Double Crossover issues

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by SteveInBama, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. SteveInBama

    SteveInBama New Member

    I'm in the building process and would like to use a double crossover with a DCC remote control for the two parallel lines I plan to run. I'm new and may be in over my head -- I'd apprecate tips or references on:

    A. Should I use a double crossover OR combinations of L and R turnouts?

    B. What brand is most reliable and trouble free?

    C. What are the rail compatibility issues to watch for ? (Atlas code 100?)

    D. What are the issues I'm likely to overlook with my inexperience?

    ( One engine will be a KATO SD40-2 DCC)

    Thanks for any help or references.

  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...I would go with a commercial pre-fabricated unit. I believe Peco and Shinoara offer these crossovers, and they should be "plug and play"...(meaning no additional wiring required)- just add your favorite switch machines.
    Word of caution: Be sure to "gang-wire" the switch machines so they all are properly aligned at the same time and you don't go barreling into a turnout that is improperly set...Good luck..!!
  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I'd go with Peco if you have any concerns. Shinohara & Micro Engineering are excellent as well.

    When Steamhead said gang wiring, he meant that they are wired to the same switch contol so that they all flip simultaneously to avoid accidents. As the railroads say, Safety First!
  4. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I've got a Walthers Shinohara code 83 double cross-over on my layout, and have had no problems whatsoever with entire trains tracking through it. It's a lovely piece, if a bit pricey. Even a showpiece of the layout.

    And steamhead's right: If you wire all four switch machines together, the crossover requires only one switch for operations, and it works in either the straight-through configuration, or the X crossover configuration. You'd never need any other option, when you think about it.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The only drawback with the "all-in-ones" versus a x-over made from 4 turnouts (or handlaid!) is that there is no flexibility in geometery. So if the spacing between the Peco main lines (for example) is not what you want, there is no way to adjust it.

  6. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    adding to masonJars comments..
    stretch out the double crossover a few feet and you have an operating passing siding.
  7. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I agree that making one out of 4 turnouts may give you greater flexibility, but there's still that crossing you have to contend with which would have to match the geometry of your turnouts....Hmmmm...After trying to scratchbuild a simple crossing, I prefer off-the-shelf stuff when it comes to intricate trackwork.
  8. SteveInBama

    SteveInBama New Member

    Thanks y'all, good stuff for me to know about before I stumble into problems. I likely will go with a designed unit (Peco Shinohara or Micro)

    Do you have any hints on track compatability/ codes, remotes or any on-line references/"how to" links?

    Ain't technology grand - free answers in a flash!
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Almost any track can be used with any other - it's just a question of how much you want to fiddle. Higher-end turnouts can work more easily with flextrack.

    On my modules, I will be using Code83 Walthers/Shinohara turnouts with Code83 Atlas Flex track. The Atlas Code100 rail joiners hold it together securely (although the joints will eventually be soldered). There will be some shimming (minor) under the turnouts, as the Atlas ties are thicker than the W/S ones.

  10. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    If you're already using code 100, stick with it. If you're just starting out, whatever code best suits your interests...
    I've used Code 100 all my life..So I stuck with it for the new layout. Just make sure if you're mixing brands that the railheads are even, like Andrew notes above.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One thing to keep in moind if you have your layout block wired for dc rather than set up for dcc. All 4 turnouts in a double crossover are wired together so the polarity will be the same through every track in the crossover at all times. If you are wanting to have two mains in opposite polarity, with a double crossover allowing you to move a train from one main to the other and change the polarity accordingly, or use them as a passing siding to allow meets, you will need to cut some gaps in any of the commercial double crossovers.
  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    And the crossing won't fit between mainline tracks of typical spacing if you use separate commercial components.
  13. mentor63

    mentor63 Member

    THis is a very helpful thread for me. I am using double crossovers on the DCC layout I am building and was wondering the best way to control them. The idea of simply controlling all four turnouts with one switch and the logic that they can be wired so that all four turnouts go straight or they all diverge had not occurred to me. Brilliant!

    I was wondering if I could take that a step further. Is there any reason why I could not wire them all to a HARE, put a senser on each approaching track and use the HARE Auto-Throw feature to insure the turnouts go straight if there is an approaching train? I would want to be able to manualling (switch or DCC) control them also. Any thoughts?

    Keep flying with the eagles!

  14. SteveInBama

    SteveInBama New Member

    Response to Mentor63-- Sounds like a good alternative but I'm too new to know. Perhaps some of the experienced guys will know/ reply.

    Another Question--
    - My search for a U.S. vendor of Peco double crossover source (available) has not been successful... is it ok to ID potential store sources on here?
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Steve: I'm not familiar with a Peco HO double crossover. I know hey make one in N and I think if they introduced an HO one it would make a splash.
  16. SteveInBama

    SteveInBama New Member

    It appears David (above) is correct in Peco not making an HO double crossover. I'm not finding HO double crossovers in great supply....
  17. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...I searched the Peco catalog...and, NO..they don't make one...:cry:
    Have you looked into Shinohara...? There may also be "specialty" manufacturers out there which are not widely known...
  18. mentor63

    mentor63 Member

    Maybe I missed something earlier in the thread, but I am using the currect Walthers "DCC friendly" double crossovers. They require a lot of straight space (about 20"), but, so far, I have had no problems with them. Is it availability that is the problem? I know they tend to be out of stock a lot. They list for $59.98, but I have found them for considerably less.
  19. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    They indeed can be hard to find. I once sold two of them for $75 each.

    The Shinohara double corossover is a lovely piece, and has operated flawlessly on my layout, connecting two main lines. I did cut the outside rails in the middle so that I could block the four corners to separate blocks. It works like a charm.
  20. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I could make you one as I'd love to tackle a double x-over again...but,'s gonna cost ya. :twisted:

    There is also a good thread about wiring a double cross over for DC & DCC here if you are good with electrical stuff.

    Fast Tracks :: View topic - Double Crossover wiring

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