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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Big Engines are Sensitive on Curves

About this time last year actually, I was pretty excited to have this Johann 2-8-2 finished, except that it did not run worth a darn. Looked great (there is a better view here) but it would hardly pull itself around the layout.

It has taken me a while to trouble shoot it out. At first I thought it was the mechanism, and I let it sit until I had a block of time to look at it. I took it apart and it rolled freely. Not the mechanism. But I got an idea that maybe I needed a new power pack, and that helped a lot, as posted here. Now it ran but it got stuck here and there. Some of the issues were electrical with turnouts; due to the weight of the engine it would cause the turnout points to short. I got those insulated and it still would get stuck certain points on the curves. I finally figured out that 26” radius was the bare minimum for the mechanism, and where it got stuck was due to binding. In other words, there were places in my hand laid curves that were a bit tight and the mechanism was finding them. I had to work over five areas each about one foot long in the curves, got them smoother using a piece of Tru-Scale roadbed as a tool to visualize the radius, and now the engine runs well clockwise! Counterclockwise, well, it binds up two spots still. For now I will just run it clockwise, and I am not sure it is possible to adjust the track further without rebuilding and it is possible it is just a quirk of the mechanism that it is more sensitive in that direction. I am sure it will never take the passing siding as it goes down to about 24” radius at one end. Someday maybe I will build a bigger layout.

It is interesting to me that I have been running this layout for years, and smaller engines took the curves great. They should take them even better now, and I have clearly learned that big engines require better track work than smaller steam (the S-C 4-6-0 has a blind middle driver, for example) and diesel models. Where the 2-8-2 is sitting in the photo is one of those areas I worked over, right over the area where I had my original golden spike ceremony on February 2, 1982. I have the photos, maybe someday I will post them.

While we are here in the present day, take a look at those boxcars! Click on the photo for a larger view. They are the finished versions of the scribed side cars in this previous post. I love how they look and run on the converted PBL Sn3 Andrews trucks.

As to the locale, It has not been in many photos in the blog. I had hoped to have completed the rough scenery in this area by now but have not. The summer is my best block of time to work on model railroad projects and I don’t think it will get done this year. But finished scenery is in the works and plans.

UPDATE: More on getting the track smoothed out in this article.

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