Good HO?

Thanks to everyone who answered my last post. (O gauge or HO) . I think I'll go with HO because of space and money. But I have a hard
time keeping the trains on the track. Is there a brand or cost one could recommend for a quallity engine and cars that won't come off the track because thier too lite? I have a few cheap ones like $80.00 for a set with some track and a transformer, and they fall off all the time. That was one of my resaons for concidering "O" gauge.
RSC http://www.schmooseme.net/HobbyHome.htm (no selling here, just pictures)
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Barring mechanical failure, cars come off rails for two reasons: inertia or trackwork. A car that is too light is unable to resist external forces pushing against it. According to NMRA recommended practices, a 50' boxcar should weigh 4.5 oz (135 g) and an 85' passenger car should weigh 7 oz (210 g). Here is a link if it helps: http://www.nmra.org/standards/rp-20_1.html . It's only a guideline and I mention it as a consideration.
Trackwork is another issue which may cause cars to derail. I've noticed it particularly at train shows whose modelers work with modular exhibits. For that matter, I've noticed it at railway crossings watching a loose rail move an inch or more as engines and cars pass over it. It doesn't leave you with a good feeling. Well planned and well laid trackwork is a must if you wish a smooth running layout, particularly if you intend to let the train run for extended periods. It wouldn't hurt to befriend a finish carpenter and electrician.
I perused your model railroad pictures and you have done a lot with a confined space. In theory, one could use such a layout to demonstrate the different scales. Larger scales are more forgiving of small mistakes.
Cheers, John
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RSC wrote:

Properly laid track rarely derails trains, even cheap trains!
I suggest you review the quality of your baseboards and track laying.
That's not to say you've got it wrong, perhaps you've bought a rogue trainset, but from the limited comments you've made I suggest you buy some of the "how-to" books from Kalmbach and the like and consider the bits relating to common track laying mistakes.
Regards, Greg.P.
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RSC wrote:

Step one is to decide if the derailment is caused by track or by the rolling stock. As a general rule, if different cars derail at the same place, its a track problem. If the same car comes off the track at different places, its a rolling stock problem. Track wants to be flat, no bumps or bent up places. Fix any bumps at the joints in your road bed. Check all your track for kinks between pieces. Use a straight edge to check straight runs, and eyeball all your curved track and turnouts, looking for places where the track fails to curve smoothly. Nail all your track down to the roadbed. Get a three point track gauge and check the gauge of your rails everywhere. Track nails if driven down too hard can bend the ties and pull the rails out of gauge. Track joints want to be smooth. Run your fingers over all your track and fix any rough spots. Make sure the rail joiners are properly set at each joint. Sometimes the bottom rail flange fails to slide inside the rail joiner, causing a bump. Get the NMRA gauge and check all your turnouts. If the flange ways between the stock and the guard rails are too shallow or too narrow you get derailments on turnouts. Feel the points of each turnout and file down any point that feels to rough. Make sure your turnouts throw all the way, for both positions. A partly thrown set of points that doesn't fit firmly against the stock rails is trouble. If you have grades on your layout, make sure you have a smooth transition from the level onto the grade. Rolling stock wants the gauge of all the wheels checked with the NMRA gauge. Out of gauge wheels can be twisted and moved wider or narrower with finger pressure. Check the screws securing the trucks. Both trucks need to swivel freely. One truck should be as tight as possible (short of binding) and the other truck should be a quarter or a half turn looser. This permits the looser truck to tilt sideways and keep the wheels on the track. Get a small scale and weigh all your cars. I stick with the NMRA weight recommendation, one ounce plus 1/2 ounce per inch of car length. The important thing is to have all the cars in the train weighted to the same standard. If you have some cars light and others heavy, the heavy cars tend to pull the light cars off the track. Add weight to light cars. For "house cars" where the weight is concealed, I use any old bit of metal scrap I have hanging around. I secure all my weights with Dow Corning silicone bathtub caulk. The stuff that smells like vinegar as it dries. For open cars like hoppers and flats you want to use lead, to make the weight as small and easy to conceal as possible. Tire stores often will give old lead wheel weights away. Hardware stores sell sheet lead flashing that is easily cut with sissors. Lead shot can be fitted into odd places like the center beam. Clean all your wheels. A surprizing amount of "wheel cheese" can build up on them. I have seen wheels with crud on the tread built up to the height of the flange. Goo-gone is my cleaner of choice. Moisten a bit of paper towel with Goo-gone, lay it on a spare piece of track. Then run the car back and forth on the towel and watch the black crud build up on the paper towel. Check coupler height. You can buy a Kadee coupler height gage or you can make one, using your NMRA gauge as a reference. Low hanging couplers mean the glad hand under the coupler is low, and will catch on turnouts and crossings. Low body mounted couplers can be raised by adding #6 flat washers under the trucks. You want the coupler height to be uniform thruout the train. High and low couplers will spontaniously uncouple, an event as irritating as a derailment. Watch the coupler action as the train enters a curve. A long car coupled to a short car can cause side thrust while the train is on the curve, which levers one car or the other off the rails. Shorter rolling stock (40 foot boxcars) and shorter locomotives with four wheel trucks take curves better than 80 foot passenger cars and big steamers. 18 inches is the minimun radius in HO, and some long rolling stock needs broader curves to stay on the track. Derailment in HO is never accidental. It's always a flaw in either the track or the rolling stock. Take a zero defects approach to derailments, find and fix the cause of each one and soon your trains will run derailment free for days. Good luck.
David Starr
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Snip
The NMRA weight recommendation is unnecessarily heavy,especially for passenger and short freight cars. For a sensible approach see my web page at
http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html
HO wagon weight and locomotive tractive effort estimates
DC control circuit diagrams
HO scale track and wheel standards
Any scale track standard and wheel spread sheet
Terry Flynn.
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in article snipped-for-privacy@d30g2000prg.googlegroups.com, NSWGR at snipped-for-privacy@unsw.edu.au wrote on 5/27/07 7:37 PM:

This web page at Railway Engineering answer a couple of FAQs regarding weight and proper truck bolstering:
http://www.railwayeng.com/rrhints.htm#q9
They pretty much both agree with Mr. Flynn that the NMRA weight formula is flawed, but have different approaches to a solution.
--
Ed Oates
http://homepage.mac.com/edoates
  Click to see the full signature.
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Edward A. Oates wrote:

Hi Terry, Long time no see. David Starr
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On 27 May 2007 19:37:14 -0700, NSWGR wrote:

Of course, this may not work for you if you use DCC.
--
Steve

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Sounds like I add a bit of weight but most of all, it's a track problem. BTW the layout on my website was my neighbors not mine. I am in the beginnings of building my second layout. The first one was so "track" complicated that it never worked and I gave up. This time a I'll use a much simpler design.
RSC
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Do you have the RR Track software?
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You can always add weight to cars that are too light. Re-railing sections can work wonders also if you have especially troublesome parts of a layout.
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Good ho loco at good prices, Proto 2000 GP7 $30 us$ at train world Athearn locos Rtr about $55 us good value
www.trainword.com
What train set did you buy and what brand of loco if it a proto 2000 loco some of the problems can be due to cracked gears, ask your neighbour to bring over some loco or check out your layout. it good to have friends close by.
Anthony

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