Do you have problems with your HO trains falling off the track?

All scales of trains can have problems staying on the track. Most of the time the problem is wheels out alignment and track problems.

NMRA makes a device for checking wheel guage, switch points, etc. It can quickly help you find problems with your track and cars. Talgo trucks are notorious for derailing while running in reverse and through switches and compound curves.

Athern and other makers make cars with body mounted couplers which run much better.

Switches are a major cause of derailments in any scale including 1/1. Check for debris in the frogs and proper alignment with adjoining track. A good rule of thumb is not to connect a switch to a curved section but to have a short straight approach.

In Ho and N scale, sometimes track connectors will come loose and cause track to separate or become misaligned. Connectors sometimes when being joined, end up under the rail which can cause height problems and derailments.

Many cars that come with sets have problems about being under weight. More weight will help in some cases as well as swapping out plastic wheels for steel wheels. Also slower operation speeds can prevent some problems as well as look more realistic.

If you want to abandon HO scale the next scale up is O scale which is about twice the size. You can get On30 equipment that will run on the Ho track you already have, This is narrow guage O scale equipment that is running on track that is 30 scale inches wide.

The next scale up from O is G scale which is very forgiving as far as staying on the track. I install these in resturants and these can run for months with out any attention. I have investigated a few derailments that customers have had and I’ve never had one that was a track issue. It’s usually contact with foreign objects like escaped ballons that trains tangle in the strings.

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3 Responses to Do you have problems with your HO trains falling off the track?

  1. Whit W says:

    All scales of trains can have problems staying on the track. Most of the time the problem is wheels out alignment and track problems. NMRA makes a device for checking wheel guage, switch points, etc. It can quickly help you find problems with your track and cars. Talgo trucks are notorious for derailing while running in reverse and through switches and compound curves. Athern and other makers make cars with body mounted couplers which run much better. Switches are a major cause of derailments in any scale including 1/1. Check for debris in the frogs and proper alignment with adjoining track. A good rule of thumb is not to connect a switch to a curved section but to have a short straight approach. In Ho and N scale, sometimes track connectors will come loose and cause track to separate or become misaligned. Connectors sometimes when being joined, end up under the rail which can cause height problems and derailments.
    Many cars that come with sets have problems about being under weight. More weight will help in some cases as well as swapping out plastic wheels for steel wheels.
    Also slower operation speeds can prevent some problems as well as look more realistic.
    If you want to abandon HO scale the next scale up is O scale which is about twice the size. You can get On30 equipment that will run on the Ho track you already have, This is narrow guage O scale equipment that is running on track that is 30 scale inches wide. The next scale up from O is G scale which is very forgiving as far as staying on the track. I install these in resturants and these can run for months with out any attention. I have investigated a few derailments that customers have had and I've never had one that was a track issue. It's usually contact with foreign objects like escaped ballons that trains tangle in the strings.
    References :

  2. LeRoy Wornell says:

    I read all I can from the experts when it comes to laying track. I am very careful in levelness, grade graduation, and the smoothness of the roadbed. I use good grade ply-wood and cork roadbed. I sand the roadbed before I install any track. I also check the underside of all the track I lay. I found that sometimes problem might arise from the flash lines that might be present. I sand the bottom of these pieces of track.
    When I lay track — and the roadbed — I use Woodland Scenics tacky glue. I figure the extra glue gives a small cushion between the track and the roadbed. I then use a piece of metal — actually, a level — a press it gently on the top of the track. I don’t use any track nails. I file all the joints and switchpoints and use metal wheels on all my rolling stock. I barely hear any “clickety clack” from the train running. That lets me know my track is smooth.

    I have used the Woodland Scenics two and four percent risers. They are pretty good, but even then I lay a 1/16th inch balsa over the riser before I put down the roadbed. I am probably a little fussy on this, but I have never had a train derail from poor track alignment.

    I weigh all my rolling stock according to NMRA standards.

    I build layouts for other people, so I go the extra mile in making sure the trains run well.

  3. I came across your site, i think your blog is awsome, keep us posting.

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