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Well, I have completed my track layout, assembled on the floor, except for one manual switch to arrive next week.

A central piece of the design is a 45 degree crossing.

My engines run across it pretty well, except for my 0-4-0 switcher.  A really rough, choppy, sputtery ride.  To bad, since I wanted to primarily collect really small engines.

I guess there is nothing I can do about this electronically, to provide more even power?  (The straight sections are pretty long, with long plastic sections for rails in the center.)



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Adding a roller truck to the tender and a wire tether to the tender is an effective way to make sure you aren't loosing power at the loco.

You may as well do a ground tether as well on an 0-4-0.

Best is a roller, but shoes and "grinders" are pretty easy to fabricate too. Automotive feeler gauges work, so do bushing/spring& wide low profile mushroom head screw/nut; head down... etc. You want it as close to the wheels&bolster pivot as possible to track more on center in curves.


I started out all O27, to keep everything on a 4x8 table size.  Then I saw how much space there was inside the outer loop.  So, I replaced the inner track with O31, and the engines ran much better. Then I saw that I could also replace the entire outside loop and switches with 031, if I just increased the length of the table by 6 inches.  I did not need to increase the width because in O31 gauge, I still found that I had about 2 inches to spare on each side of the big oval track

Then I said, what the heck?   Just increase the table length by one foot, and the width by 6 inches, and give yourself plenty of room outside of the tracks of the big oval.  I have a very large basement, and plenty of room

So, that's what I have done.   My layout is now all O31, and my table dimensions will be 9ft x 4.5 ft (when I build it next week).

Last week, I traded all of my 027 track, and 4 Marx tin type manual 027 switches, and 2 Lionel plastic manual 027 switches, for  two good running 1970s Lionel  engines, and a 1033 transformer, and four Lionel cars with metal wheels and trucks, and a Lionel lighted caboose, so I more than got my money back.

So, . . . that's where I am.  :-)

I am waiting on one right hand switch in the mail, to fully complete the layout, and I will definitely post a picture of the layout (assembled on the basement floor) when I have it done.  I don't think there is any Wow factor in the layout  I designed, but it is an interesting design, with several options, and will be great for me and young kids.

Can't stand balky sputtering engines, so if can't get the little 0-4-0 Lionel switcher to run smoothly over the crossing, I will trade it away.

Adriatic,   After I put the layout on the board, I will follow your advice to try to get that Switcher running smoothly.





My personal experience is that tubular track, including O22-style postwar 31" diameter switches, etc., is bumpy.  Rolling stock "clomps" through them, you can see the trucks bouncing and pronounced movement of locomotive boilers, etc.  I never built a tubular layout with a 45-degree crossing so I can't speak about that piece specifically.  But I've used both Ross and Atlas track, and find their switches and crossings MUCH smoother.  I'll never build another layout with tubular if I can help it!

There are two issues- one is mechanical bouncing or snagging because the wheels fall into a gap in the rails.  The second one is loss of electrical continuity, causing the loco to hesitate or even stop if it's going slow enough.  Sometimes both of these issues happen at the same time.  For example, a wheel or pickup roller falls into a gap, creaing both a mechanical snag AND loss of power.  If it's just a loss of power that can often be addressed by adding ground wires, extra rollers, a tether to the tender or a trailing car.

A lot of people grew up with O22 switches and will defend them to the death.  I guess they're ok for some things.  But for my $.02, if you really want smooth operation, save your money for a newer track system.

Last edited by Ted S

It has only 4 wheels. Four. It can't levitate. Even real 0-4-0's rode roughly. Our model tolerances exaggerate the sight. If you want more smooth, you need more wheels. Early "lightweight" actual passenger cars on 4-wheel trucks rode less smoothly than the heavyweights with 6-wheel trucks that they replaced.

One problem with even an 0-6-0 in our 3RO world is that the center blind driver only intermittently actually touches the rail, so the 0-6-0 is a bit of an 0-4-0, itself.

Point taken on the tender. They might retain a box car, more likely a small flat car for safety and easy "reach-ins". You can add a pick up there the wire can stay underneath.   

It isn't an 0-4-0 necessarily either.  I'm not 100% sure though as a hydraulic/chain mechanical makes me want to stick with Wyhte .. It is a "B" configuration traction engine I think (diesel electric and not an cabless A)

Similarly,  I run a milk car, a second head end caboose (for easy reversing/run around), or mail car head end to let my GG-1 pull Broadway Limited cars on 0-27 without the GG-1 dragging cars wide (tight coupler knuckle in pockets =less swing; these cars have articulated coupler shafts & much better angles with the extra pivot.)

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