G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
550 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This is probably going to sound rather crazy, but please read on.

I have most of my track down for my railroad.  Trains will operate around the upper loop and around the upper pond.  The problem is that they are not really that reliable.  I would like to be able to let the trains run on their own with little or no interference from me while I am entertaining relatives or doing other projects.  Right now, that does not happen.  If I am lucky i can get them to go around the various loops about 10 times with no derailments or uncouplings before disaster strikes.  Because of that, i cannot leave them totally alone.

In August we are having a bunch of friends from Arizona coming for a visit of about a week.  I have talked to them about my railroad and they all want to see it run.  We are also expecting a large number of relatives coming for a visit in September hoping to see the trains run also.  So here is the problem.

I have worked on my Aristo switches and my track but being not very mechanically inclined, I have not been able to improve their operation to the point where they are really reliable.  I would also like to automate several switches that are difficult to reach without walking all over things.  I would like some help with standardizing couplers.  Right now I have AMS, Kadee and Bachmann and 1:22 and 1:20 scale rolling stock. 



So here is what i am proposing:

We live on the Olympic Penninsula near Olympic National Park and only an hour or so from the Pacific Ocean.  The other direction Mt Rainier is relative close.  Seattle is just up the road and a beautiful ferry trip away.  There are many railroad related things to see in the area also.  In other words, this is really a pretty nice place to come for a short vacation, especially if you have never been to the Pacific Northwest before.

I am willing to put you up in my house or in a local motel for a week and show you the sights around our part of the country in return for some good help in getting my railroad to run reliably before our guests start coming in late August.  I would be looking for someone who can help with trackwork, switches, basic electrical work and general garden railroading experience.

The time frame I am thinking about would be late June through July.  That is probably the best time to visit the PNW.  The weather is usually beautiful, in the 70-80 degree range with only a small amount of rain.  Unless we were to visit the Ho Rain Forest.

So if you might be interested, please let me know.  What better way to enjoy a vacation in the PNW and also play with trains?

John
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,626 Posts
WOOW great offer

I would think there would be a couple of folks up your way who could spend a weekend or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
John,
I live in Wa, but unfortunately am too busy on my own rr to offer help.
But I have helped quite a few locals set up their layouts.
There are some things you must do to improve your layout.
People on this forum are going to poo-poo my ideas, but I don't care about what they say.
1. The Aristo switches are basically junk. You need more reliable equipment. Everyone here has practically dumped them all.
2. KD coupler the fleet you want to run.
3. Install high quality steel wheels. Not San Vals, nor Bachmanns.
4. You may need rail clamps at certain places such as Hillmans.
This is just a start for reliable operation.
jb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
KD's are not the end-all.
LONG cars, body mount, the #1 gauge couplers, and uneven track, trust me, they don't stay together.
Your best bet for this is put hook-and-loops on the stuff for the weekend.

BTW, did you get my reply to your e-mail?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,976 Posts
I haven't been impressed with kadee coulers, either.  LGB and Aristo knuckles are huge but they work.  Hook and loop, too. 

Are the derailments occuring in the same place with the same equipment or is it random?

There are general rules that apply to garden railroads and folks coming to visit.  Murphy wrote them.

I have had very good luck with aristo switches, and if anyone wants to send their old junked aristo switches my way, I can PM you my address.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
934 Posts
Long term automatic running? Hmmm...

Hook and Loop couplers. Too simple to screw up.

Keep the mainlline switches to an absolute minimum.
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,511 Posts
Since you already have the Aristo switches, I have some tips on my site that will help. Look under TRAINS...TRACK, and then select the Aristo WR switches or the #6s as you prefer.

They can be made to work smoothly.

Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
550 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Dave,

I havae been looking for your reply but have not seen it yet.  I thought I had the wrong Email address.

Please send it again.

Actually, my upper loop is almost perfectly flat and the trains run pretty well around it.  I was running some AMS cars and they would occasionally uncouple and end up being pushed by my Shay.  I don't think it is the same spot all the time.  

I have better luck running Bachmann 1:22 cars than the AMS cars.  I have a couple of Bachmann 1:20 box cars and they seem to do fairly well.

The problem I have with the Aristo switches is that when you flick the lever, the points do not move.  I have tried removing junk from between the rails but even that does not work.  I end up pushing them by hand.  It seems that the spring is not strong enough or something.  

I have not ran across any Large Scalers over here on this side of the  Sound.  The nearest I know of is TOC about 75 miles and Kevin Miller about 50 miles south.

