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Hello train pros here's a noob question on the NMRA (track width) gauge usage...

So I just remembered I had one but hadn't used it yet...I have set up 2 dual main lines and they have several turnouts and double cross overs... mostly in SOME of the cross overs or turnouts the cars derail, they are all laying flat and look OK..

So I am trying to examine what is making the cars come off...spent hours on it today when I thought in the end what if why the cars are coming off is not the right width of the rails? Maybe that is what is doing it!

So I will check with my gauge tomorrow BUT my question is:
If I find the rail is too narrow or wide how the heck do you fix that...if I just bend it with a pliers then I'd probably be worse off then I bet!

Well I hope I can get the cars to stay on the track soon :)
I'm using Code 55 PECO switches,turnouts,cross overs and flex track

thanks for any suggestions!
Ron
 

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So do you have any photos of the track in question?

So have you been down to track level with a flashlight and had the locomotive creep over the questionable spots?

So does this happen with one locomotive or set of cars, or does it happen with all of them in the same spots?

So someone may have a suggestion about how to re-gauge your track.

So I've never had a problem with commercial track being out of gauge.
 

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Do you know the weight of your cars?
NMRA suggests 1/2 oz plus 0.15 oz per inch of car length.
That may seem a little heavy, but the point is, a little weight may help your cars track better.
 

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Since you're using quality track (Peco), I'd wager long odds against it being a track issue. If every car derails at the same point, suspect track. If derailments happen at a lot of points, especially if it's not consistent, suspect your rolling stock. Unlike Michael, I HAVE had commercial track be out of gauge, but it's few and far between. If you DO find a problem with the rails, there really isn't any choice but to rip out the offending section and replace it.

The NMRA gauge also has the ability to check your wheel sets. I'd start there. Also check the car weighting, as cid suggested. You need a scale that can measure accurately to 0.1 oz.

Also check down in the flangeways of your turnouts. Often times there is some plastic flash from the molding process, or even a chunk of dirt or ballast down in there. Make sure the points seat properly against the stock rails.

Despite problems with commercial track being rare, there are two things YOU might have done to cause a problem. The first is, if you used track nails, you might have over driven them, thereby bowing the ties and pinching the rails together. The other thing you might have is a number of S curves -- that is, areas of curved track which lead directly into a curve (or a diverging turnout route) in the opposite direction. Either of those can cause problems.

How old is your rolling stock? In N scale especially, older cars with oversized flanges might have trouble with flangeway depth in turnouts.

At the end of the day, there is no troubleshooting technique that is better than doing what MichaelE suggested, which is getting right down at track level with a good light and seeing EXACTLY how and where the wheels come off. Often the wheels come off somewhere else, but you don't have an issue until the wheels encounter the less forgiving track in a turnout or crossover. Never assume anything: ALWAYS verify what you think is happening.

Good luck, and let us know what you find.
 

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Since you're using quality track (Peco), I'd wager long odds against it being a track issue. If every car derails at the same point, suspect track. If derailments happen at a lot of points, especially if it's not consistent, suspect your rolling stock. Unlike Michael, I HAVE had commercial track be out of gauge, but it's few and far between. If you DO find a problem with the rails, there really isn't any choice but to rip out the offending section and replace it.

The NMRA gauge also has the ability to check your wheel sets. I'd start there. Also check the car weighting, as cid suggested. You need a scale that can measure accurately to 0.1 oz.

Also check down in the flangeways of your turnouts. Often times there is some plastic flash from the molding process, or even a chunk of dirt or ballast down in there. Make sure the points seat properly against the stock rails.

Despite problems with commercial track being rare, there are two things YOU might have done to cause a problem. The first is, if you used track nails, you might have over driven them, thereby bowing the ties and pinching the rails together. The other thing you might have is a number of S curves -- that is, areas of curved track which lead directly into a curve (or a diverging turnout route) in the opposite direction. Either of those can cause problems.

How old is your rolling stock? In N scale especially, older cars with oversized flanges might have trouble with flangeway depth in turnouts.

At the end of the day, there is no troubleshooting technique that is better than doing what MichaelE suggested, which is getting right down at track level with a good light and seeing EXACTLY how and where the wheels come off. Often the wheels come off somewhere else, but you don't have an issue until the wheels encounter the less forgiving track in a turnout or crossover. Never assume anything: ALWAYS verify what you think is happening.

Good luck, and let us know what you find.

Yes, the way to pin point the derail problem is, as has been posted,
with a good light, get very close to a suspected derail point, then
run your train that includes the derailing cars, as SLOWLY as possible.
When you see a wheel START TO LIFT...STOP! Whatever is the
cause will be right there.

