Mixing Peco and Walters/Shinohara Curved Turnouts

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Donn Welton, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

    The lack of Peco curved turnouts---there seems to be only the medium with ca.17"/20" and a large with 30"/60" radi---is a frustration to one who need exactly whatl falls between their two options. Walters (made byShinohara) has four:

    #6-1/2 Curved Turnout; Inside Radius 18", Outside Radius 24"
    #7 Curved Turnout: Inside Radius 24", Outside Radius 28"
    #7-1/2 Curved Turnout; Inside Radius 28", Outside Radius 32"
    #8 Curved Turnout; Inside Radius 32", Outside Radius 36"

    Two questions (apart from the one as to why Peco has such limited options) as to whether one can combine the two types of turnouts:

    (a) I work in code 100 and the Walters are all code 83. The last place I want a bump is going into and coming out of a turnout. Do the transition tracks work? Or is there a better/easier way of moving from one to the other?

    (b) The more serious issue is whether is it advisable to mix insulafrog turnout outs (Peco) with the electrafrog turnouts (Walters), especially as I work in DCC.

    Any experienc and/or advice would be most appreciated.

  2. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.
    -Deuteronomy 22:11

    hehehe. When I read your post, that popped into my head! :)

  3. Railery

    Railery Member

    :confused: Personally i would not mix codes for switches. To go from the switch, down to code 83 for a siding or secondary line is okay. i use atlas code 100 and have combined peco code 100 curved switches. But to go from 100 down to 83 and back to 100 Well i can't really say. It will be interesting to read some other comments. U could try to make your own switch and stay in code.

    And Rory that was cute :rolleyes:
  4. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member


    I have used Peco along with Atlas track. You would never know unless I told you! Runs fine, with no problems.

  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Donn, I haven't checked to be sure, but I believe that Shinohara makes the Walthers turnouts, and that the Walthers ones are code 83, while Shinohara makes the same sizes in both code 70 and 100. You might want to check this out. Probably in the walthers catalog or website. As an alternative, you can mix the sizes, if you feel comfortable soldering, crush 1/2 the length of a rail joiner, slip the uncrushed end onto the code 100 rail, solder the code 83 to the top of the other half. File a bit to get smooth transistion. The important thing is to keep the inside of the railheads lined up. Or, don't use any rail joiner, put an appropriate thickness shim under the last tie or two of the code 83 track and spike securely to maintain alignment. You will then of course need additional feeders to the rails. The slight change in elevation caused by either of these methods has never created uncoupling problems for me. Hope this helps.

  6. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

    The real rub

    Thanks all for the replies. Gary comes closes to the issue and helps me identify the core of the problem. Shinohara does have code 100 curved turnouts but does not have ##6 1/2, 7, and 7 1/2 in curved, leaving us roughly where Peco does, suspended between #6 and #8 (Peco: medium and large). And if I am not mistaken, the Shinohara is electrofrog, not insulafrog, the prefered way to go for DCC users. For small or medium size layouts, the missing numbers seems to be the best. So my question now is this: can anyone recommend another source for these middle radi, preferably in insulafrog?


  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Donn, I use DCC and while I handlay most of my turnouts, I do have a few Shinoharas (not modified as generally advised) which give me absolutely no problems. I don't want any unpowered frogs on my layout, and DCC in no way requires them. The thing that is stressed about DCC "friendly" turnouts is the polarity of the point rails, that is, ideally the point rail will always be the same polarity as the stock rail it is next to. Unmodified Shinoharas do not meet this requirement, but my handlaid turnouts do. With the Shinoharas, the rather large space between the point rail and stock rail is the only thing preventing shorts (this is true with DC as well as DCC). When a large wheelbase steam loco goes thru one, particularly on the diverging route, a wheel may bridge this gap, causing the short. I have two curved Shinoharas and have run my brass NYC Mohawks thru them with no problem. An insulfrog(unpowered) frog can cause short wheelbase locos to stall. I suggest you check Don Crano's web site for further info (although I've ignored the advise to modify the Shinoharas, I did find much usefull info there). You will find a link to it from the Digitrax site, www.digitrax.com Enjoy.

  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Donn, One more thing I forgot: I had exactly the same situation you apparently have, I used code 100 Atlas flex track on a helix, and wanted (needed) a curved turnout to crossover from the roughly 26" radius outer track to a roughly 24" radius inner track. So the size was critical (in retrospect, I should've handlaid it, but I wasn't yet comfotable doing so) and the closest I could come was only available in code 83. This was several years ago and I had forgotten about it. Anyway, I found the suitable thickness styrene sheet (so railheads were level) and cut a piece using a line drawn along the ties of the turnout while sitting on the sheet. I glued this to the bottom of the ties, making sure the throwbar was free. I soldered wires to the frog and stock rails and fixed in place without joiners. I've had no problems and it's been in place for 2 1/2 years, in a basement with fairly high humidity in the summer, very dry in the winter. I see you're in Long Island, if you would like to visit, I am about 30 minutes west of NYC, email off list and we can see what we can arrainge. Good luck.

  9. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

    Thanks, Gary, for your last two posts. Having the opportunity to see what you have done would be most helpful but I will write privately about that. The stryene suggestion is a clear solution to mixing codes if that is necessary. And perhaps I will drop Peco a line and ask why the gap, just for my own information. This being my first real layout, I am shy of laying my own track but perhaps that is what I will have to try. In any case thanks for the good advise.

  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Donn, If you decide to get in touch with me, do so at the email address on this post, not the others, as I rarely check my mail at home. This is my work address.


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