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Many of you probably wonder, whenever I come in here if I am ever going to actually lay track.
Well a year ago, I came down with bladder cancer, and have been dealing with that, and continue to deal with the aftermath of the BCG treatments. The cancer is gone, but my bladder is not a happy camper at all.

Anyway, I finally finished building my train table, and laid down the main outer loop of Ross track and two crossover switches that happen to set in this loop.

So, I am able to run the following trains with no issues:
    Lionel - Grand Central AA - Conventional - With 6 cars - Conventional
    Lionel - GP38 - Conventional - With no cars
    Lionel - Old Chrome General - Conventional - With 6 cars

However my steamers do not want to stay on this track well at all:
    Lionel - Polar Express Locomotive and tender - Lion Chief - With no cars
        Will not go thru the switches, in either direction. I drives right up and over and shorts the track.
    Lionel - Pennsylvania Flyer - Lion Chief - With no cars.
        Also has trouble with the switches. If going slow, will drive right out of an O-42 curve.

I am under the impression that this is the best track and the best switches on the market, but these results seem to say otherwise.

I have not contacted Steve about this yet, but wanted to check here first.
Have any of you had these kings of issues with Ross track and or Switches?

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Last edited by Rich Melvin
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Read again.
I listed two steamers.
Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer and Lionel Polar Express Berkshire.

I don't know that it is the Ross Track and switches, but I can say this:
The Pen Flyer never drove out of any 031 or O42 Fast Track curves.
However it did have problems backing thru the Fastrack switches.
Fine going forward but not backing thru them.

I never ran the Berkshire on the Fastrack, so I can't say if it would have worked or not.
I just did not expect to have issues with the Ross equipment, especially not just driving out of the curves like that.

That is why I am posting here, to see if there is information that I was just not aware of regarding this issue.

I will be contacting Steve next week, just to see if he has anything to offer on the subject.
I really like him, and he has always been very helpful,  I even went to see his shop a couple of years ago. He gave my wife and me a very nice tour of his factory.
However, this will be the first time to actually discuss issues with the track and switches.

I'm running Ross switches and a mix of Ross and Gargraves track.  I happen to have the same size Polar Express that was conventional and I upgraded it to TMCC with all my goodies and fan driven smoke.  It runs flawlessly around on the track and through all the switches coming out of the yard and on the mainline, it probably crosses at least ten switches.

I'm running all O72 or larger curves, so that's a significant difference, but I don't see what you're seeing.

Many track/train issues seem to involve steam engines.

I have four tracks at home and three at the club. Both are set up with Ross and GarGraves trackage. Like John almost all are 072.

The issues with steam engines could be the wheel Guage being off or the spring on the front truck being too weak.

You essentially need to watch the wheels as they go  through the tracks. Not a right or wrong answer but I do not believe it is the track. Just my opinion. Good luck.

Last edited by DMASSO

I have O-42 ross and run all of my engines perfectly through ross switches, have lion chief, steamers, legacy steamers 2-8-0, and the new 0-6-0 docksider,  My guess is that your track/switch may not be level.  I only see one switch, and no track extending from that, are you saying your engines will not run through the straight on the switch.  Did you buy these engines new?   Just some thoughts

Chuck,

I guess that's true with the Fastrak turnouts?  I just pushed my Legacy GS2 through my atlas turnouts by hand multiple times and found that I had to increase the spring tension on the front truck to resolve the issue.  I'm still in the learning phase too (I don't think it ever ends... at least I hope it doesn't).  Thanks!

dennis

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

Experiment by adding track pins to the Ross hot or floating rails as shown in the picture below. This lengthens the time the pickup roller will be in contact with the hot side of the transformer. If the pins are too long, a short may occur so you really have try these pins on a trial by error basis. Sometimes it helps; sometimes it doesn't. Make sure your outer rails of the Ross switch are tied to common or ground.

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Your description of the problem is not clear to me.  Are you saying that the two problem steam engines are derailing when the are run through the straight and curved section of both switches?  The other 3 engines, two diesels and one steam engine, do not have any issues going through either the straight or curved sections of the switches.  

If the two Lion Chief steam engines are derailing and the others aren't then you need to look at those two engines to see if the wheels are dirty or a traction tire is loose, etc.  Another problem may be dirt in the switches that only affects those engines.  Try cleaning both the engine wheels and the switches first.  You will be surprised at how often dirty wheels or track is causing problems with some engines and not others.  This is always the first thing I look at when there are electrical or derailing issues on my layout.  NH Joe

Your description of the problem is not clear to me.  Are you saying that the two problem steam engines are derailing when the are run through the straight and curved section of both switches?  The other 3 engines, two diesels and one steam engine, do not have any issues going through either the straight or curved sections of the switches.  

If the two Lion Chief steam engines are derailing and the others aren't then you need to look at those two engines to see if the wheels are dirty or a traction tire is loose, etc.  Another problem may be dirt in the switches that only affects those engines.  Try cleaning both the engine wheels and the switches first.  You will be surprised at how often dirty wheels or track is causing problems with some engines and not others.  This is always the first thing I look at when there are electrical or derailing issues on my layout.  NH Joe

Yes, the engines are only going thru the straight section of the two Regular 11 Crossover switches. One is a lead in, and the other is a lead out switch. Dirt is not the issue as the wheels are clean and hardly used on either engine. The switches are also brand new, so they should be clean as well. Also, the traction tires are very tight, again, with very little use.

I am beginning to think that the Pennsylvanian Flyer is just a problematic locomotive, almost like the flange of the front truck may be grabbing the track edge and just climbing out.
From some of the earlier posts, here, maybe the Berkshire may need some tweaking, but I would need some guidance on that.

The, very old, General, with its very light and very loose front trucks goes thru with no issues at all.

@CAPPilot posted:

It would be nice to see several closeup photos of the switch from different angles in both positions.  This may allow us to help you.

I will get some more pics of the switches and post them for your investigation.

I will also try to get short video of what is happening, if I can get them from my phone to my computer. Not exactly sure how to do that.

@RWL posted:

I will get some more pics of the switches and post them for your investigation.

I will also try to get short video of what is happening, if I can get them from my phone to my computer. Not exactly sure how to do that.

That would be great.  The Ross Regular switch is one of the most reliable switches made, so I do not think it is the problem.  However, I have found that Ross switches, since they do not have a built in base like FasTrack, are prone to twisting if installed incorrectly.  The switch works best when perfectly flat.

A possible issue is tightening the mounting screws too much.  If you use screws to hold down the switch, tighten the screw to where it is just touching the tie.  Several of my Ross switches don't have any screws in them; they are held in place by the connecting track sections.

@Bruce Brown posted:

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Bruce's Ross w/extensions above... and, Atlas below. Look at your Fastrak... how large is the gap from center rail to frog?  Your pickup's may be not be transitioning well while bridging the gap and causing the derailment.   You may be able to see/feel this by placing one of the offending Locos on the turnout and pushing it through without power...

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Moving the Loco (Legacy GS2) by hand...

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Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

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