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How To Stop Trains Uncoupling

Phil asks readers:

“How do I stop my N scale trains from uncoupling and jumping the track?”

6 Responses to How To Stop Trains Uncoupling

  • Robertsays:

    It looks like you may have a track alignment problem. Check that the rail joints are in line both vertically and horizontally. Check the track gauge is right. If the transition between level and a gradient is too sharp then couplers can slide up over one and other and uncouple.

  • David Stokessays:

    N Scale and trains uncoupling seem to go together like…
    Track – in gauge, no ballast snags, turnouts in gauge and making proper contact, with good flangeways.
    Wheels – flanges not to large, in gauge and truly centrally axles. Axles in bearings correctly, lubricated.
    Bogies – three point suspension makes for better tracking, not too tightly screwed to the bolster of the wagons.
    Lastly couplings. Ensure no “flash” causing mis alignment if using Arnold style, check the installation of KD style couplers using a proper gauge to ensure correct fitting..

  • Sheldon Clarksays:

    Uncoupling – 1. Ensure couplings are properly aligned at the correct level; standard couplings (at least) sometimes sag & that can cause problems.
    2. Ensure any rail joints are correctly aligned vertically & horizontally.
    3. Ensure flanges aren’t catching on chairs or ballast.
    Derailing – 1. Ensure any rail joints are correctly aligned vertically & horizontally.
    2. Ensure flanges aren’t catching on chairs or ballast.
    Is there a common thread here?

    • Newman Atkinsonsays:

      Especially in the joint alignment at your track connections it is easy to get a jog in the track.
      If you can get a camera down looking in line with the rails you can see jogs in the rails at joints and connecting to switches. These are places that might look good just looking but the camera says it all. Where you might have straight rail and go into a curve the rail needs to gently go into that curve and not suddenly have a curve radius. That is like Lionel track using standard sectional track. I have videoed some friends layouts and the camera will be following the rails and that connection joint is not straight It is like a jurk in the rail. My camera has been down mine and it spots lots of places that are not smooth joints although I have not had a lot of problems with them. The camera or video camera can spot places you would not think of. A flex track connection where the connection is in a curve the rails still want to straighten up causing a joint to have a jurk in it. To fix that set your track and cut it to fit as you are installing it. Once fitted allow the rails to straighten up and lightly solder the joint. Then when re flexing the rail it will allow the joint to stay in line through the curve. It will act like one full section flexed for the curve. A joint in a curve using flex track the camera says it all. from Newman Atkinson

  • R. Olivarezsays:

    You have already been told to check for alignment of tracks. But no one has mentioned about proper car weight. Improper car weight can cause light cars to decouple and derail trains.

    Also make sure that ballast is not too high or loose around the tracks, that would cause the couplers or wheels to bounce and disconnect. Be sure that your tracks are clean and clear of anything. A grain of sand stuck to a track rail can cause a derailment of a “N” scale train.

  • jim ourslersays:

    Check that you don’t have an S-Curve.

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