Traction Tires; A Necessary Evil, Or...?

prrjim posted:

I don't have have a barn.    I do have a full basement on a medium sized house and I have a decent 2 rail layout.    A lot of 2 rail stuff will operate on 48 inch radius curves including all 40-50 ft freight cars in my opinon.   I have a small fleet of GGD 2 rail passenger cars which replaced a large fleet of Walthers built up 2 rail passenger cars (from kits).    All will handle my 52 inch minimum radius with ease (my branch is 48 inch radius).  

I mikados, pacifics and mountains a couple 10 drivered locos that handle the curves pretty well.    The Max Grey 2-10-4 does complains but still runs.

So I want to disagree that you need "40 acres" for a 2 rail layout and that you can't get along without traction tires in O Scale.      

By the way the grades on my mainline are 1.5 % or less which is NOT a steep grade.

Until you learn about 2 rail O scale and try it, you should not tell people what does not work.

 

Hi prrjim,

Thanks for your input.  I can tell you only half read my post, and didn't understand much of what little you did read.  Since this was originally posted in the 3-rail forum, I thought I was replying to the 3-rail crowd.  Gosh, I wish I was as unobservant as you are, but when it comes to model trains, I've always failed in that respect.  Some people have all the luck, I guess I'm not one of them. 

Sounds like you have a lot of nice stuff and a decent layout to boot.  Keep up the good work.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

Every time I try and make snow angels in the fresh snow, I get struck by lightning.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

third rail posted:

So, if you want to remove traction  tires, is there a simple way of changing out the  grooved wheels ? 

That will be addressed in the next installment.  Hang in there!

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

Every time I try and make snow angels in the fresh snow, I get struck by lightning.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

Mixed Freight posted:
Mixed Freight posted:

I recently worked on a set of 4 beautiful brass N-scale Santa Fe F7s (2 AB sets, Key Imports IIRC). Each loco had one axle (or maybe 2 axles?) with traction tires on both wheels.  Also included in the boxes were extra axles with no traction tires on the wheels.  Being brass to start with, and including traction tires, there shouldn't be any shortage of pulling power here!

Test running each loco individually, they seemed to run alright.  Although they sometimes derailed when going through a switch, and sometime on a curve.   Hooking them all together into a gorgeous Santa Fe A-B-B-A set, they really ran like cr@p.  Herky-jerky, derail for no reason, they just didn't seem to work or play well together.  One thing I had noticed, one loco ran slightly faster than 2 of them.  The 2 ran about the same speed.  A fourth loco ran slightly slower than the 2.

I've had a theory about traction tires for a long time.  After re-configuring the consist based on my theory, it was a whole new story.  They ran absolutely beautifully together.  Like a well-trained set of top-notch, thoroughbred chariot horses.  Smooth, powerful, absolutely no derailing or jerkiness or any other distasteful characteristics.  It was the difference between night and day!

I pretty sure my theory would work in EVERY scale, not just N-scale. 

 

Well, okay, while this topic is probably getting close to being beaten to death, I did promise to elaborate on my original post.  Probably best I took a short sabbatical however, because it has given me time to think a little more about my theory, and perhaps modify it somewhat.

On the 4 brass N-scale locos, not only did they come with the extra, non-traction tire wheel sets, it also ended being fairly straightforward to pull individual wheels from the axles and press them back on.  Since I know the owner was always going to run them as an A-B-B-A consist, I ended up equipping ONE unit with ONE traction tire on ONE side only of ONE truck only.  In other words, out of 32 total wheels on the consist, I ended up with ONE traction tire wheel and 31 standard wheels.

That was my theory for taking care of two distinct problems with the consist.  One problem fixed was the fact that the slightly faster and the slightly slower locomotive wheels could "slip & slide" so to speak on the rails, instead of binding up like they did when all locos had traction tires.

The other problem fixed was one that nobody really thinks about very much, or how is a powered wheel set with a solid axle and traction tires on both wheels supposed to go around curved trackage without having a differential to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds?  Extreme example: You would't want to try drive your car or truck on the road with a solid axle, would you?  It would be fine until the first time you had to turn.  Same thing with our little trains.  I'm sure they struggle in a miniature sort of ways themselves.  By having a traction tire on one wheel only, it provides most of the traction, while the other standard metal wheel with a lot less adhesion can slowly slip on the rail as needed while the solid axle wheel set rolls along the curved trackage.

