A Railroad with Relevance

Laying Track – Part VII

Written By: Alan - Jan• 20•15

Time to test some trains on the module!module 1 Are you ready for this? A video of the very first train to move under track power on the LK&O Railroad. Don’t blink, you will miss it.

Not real exciting I know. But I just had to record the moment for all prosperity. Whether the train moved or not I wanted the moment on video. Hit record and twist the throttle. What do you know. It worked! Even with my oh so unprofessional way of hooking up the power supplies.


After the big moment had passed I got down to the business of testing the module. The locomotive you see is an Atlas H16-44 chassis with a RailPro module taped atop of it. The twisted wire connections and lack of shell isn’t very pretty but it is down right easy for connecting meter probes to see what is going on electrically.

For testing I used freight cars from four different manufacturers – Atlas (flat), Walthers (tank car), Kadee (box car), and Bachmann (stock car). One from each. Wheels were gauged, coupler heights set, and bolsters adjusted. Worth noting, none of the axles were out of gauge right from the box. Coupler heights were right except for the Bachmann. It was too low. As I write this I realize the Atlas flat car didn’t make it into the photograph. Oh well, too late now. I wanted to run trains, not take pictures. 🙂


I am extremely pleased to say the module trackwork works excellent. I ran trains back and forth for hours trying each route through the switches, forward and backward, slow and fast. I encountered only a single problem during the entire testing time.

The point rail hinges on the 3-way turnout were sloppy allowing the point rails to move side to side at the hinge. This caused misalignment on the gauge side of the rails. It wasn’t much measurement-wise but the fact that it was so abrupt is what was causing the problem. In fact the train passed over it many times before the first wheel derailed. I tightened the hinges slightly with needle nose pliers but it was obvious why they are loose. The point rails of a 3-way turnout are very short. This creates a lot of movement at the hinge. If I had tightened them up enough to prevent the rail misalignment then I fear they may have been too stiff. I suspect this is why Walthers manufacturers them this way. So I did the next best thing. I lightly filed the gauge side of the point rails at the hinge. I pushed a point rail to the side using my fingernail and then filed a nice taper to remove the hard right angle on the end of the point rail. This was repeated on both point rail sets of the turnout. None of the regular #6 and #8 turnouts had the same alignment issue. With the 3-way tidied up I continued testing.


It was smooth sailing from there on. Several days in a row I ran my test train in miniature operating sessions. I must have placed each car on a different yard classification track a hundred times. It was fun! No derailments, no power stutters, no stalling on turnouts, no funny wobbles. I could not ask for it to work any better. Time to put this bad boy back on the layout.




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One Comment

  1. Lee says:

    I did exactly the same thing with regard to documenting the first train movement on a new layout. The difference is I was not brave enough to post it. I did not feel it was worthy of posting, but then again I have not documented every aspect of building it for the past 4 years or so like you did. We *ALL* wanted to see that first train on the LK&O and let me be the first to congratulate you on this momentous occasion!

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