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Author Topic: Short engines on EZ track?  (Read 4796 times)
CNE Runner


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« on: July 27, 2009, 07:44:41 PM »

I am in the process of building a copy of the Inglenook Switching Puzzle for a local youth group home. Because I'd like to 'throw a bone' to the good folks that provide us with an excellent forum - I chose Bachmann EZ track. This is my first encounter with EZ track; as my home layout is entirely made up of Peco track and Peco Electrofrog turnouts. Right off the bat, I noticed the huge plastic frogs on the EZ turnouts...uh oh.

For motive power I had planned to use a Mantua 0-6-0 tank engine. This little guy picks up power on the front two drivers only. As you can imagine, this is a very short engine -measuring 4.25" [11 cm] long and a distance of 1" [2.5 cm] between the only two pickup wheels. I have serious doubts that this locomotive will run flawlessly over such large insulated frogs. Has anyone had experience with Bachmann EZ track and very short industrial locomotives?

I am trying to keep costs down for the home and would hate to have to go out and purchase a larger locomotive (all my layout engines are DCC)...I am donating the engine, the 8 required cars as well as my time constructing the puzzle.

Your thoughts are appreciated,
Ray
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Robertj668

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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 08:49:51 PM »

Ray
Do you know what the number of the switch that is of your concern?  I have a tiny switchers engine i just got that i need to check out tonight and can check to see if it has problems.  I have the 44131 and 44130 switches and i have the 44137 & 44138 crossovers but have the option to power the frogs as they are metal.
Robert
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2009, 09:46:42 PM »

Ray,
I am surprised that your Mantua 0-6-0 has only two pickup wheels per side.  Is it possible that the rear drivers also pick up power and transfer it to the front drivers via the side rods?  If not, adding wheel wipers for the other wheels should be job 1.  If you have not already purchased the Mantua 0-6-0, consider a Bachmann 0-6-0T.  These locomotives pick up on all wheels and perform really well.

There are three solutions to the pickup problem with small switchers:
(1) Have all the drivers sprung and/or equalized.  Works in 0-scale and larger but rare in H0.  This keeps all the pickup wheels on the rails at all times.
(2) Avoid plastic frogs.  Bachmann makes #5 and #6 turnouts with all metal frogs but it is not too hard to adapt Peco or Shinohara turnouts to work with E-Z Track.  Just mount the turnouts on a 1/4" thick base.  If you are gluing the E-Z Track down, you can glue down the turnout bases too.  Then you can either trim off the hooks where E-Z Track meets turnout bases or you can cut a suitable pattern in the base.  Add a little ballast and it all looks the same.  An alternative, which works best with the hooks trimmed off, is to paint the base black or grey to match the track base.  One warning though - the geometry of Peco and Shinohara turnouts is slightly different than a Bachmann 18" radius turnout - it is more like an Atlas #4.
(3) Add rail wipers for more pickup.  Traditionally, these are between the drivers.   With an 0-6-0, you could install two sets.  The down side is that rail wipers tend to be delicate and go out of adjustment easily.  They may not be the best choice for those inexperienced with model railroads.

Jim 
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 12:21:25 PM by Jim Banner » Logged

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CNE Runner


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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2009, 10:16:33 AM »

I appreciate the rapid response to my query. Personally, I would not consider building a permanent layout with 'snap together' track; but I wanted to keep the costs and maintenance low - as well as 'plug' Bachmann products. With the possible exception of handlaid track, you just can't beat Peco for reliability.

Robert: The Inglenook Puzzle requires 2 turnouts and they are #44562 (standard, right hand) and #44561 (standard, left hand). After seeing these turnouts (they were delivered yesterday), I realized I would have had a 'tighter layout size' had I used Bachmann #6 EZ Track...live and learn.

