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Finishing up my layout.  I may try to add one final internal curved run, but this would mean that on the main straight section of my track I would have three switches in a row.  A through train would have to travel the straight sections of the switches right in a row, 1, 2, 3.  The would be O gauge switches, not O27.

Am I asking for trouble?  Is this generally regarded as a bad thing to do?  (I'm not looking for headaches.)   

If so, I can scrap the extra curve run idea.

Thanks,

Mannyrock

 

 

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It can be done with serviceable O22 style switches. I would make the recommendation to ensure that the conductive pins are good and tight and recommend use of fixed voltage. I would also recommend that you use @TinMan3rail's dual conductor fixed voltage plug upgrade. In addition to fulfilling the normal role of powering the switch motor, this upgraded plug has a completely separate distinct conductor that can be utilized to FEED the center rail of the switch track power like the #1 clip on a CTC.

https://www.tinman3rail.com/?p...old-style-bootstraps

 

Gunrunner John is right.  Unless you're going for an authentic postwar look, keep saving your money and use Ross track instead of Lionel O22s.  The Ross switches are much smoother and less derailment-prone.  (Plus they have a wider variety of track pieces to make virtually any layout.)

With back-to-back Lionel switches, it might happen that both of a loco's pick-up rollers end up on a gap at the same time, which would cause the train to stall or shift into neutral.  That's easily solved by adding a roller on one truck of the tender, and a high-current tether to connect it to the locomotive.  If in doubt, try the track configuration on a level floor first to make sure the loco can go through it without issues, before building it into a permanent layout.

Last edited by Ted S

Standard two roller thirdrail pick-up works well 99.9% of the time.   There is always that one unit where the rollers would match the two holes, (dead power spots) that back to back switches create. 

Weaver E8 can find the holes.   The Atlas 6924 relay boards can solve the problem with a lot of work.  

 

Some say Model railroading is a series of problems to be solved, that's the enjoyment.     When Atlas did (4) roller pick-ups, many of the problems went away.    SW-9 model. 

Last edited by Mike CT
@Ted S posted:

Gunrunner John is right.  Unless you're going for an authentic postwar look, keep saving your money and use Ross track instead of Lionel O22s.  The Ross switches are much smoother and less derailment-prone.  (Plus they have a wider variety of track pieces to make virtually any layout.)

That is not what I understood @gunrunnerjohn to say at all. I herd him say he has a 3 switch configuration with Ross switches and doesn't have a problem, and that there is no reason O22 switches cannot be in the same configuration as long as they are serviced to ensure that the decades old internal internals are intact and capable of carrying power all the way through just as I had discussed earlier. Following @Mannyrock, you will see the type of equipment he is running is actually prone to one of Ross' downfalls is that they do not deal with sliding shoes of engines and operating cars passing through Ross Switches. The design of the Ross Switch will cause the engine / car to uncouple when the slider shoe crosses the center rail of the switch. Operating cars with slider shoes will activate when going through  a Ross Switch. Sure, you can modify the the Ross switches and such. Another thing to note is that @Mannyrock is using O gauge profile tubular track - Ross switches are O27 profile. Not insurmountable, but again, not as plug and play as the bulletproof standard O22 style.

@Ted S posted:

With back-to-back Lionel switches, it might happen that both of a loco's pick-up rollers end up on a gap at the same time.  That's easily solved by adding a roller on one truck of the tender, and a high-current tether to connect it to the locomotive.  If in doubt, try the track configuration on a level floor first to make sure the loco can go through it without issues, before building it into a permanent layout.

Again, this is a potential issue for any type of switch with any track system and not unique to the O22 nor does Ross eliminate it. Looking at the generations of equipment @Mannyrock is operating, they were all manufactured at the time when O22 was the gold standard and tested/designed to navigate them.

@bmoran4 posted:

That is not what I understood @gunrunnerjohn to say at all. I herd him say he has a 3 switch configuration with Ross switches and doesn't have a problem, and that there is no reason O22 switches cannot be in the same configuration as long as they are serviced to ensure that the decades old internal internals are intact and capable of carrying power all the way through just as I had discussed earlier. Following @Mannyrock, you will see the type of equipment he is running is actually prone to one of Ross' downfalls is that they do not deal with sliding shoes of engines and operating cars passing through Ross Switches. The design of the Ross Switch will cause the engine / car to uncouple when the slider shoe crosses the center rail of the switch. Operating cars with slider shoes will activate when going through  a Ross Switch. Sure, you can modify the the Ross switches and such. Another thing to note is that @Mannyrock is using O gauge profile tubular track - Ross switches are O27 profile. Not insurmountable, but again, not as plug and play as the bulletproof standard O22 style.