I think HO and N have gotten away from traction tires in the past couple of decades more so due to their smaller scale factor.  They can have both reasonable grades and reasonable curves in smaller spaces than O-scale can have.  Take for instance, the good ol' 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.  You can easily build an N-scale layout on with super-generous curve radii and up & over track work with 2 ~ 2½% grades.  For HO scale, grades and curves not quite as good, but still plausible.  But basically, they can emulate their full-sized brethren fairly closely in this limited space.

For O-gauge, forget it.  It's pretty much toy train city all the way, complete with sharp curves, traction tires, and steep grades.  Unless of course, you have an entire floor of your house or a big barn/metal building to construct a layout in.  Unfortunately, the biggest majority of O-gaugers do NOT have that kind of room to spare, so steep grades, sharp curves, and traction tires will probably always be a mainstay for this scale.

Soooo................. how can we apply all of this nonsense to O-gauge/O-scale?  For the final step, we need to put our heads together in a good, logical orderly fashion just like the 3 Stooges would (complete with 3 Stooges sound effects) and come up with a plan.  Unfortunately I have to head in to work shortly, so I will have to close for now and continue this in the next session, hopefully in the next day or two........................

Thank you for the follow up - looking forward to you continued contribution/posts on the subject.

ADCX Rob posted:
BobbyD posted:

Is there much "attraction" thru the tires Rob?

Well, the tires don't block the magnetic force, and the track is still the same distance from the magnets, with 2/3 of the iron surface of the wheels including the flanges still sitting on or below(flanges) or immediately next to the railheads, so it would be a negligible loss of magnetism due to the tires. Any loss would probably be offset by the now not necessary step of that constantly peeling an entire magnetized wheel off the rail(for the tire equipped wheels) while in motion that some of you have noticed.

That efficiency would be lost on sharp turns/bends by the locked / non-differential action of having the rubber tires on the same axle trying to go the same speed.

I dropped out the word "more" there. Don't see any real benefit to having both over just the rubber tires on that axle. Guessing they found it cheaper to use all the same axles?

SURFLINER posted:
Mixed Freight posted:

Well, okay, while this topic is probably getting close to being beaten to death, I did promise to elaborate on my original post.  Probably best I took a short sabbatical however, because it has given me time to think a little more about my theory, and perhaps modify it somewhat.

On the 4 brass N-scale locos, not only did they come with the extra, non-traction tire wheel sets, it also ended being fairly straightforward to pull individual wheels from the axles and press them back on.  Since I know the owner was always going to run them as an A-B-B-A consist, I ended up equipping ONE unit with ONE traction tire on ONE side only of ONE truck only.  In other words, out of 32 total wheels on the consist, I ended up with ONE traction tire wheel and 31 standard wheels.

That was my theory for taking care of two distinct problems with the consist.  One problem fixed was the fact that the slightly faster and the slightly slower locomotive wheels could "slip & slide" so to speak on the rails, instead of binding up like they did when all locos had traction tires.

The other problem fixed was one that nobody really thinks about very much, or how is a powered wheel set with a solid axle and traction tires on both wheels supposed to go around curved trackage without having a differential to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds?  Extreme example: You would't want to try drive your car or truck on the road with a solid axle, would you?  It would be fine until the first time you had to turn.  Same thing with our little trains.  I'm sure they struggle in a miniature sort of ways themselves.  By having a traction tire on one wheel only, it provides most of the traction, while the other standard metal wheel with a lot less adhesion can slowly slip on the rail as needed while the solid axle wheel set rolls along the curved trackage.

I think HO and N have gotten away from traction tires in the past couple of decades more so due to their smaller scale factor.  They can have both reasonable grades and reasonable curves in smaller spaces than O-scale can have.  Take for instance, the good ol' 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.  You can easily build an N-scale layout on with super-generous curve radii and up & over track work with 2 ~ 2½% grades.  For HO scale, grades and curves not quite as good, but still plausible.  But basically, they can emulate their full-sized brethren fairly closely in this limited space.

