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#### Improving traction on grades for selected engines

Saul Klibanow 020117 ·
I have a steep grade that ends in a 72" curve on one section of my layout. Some of my motive power navigates the grade well but two engines stall when pulling any reasonably sized train. The two engines are both MTH premiers and one is a 2-8-2 and the other a 4-6-2. It seems to me that if a little extra weight were added, particularly over the drivers that this might solve it. Has anyone else had this problem and what might be the best way to add weight. Comments and ideas are welcomed. Thanks
Topic

Finally, a solution to the bumpy ride over grade crossings. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before.....LOL https://youtu.be/x3MZNsQ2iyg

#### Re: Grade on train layout

rrman ·
Interesting as I never considered grades, in light of running my magna traction engines up and down those Lionel elevated piers with ease. Anyone know approximate grade? When I first saw this topic title, I was gonna reply (ala Christmas Story Miss Shields): A+A+A+A+A+A+A+ Sorry long Iowa winter nights....

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Moonman ·
The #110 sets are 22 pieces, yes? The A piece is 4 3/4". 11 to get there, one at each track joint. A straight run of O would be 11 x 10" or 110". Rise/run x 100% = 4.75/110 = .043 x 100% = 4.3% Curves are longer in length than a straight, (O31 is ~ 11.14"), therefore a curved approach to a shorter straight run would reduce it slightly. Larger diameter curves even more.

rrman ·
Thanks Moonman!

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Ron045 ·
You can actually cheat a little bit. Don't think of one track going up or down. Where my train departs for an upper level, I have that track going up and the other track going down at the same time. That way the run to get the required height is not as great. One track goes up 4 inches and one track goes down 4 inches, now I have 8 inches of clearance for the train to go to a tunnel below the upper level. This run is 21 feet to go from level to an 8" clearance. But that is really only 4...

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Serenska ·
Here's a lovely photo showing that 1-2% grades aren't necessarily the rule in the realm of 1:1 subways: This is a NYC Subway A train crossing a bridge near JFK airport. Steven J. Serenska

#### Re: Grade on train layout

rrman ·
Of course, most/all those cars have motors under them, so every car is helping to push the train up the grade, or retarding on the down grade, unlike freights and passengers trains being pulled at one end and maybe shoved at other end.

#### Re: Grade on train layout

BobbyD ·
Nice solution. Love those houses!

#### Re: Grade on train layout

CAPPilot ·
Ron, I've tried this technique using my RR-Track software and it works well. However, this now has two tracks not level and I wind up losing some other feature I want more. Comes down to priorities. Still working on my final design as I complete phase 1, so I may still use this technique.

rustyrail o scale ·
Excellent use of materials and a job very well done!

mike g. ·
Thanks Mo, I will be keeping this post to come back to! You rock Man!

Mayor Magoo ·
Mo, excellent work. And thanks for the tip on using plexiglass on the outer rails before applying the joint compound. I've been holding off doing my crossings as I wasn't sure how to do the rails, so I'll give your technique a try.

RSJB18 ·
Very nice Mo. As I said in your OP I used the same spray paint for my roads and was happy with the results too. Bob

Avanti ·
Great work. I love those Rustoleum textured paints. "Desert Bisque" is my go-to paint for simulating concrete -- just a dusting over various shades of gray.

Ed Walsh ·
How did you manage to paint such nice lines on the textured surface. I would assume you masked it but would have thought there would have been some bleed thru because of the texture. The lines are perfect. Thanks, Ed

Mo985 ·
Ed, I did the lines by hand. At first I tried artist crayons, but the texture left bare spots, and I didn’t like the look. So then I went over it with normal acrylic paint using a small brush, then the paint marker for the white. I did lay a ruler down to keep the lines straight, but no tape. I just picked up a paint marker in the yellow for the middle lines, so the long sections should be easier. -Mo

luvindemtrains ·
Thanks for the detailed explanation. This is great!

Ed Walsh ·
Mo, Thanks for the detailed how-to. I am going to borrow your idea to do mine. I have been procrastinating on this for a long time because of the lines. Thanks Ed

Mo985 ·
Ed, you're welcome! The yellow is chose is called "cadmium yellow - medium hue". It's more on the orange side, which I think makes it look pretty darn close to the actual color of the lines on the road. Post some pics of your progress!

laz1957 ·
Very nice, MO!!!! Looks outstanding. One question, when you put down the joint compound did you use the fiberglass mesh used for doing corners on drywall? Or was the compound just put in between the tracks? Was there any cracking after it dried?

BAMBAMMorris ·
Very nice job. Gave me some great ideas.

Mo985 ·
Laz, I just used the joint compound. I did get some cracking as it dried, however, I went over the surfaces again, and let that dry. After the second coat, and sanding, no issues!

Richard Leray 012918 ·
Very cool Mo. I to am using scrap wood for my roads. I used scrap flooring pieces for in between the rails as it was the right thickness. You gave me a great idea on how to finish them. Thanks.

GVDobler ·
Very good work. Most crossings look like you would bottom out trying to drive over them. As the FasTrack grade crossing. Yours are very natural looking.

Richard Leray 012918 ·
Thanks. It took a little bit of thinking on how I was going to do it with out making it dip. I am in the middle of renovating my house. My wife took down the lumber scraps to burn in our furnace. So I was down stairs to stoke the fire and seen the small pieces laying on the floor. I looked at them and thought this will make a good start to my roads. I now have to figure out how to cover it up to look natural. I will have to shave some more off so the top will not be to high. I will have to...