Again, this is a potential issue for any type of switch with any track system and not unique to the O22 nor does Ross eliminate it. Looking at the generations of equipment @Mannyrock is operating, they were all manufactured at the time when O22 was the gold standard and tested/designed to navigate them.

True, Ross, Curtis, Atlas, I've power routed many of them with some success.  

This photo shows 022 switches in a row with fixed voltage plugs on my layout between the 2 independently powered main lines:

20181127_081450

I have never had a problem running a fast train taking the straight track on the switches down each of the main lines.

When taking the curve on the switches and to go from one main line to the other, I avoid derailments by running the train slow and smooth through the switches with the power set on approximately the same voltage on each throttle of the Z4000 transformer (each throttle provides power to each of the main lines). 

I cannot remember a Postwar operating car with sliding shoes uncouple or unload running through these switches. 

I have a passion for the Postwar operating coal dump cars (as shown in my other recent thread), milk cars, and log dump cars, often running unit trains of 8 to 11 cars. IMO, the key to avoiding derailments of them is to keep their wheels properly lubricated, run them smoothly and at slow or moderate speed.

Arnold

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I have an 031 switch, 45 degree crossover, and an 0-72 switch in a row. Sometimes I have problems with dead spots, but I'm too lazy or technically incompetent to eliminate the problem.  So the proverbial "Hand of God" bails me out, or  I lock the motors into forward.

I also have a Ross double crossover which causes real problems on the prewar

sliding shoes. I tried filing down the frog with a bit of success, but I decided to

stop running the cars over those tracks.

Good luck.

 

Lew

Last edited by Rich Melvin
@AlanRail posted:

I confess that I forgot about the pre-war anomalous 3451 log car that has the odd coupler controlled at the same time as the dumper.

ASIDE from THAT weirdly wired car what other shoe-cars do that?

 

Just about any car with coil couplers and shoes will uncouple and/or operate as all it takes is for one of the shoes to make contact with a conductor with non-ground potential.

@bmoran4 posted:

Just about any car with coil couplers and shoes will uncouple and/or operate as all it takes is for one of the shoes to make contact with a conductor with non-ground potential.

I have cars with coil couplers triggered by sliding shoes, and when they go though my 3 in a row Postwar 022 switches from one main line to the other, they do not uncouple.

This video shows 7 Postwar oil tankers  with coil couplers and sliding shoes gliding at moderate speed through three 022 switches in a row, and there is no uncoupling or derailments:

I think it was Don who said he keeps his 022 switches a little loose (not totally cemented in place). I do the same, and I also keep them level and aligned properly in order to minimize derailments.

I am very pleased with the long term performance, durability, reliability, fixability, appearance and affordability of Lionel Postwar 022 switches with fixed voltage plugs. Arnold

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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Here is some of my switch craziness. Backing long trains (longer than 20 cars) works as long as the heavy cars are near the front of the train.

I do have occasional derailments and was going to redesign the layout for Ross O72, but the effort and expense has so far been too much. I have just learned to enjoy the layout ats it is. Maybe someday..

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Thanks for all of the info guys.

Based on the great advice you have given me, I am rearranging the layout to avoid the 3 contiguous switches.

The one thing I really HATE, which ruins a model train for me, is having a layout where I have to "tip toe" the train through certain sections, biting my lower lip and holding my breath, just waiting for the grating sound of a derailed truck.  When that happens, track is gonna be ripped out somewhere!

Mannyrock

 

Don't you use 1122s? I don't think you mentioned what you actually use. 

The performance on different years of the 0-27 line vary somewhat as well.

The whole lot of comments is aimed at full O turnouts or other things you don't have because you didn't mention what you use.

Besides, different locos will handle type X turnouts differently. There is no one cure all/without quirks or dead spots for every loco. 

You may want to jump center rail power into the ends of the center turnout; if you'll recall the Lionel suggestion to use a drop on each turnout leg, rather than drawing power thru those. 

If anything, a little speed can usually help an engine make it across a fussy turnout's connections.

Slow antiderail is something you deal with as is, or mod for constant power on 0-27 turnouts.

@Mannyrock posted:

Thanks for all of the info guys.

Based on the great advice you have given me, I am rearranging the layout to avoid the 3 contiguous switches.

The one thing I really HATE, which ruins a model train for me, is having a layout where I have to "tip toe" the train through certain sections, biting my lower lip and holding my breath, just waiting for the grating sound of a derailed truck.  When that happens, track is gonna be ripped out somewhere!

Mannyrock

 

Then you are definitely making the right decision. I like to run trains slow, but that is just me. That’s the beauty of our hobby - to each his own!

Off topic, but 30 years ago I had the rare pleasure of quail hunting from horseback on a huge plantation in Mississippi, with the owner of the land.  He talked just like Foghorn Leghorn.

There was a big railroad track running across the property, with a huge cotton field on each side.  The cotton was all in bloom, with the huge white boughs all puffed out.

