Coupling problems...Anyone have a good servicing terminal plan???

Okay, Still very much a newbie and thank you all very much for all your help! I keep running into all sorts of issues I just never thought about. Here is my new problem:

I just got my old N scale layout up and running (It's the Monopoly/Octopus layout from the Atlas track plan book) and I went out and bought a nice little Kato F3 A+B Locomotive Set (Santa Fe) to play with. I also bought 6 Con Cor Santa Fe passenger cars to go with it. All very nice. My problem however is the cars will not stay coupled when they move around the track. Whenever I go around a curve the cars will uncouple. So now I have an engine with no cars staying behind it. Not exactly a great time if you know what I mean. Any ideas on how to fix this? Do I need to change the couplers on them? If so what kind should I get? Is there a way to extend them? I have also seen times when the "B" unit has problems derailing on some of the Atlas switches.

Being a newbie I'm finding gotchas every step of the way. I think ultimately I am going to need to build a new layout with lots of things in mind (such as the switches and other obstructions), a layout with larger turning radius to allow for the bigger steam locomotives, less track to put in buildings (I went way overboard adding track to this layout - big mistake) etc. I really didn't think I'd have trouble with the F3 A & B unit.

Can someone also recommend a good computer layout program or a good site with lots of good layout ideas for larger steam engines (N gauge)? I don't have a lot of room to work with which is why I chose N scale. Basically I have it setup in my living room and then have to flip it on it's side so the wife will continue to let me live there.

What I would really like to do is build a locomotive servicing terminal with round house, turntable, coaling tower, sand tower, etc. I would just like to concentrate on that pieces and then join it to my layout later. I bought "The Model Railroader's guide To Locomotive Servicing Terminals" and it's a great source but what I really need is specific track/building layout and construction plans. Any one have pictures of theirs they would like to share? If so please send them to me directly. I have a high speed connection. Send them to: Along with any pearls of wisdom you would be willing to share with this newbie.

Thank you all for your help! I really do appreciate it!!! You guys are the best!


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What kind of couplers are they? Are they body mounted or truck mounted? Are the bodies of the cars actually hitting each other?

I am guessing that the locomotive is very short, the passenger cars are very long, and the curves are very sharp. So what happens is that the cars coupler swings out away from the curve while the locomotives stays much closer to center of the track. A solution could be to get a medium length car to put in between. If the couplers are truck mounted on the passenger cars it could be the opposite, the locomotive could be swinging further away from center.

This could be anything. Bump in the track, wheels out of gauge, body part hitting the switch motor....

That is an excellent plan. There are two locomotive servicing facilities in a book called "101 Track Plans for Model Railroader". That would be plans #11 and #12 both small. Plan #47 has a nice loco facility in it.

Generally for a steam facility think of the logical order for getting a locomotive out and ready to go, or arriving and being put away. Arrange the track to make those operations efficient.

Oh and for interest don't forget things like a place to put freight cars that service the facility. Hopper cars that bring in the coal and sand and take out the ashes. Flat cars, box cars to bring in locomotive parts, and gondolas to haul away the scrap metal. Maybe an overhead crane to unload these on one of the round house tracks. Tank cars for various fluids or fuel oil.

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Also, check out chapter 4 of "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" by John Armstrong. Excellent book if you don't have it.


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Let's not forget 'Locomotive Service Facilities' also a Kalmbach printing..


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