Don
 

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Hello train pros here's a noob question on the NMRA (track width) gauge usage...

So I just remembered I had one but hadn't used it yet...I have set up 2 dual main lines and they have several turnouts and double cross overs... mostly in SOME of the cross overs or turnouts the cars derail, they are all laying flat and look OK..

So I am trying to examine what is making the cars come off...spent hours on it today when I thought in the end what if why the cars are coming off is not the right width of the rails? Maybe that is what is doing it!

So I will check with my gauge tomorrow BUT my question is:
If I find the rail is too narrow or wide how the heck do you fix that...if I just bend it with a pliers then I'd probably be worse off then I bet!

Well I hope I can get the cars to stay on the track soon :)
I'm using Code 55 PECO switches,turnouts,cross overs and flex track

thanks for any suggestions!
Ron
Ron;

I agree with the others that the distance between the rails of your track is not likely to be the problem. You mentioned that the derailments occur mostly on turnouts & crossovers. Well, that's exactly where most derailments occur on most model railroads!
The Peco turnouts you have are some of the best made, and are known for not causing many derailments. However, that doesn't mean that they're perfect, or that they can't cause a derailment. Practically all brands of commercial turnouts, including Peco, come with flangeways that are both too wide to meet the specs. built into your NMRA gauge, (which is a common cause of derailments) and also too deep, to meet those specs. (which causes cars to bounce up and down as they roll through frog of the turnout.)

The first thing I suggest you check with your NMRA gauge is not even on the track. Check the gauge of the wheels on your locomotives and cars. If they are not correct, you can usually adjust the car's wheels by either pulling them outward, or pushing them inward, while twisting the two wheels on a particular axle in opposite directions. For locomotive wheels you may need to pry them with a small screwdriver. Once all the wheels are correct, the next thing to check is the width of the flangeways on the turnouts.
Your NMRA gauge should have come with a direction sheet that shows you how to do this. The attached file "Improving Atlas Turnouts" also shows how.

Since your turnouts are Peco, not Atlas, skip the first seven pages of "Improving Atlas Turnouts." The problems, and fixes, covered on those first seven pages only apply to Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts, not Peco turnouts. Starting on page eight, the NMRA gauge checks, and possible fixes, apply to any brand of model turnout.

The wheels of locos and cars take one of the two routes through a turnout only because the wheels are the right distance apart, and the flangways are the right width. This combination forces the wheels to take the selected route. When either, or both, of these adjustments are not correct, the wheels can randomly try to go on either route, and derail.


Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hello!
Thanks for all the HELPFUL replies :)

I have been getting it a bit better finding that just little adjustment here and there makes a BIG difference!
It is getting a bit better now so hopefully that will be the trend :)
 

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Hello!
Thanks for all the HELPFUL replies :)

I have been getting it a bit better finding that just little adjustment here and there makes a BIG difference!
It is getting a bit better now so hopefully that will be the trend :)
RonK9977;

I'm glad to hear that things are improving for you! You might check with another member, "gimme30." Until he fixed his (Atlas N-scale Snap Switch) turnouts using the info from my files, he had some of his equipment, including a GG1 electric locomotive, that could not make a single pass through his turnouts without a derailment. His thread "Kato GG1 leading/trailing trucks derail like crazy", here on the N-scale forum, details his struggles with some of the same "derailments on turnouts" problems that you have asked about. After doing the fixes in "Improving Atlas Turnouts, he has had no derailments at all on those turnouts.
I have four of the same Peco N-scale, code 55 turnouts that you are using. I've applied the same fixes to them that gimme30 did to his Atlas turnouts. They now work extremely well.

Good Luck, Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
RonK9977;

I'm glad to hear that things are improving for you! You might check with another member, "gimme30." Until he fixed his (Atlas N-scale Snap Switch) turnouts using the info from my files, he had some of his equipment, including a GG1 electric locomotive, that could not make a single pass through his turnouts without a derailment. His thread "Katyo GG1 leading/trailing trucks derail like crazy", here on the N-scale forum, details his struggles with some of the same "derailments on turnouts" problems that you have asked about. After doing the fixes in "Improving Atlas Turnouts, he has had no derailments at all on those turnouts.
I have four of the same Peco N-scale, code 55 turnouts that you are using. I've applied the same fixes to them that gimme30 did to his Atlas turnouts. They now work extremely well.

Good Luck, Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
OK Mr Traction will do THANKS! :)
 
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