Within the fascinating world of scale design railroading, nothing is more fundamental than keeping your trains on the songs. Likewise, nothing is more frustrating within the development of your model train designs than mysterious derailment issues. There are many things that can cause your trains to go off the tracks, so here are some tips intended for locating and solving the problem which includes practical model train repair tips.
Tip #1: Check each rail joint. Rail joints are a typical culprit in train derailments, therefore make sure they are correctly fitted and level. After the track is spiked straight down, use a fine file to clean the top until you can slide your fingernail over it without catching.
Tip#2: Inspect Turnouts. Turnouts, or track switches, are one of most frequent reasons behind derailments and a common problem area in model train repair. If the track gauge is too tight, this pushes the flanges against the railheads and causes the wheels to boost up and derail. Too broad of a gauge can also cause an issue, causing the wheelset to climb up as well. Many turnouts are manufactured as well wide, but this can be corrected by filling in the inside area of the guardrail until the gauge has a snug fit.
Tip #3: Weight the cars correctly. Most freight cars need some excess weight to function properly and stay on monitor. The NMRA has some recommended remedies to determine the optimum weight based on different car lengths (see further source at the end of this article for the guidelines). Excess weight in the car should be put near to the bottom, secured and centered to keep their position.
Tip #4: Examine wheelsets. The wheelsets must be within the right gauge and be centered on every axle. If it is out of gauge, it can usually be corrected by rotating the wheel along the axle till it matches the gauge.
Tip #5: Do not overlubricate. Many modelers use too much lubrication, which can attract dirt to the equipment and cause derailments, or damage the paint and result in additional model train repairs.
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Use only the bare minimum associated with oil, and for couplers, use a powder graphite Teflon which will not appeal to dirt.