Need a little help

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Rob24, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. Rob24

    Rob24 New Member

    Could someone please take the time to explain this to me. Yes I am new to hobby.

    What the difference in all the turn outs? I am curious about the numbers. What would be used in what circumstance? I have a little bit of an idea, but need a little fine tuning.
  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Hi Rob: The numbers indicate the length of the turnout and the radius of the curved track. I don't think there is anything scientific to the numbering system.
    For a more complete answer I will suggest going to the NMRA website. Just type in NMRA in your browser and find the beginners information. Click on track in the righthand column and there is a whole bunch of information.
    Welcome to The Gauge by the way.
  3. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    A # 4 turnout diverges one unit in four units of run.
    A # 6 turnout diverges one unit in 6 units of run , so a # 4 frog angle is bigger than a # 6 frog angle.

  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hi Rob,

    As noted above the number refers to the the degree to which the turnout track diverges from the straight track. The higher the number the more gentle the angle. Turnouts with larger numbers help accommodate higher speeds so #6 and higher are great for the main line. #4 turnouts are pretty sharp by comparison and are often used for sidings or spurs for low speed switching of cars. Larger locomotives can sometimes have derailment problems on smaller numbered model turnouts.

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    So will scale length passenger cars, and long freight cars like auto racks, 89 foot boxcars, etc. Generally, if a 30 inch minimum radius is recommended for a piece of rolling stock, it also needs a #6 or bigger switch. If it works with 18 inch radius, #4 will work.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Also, numbered switches don't have a radius. There is a radius btween the points and the frog, but they straighten up at the frog; there may be curved track beyond this. Switches with a radius can't have numbers; the geometry doesn't work.
    Even our switches are pretty sharp compared to a real railroad. Count the ties from point to frog on a real switch, then compare it to a #6 or #8.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    My CNR Maintenance of Way Handbook has diagrams showing how #10 (sharpest) to #20 turnouts are constructed.


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