CVT vs. Fast Tracks Twist Ties

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by ocalicreek, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Hello All,

    I've sketched out the plan, rearranged the shelving in the room for layout supports, bought more shelving, even some lumber and a DCC System. Now I need to think more seriously about track.

    I've handlaid track before with results I'm fairly pleased with, but wasn't sure that's the route I wanted to go on this layout. However, I've planned in some curved turnouts to make the best use of the limited space. And I really don't like what I see from Walthers or others who offer pre-made curved turnouts.

    So I checked out CVT ( from Central Valley Model Works. Looks great, but I have no idea how to translate what I've drawn into turnout numbers in order to select one of their products. I asked them about this but I'm not sure my email was completely understood, and the reply I received wasn't what I was looking for. I may reply to see if I can be more clear.

    Next I looked at Fast Tracks ( and lo and behold, they have a curvable turnout kit that looks great. Again, I still need to figure out what number my curved turnouts are (I know the straight standard turnouts, since I used a template when drawing the plan). Again, It's the CURVED turnouts I'm talking about. I haven't contacted Tim at Fast Tracks yet, although they have a forum for questions, etc.

    Here's a link to the plan:

    If anyone can help me determine what number the curved turnouts either are or should be (could be?) that would be great. The inside radius is 18" and the outside radius is 20". Also, if anybody out there has experience using either CVT flexible turnouts or Fast Tracks TwistTies turnouts, or knows of a better plan for building curved turnouts then please let me know.

    Please help, :(

  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Hi Galen, I'm afraid I can't help you with determining the size of the curved turnouts you need, thos 18 and 20 are tight, and close together, I would think requiring quite a long set of points. I have built several of the CV turnouts and quite like them, from my experience they are only suitable for subtle curves (I used # 6 turnouts, and the straight route doesn't seem like it would come anywhere near 20" radius) I cannot comment on the fast tracks kits, never having seen them. Fast tracks initially offered jigs for building fixed turnouts, such as #6, so on. Having hand laid many many turnouts I didn't see the use for them. I understand they have come a long way in appearance now, rendering my handlaid crude looking at this time. Tou probably should contact them, or write to the Yahoo handlaid track group. For myself, I handlay on wood ties any needed curved turnouts. I never concern myself with what frog size they are. I build them in place. Procedure is straight forward and I can go into it if you are interested. The looks no longer come close to the details (individual tie plates, etc) offered on the fast tracks kits, but I know I can lay it, it will work, and it won't cost much.

    Good luck, let us know what you find out.
  3. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Gary - Thanks for the comments about the CVT flexibility, very good to know.
    The new Fast Tracks TwistTies kits seem VERY flexible.

    In the past I have just built my turnouts in place with little concern for the radius since they were on a switching module where I knew I'd be running short equipment, usually no longer than 40'. Here on this new layout I want to be a bit more careful since I plan on running 60' passenger equipment.

    I agree that hand laid from scratch track can look a bit crude. My tie spacing is horrendous. I really should have rebuilt a couple of the turnouts, and maybe someday I will...probably not, though, since they work fine.

    Cost is somewhat of a concern, but not as much.


  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Galen: Contact FastTracks on this. Tim probably has a good idea of what you might need. I think an 18"-20" turnout would have a rather large number.
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I second Gary's concerns that the radii seem too close for the turnout to be workable. Points and frog will be too long to fit in with the curves properly. All the commercial curved turnouts I have seen in catalogs have a 4 inch spread between the 2 radii. Even then, I have heard the points and/or closure rail radius for the sharper curve are often less than specified.

    I would try drawing your proposed turnout full size on paper or roadbed to get a feel for the feasibility.

    yours in tracking
  6. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    back to basics

    Hello All,

    Thanks for the replies, everybody. I was thinking about drawing out the plan full size on the lauan itself and remembered how I laid out the turnouts on my timesaver. I tacked down a piece of flex track then laid a sheet of paper on top. I tacked down the paper and did a rubbing of the rails with a pencil. Then I peeled back the top sheet carefully and relocated the track to the diverging route. Laying down the paper I again rubbed the rail impression. I actually used the paper itself as a template for building the frog.

    Doing this should give me a good idea of what length I'm looking at. Then I can measure the turnout (got a cool flexible ruler at Michael's recently...great for measuring distance around curves on track sketches...for mathmatically challenged folks like myself) and compare with the numbers on either the CVT or FastTracks sites.

    As for long points, what about hinging the points? My previous turnouts did not have hinges, just solid points coming out of the frog (with gaps cut for frog powering/isolation, of course).


  7. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    Can you get your hands on some templates for what you want, when you draw out your plan on the boards place the templates down and they will let you know how tight things are..Ron.. I will check around and see if I can come up with some if you don't have any luck..Ron..

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