For O-gauge, forget it.  It's pretty much toy train city all the way, complete with sharp curves, traction tires, and steep grades.  Unless of course, you have an entire floor of your house or a big barn/metal building to construct a layout in.  Unfortunately, the biggest majority of O-gaugers do NOT have that kind of room to spare, so steep grades, sharp curves, and traction tires will probably always be a mainstay for this scale.

Soooo................. how can we apply all of this nonsense to O-gauge/O-scale?  For the final step, we need to put our heads together in a good, logical orderly fashion just like the 3 Stooges would (complete with 3 Stooges sound effects) and come up with a plan.  Unfortunately I have to head in to work shortly, so I will have to close for now and continue this in the next session, hopefully in the next day or two........................

Thank you for the follow up - looking forward to you continued contribution/posts on the subject.

The problem with one tire on an axle is it could become the 4 legged chair with one bad leg. If the tire is too thin it doesn't touch the railhead and now the entire axle looses the benefit of rubber tires. If the tire is too thick it levers some wheels off the railhead.

Don't the same issues occur with freight car and passenger car wheelsets fixed to an axle? Anyone ever test the increased drag pulling a consist around a curve? I'd bet it's much higher than 1 or two rolling axles with rubber tires.  

Showed this thread to a 2 rail friend and he asked "how many 3 rail folks are running 16 scale length passenger car trains with a Hudson? Very few 2 railers have the space to do this. You guys are letting a tiny market share dictate a solution looking for a problem. Frustrated guys that just need to make the switch." An interesting way to look at it I guess.

So what is worse for us, Zinc pest or replacing tires? (Provided we can get them in 20 years of course)

BobbyD posted:

I dropped out the word "more" there. Don't see any real benefit to having both over just the rubber tires on that axle. Guessing they found it cheaper to use all the same axles?

The magnetic force in the axles with tires has the effect of more weight on that axle as well as the others. Even less slippage is the result.

I wonder what Lionel thinks folks will be pulling with that little Alco, though.

Rob

ADCX Rob posted:

The magnetic force in the axles with tires has the effect of more weight on that axle as well as the others. Even less slippage is the result.

I wonder what Lionel thinks folks will be pulling with that little Alco, though.

"I wonder what Lionel thinks folks will be pulling with that little Alco, though."Exactly!!

I changed two of my MTH FP40's to one traction tire per axle and it works perfect now for two years. I get the differential effect, less tire wear(cleaner track), and both axles in the truck sharing the pull. I put one on each side of the truck. Probably less differential effect than tires on the same side of truck but it works for me. I was concerned about grounding. I have long switches. 

I haven't read every reply to this question, but enough to help me at least throw in my two cents worth without choking on the pennies.

Truthfully I never really gave them much thought because I thought they were a necessary evil in the model train world, the same as electricity, track, and some form of propulsion system to make them go around and around.

Thanks to this I am discovering that they were an after thought.  I don't run graded track.  I keep my layouts to a Midwest fashion.  Flat ground, long straights, wide curves, 084, 072 and 060.  I haven't graduated to the Rocky Mountains.  From what I am gathering as I read a few of the replies, if you remove them, it isn't going to suddenly throw your engine into some sort of confused tizzy.  It makes sense that if every wheel on your engine is making metal to metal contact with the track, then you are by nature getting 100% of the available electricity output up through your wheels to the electric engine running the show.  More electricity, more engine power, but at what cost?

One reply said, remove them, run the engine, see if you have any problems or see if it helps.  I agree.  Removing them obviously isn't going to cause any hiccups in engine operation, so give it a shot.  Just note that I have attempted to install traction tires on a locomotive and it may be easy for a trained professional or experienced model train enthusiast, but for me it was a challenge the tested every ounce of patience I had, and broke 4 toothpicks before I was successful.

I'm not a Marine, but I follow Clint Eastwood's advice.  Improvise, adapt, overcome.  Just because you don't have the professional tools of the trade doesn't mean you can't improvise some way to accomplish your task.  If your layout isn't forming together the way you imagined it, adapt to your situation, get creative, find another way you can agree with, and move on.  Do these things and you will overcome any problem that comes your way.

Sorry, always wanted to get that in

Finally getting back to this topic, work has been fairly demanding for the past few days.  I have had time here and there to read the more replies since my last post.  We darned near have this traction tire problem solved.

