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Adding Hidden Pulling Power To A Train

ghan train australia

Ghan Train Australia

Purna asks readers the following:

“Can I make my HO scale train more powerful by adding more locos which are “hidden” in the skin of carriages? Will it be effective? And can all such locos be synchronized well (without derailing etc.) Is DCC good for that? My real objective is to make a GHAN train with two visible locos (even though the rest of the powering locos are hidden) with a number of carriages about 50 in my model layout… Have any of you tried doing this? Will the power of the train drop if the track is too steep or with lot of bends”

The Ghan’s 2,979km (1850 mile) journey takes 48 hours and has been operating from the through central Australia since 1878. The train runs from the far south up through the middle of Australia to the far north. The Ghan was originally called the Afghan Express. The Ghan name is from 19th century Afghan camel drivers who ventured to Australia to help to explore the country’s remote largely arid interior.

6 Responses to Adding Hidden Pulling Power To A Train

  • Geoffsays:

    I just got back from a train show where they had a single HO engine pulling 25 cars. No grades, and the curves were maybe 5 foot radius. So I would think two locos would be enough power as long as you had wide curves. Not sure about grades though. The problem is likely to be the couplings not taking the strain. You might solve that with a “hidden” engine in the middle.

  • Gerald R Hyinksays:

    DCC is the way to go with your proposed layout. You can sync 2 or more engines with DCC, It is very hard to get2 engines running together without DCC. 2 engines leading should be able to pull your train without hiding any engines. However with DCC you can have 2 leading and 1 pushing or in the middle and all will run together. Not being familiar with Ghan I don’t know if you will have any large grades to climb. I believe it is fairly flat.

  • David Stokessays:

    It is certainly feasible to dress up a piece of rolling stock with hidden power. Unless you use 2 axle power sets normal loco power sets might give away your cunning ruse. The modern loco models of Ghan power is more than capable of towing a prototypical Ghan. DCC is recommended.

  • Kevin Chingsays:

    Hi Purna
    You could try what a mate of mine did and lay some stainless steel under the track on the grades and put those little high power magnets under the loco and as the magnetic field pulls down on the track this will increase the pulling power of the loco

    • Bobsays:

      Stainless steel is not attracted by a magnet. It doesn’t rust because it contains no iron.

  • Billsays:

    DCC is the way to go if you want the locos to work together properly. 50 cars shouldn’t be a problem for 2 modern diesels to pull. Grade and curvature are both items that will reduce the pulling power of your locos. If the two are not enough you could look at traction tires. These will increase by a fair amount the pulling power of the two locos and easier than trying to hide a loco in a box car.

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