Jim - I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that my purchase of that Mantua 0-6-0T was a mistake. I converted the rear coupler from an X2F to a Kadee #37 (a process that took almost an hour). After checking the coupler height, I realized that it was too low and, in desperation, tried a #5...which worked perfectly. [BTW: the Kadee conversion list specifies a #37 for this application.] What I may do is wait until Hobby Lobby has their 40% off coupon and purchase a Bachmann DC diesel (which will force me to slightly extend the head track on the puzzle...does it ever end?). Since my home layout is DCC, I will probably 'lick my wounds' and sell the Mantua at a future train show...nice locomotive; but not worth anymore effort.

Thanks for the help guys,
Ray
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Woody Elmore

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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2009, 10:34:35 AM »

The Mantua tank engines always had issues with pickup. As heavy as they are, they become quite balky when the drivers get dirty or the engine hits a dirty spot on the track.

When I belonged to an HO club there were fellows who used these engines on their home layouts.  This engine picks up from two drivers and if I remember correctly there was a brass pickup between the two  front drivers on the fireman's side. One solution was to put a sliding pickup just in front of the last driver. alternately, you can add a pickup for the last driver.

I have seen a Mantua 0-6-0 switcher that had been equipped with track wipers - it ran much better than using wheel pickup.

Remember that the technology is at least fifty years old. Mantua and Tyco must have sold tens of thousands of your particular engine.

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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2009, 12:27:37 PM »

Ray,

Hunt has reminded me that Bachmann DOES make turnouts with metal frogs, both #5 and #6.1  The frog is a one piece casting and includes a wire for connecting it to one or the other rail, depending on which way the turnout is set.  These are similar to Atlas Customeline turnouts in that regard.  That, coupled with the advantage of a smaller overall layout, may make it worth your while to talk to your dealer about exchanging the turnouts.

Jim

1 I have amended my post above to reflect this.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 06:47:04 PM by Jim Banner » Logged

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jward


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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2009, 02:04:25 PM »

ray,
you may not have to alter your tail tracks for diesels. a diesel switcher such as the 45 tonner or 70 tonner should be about the same size as an 0-6-0 tank.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
renniks


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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2009, 04:32:04 PM »

Ray,

Suggest you take a look at a Bachmann, or Model Power,  MDT Plymouth 6 wheel diesel since money is a consideration.

Eric UK

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CNE Runner


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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2009, 06:31:48 PM »

To All - Those are great suggestions and I probably will consider something like the Bachmann 45 Tonner in the future. Surprising as it may seem, I tried the Mantua on the puzzle today and it ran over the insulated frogs OK. Now the problem is that the engine sounds like it is grinding coffee beans (yep, I lubed it)...boy, has the quality of locomotives gotten better over the years! Again, I think the 0-6-0 will be included in our inventory for the Fall shows.

OK, so now what? I remembered that we had taken in an MRC/Lima Alco-C420 (in Lehigh Valley colors) as part of an estate sale. I dug in the inventory boxes and was able to ferret it out. This is a fairly primitive locomotive with no headlight and brass wheels. I lubed it and put it on the puzzle...where it ran flawlessly! Now the beauty of EZ Track comes into play as all I had to do was add a 2.25" straight section to the head track and we are in business. Should I ever want to use a smaller locomotive, all I have to do is remove the short section of track. In other words by adding (or subtracting) sections from the head track; one could do the puzzle with anything from a Trackmobile to an AC4000...neat! The sidings still remain in the 3,3,5 capacities.

Eric: I am an ardent fan of Carl Arendt's micro layouts and am in awe of the work coming out of the UK...especially Jack Trollope from Ross-shire in Scotland.

Cheers,
Ray
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Michigan Railfan


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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2009, 08:19:58 PM »

I use E-Z Track, and have a model power 0-4-0. It makes it across the frogs with no problem. Its a fast little bugger too, and can pull quite a bit. Very good quality engine.
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Santa Fe buff

N&W


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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2009, 11:22:21 PM »

IndianaJones12,
Ryan has one of those 0-4-0s, the only problem is the engine. I personally love that engine. I realy want to toy around with it, and get it to work. When it surprisingly does work, it must at least top a scale 200 mph. Remember though, this is meant to be a switcher. They probably added the fast engine so it could pull more cars. That way it could move the reasonable amount, with out the every so wreched wheel slip. Even though adding some Bullfrog Snot would help, they didn't have that then, did they? This reminds me of when an older model railroader talked to me at IRM when I went to see the glorious Nebraska Zehpyr, "You guys are lucky now a-days..." DCC, Sound, oh my gosh... So much. You would have to be pretty good to scratchbuild MU Cables and stuff, and Ready-to-Run was considered crap.

