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Discussion Starter #1
I have trouble with turnouts! But want to know if you can run a loco both ways, maybe it will not be so much troubles. It is late tonight but in the morning I will run a train back the other way and see if it works better, maybe I'm running them the wrong way. If you have ay ideas let me know.
THANKS AL
 

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I have trouble with turnouts! But want to know if you can run a loco both ways, maybe it will not be so much troubles. It is late tonight but in the morning I will run a train back the other way and see if it works better, maybe I'm running them the wrong way. If you have ay ideas let me know.
THANKS AL
AL;

No, you are not "running your trains the wrong way," because there is no wrong way. A train should be able to go through a turnout from either direction, without problems.
In order to help you though, I need some more information from you. What kind of problem do you have? Does your train derail when it tries to go through a turnout? What brand of turnouts do you have? Does the same problem happen on more than one turnout? Does the problem happen to two different locomotives, or only one? Do the cars derail too?
Since you posted your question here in the HO-scale forum, I'm assuming your trains and turnouts are HO-scale, is that correct?
The files below have lots of information on turnouts. Read through them if you like. Respond with the answers to my questions above, and I will try to help you figure this out.

Traction Fan
 

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Trainman11, answer the questions asked by 'traction fan' above and post pictures of your turnouts.
My HO layout has mostly Atlas and two Peco's.
My Atlas turnouts range from very old brass "snap switches" to the latest versions offered.
I have had to modify ( or tune up) all of the Atlas's.
Peco, for me, was nail them down and forget about them.

My locomotives are a fairly large range also (limited by 18" radius curves).

I can modify a Atlas turnout to the point where several locos run easily through forwards, backwards, reversed running forward and back. Run a train backwards through a crossover. Then I'll pull out another loco, and it derails.

My point is, you are not alone.

Now for a dumb question, you do align the turnout for the direction you need the train to go, right?
 

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I have trouble with turnouts! But want to know if you can run a loco both ways, maybe it will not be so much troubles. It is late tonight but in the morning I will run a train back the other way and see if it works better, maybe I'm running them the wrong way. If you have ay ideas let me know.
THANKS AL
If you have the moving 'points' lined by sliding the 'throwbar' (those are the correct names), your trains will go the way they should.

Each turnout that is not special work, such as single and double slips, or three-way turnouts, has three possible entry points: from the points toward the frog, from the through route toward the frog, and from the diverging route toward the frog. Your trains should be able to move forward, nose first, into all three entry points, and they should be able to back/reverse through each of them as well.

Derailments are caused by:

Turnouts not level with the three meeting tracks (there's a kink vertically at the joint);

The turnout isn't on a plane along its axis...it dips or bulges near the frog, for example;

The turnout is simply too tight in radius through the diverging route for the locomotive's design;

The points rails don't lie flush and tight, finely filed thin, against their mate stock rails. This can be caused by improper assembly, flashing on rails or on the throwbar, or loose hinges if it's hinged where the points meet the closure rails toward the frog;

The gauge changes between the points and the frog (the curved rail is sometimes a bit too straight); and

The guard rails beside the frog are not in spec (check by running the flange path gauge on an NMRA gauge (get one on line or at a hobby store, make sure it's for your scale).
 

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Turnouts are often the places where modelers have trouble. Trains should be able to go through them equally well in both directions.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of poor quality turnouts out there. If you have track with molded roadbed attached, unfortunately, most of these are absolute junk. The only exception is Kato Unitrack. Atlas Snap Switches aren't much better (see traction fan's docs for how to improve them). Atlas Custom Line is pretty good; Peco, Microengineering, Shinohara (not many of these around anymore), and Walthers are excellent. Sometimes, your only choice is to buy better turnouts.

There are a severalmthings the operator can do to eliminate problems, though, especially ones caused by sloppy track work. Follow the suggestions made by the previous posters, and you can probably get what you have to work OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
THANKS for information on turnouts, I will run them back the other way this morning and see if they run better backwards for the way I run them now. THANKS
AL
 

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It was late (very) when I posted last night. There are other possibilities...unfortunately.

There can be two hinges, in fact. One where the point rail meets the closure rail, and one where the point tip pivots at the throwbar. Either of these can be/get sloppy. The worst is if it's the throwbar hinge because that is what will affect the 'lie' of the point against the stock rail.

