Confusion on track and turnouts

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by djk, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. djk

    djk New Member

    Hi, everyone, I am new to the site and to HO trains. My tables are built and I am ready to lay track etc.

    I am very frustrated. I want code 83, a variety of turnouts, including doubles, and wyes. I am doing the entire layout in DCC. So after much evaluting by phone and internet, I purchased Atlas flextrack, Walthers (Shinohara) turnouts and one Peco double turnout code 100 (because the store was out of Walthers). It has all arrived.

    Now that I can see the products up close, here are the problems. I am mixing code sizes, the ties from each manufacturer are different size and colors, the frogs are not insulated, Peco snaps in place, Walthers is loose. Do I just accept this? Is there one company that is accurate in detail and makes all options of turnouts and good quality? How does a new guy evaluate all this stuff?

    Thanks for any help you can give.
  2. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    It's going to be some work, but you'll get through it. Code 83 is good, so is DCC. The Atlas flex is good stuff, and the Walthers and Peco turnouts are fine.

    Most manufacturers have their own tie colour/size/spacing for their turnouts... I don't beleive there is a "standard". Once you get them down, ballasted and weathered, though, the only one who's going to notice the differences is you. :)

    Your problem is going to come from those live frogs and DCC. Fortunately, Allan Gartner has a site that explains how to modify and wire your turnouts for DCC operation.

    As for the points sticking or not, it's really only going to make a difference for the type of switch machine you're using. If you're going with a small twin-coil type (like the Atlas) you'll need to remove the spring from the Peco turnout. If you've got one with more muscle (like the Peco, or the NJ International or Rix), it should throw just fine. If you're using ground throws, don't worry about it.

    Good luck!
  3. djk

    djk New Member


    Thanks for the quick info. That site is very good. He gives info on how to wire the turnouts for DCC. My Walthers turnout boxes all say "Improved. For DC and DCC Operations" Do you think that means I don't have to do that?

  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I use the Atlas Code 83 flex with the Walthers/Shinohara turnouts, and they go well together. Standard (Atlas Code 100) railjoiners will work to join them. The turnouts do not have to be modified for DCC.

    You will need to use some sort of spring or throw to keep the point rails to one side or the other. One well-known device is the Caboose ground throw. There are also ways of making your own throws or springs as well.

    The mix of tie spacing is not really very noticable.

    The Peco Code 100 turnout may require some sanding or shimming of the roadbed and possibly some plier work on a joiner to get it to fit. If you don't need that particular turnout right away, you might want to wait for the Code 83 version.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Yup! You're in the clear! The older Walthers/Shinohara turnouts all had live frogs. The new ones have been backordered for quite awhile, so I wasn't sure when you got yours... I thought they might be the old ones.

    Is your Peco turnout an "ElectroFrog" or an "InsulFrog"? The first one has a live frog, the second is insulated.
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    I've had good luck using the Atlas N-scale rail joiners on code 83 track. They're a tight fit, so you should use pliers to put them on, or open the ends a bit with a piece of rail with the foot filed to a taper. Once they're on, they look great, because they're about 1/2 the size of the code 100 joiners.

    If there's no difference in the height at the railhead, you can probably get away with using the Atlas code 83-100 transition joiners between your Peco turnout and Atlas track. If the Atlas is a bit lower, still go with the transition joiner, as it will cover the difference in height from the bottom, but shim the track as Andrew suggested.
  7. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I've used all Peco ElectroFrog turnouts (35+ up to now...) on my DCC layout, and haven't had a single problem with them. The only difference being that you have to put plastic rail joiners on the frog rails.

    Good luck...!!!

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