The present work is concerned with the system dynamics and stability of the open draw sections of paper machines where web breaks occur most frequently. We have applied a novel particle based system dynamics model that allows the investigation of complex interactions between web property ﬂuctuations and system parameters, without any constraints of a particular geometrical web shape or boundary conditions assumed a priori. The result shows that, at a given machine draw and web property parameters, the open draw section maintains its steady-state until it reaches a certain machine speed limit. At this speed the system looses its stability and the web strain starts growing without any limit, and thus leading to a web break. A similar instability can also be triggered when web properties suddenly ﬂuctuate during steady-state operation. The parametric sensitivity studies indicate that, among the web property parameters studied, the elastic modulus of the wet web has the largest impact on the critical machine speed as well as on the detachment point where the web is released from the ﬁrst roll. Further analysis shows that the decrease in dryness has a (negative) synergistic effect causing an increased risk of system instability. It is, therefore, most important to control, not only average dryness, but also its variations in order to enhance paper machine runnability.