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At some time or another, all model railroaders experience derailments when their trains and valuable locomotives jump the train track and end up sideways against the track ballast or scenery. Sometimes when model trains derail the damage can be more severe, with prized locomotives ending up on the floor. This scenario of having trains derail and crashing on the floor is preventable. Careful layout and track planning is the key.
Space restrictions might tempt you to position your train tracks closer to the edge of the layout benchwork than you might have anticipated. Doing this could provide space for an extra train track, but you could run the inevitable risk that your expensive locomotive could derail and crash off the track only to end up wrecked or damaged on the floor.
Such an accident might not be caused by an operational derailment. The derail could be caused, by someone catching part of the model train with their sleeve, or maybe the model train got knocked onto the floor by the family cat or an earthquake shook the locomotive to the ground. We all know how gravity works. The only way is down, so an expensive locomotive could derail and crash hard into a solid unforgiving floor that could be three or four feet down.
As a rule, model trains typically appear longer when disappearing momentarily from sight behind some vegetation, a tree, or perhaps a railroad building or structure.
When possible, try to keep the train track at least 2 to 3 inches away from the layout edge, and consider adding some little obstacles between the train track and the edge of the benchwork. You could position a few well-glued miniature trees or bushes, or create a small slightly sloped scenic bank, a robust long fence of some type, or as happens at model train shows… install a sheet of clear acrylic plexiglass to create a physical barrier preventing the model trains and locomotives from crashing on the floor.
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