Magnets are common on sidings and yard tracks where cars are frequently uncoupled, or spotted. But remember, magnets don't discriminate. It's easy to place magnets where they uncouple cars more often than you'd like them to. Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your magnets:
- Be clearance conscious. Place magnets past the clearance points of switches. This can be easily tested with a pair of cars before installing the magnet.
- Avoid curves. Couplers generally function better on straight track than curves. The same is true of real trains.
- Mainline Magnets. Consider an electromagnet on mainlines or heavy-traffic areas where accidental uncouplings would be a problem.
- One Magnet – Many Tracks. Placing a single magnet at the entrance of a yard ladder can allow you to uncouple cars at a single location before spotting on the proper track. This application works best when the ladder is placed on a grade allowing the cars to be sorted by gravity. A “hump yard” like this avoids all of the reverse moves normally associated with switching.