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Running Model Railroad Trains

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Open the Throttle and Let 'er Run
Running Model Railroad Trains
Author's photo.

Once everything is securely coupled, put your train in "forward" and turn the throttle up to somewhere a bit under your fastest safe throttle speed. Let your train travel around the track a few times to be sure that all of the track pieces are connected properly and the cars are all correctly railed.

When you are satisfied that your train runs smoothly, reverse your train and make sure that it can back around the track without any snags too.

With your locomotive traveling in the forward direction again, you can increase the throttle and find the fastest safe throttle speed for your whole train. A basic train set usually has only four or five cars, so the weight shouldn't affect your maximum throttle much.

Advanced modelers frequently run trains of 30 or more cars. I've heard of a club that ran a train of over 300 cars at a convention. I believe it was being pulled by a six locomotive consist. Running any train over 100 cars should earn you bragging rights among friends and other model railroaders. But before you can do that you'll need a much bigger layout than that oval that came with your set.

If you have questions or comments about anything in this article, please post them on our model railroading forum under the Beginners' Questions heading.
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