Also, it happens that the point rail's top bearing surface doesn't meet the counterpart surface on the stock rail against which it lies. If it is lower, the smaller RP-25 compliant flanges will sometimes run over them and you'll derail before you get to the hinge at the closure rail.

There can also be a horizontal kink, not just a vertical one, where the oncoming tracks meet the structure of the turnout. If it's too sharp, your locomotive's truck might have to jump out of the gauge.

Lastly, and I think I have 'em all now, it often isn't anything to do with the turnout. It might be the long frame of the locomotive and what is happening below it at the back end. The lead truck will have not problem until the rear truck encounters some defect and causes the entire frame to twist imperceptibly, but just enough to cause the front of the frame to tilt enough to lift the front truck and it topples out of the gauge. This won't be the case for earlier GP and EMD diesels, certainly not switchers of both steam and diesel, but the modern long framed Dash-8 and on up, SD-50 and up...they are more likely to have this happen if the tracks approaching the three ends of the turnout aren't very close to being on the same plane as the turnout itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK----I was born in USA and am 77 years old and I'm new at the railroad setup, I ran the loco's in other direction and they run a little above what I have been running. I like the track this way it seems to run smoother right to left.
I THANK YOU FOR THE INFRO. I think I will learn in the future if I live that long, it seems I learn something every day.
AL
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I forgot to tell you what turnouts i'm using some are bachman- and the other ones are some that I bought used so I don't know. AL
 

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ALL real and model railroads use switch tracks the same; any and all directions....You are doing something wrong if you can't achieve this.. For the gang to help you you really need to post pictures and/or drawing of your tracks..Also, are you talking derailments, stallouts, or shorts/overloads at these places ?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I guess that I just had the wrong thought about which way to run IT WAS ME. Most of my troubles are at the turnouts.
I have Bachman-Atlas turnouts that I got used. derailments-shorts are most troubles. I'm learning every day more ways to do away with them. I can run them 1 day and they are great then next day awful with a little different setup in cars.
I know that most of the problems are things that I need to work out. That is the way to learn. I'm learning the hard way
but enjoy the things that I have worked out. I have been reading this forum a little while and learn something every time
I get on here. Don't worry about hurting my feelings I can take a lot and not get mad.
THANKS FOR HELP AL
 

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2 things come to mind to check: the coupler height and the car weight. Kadee makes a nice gauge to check the coupler height Kadee - The Coupler People

and the NMRA recommends a base weight if 1 oz. + 1/2 oz. for each inch of car length.
 

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Hi Al! The above pdfs from TractionFan may be very helpful to you.
Try to notice if a particular car or loco tends to derail more than others.
And make sure that your wheels are all in gauge!!
 

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I guess that I just had the wrong thought about which way to run IT WAS ME. Most of my troubles are at the turnouts.
I have Bachman-Atlas turnouts that I got used. derailments-shorts are most troubles. I'm learning every day more ways to do away with them. I can run them 1 day and they are great then next day awful with a little different setup in cars.
I know that most of the problems are things that I need to work out. That is the way to learn. I'm learning the hard way
but enjoy the things that I have worked out. I have been reading this forum a little while and learn something every time
I get on here. Don't worry about hurting my feelings I can take a lot and not get mad.
THANKS FOR HELP AL
I have heard of Bachmann turnouts. I have heard of Atlas turnouts. Never Bachmann-Atlas, though. But I'll grant that I'm far from all knowing. Or do you mean Bachmann / Atlas, as in a combination of the two. Either way, it sounds like you do not have quality turnouts, and that may be contributing to the problem.

There is no magic spell you can cast to miraculously make your trains run properly. You will have to dig in and carefully inspect and correct whatever problems you find.

We'll assume your layout is HO, since that's where you posted this. What equipment (locos and cars) are you running? Some of it may be too long to work reliably.

Step one: eliminate the obvious. The points (moveable rails) have to be aligned in the direction of travel, no matter which direction the train is travelling through the turnout. Our tiny stuff doesn't tolerate that very well. I'm sure every one of us has had that "D'oh!" moment while running trains.

Step two: inspect your track carefully. Do you have any kinks or misaligned joints? How about S curves going into your turnouts? Is everything dead level? If your turnout is on an incline, is it in the same plane? Is there any gunk down in the flangeways of your turnouts (dust, ballast, plastic flash, etc)? Do the points seat fully against the stock rails (the ones that don't move) when thrown in both directions (using only the actuator, no additional help from you)?

