Back to Zero Derailments

 photo WheelsAndRail_zps98948ddc.jpg

As mentioned previously, after a couple of weeks of tuning track I finally flipped over CNR 80 earlier this week, to give it an inspection. And I discovered a fair build-up of dirt on the wheels.

I scraped away the gunk, and have now run the locomotive through all of the former trouble spots about a dozen times in each direction. And it’s performing without any problems. I’m back on track towards my goal of Zero Derailments.

Now, it’s true that I found some issues with the track – so my work on that was not in vain. But in focussing on the track I forgot a cardinal rule about railways:

Wheels and rails are a system – they work, because they work together.

I should make this into a nice sign and stick it near the sector plate, where all equipment begins and ends an operating session. And next time I experience derailments (and I’m sure there will be a next time, because layouts are not static things), I will check both sides of the relationship – just to be sure, and to maybe save me a bit of grief.

2 thoughts on “Back to Zero Derailments

  1. Trevor,

    You’re exactly right about the wheels and rails comprising a system that works only when it works together. I think constant derailments are something that frustrates a lot of newcomers to model railroading and probably leads to some just giving up the hobby altogether. A lot of time they are first given a train set of cheaper quality and, as expected, the car wheels and track just don’t get it together too well. Instead of perhaps changing out the car trucks to ones of better quality to improve tracking or upgrade their track components, they’ll put up with having to regularly rerail equipment until their interest finally wanes.

    I saw an interesting article about real RR derailments awhile back and had never thought about the particular problem that was presented, but it drives home the point of wheels and track working together. In the article it was mentioned that many customers own and maintain their own sidings. When cars derail on customer sidings the customer is liable for damage to the cars, if negligent track maintenance is to blame. Many times the RR will automatically assume it was the customer’s track that caused the derailment. However, the article went on to say that a customer should have the derailed car’s wheels examined before they are moved from the scene because sometimes it’s excessive wheel wear that is the root cause, not the track condition. It was noted, the flanges on wheels can get worn from a smooth curve to a sharp edge. That edge can bite right into the rail head and cause the wheels to climb over the rail, especially on tighter curves often seen on industrial sidings. So, it’s certainly true that both wheels and rail have to be maintained properly so as to work together to get the job done.


  2. Of course, you could have puchased some scale rerail frogs and included rerailing as part of your operating sessions !! šŸ™‚


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