model railroads resources


Fixing Problems On A Model Railroad Layout -
Repairing Problem Couplers

derailed train on model railways

couplers model railroad bumpers

kadee couplers

derailments faulty couplers

trains derailment broken couplers

couplers cause derailments on trains 

Broken couplers are a problem for many model railroaders and are often caused by hitting the bumpers too hard. This problem can be solved by the addition of two small nails just before the bumpers. Placed exactly two and a half ties from the bumper, the nails are inserted so they catch the axel of the car and keep the coupler from hitting the bumper. This could save you many couplers and lower your level of frustration too. In the photo the nails have been painted red to make them easier to see.

A Broken Or Stuck Coupler

Couplers must be free to swing from side to side (some are sprung to one side, or made so they return to center). Broken or stuck couplers can force cars off the track. If a coupler won't budge when you try to move it from side to side, then don't force it. More than likely it will need professional repair.

Remove Trains With Drooping Couplers For Repair

When traveling on grades, cars near the head end of heavy trains, are subjected to an incredible degree of pull. This can force one knuckle up and out of the other. When the opposite coupler goes down it can loosen until the actuating pin snags things between the rails. Remove any cars with drooping couplers until they are repaired.

Cause Of Model Train Derailment Identified

Derailments and accidents can happen frequently with model train layouts for any number of reasons. Regardless of how good the trackwork is on your model train layout - derailments still happen.

Sometimes model train derailments are caused by a super-light flatcar being shoved behind a heavy boxcar, or a hopper with out-of-gauge wheelsets somewhere waiting to pick a switchpoint or be forced off the track. S-curves on model train layouts can also prove a hazard for passenger cars.

Poor Soldering Can Cause Problems

soldering tips for model railroad tracks Good soldering is important to any model railroad layout, because poor electrical connections result in higher electrical resistance with heat generated when power is applied to a poor electrical connection. Over time, this heat has the potential to damage wire insulation and wire enamel.

To avoid electrical connection problems, on a layout, it pays to regularly inspect wire connections.

A solder joint that is a dull silver color, or one that is just a "big blob" of solder, will sooner or later cause problems when running model trains. All solder connections should be clean and shiny and use only a small amount of solder. If a solder joint is suspect, take a soldering iron and apply fresh solder to the joint. This will help improve the connection and keep your model trains electrical system in good working order.

Quick Tip To Avoid Problems Caused By Loose Ballast

When laying 'loose' track ballast, be very careful while distributing it around point blades. Also, when laying 'loose' track ballast never run the trains until the glue has fully dried and the track has been vacuum cleaned to ensure no loose track ballast remains.

laying model railroad track

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