A couple of Gremlins Down

Well, after last week’s post about hunting for a persistent electrical/mechanical problem at the very first switch coming out of the CN Staging yard, I have made some progress. I have worked through a variety of possible sources of the ill behaviour being seen. I have gone back and re-gapped the copper rails, and the gaps around the frog in the switch. I have also cleared the flangeway gap in the frog to remove some excess solder and free up the flangeway. I am, to be perfectly honest, not sure which action individually seems to have solved the problem, as I was frustrated as my efforts weren’t getting anywhere, and I defied the scientific method and did multiple things before testing. Yes, I know, defeats the purpose of trying to follow a logical path of action. I am willing to live this this given that it seems to now be functioning. I need to go back and touch up the paint on the ties, as you an see from the pictures, the re-gapping has made a bit of a mess of them!

Looking at the problem location, rolling through a truck (could feel it bind at the frog), and re-gapping the rails.

As I said, I don’t know for sure what action solved the problem, but it seems to be working after a fair bit of testing. I am willing to live with that, as I was really getting upset by my inability to get a train to run onto the layout without stalling out and stopping.

Moving on, the next switch is actually permanently shut, but it had a regular issue where it was catching cars coming around the curve leading into it. As the switch leads off the edge of the layout, and is fixed, its purely scenic, I pulled out the soldering iron and quickly heated the end of the rail on the throw bar and widened the flangeway.

Widened flangeway at the top of the image, not visible that its over wide in normal viewing, but the gap now doesn’t catch any wheels and send them the wrong way.

The final Gremlin I have gotten to is one of the curves on the Bat’leth switch in the corner. The guard rails for one of the road crossings were clearly too tight, as cars would jump in two locations, sometimes dropping back in gauge, sometimes derailing. Using the truck being pushed through by hand, I could feel and see the locations where the truck was riding up. The good news was that it appeared both problems could be resolved by moving the same guard rail to give a little more wiggle room. The problem is, this area was already paved. This meant some time carefully chipping out my drywall plaster road paving between the rails so I could adjust them. This is of course, something I should have done long ago before paving the road.

I also found a secondary gremlin in one of the switches. One of the switches in the road had a guard rail for the road that needed to float freely so the switch rails could move. It was riding up over the height of the rail adjacent and was tight enough it was lifting the wheels of cars, causing some to derail. This was a simple fix, I cut a few mm off the end of the rail, so it was no longer close enough to gently lift the wheels of cars and toss them in the ballast.

The Bat’leth, multiple little problems, but the biggest to fix required pulling out the paving between the rails.

I am going to run trains through this for a bit before I re-pave the road, lets learn from past mistakes! Much easier to further adjust the guard rail if needed, thank to have to scrape out the paving again! Thanks to everyone who engaged with last weeks post, the suggestions are appreciated, and I certainly got a couple of ideas from them for things that I thought should be fine but where they may actually have been causing the issues.

3 thoughts on “A couple of Gremlins Down

  1. I’m so glad you were able to solve this. Congrats!

    The scientific method is over-rated. The next time you have a problem like this, the solution will be different. It doesn’t hurt to try them all.

    More importantly, you were able to solve it yourself – so now those skills are part of your toolkit.

    And the bit of cleanup you’ll have to do is something you can fix in a few moments.

    Well done!

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