A dead rail train is a remote-controlled model train run by batteries, receiving no power from the tracks.

Their strongest point is that you do not have problems caused by dirty tracks. You also don't have wires all over the place. And they're usually cheaper than regular trains.

After reading an article last year that claimed dead rail is the wave of the future, I bought a dead rail Christmas train that I am happy with. And I have just finished building a Lego dead rail train.

However, there are also problems...

 

Original Post

In the G gauge scales, the advent of high quality, and more compact, lithium batteries have made it possible to have more sophisticated RC control systems onboard locos. Pick up any recent issue of Garden Railways magazine, and you will find  a plethora of ads for both battery systems and RC controls for a variety of applications, including smaller scales like O. Several reliable dealers specialize in these battery and RC systems, and can offer useful, expert advice! Check it out!

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

I have a Bachmann G scale Annie 4-6-0 with  BlueRail board (2amp) and bluetooth speaker assy installed, along with a 12v 2000Mah NiMh battery pack. I have an on/off switch and charging jack underneath and use my Ipad with BlueRail App to control it.  With the bluetooth speaker installed (costs $5 fromTarget) the sounds now come out of the engine tender instead of thru the Ipad.  Still use the original motor and it runs/sounds fine.

Here's the wiring diagram:

4-6-0 bluerail diagram

The BIK-U3/6 is a module, but all it is is a on/off switch, charging jack, and a couple of polyfuses.  I got mine from RCS Australia.

I think any bluetooth speaker would work if it'll fit.  I just put one in a Weaver O scale RS3, but it was one of those cube speakers that are a 1" cube.

Here's what the inside of the GEMS speaker looked like:

DSCN0739_560

I removed the speaker and circuit board and installed it inline as the diagram shows.  The blue rectangle is the battery that came in the GEMs unit, cut/reuse the wires to connect it to the voltage regulator.

Runs off the main 12v battery.  You'll need a 5v regulator (7805).  The BIK-U3 (or U6) makes wiring easy.  Oh and a cable/plugs to go from the tender to the engine.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

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BOB WALKER posted:

My experience with battery powered OGauge engines has been very positive. I have a GP9, an RS-3 and an NW-2 all which run quite well. I also recently completed a battery powered LionChief Plus diesel which also runs well.

Bob, can you tell us how you did it? What battery to use, and controller and other items.

I blew it.

This was supposed to be an introductory thread on dead rails, and it turns out that we have people here who know more than I do. Oh well...

Most dead rails fall into one of three classes. The most common are large plastic trains designed as dead rails. They are relatively cheap; cover a wide, inconsistent range of sizes; have couplings that are incompatible with regular rolling stock and with each other; and use plastic tracks that cannot support rolling stock from regular trains.

After reading a short article on dead rails last year, I bought a dead rail Christmas train. It ran great, and a few weeks ago I bought a Lego dead rail that also runs great. However, they are incompatible with each other and everything else I own.

The situation is improving, however. Lionel is selling two O gauge dead rails that are compatible with each other. Lego has begun making their dead rails compatible. And as this thread shows, the growing popularity of dead rails is producing better products.

There were a number of manufacturers of clockwork trains in the UK that introduced in the fifties some battery powered locomotives. Of course these could just run on the clockwork track (dead rail) they already made. Chad Valley and Mettoy are the two manufacturers I know of. Mettoy advertised their battery trains explicitly as a save toy calling them "Safetylectric". I will make a video of the Mettoy train with the nice box-art, running in the near future. And here is another (Japanese made) automatic running dead rail battery train:

Regards

Fred

harley rider posted:
BOB WALKER posted:

My experience with battery powered OGauge engines has been very positive. I have a GP9, an RS-3 and an NW-2 all which run quite well. I also recently completed a battery powered LionChief Plus diesel which also runs well.

Bob, can you tell us how you did it? What battery to use, and controller and other items.

What he said!!

Lovely box art!

Andre

sncf231e posted:

There were a number of manufacturers of clockwork trains in the UK that introduced in the fifties some battery powered locomotives. Of course these could just run on the clockwork track (dead rail) they already made. Chad Valley and Mettoy are the two manufacturers I know of. Mettoy advertised their battery trains explicitly as a save toy calling them "Safetylectric". I will make a video of the Mettoy train with the nice box-art, running in the near future. And here is another (Japanese made) automatic running dead rail battery train:

Regards

Fred

WAY back as a small lad, I have vague memories of having one of those sets! I recall being fascinated by it. I also remember they accomplished the directional travel via the indents for the "rails". Very clever.

Thanks for the memory jog!

Andre

The first type of dead rail are large plastic trains designed as dead rails.

The next two classes consist of regular trains that have been converted to dead rail. Some are home-made, while others are, ahem, home-made by people who sell them to others.

The second group actually does consist of reputable dealers, but when you check their sites, you cannot find a list of items and their prices. I can find NO major company except Lionel that makes dead rails, and Lionel only makes the first type.

Most of these locomotives are G scale--the large size makes conversion easier. There's a few O gauge out there. And home manufacturers have made batteries small enough for HO dead rails, but they are scarce.

However, they can run on regular tracks and can pull regular rolling stock.

To answer several questions: For the GP9, RS-3 and NW-2, the controller is a BlueRail Trains bluetooth decoder controlled by an app on a iPad/iPhone. This decoder will handle speed/direction & various light setups. The LionChief Rectifier uses the factory installed decoder operated via the LionChief hand held controller. All four are powered by 11.1V LiPO batteries with capacities of 1100 to 1300mah. In all operating modes, these converted engines behave exactly as they did on track power.

One article had discussed the problem of recharging the batteries, with the author stating that it is annoying, but it's less trouble than dealing with dirty rails.

Some dead rails have recharging stations, and others actually recharge from the tracks. While this might be convenient, it returns the problem of having wires on your lay-out. Some articles complain that this recharging does not work well, while others state that it does--PERHAPS we are dealing with a variety of different types here.

Me? I bought heavy-duty batteries for my dead rail Christmas train and ran it for two months. Then I removed the batteries, put them into a box of used batteries and have used them for clocks, flashlights, etc., with no problems.

sncf231e posted:

There were a number of manufacturers of clockwork trains in the UK that introduced in the fifties some battery powered locomotives. Of course these could just run on the clockwork track (dead rail) they already made. Chad Valley and Mettoy are the two manufacturers I know of. Mettoy advertised their battery trains explicitly as a save toy calling them "Safetylectric". I will make a video of the Mettoy train with the nice box-art, running in the near future.

Regards

Fred

Here is as promised the video:

Regards

Fred

Vincent Massi posted:

Fred, I am impressed that this train runs on the rails of a metal track. Many battery-powered trains today run in grooves inside a plastic track. The smaller the train, the more often it jumps the rails.

This trains runs on the "normal" non-isolated tinplate rails that Mettoy supplied with their clockwork trains. A boy that had already some clockwork train/rails could expand his layout with this set (in 1956).

Regards

Fred

Two things:

 

1) I bought a second Lego dead rail that is compatible with my first one But they also have a Lego Christmas train. When I researched it on the web, it isn't motorized. As with any major purchase, LOOK IT UP ON THE WEB FIRST!

2) Good, bad, or ugly, has anyone purchased one of the dead rail O gauge trains that Lionel is selling?

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