I would love to have some visitors for a day on the weekend sometime.  If anyone is in the area, please stop by.  I have never done trains before starting this large scale stuff so I have very limited knowledge and as I said I am not mechanically inclined at all.

I just finished building a Garden Texture bridge over my stream and that turned out really well.  

I just built a 8 foot long tunnel out of 2X12 pressaure treated lumber and it really sounds neat when the train goes through it.

I have spent a bunch of money on landscaping items.

I would definitely like to show my railroad off to anyone who would like to come.

TOC came about 2 years ago but the thing was in shambles that spring.

The offer is still open.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Just re-sent it.
hotmail?

Hey, it was a shambles, and the yard was flooded, but what I saw seemed typical of Western Logging Lines, especially the ones near you, so we ran trains!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,883 Posts
If running hook and loops, make sure hoks are on both ends of your rolling stock.

Metal wheels are a big help, lower center of gravity in the wind, cleaner track, mre weight for going through switches.

Solid metal wheels are better than the LGB plastic hub wheels as they are much heavier.

Ball bearing wheels are a good addition, but not necessary unless it is a heavy car (think battery car).

Ball bearing wheels on a caboose with power pickups for lights is a good idea as the wheel brush pickup adds drag at the end of a train and causes derailments on curves.

i try to place heavy cars near the engine and light cars near the caboose makes a difference.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,626 Posts
I just can't imagine folks having track so bad that cars would uncouple....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
I live in Gig Harbor and have the same kind of "watch-them-go-round-and-round" layout that you have.

My schedule is pretty flexible so we can work out the dates pretty easily I would imagine.  My 16 year-old twin sons have strong backs so we can ge them to do the dirty work!  This will give us an excuse to go fly fishing up in your area.

Just send me an email and we'll work out the details-  

jpmsb AT centurytel DOT net

Jim
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
60 Posts
John,

The first thing I would do though is inspect every rail joint to be sure they line up right.  Make sure there is no vertical or horizontal miss alignment throught the joint.  Be very picky.  Run the car that derails the easiest and closely watch it where it derails.  You may be able to determine the cause of your derailments that way.  This will also help somewhat with uncoupling problems.  

For a temporary coupler fix you could use rubber bands or wire ties to keep the cars from uncoupling while you show off your railway.

As you know I would love to come up there and help you.  For those that might wonder why I don't it is because we are presently living in Seattle while my wife goes through a stem cell transplant.  Trains are very low in priority right now.

Kevin
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,626 Posts
Kevin
 sorry to hear about your wife, we all wish her the best.

Also I was joking when I said about the bad track../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
550 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
kEVIN,

I understand.  I also hope your wife fully recovers and you can get back to enjoying your trains.  I appreciate your help.

Actually, I have worked on my upper loop and the trains (at least my Shay) go around it pretty well now.  The problem arises when I try to through a switch.  Most of them will not move when using the toggle attached to the switch.  I have to manually push the points with my fingers to get them to work.  

I have heard about an air pressure system to throw the points.  If anyone knows anything about it I would appreciate some information.

1.  How difficult is it to install?
2.  Can it be used with Aristo Wide switches?
3,  What materials do I need to install it?
4.  What is the typical cost, say per turnout?
5.  How reliable is it?
6.  I seem to recall that TOC carries them, is that right?

I would still really appreciate any help in installing a system like that.  If you can get up to Shelton sometime I really, really would enjoy visiting with you and picking your brain and getting any help you could provide.

If you give me sufficient advance warning, I would try t o make sure that I have all the necessary parts ready to install.

John
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
you might try to use motors to work your switches.
specially i am thinking about those motors, that are used in the outer mirrors of cars.
get them from the local junkyard. each mirror got two motors. use the motors and the dented plastic strips.

or, if you want to remote-control the switches without laying wires, buy cheap remote control toy cars. (use the part, that makes the weels turn to the sides. it normally comes with a kind of pushbar)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,716 Posts
I think 'fore I worried how he works his turnouts, I'd help him with his track. Alas, I'm a little far away, and the boss is annoyed I'm not working 168 hours a week already.

Kevin, I'm sorry to hear! That's awful.
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
3,317 Posts
Hi John,  Sure would love to come up for a week or so but we have 3 graduations, the National convention, Ontario and Marty's planned this year.  Time and resourses stretched.  

Sure hope you get it running the way you're hoping.... 
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top