For a quick review, steep grades and sharp curves are unfortunately a given for the biggest share of O-gauge enthusiasts.  Most don't have the physical room available for shallow grades and broad curves.  Sorry YARDMASTER96, but while O84, O72, and O60 are generally considered wide curves with the O-gauge crowd, they're really not.  They're almost the equivalent of 22", 18", and 15" radius in HO scale, which are considered small, tight, and sharp in that scale, but work perfectly for building a layout on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.  And doing some quick math, I find we will need no less than about a 3.5% grade if we want to get one track up and over another track, which is fairly steep by standard.  Of course, we would need an 8' x 16' table to duplicate this in O-gauge.

Until working sand domes and sand tanks becomes the next new gizmos for O-scale, we will probably be stuck with traction tires for some time to come.  But that doesn't mean we need to accept less than optimal performance.  Working on that quartet of brass N-scale engines turned on a light bulb in my mind that should work for ANY scale, not just one or two.

Traction tires are beneficial for grades.  The steeper the grade, the more the benefit.  Differential action is beneficial for curves.  The sharper the curve, the more the benefit.  Why not then, combine the best of both worlds and put a traction tire on ONE SIDE ONLY of the axle?  (CLEM K almost scored a BINGO!!!)  And after much thinking, limit it to ONE traction tire per each electric motor.  What that means is, for a diesel with two powered trucks, ONE traction tire only per truck.  For a steamer, ONE traction tire only for each set of powered drivers.  This should be able to offer the same amount of traction we've all been used to, plus the added benefit of smoother running over the layout.  Maybe even help with improved tire life and cleaner rails in the long run.  Who knows, might be worth giving it a shot to see if it works.

Of course, changing out wheels on axles is far more easily said than done, I'm sure.  With the thousands of locos already out there, one easier idea might be to find a replacement tire material that is "slicker" than the standard rubber-type tire.  The standard rubber-type tire could be left on one wheel, while a slicker version could replace the tire on the other wheel.

Well, think about for awhile.  Toss this around and see what you think, and can come up with.  While I'm at it, for all you nay-say'rs out there who cannot read everything nor comprehend anything, might I suggest you go pound sand on a daily basis and save it for that day in the future when miniature working sand domes become a reality?  Otherwise, positive thoughts and positive comments are more than welcome.

That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

Every time I try and make snow angels in the fresh snow, I get struck by lightning.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

There may be an issue with one traction tire. More specifically to powered trucks more than steam.

  A single traction tire could cause a steering bias.  Normally no big deal as the rails keep you straight.  But in turnouts, that isn't always the case. 

  I ran into this with some Marx turnouts and a truck that veered right and would force points open, but mostly simply climb guides and rails in an attempt to turn.  1 steamers pilot truck did it too.

I simply pulled those out, but thought the experience might be of interest, especially if a loco happens to be picking at points on one side or another after going to one tire.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





The only reason I even mentioned those curve diameters as being up there in size is because if you look at any lionel book showing the track and curve sizes, 096, I think that's right, is the highest they go.  Am I being informed that somewhere out there an 0100 or 0120 exists?  Just asking, not being combative.  I only the know the model train world that the catalogs, internet and ebay show me.  Thanks

Adriatic posted:

There may be an issue with one traction tire. More specifically to powered trucks more than steam.

  A single traction tire could cause a steering bias.  Normally no big deal as the rails keep you straight.  But in turnouts, that isn't always the case. 

  I ran into this with some Marx turnouts and a truck that veered right and would force points open, but mostly simply climb guides and rails in an attempt to turn.  1 steamers pilot truck did it too.

I simply pulled those out, but thought the experience might be of interest, especially if a loco happens to be picking at points on one side or another after going to one tire.

