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Having moved from a large house with a full loft layout to a smaller house my new layout has been hit with compromises. After much re-designing I have settled on a 2 level layout but on testing have hit snags on the inclines. When I moved I cleared out most of my older tender drive locos as the newer ones are more authentic but I have found out to my cost they won't pull the skin off a rice pudding! Its fine to double head some locos as they did so in the steam era but to consider this for an A4 or a Coronation class is out of the question. With this huge obsticle in my way I decided to find a way round this and have designed a traction improver which on a normal circuit will allow 20 coaches to be pulled effortlessly around the track. On my steep incline my Jubilee would just about hit the summitt with 6 coaches which I felt did not reflect the real thing.I have read on many sites the critisism of pulling power since lead weights have been reduced to make way for DCC chips. With the "traction improver" I can haul 13 coaches up the incline which is more in keeping with vintage steam reality.I have approached one of the big 4 last year ( before the current credit crisis) and they were interested.However they now believe to be profitable and to make the tooling etc. it would need to retail around £50 and they are uncertain if there is a market out there now. I would be interested in the views of the Forum members as I believe this site acts as a good Barometer for views
I have recorded a video (its not wonderful) showing the pre & after traction improvement and it also shows the steepness of the incline and full loading so views would be appreciated as to whether I should go to market or just enjoy my "toy" myself

 

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How many people out there want to pull 20 coaches. I don't even have 20 similar coaches. I'd have to mix country to get that many.

Sure, it is nice to have locos with good performance and it is certainly quite awful to have a loco with bad performance.

Regarding gradients and pulling power, is the problem due to bad locos or bad layout design?
 

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How many people out there want to pull 20 coaches. I don't even have 20 similar coaches. I'd have to mix country to get that many.

Sure, it is nice to have locos with good performance and it is certainly quite awful to have a loco with bad performance.

Regarding gradients and pulling power, is the problem due to bad locos or bad layout design?
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Hi Doug
appreciate your comments re bad layout design but its all I could do to get a good run. The reason for stating it would pull 20 was not to say this is the norm.
Pacifics on the Euston Line would pull 15 or 16 coaches so I dont think 10 -12 is unreasonable, Plus a certain manufacturer has commented in one of the popular magazines "we must compromise on models" so we have all accepted weak performance on some locos
 

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Over here in Canada (and the US) where lots of us have a basement and can run longer trains I think there might be considerable interest. for both UK and NA outline Note I run 10 coach trains UK trains
 

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Yes I've a 16 by 10 ft space and I'm reluctant to add a gradient because of the uncertainy of haulage as I'd be looking at 10+ coach trains. An Inverted figure 8 would be the way forward for me.Though £50 would seem a lot of cash.

Especially when I've afleet of 60+ locos 's

When is the ratio of the gradient...?
 

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It sounds like an interesting idea, but I can generally obtain satisfactory traction for my 1 in 80 gradients by using lead for ballast, usually replacing the lighter cast ballast that the manufacturers necessarily use; (lead having been banned for commercially sold models for some years) full size trains are then pulled without difficulty. This is very low cost, and I get the therapeutic benefit of bashing the lead with a hammer to form neat shapes that just fit into the bodies. That works for me as the engines on the heaviest duties are wide firebox types and relatively easy to balance at a good weight for sufficient traction.

However there are loco wheel arrangements notoriously difficult to ballast effectively, 4-4-0's, singles, atlantics, 0-4-4T types, and for these your technique might be very appropriate, particularly if it eliminated the need for traction tyres. If you cannot obtain any interest from the RTR manufacturers, would it be practical to offer it as a DIY kit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes I've a 16 by 10 ft space and I'm reluctant to add a gradient because of the uncertainty of haulage as I'd be looking at 10+ coach trains. An Inverted figure 8 would be the way forward for me.Though £50 would seem a lot of cash.

Especially when I've a fleet of 60+ locos 's

When is the ratio of the gradient...?
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Yes the gradient is quite steep, its 240 cms long and 9.5 cms high (25%?) however I too have over 30 locos and when I set about this concept I took this into consideration.It would involve just "traction improvement " per train load ... my view is to keep 2 full rakes of coaches (12) for double heading & 2 for the Pacific's and larger locos which would need just 2 "improver's" . Its such a simple idea and it works so efficiently. It can be applied to any gauge N- or even smaller .I have signed a confidentiality agreement so I cannot give away any more other than to say it works & is so simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It sounds like an interesting idea, but I can generally obtain satisfactory traction for my 1 in 80 gradients by using lead for ballast, usually replacing the lighter cast ballast that the manufacturers necessarily use; (lead having been banned for commercially sold models for some years) full size trains are then pulled without difficulty. This is very low cost, and I get the therapeutic benefit of bashing the lead with a hammer to form neat shapes that just fit into the bodies. That works for me as the engines on the heaviest duties are wide firebox types and relatively easy to balance at a good weight for sufficient traction.

