Cartridge Nip

11 years ago

Cartridge Nip
Cartridge Nip

Doesn’t it just drive you crazy when your model trains jump off track?

I know it used to really get under my skin, until I figured out how to stop it. It seems like I would fix one section of the track and the very next day the train would be falling off another one.

Seriously, I almost gave up this beloved hobby of mine, but I’m sure glad I didn’t.

Most railroad model beginners only dream of having the perfect, smooth running train. The good news for you is that it doesn’t have to only be a dream. In fact, with just a little easy and fun attention to detail, your model train will be gliding along, smooth as silk.

So what are the 7 secrets for stopping those annoying derailments?

1. You must properly fit, align and level every joint on your track.

Just common sense, right? You’d think so, but even if model railroaders know this to be fact, you’d be surprised at how many don’t do it. In fact, improperly or just plain sloppily assembled track joints are the number one cause for model train derailments.

So how do you cure these ailing joints? Simple. Just slide your finger along the track. If it’s properly assembled, the joints will be level, with barely a gap between the track sections. Some people even solder the joints, then file them smooth. The result is a train that glides along like a cloud because any possibility of expansion and contraction of the track sections has been eliminated.

2. Double check the gauge for the joints, turnouts, and frog assemblies.

If your model train is jumping its tracks, a wrong track gauge could be the culprit.

Is the gauge too narrow? If so, that creates friction, and the wheels climb up and over the rails.

Likewise, if the gauge is too wide, the train derails because the wheel flanges fail to span the track and engage properly with the rail.

Does this mean you have to tear up all that track and lay down new sections of a different gauge? Absolutely not. Just use your soldering iron to slightly heat the rail, then reposition it to match your rolling stock carriages.

Be sure to do this with a light hand, and allow it to cool before running your train.

3. Sharpen up those switchers!

Have you inspected your switch points recently? Or installed new ones? In either case, the switch points should be sharp and smooth, not blunt, as blunt areas on the track will cause the wheels to grab, and the next thing you know, your rolling stock isn’t rolling any more, but on its side in a ditch!

The remedy? Break out the file again, and smooth and sharpen any blunt or rough edges. And don’t forget to double check the gauge in either position of the switch.

4. Does your rolling stock need ‘couplers counseling’?

Did you know that new carriages often have unpolished couplers? Those rough couplers can cause your train to derail when they snag each other.

But again there’s an easy fix: just pull out the manufacturer’s instructions and see what they recommend for smoothing out and polishing up you specific make of coupler.

5. Weight that freight!

An underweight freight car might be riding unevenly on the rails. As you can imagine, this is another great opportunity for your train to try to jump the track.

By adding a little bit of weight to the car you’ll nip this problem in the bud.

Just remember, you want your cars to be balanced, so center the weight and keep it low. Follow this procedure carefully and you’ll create a stable center of gravity.

Your heart will race with excitement as you watch your train zip around tight radius curves without a hitch!

6. Your wheel sets love to rock and roll

So let them! That’s their job, after all. The carriages should rock and roll over the track, like shock absorbers, to smooth the ride.

When they are improperly gauged, misaligned, or constricted, it makes it easier for derailments.

7. ‘The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Oil’

And so it should be! Those squeaks, no matter how small, are telltale signs of problems to come! Even a tiny drop of light oil in the right place can fix up the biggest of derailment problems. If you wheels or couplers are not lubricated properly, next stop snag-ville and there, the whole thing derails!

A word of caution here: remember that oil attracts dust and that will gum up the works and make the problem even worse. Another thing to be aware of: oil can also damage that slick paint job you spent so much time on, so, when it comes to the lube job, a little goes a long way, and clean up any excesses or spillages.

And there you have it!

With these seven secrets to smooth sailing (or railing, as it may be), those annoying derailments won’t derail your model train running fun any more!

John V. Smith has had almost 30 years experience with model railroading. His passion for model trains began with a Lima train O scale when he was a kid, and grew to a near obsession. To learn more, or to see a recent review of popular “how to” books on model trains visit his blog at:

Printer problem.?

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you cant use a lexmark with anti virus because it blocks lexmark printers Norton thinks that lexmarks a virus

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