Step three: Do all your trucks swivel properly and freely? Same with the couplers. Are the couplers truck-mounted or body mounted (truck mounted ones can derail when being pushed)? Are any of the trip pins on your couplers hanging too low and snagging on the turnouts?

Step four: get a postal scale or kitchen scale that measures in tenths of ounces. Weigh all your cars. They should weigh (for HO stuff) 1 oz plus an additional 0.5 oz for every inch of length (not counting the couplers).

Step five: Get an NMRA standards gauge if you don't have one. Most hobby shops and on-line retailers will have them, but you may have to ask. Use this to check the wheels of your cars. Are they all in gauge (proper width)? While you're there, are they all aligned (the wheels on the same side of the truck are aligned front to back)?

Step six: use the standards gauge to check every spec on all your turnouts.

We can help you fix this, but you'll need to start doing some of these steps and letting us know what you find. Pictures help, too.
 

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Another tip, as if you don't have enough on your plate already...LOL!

Those curved trip pins that protrude down toward the cross ties under your couplers...they can snag on things, especially guard rails near the frogs of turnouts. The point is, they shouldn't. The couplers are supposed to be high enough not to allow that. On some cheaper classes of rolling stock, the couplers don't swing in azimuth cleanly, but they droop inside their draft gear boxes. This sloppiness allows the trip pins to dangle low enough to snag ballast grains, even unevenly high cross ties. But especially the guards beside turnout frogs.
 

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I guess that I just had the wrong thought about which way to run IT WAS ME. Most of my troubles are at the turnouts.
I have Bachman-Atlas turnouts that I got used. derailments-shorts are most troubles. I'm learning every day more ways to do away with them. I can run them 1 day and they are great then next day awful with a little different setup in cars.
I know that most of the problems are things that I need to work out. That is the way to learn. I'm learning the hard way
but enjoy the things that I have worked out. I have been reading this forum a little while and learn something every time
I get on here. Don't worry about hurting my feelings I can take a lot and not get mad.
THANKS FOR HELP AL

AL;

You say that "You can run them one day and they are great, and then, the next day, awful with a little different setup in cars." If you mean that some cars run through the turnouts great, and other cars derail, there may be something wrong with some of your cars. The most likely thing is that some of the wheels on those cars are "out-of-gauge." That simply means that the wheels are either too close together, or too far apart on their axles.
It is very important that every pair of wheels, on every axle, of every car and locomotive, are the same distance apart from each other. Until this is checked, and any wheels that need it are adjusted, you will continue to have derailments.
The way to check your wheels, your track, and your turnouts, is with an NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) gauge. If you look at page eight of my file "Improving Atlas turnouts", you will see photos of an NMRA gauge being used to check some things on an Atlas turnout, and later, to check wheels.The bottom photo below shows the HO-scale and N-scale versions of an NMRA gauge.
The gauge only costs $12, and it is the best $12 purchase you will ever make for your model railroad. With a gauge, (and the direction sheet that comes with it) you will be able to find, and fix, any problems with your turnouts, track, or wheels. Without a gauge, you will not be able to find them. If you can't find them, you're not likely to be able to fix them. You can order a gauge from www.modeltrainstuff.com or from www.trainworld.com or from your local train store, if you have one nearby.

If you were offended by my speculation that you might be very young, or learning English as a second language, I'm sorry. I said that because of the way you use words & punctuation in your posts, not to poke fun at you.
As it turns out, not only are you not a child, but you are actually a bit older than I am. I will soon turn 72 and you are 75.
This forum has thousands of members from many countries around the world. We also have young & old, male & female, in short, anybody, from anywhere, that likes model trains. We don't pick on anybody because of their use of English, but without photos, words are all we have to understand what problem you have, with what brand and type of turnout, and what brand & type of cars and locomotives. We have asked you several times to post photos of your turnouts and locomotives. If you don't know how to do that, you will find step-by-step directions in the "Forum News, Updates, and Help" section of this forum. Please use them to attach close up, clear, photos of your turnouts and locomotives. (See examples below)
Then we will be able to help you. If you would rather poke along fixing things yourself, without our help, that's your choice.

Traction Fan
 

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