Today, we have Ready-to-Run with MU details!

What was fiction back then, is now everyday.

Joshua

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- Joshua Bauer
CNE Runner


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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2009, 10:43:00 AM »

Joshua, you are right...we do have it made today (well, as far as model railroading is concerned). I have been 'toying around' with my Inglenook Switching Puzzle layout ('gotta get everything perfect before handing it over to the group home) and am amazed at how well that MRC/Lima C-420 runs. It never seems to stumble and is reasonably quiet. I am not saying it comes close to a Bachmann Spectrum model - but it was a very good buy for its era. I wonder why Lima didn't include an operating headlight...I'm sure it gets dark in Italy as well as the U.S.

Regarding the Inglenook: I am just about ready to put some light scenery on the layout (remember this is going to be used by numerous kids) and will add some building flats (printed paper on foamcore) to finish up the back. I have managed to hold the costs down by reusing some items we had in inventory - as well as some hand-me-downs from previous layouts.

Ray
« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 12:38:00 PM by CNE Runner » Logged

"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
Michigan Railfan


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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2009, 12:01:53 PM »

IndianaJones12,
Ryan has one of those 0-4-0s, the only problem is the engine. I personally love that engine. I realy want to toy around with it, and get it to work. When it surprisingly does work, it must at least top a scale 200 mph. Remember though, this is meant to be a switcher. They probably added the fast engine so it could pull more cars. That way it could move the reasonable amount, with out the every so wreched wheel slip....

Well, yeah, that's what I meant. It goes fast to pull cars. But, fast isnt always best. I have Bachmann's DC H16-44, and has all wheel drive, but still does'nt go that fast, but can pull more than almost all of my engines. But yeah, that 0-4-0 can pull about 15 Bachmann, Mantua, and Life-Like cars before stalling, but with a little push, it gets going again.
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Santa Fe buff

N&W


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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2009, 05:14:01 PM »

Ray,
Some of those pre-assembled Plasticville USA sets would go nicely on there. I have a few old 1990s/late1980s era Bachmann Plasticville USA sets, that you simply push together. Great for younger ones, but it depends on how old they are. I'm probably going to auction them off on www.thewhistlepost.com since I'm already a member there, and you don't need to pay to auction. Ah, I almost bought a collectible-looking model posted there made by Tyco. Sadly, the seller already sold the locomotive that was in operating condition, and had forgot to update the ad. I also find that Bachmann E-Z Track is so amazing as well, it has a good coat of protective, safe, chemicals. It has never given me any problems, and only had one when SP No.4446 dripped M.T.H. Protosmoke all over it, and caused dirt build up to form, I was sitting for some time cleaning track.

I forgot, I electrocuted myself last night... Not bad, I'm fine, but I never want it to happen again. I'm still trying to figure out how much Voltage was there. I have to figure out how much the T.V. sucks in. It was a power tap strip, suppressed with 330V AC. My clock was on, taking up 120V, leaving 210V. I just need to convert 60Watts into Voltage, because my lamp was on too.

Joshua
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- Joshua Bauer
CNE Runner


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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2009, 06:40:00 PM »

Josh, your idea of using Plasticville structures on the Inglenook is a good idea...they aren't all that expensive and they are simple enough to stand up to some hard handling (something I can't say for my craftsman kits). I'll look into it. I will have to check out that whistlestop.com auction...there might be something I just have to have...heh, heh.

A watt = 1 joule/second; volts times amperes. A little simple math can give you the third variable. It seems you know the number of watts; you can also determine the voltage as being roughly 110v because that is generally the value taken as 'house voltage'. It is amperes that will do you in - so a little calculator work will yield that variable. Good thing you weren't sizzled!

Take care,
Ray
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