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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New here and to N scale - have a derailing problem (UPDATE).

First of all hello to everyone here on the forum.
I've had model trains nearly my whole life but I'm just getting started with N scale.
I have a Terrain for Trains layout that I just finished laying track on. I have an Athearn loco and so far only 2 Athearn rolling stock cars, a box car and caboose. The loco by itself runs the entire layout fine. When the rolling stock is added the first car will randomly derail at different turnout switches. For instance if I have a switch set to turn the loco will make the turn but the first cars front set of wheels will try to keep going straight over the switch. I rerail everything and take it around again and it will run through that turnout fine but then the same thing will happen at a different one. I've run it at all different speeds and that doesn't seem to make any difference. It just randomly happens and I can't figure out why. All turnout switches are manual. Hoping somebody can help.
Thanks.
 

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welcome. besides the gauge look closley what happens there. i assume this is when diverging route set (since you said turn). sounds like flange catching on point rail. is the point rail sharp and flush with stock rail?


PS,
perhaps i should be ashamed but i don't own the gauge and at 10$ for stamped piece of metal not going to.i do have a caliper however. with about 15 engines i sampled, new and VERY used from athearn genesis to spectrums to decades old BB, and bunch of cars of the same range, all the derailments at turnouts weren't due to the gauge. the tolerance for proper performance is not that tight. rails can vary, wheel-sets can vary. the only time gage was an issue is on that old steamer loco i got and then it was apparent (together with deformed wheelset).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the responses. Here are some pictures of the Atlas track I'm using. Maybe you can see something wrong that I'm not seeing. The one with the car going half one way and half the other is an example of what is happening. Excuse the looks of the layout. I'm not finished painting and landscaping it yet. :)






 

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Houdini --

A few (limited experience) thoughts on my end ...

1. I have an HO layout, but also use Atlas manual switches there. Like you, I initially screwed them down to my layout board reasonably snugly. However, I think I went too tight ... I must have distorted the switch casing just enough such that the switch plunger didn't slide and engage the moving track rails that last fraction of a percent. Once realized, I backed off on my mount screws just a bit, and things loosen up OK, and worked just fine.

2. Look closely at where the moving rails engage and abut the fixed rails. There should be essentially no gap that would allow one set of wheels (or truck) to direct one way, with another set of wheels (truck) going the other.

Again ... limited experience on my end ... but perhaps something here to help?

TJ
 

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I agree with Anton and TJ, knock down the rails on you switch points with a file to better line up with the stock rail and check for gaps made because the points are not thrown all the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, I'll get out the dremel and do some light filing. Oh, and tj, that was a good thought about the switch being screwed too tight but all of my track is glued except for the switches. I left them unglued in case I needed to replace them or convert them to electric.
 

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I'm with Anton on this...a Dremel will destroy the track with one slip, slow and careful is the rule here. A good set of needle files only runs a few bucks and are a worthwhile investment for all kinds of work around the layout.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok guys. Problem solved. Before I started filing any track I was thinking more weight on these cars might make a difference. I drilled a small hole in the bottom and filled them with sand then covered the hole with silicone. The added weight keeps them on the track and no more derailments. I had it going for an hour straight without one problem. I'm happy again.
 
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