Good point, hadn't thought of that.  I suppose that would always be a possibility.  But if a steamer's pilot truck did it too, I would suspect either out-of-gauge wheel sets, or a possible problem with the turnouts.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

Every time I try and make snow angels in the fresh snow, I get struck by lightning.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

Yardmaster96 posted:

The only reason I even mentioned those curve diameters as being up there in size is because if you look at any lionel book showing the track and curve sizes, 096, I think that's right, is the highest they go.  Am I being informed that somewhere out there an 0100 or 0120 exists?  Just asking, not being combative.  I only the know the model train world that the catalogs, internet and ebay show me.  Thanks

Yes, I understand perfectly.  A lot of O-gauge trains are designed to run on track curves as little as O27, O31, O36, and O42, since that's all a large percentage of O-gaugers have room for.  Therefore, in the O-gauge world, O60, O72, O84, and the like, start appearing as pretty generous curves.  2 rail O-scale modelers with enough room to have approx.1.5% maximum grades and approx. O120 minimum curves can undoubtedly start seeing their need for traction tires diminish fairly quickly.  But how many modelers in 3 rail, or even 2 rail, actually have that kind of space available?  Probably not too many, in my estimation.

Everybody's situation is a little different.  Therefore, Clint Eastwood's advice is sound advice. 

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

Every time I try and make snow angels in the fresh snow, I get struck by lightning.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

0120.  Is it O or zero?  You'd think by now I would know.  Ok, O gauge, so O120.  Right?   I'd love to see the acreage that curve takes up.  What was that old truck driver's song from the album devoted to truck driving songs in the 70's.  Give me 40 acres and I'll turn this rig around. 

On the subject of Traction Tires.  I was curious so I looked under two of my new locomotives and discovered that even though I was given two or three replacement traction tires in the box, I discovered that they were in addition tires.  None of the wheels on either truck where gears move the wheel have traction tires installed.  I also noticed that the ES44AC I bought from MTH has a different type of gear driven wheel in the middle.  On each set of trucks, the front wheels and back wheels are modeled after the wheels you see on a real engine.  But the middle wheels look more like, thick metal sword sharpening or grinding wheels.  Is this the magnatraction I've been reading about?

Mixed Freight posted:

Finally getting back to this topic, work has been fairly demanding for the past few days.  I have had time here and there to read the more replies since my last post.  We darned near have this traction tire problem solved.

For a quick review, steep grades and sharp curves are unfortunately a given for the biggest share of O-gauge enthusiasts.  Most don't have the physical room available for shallow grades and broad curves.  Sorry YARDMASTER96, but while O84, O72, and O60 are generally considered wide curves with the O-gauge crowd, they're really not.  They're almost the equivalent of 22", 18", and 15" radius in HO scale, which are considered small, tight, and sharp in that scale, but work perfectly for building a layout on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.  And doing some quick math, I find we will need no less than about a 3.5% grade if we want to get one track up and over another track, which is fairly steep by standard.  Of course, we would need an 8' x 16' table to duplicate this in O-gauge.

Until working sand domes and sand tanks becomes the next new gizmos for O-scale, we will probably be stuck with traction tires for some time to come.  But that doesn't mean we need to accept less than optimal performance.  Working on that quartet of brass N-scale engines turned on a light bulb in my mind that should work for ANY scale, not just one or two.

Traction tires are beneficial for grades.  The steeper the grade, the more the benefit.  Differential action is beneficial for curves.  The sharper the curve, the more the benefit.  Why not then, combine the best of both worlds and put a traction tire on ONE SIDE ONLY of the axle?  (CLEM K almost scored a BINGO!!!)  And after much thinking, limit it to ONE traction tire per each electric motor.  What that means is, for a diesel with two powered trucks, ONE traction tire only per truck.  For a steamer, ONE traction tire only for each set of powered drivers.  This should be able to offer the same amount of traction we've all been used to, plus the added benefit of smoother running over the layout.  Maybe even help with improved tire life and cleaner rails in the long run.  Who knows, might be worth giving it a shot to see if it works.

Of course, changing out wheels on axles is far more easily said than done, I'm sure.  With the thousands of locos already out there, one easier idea might be to find a replacement tire material that is "slicker" than the standard rubber-type tire.  The standard rubber-type tire could be left on one wheel, while a slicker version could replace the tire on the other wheel.

Well, think about for awhile.  Toss this around and see what you think, and can come up with.  While I'm at it, for all you nay-say'rs out there who cannot read everything nor comprehend anything, might I suggest you go pound sand on a daily basis and save it for that day in the future when miniature working sand domes become a reality?  Otherwise, positive thoughts and positive comments are more than welcome.

That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

Thank you for "spilling" all of the beans.  They have been captured an placed in my notes on this subject.  Thank you for taking the time to do the presentations.

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