G Scale Model Train Forum banner

A summary of Heavyweight advice

4908 Views 18 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  lownote
recently Kevin Strong (East Broad Top) kindly hipped me to a set of four aristo heavyweights that his father had for sale. So out to MD I went--kevin didn't tell me his Dad runs what must be one of the finest and most impressive garden railways in the US! a delightful man.

So I have the heavyweights which are all old style, three coaches and a Pullman. Two of them have had the interiors removed and plastic wheels added to decrease weight. Those two have also had the coupler tangs dramatically (and very effectively) shortened.

So they run around my layout, which has R3 (8 Ft. diameter) curves or larger, but as everyone notes they tend to derail a lot. The drag with the six wheel trucks is very high.

So I read through a lot of old threads on the aristo heavyweights and it looks like this is the consensus about how to make them less derailment prone, aside from lubing them well

1. Switch to the newer 2 wheel trucks
2. Shorten the space between the cars
3. Make the middle wheel flange-less

From what I've read, trying to run the three wheel trucks with two wheels does not work well. I'll try shortening the coupler tang, and I may replace the plastic wheels (Kevin's dad is a battery man) with aristo metal wheels

Anyone else have any suggestions/experiences?
1 - 2 of 19 Posts
OVGRS members experienced the same derailing problems with the six wheel trucks on these heavyweights and as a result the cars were seldom run. After widening all the mainline curves to 5 foot radius (10 foot diameter) a few years ago, we took another run at them. Changing over to 4 wheel trucks does not capture the prototypical look of heavyweights which almost always had six wheeled Commonwealth trucks on cars longer than 60 feet.

after some experimentation (note that we use only body mounted kadee couplers), it was determined that the weight of the car combined with the offset bolster were primary culprits in causing derailments on the slightest trackage imperfections. This effect is enhanced with sharp curves - and I would call a 5 foot radius curve pretty sharp.

We now have cars that have the bolster placed correctly on the cars and centred on the truck. The car is far better balanced and much less prone to derailing, though in fairness, long cars, sharp curves and body mounted couplers do not mix well.

Essentially it comes down to a simple point. Passenger cars are big all the more so if they are scale length. If you want heavyweight cars that look realistic then they need to have scale proportions ... they also need to be close coupled with working diaphragms ... and they need proper Commonwealth 6 wheel trucks. For these cars to run reliably, I would recommend larger curves than what many folks use. Think about it for a moment - in HO, a scale length heavyweight is normally thought to need at least 30 inch radius for minimal operation and 36 inch is standard for reliable operation; larger curves are needed for great appearance. HO is exactly 1/3 the linear dims of 1:29 scale. That suggests a 9 foot radius as the minimum for acceptable performance and operation. Since most large scalers rarely "operate" their equipment (in the sense of the small scale crowd) but mostly run their trains to look at, they should imho therefore look the part.

Let's get those bolsters centred properly, 6 wheel trucks on those heavyweights and wider curves for better appearance.

Regards ... Doug
See less See more
On these cars, we removed the original bolster and moved it to be centred fore and aft on teh truck ... a new kingpin was fabricated and the truck reinstalled. I will try to get a picture on wednesday when I am next at the IPP&W shops.

By working diaphragms I mean that the diaphragms actually compress when the buffer plates touch as when going around a curve. This can be achieved the same way as on the USA Trains F3s with a flexible accordian like material. Close coupling of the cars is needed to achieve a nice appearance and this is best done with working diaphragms.

Regards ... Doug
1 - 2 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.