Yeovil Town through the shed
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Weeding out the gremlins


Automation on a railway allows us to run the same train on the same track at the same speed in the same way many times.  We all know the Murphy's law that states a train will run 19 times with no problem then it derails or malfunctions in some other way!

Continuous running of sequences allows us to prove that the train works reliably but when done we then need to prove each sequence interacts with the others correctly e.g. the correct priority is give to routes by certain trains competing for the same piece of track.  There are many factors that cause problems and here is a list of items I have found on Yeovil Town;



  • Wagons and coaches too light - Add up to 25 grams per axil for OO
  • Back to back on all rolling stock not set correctly - give the stock an MOT by checking and setting on all axils
  • Couplings not correctly fitted or aligned - match all couplings to be the same type (mix types on the same wagon to help with this) - set the height to match correctly especially with push pull trains. 
  • Point blades not seating correctly (especially hand built points) ensure the point motor is robust and fitted correctly.  Misalignment often leads to incorrect operation.
  • Track dirty - Clean all track regularly and where possible protect it from dust etc.
  • Wheels dirty - Keeping the track clean is only part of the story, buy a good wheel cleaner and clean every part of all your rolling stock
  • Steam engine bogie wheels - Keep them working correctly they can often be too light for the task so can you add more weight or strengthen the spring?
  • Bad sections of track with bumps and misaligned joints - Fix them!

We have been through this loop with Yeovil Town and still get some reliability problems so revisiting some of this work is the only way around this.

Category: Yeovil Town