Well, we were hunting on the edge of the land, and I heard the train coming.   I pulled my horse to a halt, and asked him whether the train coming through would spook the horses.  He said, "**** no, but get ready."

So a freight train came barreling through, and we were about twenty yard from the track, off to one side, in one of the cotton fields.

As the train passed by, he took off at a gallop, racing the train.  I followed along side.  There we went, for about 400 yards, racing that train,  with the beautiful white cotton floating beneath us like clouds, and the engineer laughing and blowing his whistle the whole way.

Probably the single best memory of my life, and the last one I"ll think about before I die. 

I guess that's why I like to run my trains fast.

Mannyrock

Last edited by Rich Melvin

I have always had small sized layouts, and always with 027 track. And to make those layouts interesting, I have always broken every track configuration rule, including multiple switches in a row and "S" curves.

Yet I have NO derailments. (I know that sounds like a brag, but it is true.) Even using the post MPC designed 027 turnout. Why?

It's the loose rivets (and sometimes screws) that hold trucks to car bodies. Grab the coupler and see if you can jiggle up and down. If you can, it's a loose mounting and a sure fire candidate for derailments.

When you're backing up a train through a complicated layout, all the pressure of the train going backwards is on the couplers - which are part of the truck assembly. So if you have a loosely mounted truck, that truck will work its' way upward on a "S" curve, a turnout or even a regular curve and then derail.

I've written this before and I've been doing this for years. I drill out the rivets on all rolling stock and replace it with in most cases, a truss head screw and a lock or stop nut. I tighten this all the way, then loosen it just enough for the truck to move to and fro. For some cars, like flats and gondolas, I'll use a pre-blacked hex or button top screw with the lock nut. Sometimes I'll go the trouble of painting the screw the same color as the car body.

For cars that have factory-installed screw mountings, I'll do some filing and grinding, to reduce as much of the truck wobble as I can.

And this effort has paid off. I seriously haven't had a derailment in years, including running backward thru all the wrong track configurations. This including light weight short MPC 8-inch cars pushing longer and heavier cars with die cast truck sets. No derailments.

Some folks add weight to their rolling stock. But now you're making your locomotive work harder, putting more wear on the motor. The only rolling stock I might ever add weight to (if necessary), are the ones with a roller pickup assembly, like on an all-plastic illuminated car: Modern era SP style cabooses, for example.

Some other things to watch out for with rolling stock:

- Flashing, especially on plastic truck sets. If I can't easily lift apart two coupled cars without one of the cars snagging the other, it's time to check for flashing on the knuckle couplers. Sometimes it might be the amount of space with in the closed coupler, so I'll do a little filing on these.

Also worth noting, that even though trucks and couplers look very similar, if they're made by different companies, they're probably very subtly different. You can't simply replace a knuckle and rivet made by K-Line on a Lionel car... they are different. Same thing with thumbtack coupler armatures: On first glance, they look identical. Try to install it and you find they're not.

 

-Wheels out of gauge. More of an issue when buying used rolling stock when someone might have replaced wheel sets. Years ago, I bought a bulk bag of 50 fast angle wheel sets and was surprise to see some slight variation in the gauge of the wheels.

I've learned by experience, the wheel sets can be slightly out of gauge from one truck to another truck, BUT NOT on the same truck. Wheel sets slightly out of gauge on the same truck will cause derailments especially on turn outs.

-----------------------

Final note: My track runs right to the edge of the layout board. No buffer zone (though the train room is carpeted). When I say I have no derailments, there would be some darn good motivation for NOT having any derailments. I don't like broken train cars or engines, and fortunately this has not been an issue at all for me.

 

Last edited by brianel_k-lineguy

You don't want the car too tight on bolsters when you have hard transitions to grades or any relevant fast height change. (I've had to loosen some. They need few degrees of play there, still room to tighten many though; your right. It improves geometry on flat track, keeping the trucks planted)

The tight S turn issues rear their fangs more with body mounted couplers , long cars and or small flanges of 2r than our "toy" flanges. The factors still exist in O, just not as strongly. The subject in HO circles seems as constant as "clean your wheels".

You won't make the S with a Marx A-B/ A-B-B engine nor a few other items. Some couplers are guided by compound leverage off the truck; sort of a lead to keep the coupler shafts at an optimum angle for the track. (coupler aligns itself for coupling in a curve.)

You MUST have a 1/3- 1/2 straight between opposed curves to allow the trailing truck to get off its curve.  Because #one car's rear truck is on a curved left, coupler goes left when still over the last piece of track occupied. But the #2 car lead truck is still on the right curve, so it's coupler is turned right... the opposite way.  (Marx cars aren't that way, just the B units. But I have seen cars decades ago that did it too)

The little straight also helps other trucks/couplers transition the S better.

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