allowed the train to run for 10 minutes and then stop.  We ran track connectors every 20 feet which helped immensely keeping things running well. The Bachmann Power supply which came with your set is only 1 AMP and was not designed for 60 feet,so a larger power supply is in order. Shop around for a power supply that is 5 to 10 Amps, You do not need a high end power supply.


We started out using LGB and Bachmann Steam locomotives, but they required lots of maintenance. Wear on running gear(siderods) and wheels on them led us to switch to using diesel locomotives.  The diesels we used were LGB F Units and USA Trains F units and GP-7's.  Maintenance on the diesels was very simple.  We did find that that the rubber traction tires wore out very quickly and so replaced those axles with the solid metal wheels. We found USA Trains was great with parts and quickly filled orders. The diesel (both LGB and USAT)wheels did wear out and about every four months  or so and had to be replaced.  We kept USA trains geared axles in stock ready for any emergency. LGB parts were difficult to obtain back the so we shifted locomotives primarily to the USA Trains locomotives. Replacement of wheels on locomotives was simple remove the truck covers pop out the old ones and pop  in the new.  We used the lithium hobby grease and applied it liberally to the gears. With the Bachmann 4-6-0 I always recommended using replacement chassis when required by extensive use, but Bachmann is now running out of them.  Since a Christmas theme is important to you, USAT made a Christmas theme diesel as did other makers.

We used Bachmann, LGB, AristoCraft, and USA Trains rolling stock and all preformed well. We used metal wheels on rolling stock and the horn hook couplers. The couplers worked flawlessly.  Wheels did wear out and all rolling stock wheels were inspected monthly, and replaced as needed. We did keep metal wheelsets in stock for this purpose.  We used Bachmann and USA Trains wheel sets because both companies were quick to fill orders. During inspection each wheel set was cleaned using Qtips dipped in mineral spirits. Each car was also dusted off using a commercial product sprayed on the cloth. Q tips were used to get at the tight spots on the cars.

Well I have droned on for far to long, and will close now wishing you the best of luck with your layout!

Loco Bill
Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!

Greg Elmassian

I have to comment:

the length of a layout does not DIRECTLY dictate the amps needed in a power supply.

It's the electrical losses between the power supply and the locomotive that are important. This is why there is often controversy, where someone states the 1 amp power supply is not enough, and the next guy says his same size layout is fine.

The losses from from resistance, normally between sections of rails (but can also be poor wire feeder gauge, or poor connections)

So, brass track, 2 feet points, rail clamps, no problem in your "60 foot" layout.

rusted steel track, stock corroded joiners, light gauge wire, no good and perhaps even a much larger (volts and/or amps) transformer may not solve your issue.

So, gauge (pun intended) what you need by the quality of your layout connections, joiners, feed(s) quality.


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