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Re: Traction problems

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  • tv175
    Hi, Bruce -- The traction problem always leads to some interesting discussions on this list. Before making permanent modifications to your locomotives, I d
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 26 2:44 PM
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      Hi, Bruce --

      The traction problem always leads to some interesting discussions on
      this list. Before making permanent modifications to your locomotives,
      I'd recommend starting with the easiest and cheapest fixes. See if
      you get satisfactory performance with these. If not, maybe go on to
      more drastic measures.

      First of all, make sure your track and your locomotive wheels are
      clean. Oil on either surface will obviously cut down on the all-
      important friction between driver and railhead. Also, if dirt causes
      even a split-second interruption of power to the loco on an uphill
      grade, there will be a slight (or complete!) loss of train momentum,
      which your loco may not be able to regain until the train tops the

      Secondly, smooth and well-secured trackwork is easier to climb. If
      your loco has to use some of its pulling power to drag cars out of
      dips in the trackwork or over rough rail joints, it will have less
      "oomph" left over to devote to climbing the hill.

      If you join a few Z track sections together (straights, curves,
      turnouts, flex, whatever), lay them on a smooth flat tabletop, and
      then view them at a very low angle (your eye just above the level of
      the tabletop), you may be able to see "daylight" underneath the
      tracks here and there. Often, track sections arch a bit, or are
      forced to do so by slightly crooked joiners. Even if the ends of a
      curved section are touching the table, the middle of the curve may
      hang in the air a millimeter or two off the table. When a train comes
      by, it will have to climb up each arch. Sometimes the weight of the
      train will be sufficient to flatten the track out as it passes over,
      and the track will arch again once the weight is gone. Either way,
      the loco has to do extra work to overcome each arch in the track. If
      you put this track on a slope, you can imagine what the result might

      Once you secure the track with spikes or adhesive, correct any rough
      joints, and if necessary place shims under low spots (generally at
      joints), you may notice an improvement in performance on grades.


      -- Andy Hunting

      P.S. David Karp has some great info on Z locomotive traction here:

      --- In z_scale@y..., "brucekrob" <brucekro@a...> wrote:
      > Like, I suspect, many of us, my trains are experiencing some
      > trying to haul anything other than their butts up a slight grade. I
      > wondering if anyone had tried roughing up the tracks a bit to try to
      > increase the traction of the driving wheels. My thought (and not
      > necessarily a complete one) would be to take some coarse emery cloth
      > and lightly rub the tracks sideways with it. I certainly wouldn't do
      > this on all the track on my layout, but only at the areas where the
      > locos need more grip. My guess is that this is not one of my better
      > ideas, but other than probably needing to clean the track more in
      > area because of dirt buildup I can't think of a reason not to try
      > Comments? (Please be nice...)
      > Bruce
      > Bruce A. Krobusek
      > Farmington NY
      > brucekro@a...
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