Model trains are a wonderful hobby for people who love crafting, history, and rural life. However, there are plenty of tricks that newer hobbyists may not know about, including adding weight to your trains. Discover why weights are important in model trains and how to add them at home.
What Are Model Train Weights?
Most model train hobbyists have a favorite way to add weight to their trains, so there’s no one right answer. In fact, you can use just about any small metal object as a train weight; some of the more popular options include fishing line weights, BBs, buckshot, and pennies.
Why Are Weights Important?
Metal weights allow track builders to evenly distribute the balance of their model trains. This is very important because different manufacturers make cars using different materials, and they can greatly vary in weight. Even two identical cars from the same manufacturer may not have exactly the same weight.
If you notice that your train keeps derailing at the same car, you may have one car that’s lighter than the others. This lack of weight keeps the train from staying on the track, and makes it more likely to derail at curves and inclines.
Getting a Smoother Run
Another reason why weights are important in model trains is that they make up for other track shortcomings. If you aren’t good about cleaning your track and checking the wheels for dirt, weight will help ensure a better connection to the track, resulting in a better run.
How Much Weight Should You Use?
There are no rules about weighting trains, and every hobbyist is different. However, the National Model Railroad Association does have a recommended weight guide you can use to standardize your train weights. Some clubs and associations may require you to meet these rules before they let you run trains on their layouts.
Adding Weight to Your Cars
The first step in weighting your trains is to weigh each car and figure out where to add weight. You may want to get a small electronic package scale for accurate weighing.
Once you’ve identified where you want the weights to go, you’ll need to choose your weights, flattening them if necessary to help the glue adhere. Most people prefer to add the weight on the inside of the car, away from windows so that you won’t see anything.
Whether or not to weight your train cars is a personal decision that every hobbyist should make for themselves. If you decide to add weight to your trains, follow this guide to help the process go more smoothly.