Model Train Newsletter Issue #104

model train newsletter Hello all Model Railroaders and Welcome to Issue #104 of the popular Model Train Newsletter.

Enjoy this issue! And keeping commenting and sending your feedback… It is always appreciated.

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Model Trains For Beginners

This is “must have” information for all beginners and intermediate level model railroaders. It is a downloadable book and can be read within minutes.

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Model Train Help

Model Train Help

This is the perfect resource for advanced model railroaders.

It is a detailed 200+ page ebook packed to the brim with detailed technical solutions.

Read my full review here


7 Ways to Eliminate Model

Train Derailments

Are you frustrated because your model trains derail from time to time?

This was a major frustration for me. I would fix one section of the track and the next day the train would derail on another section.

It frustrated me to the point of wanting to give the hobby away..!

A smooth running model train is a dream for most model train beginners. But it is actually quite easy to achieve with a little attention to detail.

Here are 7 ways to stop your model train derailing:

1 – Ensure every joint on your track is level, aligned and properly fitted.

Sounds like common sense? But poorly assembled track joints are the worst offenders for derailing model trains.

Slide your finger across the joint. It should feel level with the gap between the tracks kept to the absolute minimum. I solder my joints because this stops any problems with expansion and contraction opening and closing of the joints.

With a small file I am able to create a continuously level track and have a beautifully smooth running model train.

2 – Check your track gauge on joints, turnouts and frog assemblies.

Another common problem for model train derailments is incorrect track gauge. A tight track gauge will cause the wheels to climb up and derail off the track.

A wide track gauge will also derail your model train as the wheel flanges can not span the track properly. The gauge can be adjusted using a soldering iron to gently heat the rail, moving the rail to the correct position and allowing it to cool.

3 – Check your switch points for sharpness when they switch.

Some new switch points can be fairly blunt on the movable section where it strikes up against the stock rails. This can grab on the wheels and cause a model train derailment.

A small file can be used to gently smooth the moveable part of the points to allow a nice smooth transition. Remember to check the gauge in both positions.

4 – Check all your model train couplers.

A snagging coupler will cause model train derailments. Some new carriages can come with unpolished couplers which can catch and force derailments.

Clean off any rough edges and adjust the couplers for proper centering. The manufacturers usually provide these instructions.

5 – Add extra weight to your freight cars.

I find that most freight cars are too light and sometimes all the wheels do not contact the rails equally. By adding a small amount of weight to the cars your model train will run smoother and you will eliminate derailments, especially on the tight radius’s.

Just make sure you add the weight as low as possible to the car and in the center, keeping a low center of gravity.

6 – Check all your wheel sets for proper operation.

Wheel sets that are out of gauge, not aligned or moving freely will cause your model train to derail. Check your wheel sets and make sure that your carriages are not crabbing and forcing the wheel flanges into the rail, making it prone to derail.

The carriages should rock freely to take up any small imperfections in your track.

7 – Lubricate the squeaks.

Sometimes the smallest drop of light oil will cure a problem with your model train derailing. An unlubricated or snaggy wheel, or coupler, can cause a slight tip over, or jar, which usually forces the wheel flange to snag the rail and derail your model train.

Oil attracts dust and can damage paintwork, so make sure you use only the smallest amount required.

Now you have no reason to put up with your model train derailing.

It usually comes down to a small bit of maintenance from time to time. With the quality most manufacturers are producing today, and some ongoing maintenance, you can make model train derailments a thing of the past.

Huge HO Scale Model Railroad

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Make Your Rails Look Rusty
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Model Train Conversations

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Track cement – I am starting a new N Scale layout using Atlas code 55 flextrack. I am looking for a cement to glue the track to the roadbed, that gived me time to set and align the track before it hardens. I would appreciate and suggestion to help with this….. read more


Will This Layout Work? – Okay, I have a layout that in my mind should work. Can you please review it so that I can be sure the investment will not end up a pile of track in a box? Explanation: Two separate tracks. Each track will have its own power transformer and control….. read more

Running two engines – With DCC it would be easy since you can control each locomotive independently. With straight DC you would need to separate your railroad into electrically isolated blocks, then you can control each train with its own power supply….. read more

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Complete Model Railroader How To System

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Model train layout by Mike Gillespie

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Model Railroad by Stephen Ruszkai

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Model railway by Paul Campagna

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The Model Train Fat Fingers

A reader emailed asking how they could get past the fat finger syndrome… when trying to hold and work on their model train models.

The answer is a simple Rubbermaid turntable.


These come in different sizes and I find them perfect to build my models on… turning the turntable as I go along.

When I’m building very large buildings I’ll take a piece of plywood and put it onto the turntable, so the base is bigger and then model on the plywood.

They are available from any home wares type shop.

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Model Train Stuff

Model Railroading can be a very expensive hobby, if you buy everything new and pay the full retail price.

We are always searching for better deals and ways to help our readers (especially the beginners) to get started with a limited budget, hopefully this will help:

>> United States Model Railroaders click here

>> Canadian Model Railroaders click here

>> United Kingdom Model Railroaders click here

>> Australian Model Railroaders click here



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