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Problem With Train Stopping On Crossing

William is hoping someone can advise him with his HO problem:

“I have a 19 degree Atlas crossing. My engines hesitate and some even just stop. How do I resolve this issue? It is getting frustrating.”

22 Responses to Problem With Train Stopping On Crossing

  • Leesays:

    Sounds like an electrical connection; I always solder a feeder wire at the four points (entry and exit) of the crossing, may be a bit of an overkill, but since I’ve started doing it (all crossings) I haven’t had any issues (also, goes without saying, be sure tracks are clean!)


  • Robert Mooresays:

    Ditto. use a small light bulb to test for the dead spot, then solder it.

  • Rich Aubelsays:

    It’s definitely an electrical continuity problem just like the frog on a turnout that is not powered. Use a meter to check and see if the rails on each leg of the crossing are connected. If not, you need to add jumper wires to connect all of the rails in their correct direction.

  • Anna noesays:

    Following. I want to make my trains stop at different stations and at the crossings. But I have no clue as to how to do it

    • Robert G Laytonsays:

      If you are running a single locomotive on a single track you can do this with the Arduino and any number of sensors that tell the Arduino which stop the train is at and how long you want it to wait before proceeding. This will not work with DCC. If you are using DCC, consider what you can do with DCC++.

    • Patrick Smithsays:

      What you want is Block occupancy detection.. or train detection.. or it goes by a few different names. There are several ways to do it and TONS of information online. This is a huge topic so I will not get into it here. Good luck.

  • Craig Inghamsays:

    If the crossing has plastic for the crossing “frogs”, it may be that the wheelbase of the engine is to short to span the plastic. A short wheel base of a diesel or an 0-4-0. loses eletrial contact.

    • Sheldon Clarksays:

      On the principle that the simplest solution is usually the right one (“Occam’s Razor”), I would look at this first.

  • Robertsays:

    If the above don’t work then check the back to back wheel gauge as the wheels might be jamming in the check rails.
    Older locos have quite deep flanges that will lift another going through the frog or on the rail fixing chairs so that electrical contact is made with only one side. This can also be caused by a build up of dirt in the frog channel area.

  • Henry G.says:

    The three guys on the very top are correct, electrical malfunction, making sure ALL your connections are 100% positive, its a must.
    Good trip..!!!!

  • Gopal Dagasays:

    Apart from connectivity issues, there could be alignment problems. Run your index finger softly thru joints and try to feel any UPS & DOWNS, where the track joint is. Should it appear, you need to detach it, clean very property and reset the same in a way that joining area is absolutely smooth. You may find it working.

  • Jim Bucksays:

    Assume the train is stopping because the engine is not getting any power. What is in the way? Find what is in the way and you will solve the problem. Remember the power comes from the track, and the engine has to pick up the power, somehow. It runs, it goes as far as the crossing and stops, so the problem is at the crossing. Look at the crossing for your problem, let the crossing tell you where the problem is, look at it, watch as a car or locomotive is pushed by hand through the crossing, does it ride up as it goes across or through the crossing. Is there sufficient clearance? Is something dragging or snagging? Is there a large gap where power drops out?
    Don’t ask me about dead frogs though?

  • Andrew Smithsays:

    I used to have this/that problem , rub the track with fine sandpaper , lightly so as not to spoil the track or put thinners on a cotton bud and wipe the effected area , not saying it will but it might work

  • Bob corbettsays:

    On a lighter note….maybe the Fat Controller has turned the RED SIGNAL light on..!!!

  • Petersays:

    I solved this problem with at least 1 car behind the locomotive with pick up of power and connected to the locomotive by wires and small connectors. The biggest problem is to find small connectors for the connection. With this I also can run over track that is not completely clean and have no interruption in traffic.

  • Gregg Tivnansays:

    Look at your locomotive FIRST. Make sure it has electrical pickup from several points. There will always be dead spots on a crossing, they are needed due to electricity in the rails. If your loco picks up from one or two wheels only, you will have trouble on crossings.
    This is common sense.


  • robmcsays:

    Why not fit a “stay alive” chip – thats what we do in UK – works every time as it keeps the loco powered over dead spots

    • Sheldon Clarksays:

      Does this only work for DCC (Digital) Control?

  • David Stokessays:

    We have two components here – the track and the loco. Track first – the guys have stressed getting power to all parts of the crossing and making sure the track is clean, in proper gauge and alignment. The loco could have a number of issues but in this case flange depth, wheel gauge and back to back must all be spot on so check them. The comment about things on the loco “dragging” is a good one worth following up. In a crossing the loco drives over rails set at the same height as the rails it is one. If the glad hand of a coupler sags when it comes to a set of points it “slides” along the rails and causes little problem, but on a crossing it will hit that rail square (or almost) square on and stop the train dead.

  • Jay Rosssays:

    The way the the crossings are built, they will have dead spots, due to the insulation between the rails, much like turnout frogs. If you have verified that all sections of the crossing are “live”, and the track is clean with no defects or obstructions, you will need to check your locomotives wheel pickup situation. Not all locomotives have “all wheel pickup”. Many steam locos have pickup on one side of the loco, and the other side of the tender, that can be a problem on crossings and turnouts. I have that issue with many brass locos, and they will stall on crossings and turnouts. The remedy is to add more wheel pickup with wiper wires, then connecting them to the engine’s circuitry. The wiper wires are best made with Phosphor Bronze, around .010″. It’s springy, and a good conductor, and can be found on the web. Many older Diesels also have a limited wheel pickup problem because they also only have pickup on one side on one truck, and the same for the other truck. Most of the newer equipment has “all wheel pickup” because manufactures have addresses the problems, and competition has pushed them to make superior products. A good locomotive will have a Can motor, flywheels, and all wheel pickup, and that will help to carry a locomotive through some of the dead spots in track work.

  • Jesús Escobedosays:

    I have had a similar problem now then with N scale on KATO track. In my case it is the knuckle coupler that I need to adjust, as it trips with the turnout when moving in reverse.

  • David Broadsays:

    To cure the problem you will need to “Live Frog” the crossing to get rid of the plastic insulated blobs, this means using a 4 pole change over switch or relay. I have done several Peco long crossings,it is a lot of work. Its easier to not have a crossing or use a double slip which is dead simple electrically.

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