Frequent derailments of certain cars and/or locomotives?
First, pull the offending cars and/or locomotives off the layout.
Check the car's weight. Additional weight can result in better tracking and consequently less
How much more weight should be added?
The NMRA publishes suggested weights for both passenger and freight cars by their length for each
model railroading scale.
N scale passenger and freight cars is .5 ounces per car plus .15 ounce
per inch of the car's length.
I have found adding an additional .25 ounce to this formula works best for me.
What can I use to incrementally add weight to my model trains?
I have found that most automotive repair shops
and tire stores are happy to give away handfulls of quarter-ounce adhesive backed weights. These
are typically used for balancing tires, but are perfect for quickly and easily adding weight to
your rolling stock and/or locomotives. Simply take off the top or shell and add the appropriate
weight to the floor of the car. You may need to get creative with flat cars, gondolas and hoppers -
but you can always bury them under a load. Before pulling off the adhesive backing, test fit the
weight. Pull off the backing and place the weight.
Be sure to center the weight in the car and try to maintain a low center of gravity. Top heavy
cars will cause more problems! Also, weighting locomotives will be a challenge, as any room for
additional weight will probably be in the top of the shell. However, the weight of the motor will
more than offset any additional weight.
Derailments are a fact of life, even for the full size railroads. The time you spend quickly
and easily adding weight to your rolling stock and/or locomotives can result in better tracking,
less derailments and most importantly, more time enjoying the operation of your model trains.