Mr. George ·
Great guide, thank you

clem k ·
I used 1/8" thick tempered Masonite and latex paint. This is about 7 years old now. Clem

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Sid's Trains ·
Or what would you recommend for a grade?

#### Re: Grade on train layout

cjack ·
I’m using a 4.5 degree grade to go down on a 9 foot run. No issues other than cruise in the locomotives is essential.

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Karl Reichenbach ·
I like 1 to 1 1/2% Karl

#### Re: Grade on train layout

ChiloquinRuss ·
A 4.5 degree grade is actually a 7.59% grade, REALLY STEEP! For continuous running should be 1 1/2% to 2 1/2% grade (1 1/2 inch rise in 100 inches, etc.). For a line to a storage area up to 4% would work but with speed restrictions and good visibility. Also side to side track protection would also be in order! Russ

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Chugman ·
I kept mine to 2%, but wish it were less. I can however run anything up and down it with no problems. Art

#### Re: Grade on train layout

GVDobler ·
A simple over and under figure eight in 027 was what, about 10 or 12 percent?

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Mike CT ·
% grade is the rise divided by the run X 100%. On a small layout it is difficult to get 2%, or less grades. This is an 3.8% grade . A 7" rise requires 15 ft. (180") of run . Both grades pictured require the curves to also be part of the grade. There is very little of the outer loop that is not a grade/level.

#### Re: Grade on train layout

DoubleDAZ ·
Russ is right, a 4.5° grade would be almost 8% and a rise of about 9". Do you mean a 4.5% grade? That would be a rise of about 5".

cjack ·

#### Re: Grade on train layout

CAPPilot ·
It must be really nice to have a layout large enough to have 2% or less grades. I'm trying to limit mine to 3-3.5% since previous posts on this subject indicate engines with traction tires can handle that with a decent lenght train.

Sid's Trains ·
Thanks guys

#### Re: Grade on train layout

DoubleDAZ ·
Wow, Chuck, that's quite a grade. How many cars are you able to pull up that grade and with what engines? I also try to limit grades to 3%, but have always felt I could go steeper since my engines will be post-2012 RailKing from MTH.

#### Re: Grade on train layout

cjack ·
It’s a small layout about 12 by 14 so the train can’t be too long...say five cars? The other ramp is about 3 degrees. I just needed some more play, so I put in an upper level. An engine without traction and cruise has issues though.

#### Re: Grade on train layout

DoubleDAZ ·
The reason I ask is I'm planning a permanent Christmas display layout in a 4x10x11 L-shape and it might make quite a bit of difference if I could get away with a grade around 5% or so. I pan to run a RailKing 4-6-0 Christmas train with 3-5 passenger cars.

#### Re: Grade on train layout

Jan ·
1/4" in 1 foot is a 2% grade (actually 2.08%). I'll need a 3% grade to achieve 4.5" vertical drop to my staging yard. I want a 9" vertical distance so the rising track will be rising 4.5" in that same distance. Don't forget that you'll need a gradual transition at the change in slope. Jan

#### Re: Grade on train layout

nickaix ·
A lot depends on what you intend to run, and how long your trains are. If you have track and trains already, I would encourage you to throw together a temporary set up and play trains a little... um, I mean, run some controlled tests in order to amass data.

#### Re: Grade on train layout

The big issues with fast transitions to a grade are cowcatchers or drawbars shorting on the center rail, and couplers slipping apart or binding when there is a hard angle. If you have to, I've found a traction cheat that works well. Two sided tape from widow winter insulation kits on one outer rail. It is clear, like Scotch tape, so isn't easily seen. I detack the topside adhesive with my fingers till it can't lift off the rail, then run double what I can without it. It gives plain drivers a...

#### Re: Beginning or ending a grade change

GNERR ·
Grades are a lot of fun. Here is some early video of my double track, up and over, figure 8 layout. It's based on the Atlas HO Granite Gorge and Northern. Grades on this are 3-4%. Layout size is 8' X 14'. I agree with ACE. Test out some grades with your equipment and go from there.. Larry

#### Re: Bump-and-go trolleys on grades -- how steep is too steep?

SJC ·
The MTH Trolleys do not have traction tires. I ran one on my club module last year, which was on a grade. Don't remember how much of a grade but it struggled on the up hill portion. I have two Bump and Gos on my layout, both flat/level track. The Lionel, unless it has been modified, is substantially lighter than the MTH but does have a traction tire or two. You may have better success with one of those. I had one and it did not last long. I find the MTH bump and gos a bit more durable...

#### Re: Bump-and-go trolleys on grades -- how steep is too steep?

Michael Hokkanen ·
Allow me to add a little to this but not change the essential question. I bought a bump and go trolley that worked OK most of the time but was too light to be reliable. At any speed necessary for effective operation it would intermittently derail itself on a bump terminus and hang up, often tripping the Z-1000 breaker. To add weight seemed to put a strain on the motor. So, weight and reliability of the trolley along with grade complete the equation. I am told that some of the earlier Lionel...

#### Re: Bump-and-go trolleys on grades -- how steep is too steep?

bajinnova ·
Michael, what kind of trolley was that? Great information, thanks to both of you!

#### Re: Lionel Graduated Trestle Set ?

Gerry Burns ·
I believe it's about 5 percent. https://www.thespruce.com/maxi...model-trains-2382062
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

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