However there are loco wheel arrangements notoriously difficult to ballast effectively, 4-4-0's, singles, atlantics, 0-4-4T types, and for these your technique might be very appropriate, particularly if it eliminated the need for traction tyres. If you cannot obtain any interest from the RTR manufacturers, would it be practical to offer it as a DIY kit?
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Hi 34C
This concept can be used with any loco and providing it pulls fairly well to start with, you could expect to at least double its pulling power. It would not be practical to offer it as a kit as there is some intricate tooling involved and if I am honest I just want to finish my railway project and not be an "inventor"
 

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That's roughly a 1 in 25 or 4% gradient, and is the sort of grade that traction tyred (usually) tender drives will go up very easily, but which are difficult for metal tyred mechanisms, particularly steam types. I would persist with the idea, as many layout builders would welcome the flexibility that would come with being able to use this sort of gradient. There are plenty of published manufacturers track plans relying on these sort of grades too, drawn in the days when tender drives with traction tyres were standard. If manufacturer 1 will not proceed with it, they have competititors...
 

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mmm, i have read the item with great interest.

As i have changed my fleet over the years i am greatly impressed, with the detail, mechanisms and slow running of the new models as they are released.

However, my only gripe has been that the newer models could not pull a paper bag up a incline or gradient.

I think you should investigate this further as i know of several people ( fellow modellers ) who share my views and would certainly purchase such an innovation.

I know cost is a factor, but with the law of economics, the more you sell the more the price will fall in the future.

Nobby
 

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Its the physics I am wondering about.
You can add more weight to a loco.
You can increase the torque of the motor
you can lower the gear ratio.
You can raise somehow the coefficient of friction between rails and track if the wheels spin.
I cant think of any other principle of physics or mechanics that would increase traction. Could someone please enlighten me as to what I have overlooked ?
Regards,
Andrew
 

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***Zmil, just by changing either wheels or rail to steel, you gain significant traction improvement - no need for the magnets - NS is a terrible rail material really - the black gunge on the rails is 95% copper oxide (a good insulator) and the coefficient of friction for NS is not good either... its far too slippery. I use steel rail throughout - and often steel wheels too. Less cleaning + better pulling power.

***StMartins - Think it through then with all that done, follow your heart. If you are confident in it then just go for it. If it works on any loco and can be user installed ....does not need significant loco mods, detract in any way from either appearance, pickup quality or running qualities in general, and its a smidgen under GBP 50 or $A100, then modellers will buy it.

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
***StMartins - Think it through then with all that done, follow your heart. If you are confident in it then just go for it. If it works on any loco and can be user installed ....does not need significant loco mods, detract in any way from either appearance, pickup quality or running qualities in general, and its a smidgen under GBP 50 or $A100, then modellers will buy it.

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Thanks for the encouragement, as you see from the clip I placed on U tube the concept is invisible to the eye, The company I approached were very keen last September and once I showed them the concept they were keen to go into production.Then this horrible credit mess hit and all slowed down.I can understand the reluctance to pursue it under the current climate. I have tested it on friends circuits and they have all been impressed but it does need an input from one of the "big boys" to market it and make it.
 

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QUOTE (stmartins @ 18 May 2010, 08:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Last year I posted the details of my traction improver and received a lot of correspondence asking how it was done.
I shared this information with many who asked me for details of the concept via E mail.
Due to a new design I have come up with I am selling off the "old ones" if any one is interested.
See
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...e=STRK:MESELX:I

Good idea ... i made up the same for N scale a Farish coach on a life like chassis
 

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That is really quite impressive,top marks,for effort,and I have to admit I would be interested,however and dont answer this on the thread as it would give the game away,if it was per loco its price would be prohibitive for large collections,but best of luck with it,and I hope someone is prepared to invest in it
 

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In the 1960s, Rosebud Kitmaster made a couple of traction units to push their unpowered plastic loco's sold as kits.

One was a motor bogie similar to a Triang 4-wheel diesel type which fitted into a Kitmaster brake coach with a conversion kit.

The other was a motor unit inside a 12-ton van body that was sold as a motor unit on its own and as a complete van.

They had a 10 ft wheelbase and the van worked well until you picked one up by the body and the motor fell out because it was held in by a prayer. Thereafter it ran lop-sided and very wobbly and minus its side frames that were held on by four plastic pins.

Triang spare parts can be made to fit the Kitmaster motor and mostly involves moving the worms along the armature shaft to align properly with the axle gears.

On steam layouts there are options to use motorised versions of various utility vans (6-wheel and bogie) that ran in passenger trains.

It might be an idea to have a spare tender with a helper motor inside for playing on steep inclines and use the fine scale tender on short trains or flat layouts or just to look at.

When the new Hornby Castles came out I sorted out some old ones and some tender drive loco's to sell on. Due to the fragile nature and poor pulling power of the fine scale loco's, I am inclined to keep some older ones for running, and put the pretty stuff in a glass case.

I am loathe to take apart a high priced loco to try to improve it, at least not before the warranty runs out, and favour motorised vans and coaches as an economical way to run long trains. It is cheaper to modify a problem train than to modify a lot of loco's.
 
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